Now, I'm not getting paid to endorse this product, nor am I getting freebies. Though should they want to cut me a check or ship me a 5 gallon bucket, I would not object.
It's a wonderful product called Charlie's Soap. It's non-toxic, biodegradable, and hypoallergenic. I came across it when researching baby-friendly detergents. I had discovered that some of the most popular (and expensive) "gentle" baby detergents actually do have chemicals and fragrances in them that can irritate skin. One of the bloggers I follow recommended this soap. Other reviews I found were very positive so I pitched my find to the Hubs before placing the order. (It's only available online and it's cheapest to buy direct.)
At first I was leaning toward the liquid variety. I've had bad experiences with powder detergents not dissolving and winding up with it stuck all over the clothes (even after letting the washer fill up). Reviews set my mind at ease that this product didn't do that. So I ordered 2 of the 80 load bags. It came to $14.41 (with a discount for multiples of 2 or more) each plus free shipping and no tax. This figures out to 18 cents per load. Already, this was a much cheaper option than other detergents we've used.
When I got my FedEx delivery notice, I admit, I was excited. Then we got home and the Hubs presented me with a much smaller box than I had anticipated. I opened it and sure enough, there were two small bags of Charlie's Soap inside. I had my doubts. No way was this enough to do 160 loads of wash. Then I went to do the first load of laundry, following the instructions to only use one tablespoon (they include a one-tablespoon scooper in each bag), again doubtful. That wouldn't possibly be enough to clean a load of wash, right? I'd use at least twice that amount of other stuff. I remembered my blogger friend mentioning that she thought the same thing so I emptied the tablespoon into the washer, let it fill a little and loaded up the clothes. Not only did it clean the clothes, they felt fresher and softer. So far, so good.
In the product sheets that come with the shipment, it does say that they recommended first running the washer empty (or with a load of rags) with just a scoop of the soap, but I was too excited. In that case, they advise that it may take 3 washes to see the full benefits of their soap because it takes that many cycles to get the build up and grime off the clothes and out of the washer (which redeposits on the clothes...yuck).
That was around Thanksgiving. It's now well into January and the other night I noticed that we still have about half of the first bag left. (I had to show this off to the Hubs, of course.) Now, with detergents in the past, we went through it fast. I think it had to do with using extra of other detergents because I thought the load needed it or I didn't trust it to get especially dirty clothes/towels clean with just the standard amount. Not the case with Charlie's Soap. One scoop per load no matter what. I've never had a problem where I'm not confident it got everything clean.
I can now confirm that the more times you wash with Charlie's Soap, the better your clothes feel. The other thing I'm really stoked about is that my skin has been far less itchy. Before, I would scratch my legs like mad and finally figured out it might be a reaction to our laundry detergent. I had tried switching us to "free and clear" varieties before, but to no avail. I attribute the improvement to the fact that Charlie's doesn't leave residue on clothes and doesn't have the chemicals and additives of other detergents. I've also never had an issue with the powder not dissolving and getting stuck to clothes.
We use it for everything and it does the job. The other detergents still left on the shelf haven't been touched. Speaking of which, you know how I mentioned how small the bags are? It is laughable how huge the Surf box looks next to this little bag. I believe it's supposed to do the same number of loads or maybe less. Same for the liquid detergents we have. This humble little bag puts them all to shame.
I can hardly wait to wash Kaelyn's clothes. I also think this stuff will be great for her cloth diapers because I've read that other detergents that leave residue make them less absorbant. (We're going to use Nubunz, by the way, which come highly-recommended, but since we haven't used them first-hand, I'll wait to post a review.)
Cost-wise, it's much more economical. In addition to the cost per load difference, I also turn to Oxiclean less. I use it only for whites to make them really bright. Before, I'd want to "boost detergent performance" with the power of Oxiclean. No longer. I don't need to. Considering how pricey Oxiclean is, this is also a savings. Oh and the highly-pushed "baby detergent" Dreft? If you buy in bulk, works out to an average of 32-39 cents per load. I plan to buy the 5-gallon bucket of Charlie's next time and that'll cost us about 12 cents per load. (Right now it's about 18 cents for the bags I purchased.) Dreft also contains fragrances and chemicals a lot of people have found actually irritate baby's skin, especially little ones who have eczema, despite the "gentle" claims. So, the way I see it, you get a better product for 1/3 of the cost. Not too shabby.
If you do plan to try it, I'd probably start with a bag or two of the powder (I've never had a problem with it and now would really hesitate to switch to the liquid anyways) to make sure you like it. They do offer a money-back guarantee if you don't like it, but I'm not sure why you wouldn't to be honest.
Oh and if you happen to have a front load high-efficiency washer, this stuff is compatible. (I hope to claim myself one sometime within the next year or two)
Now, I prefaced this review by saying I didn't write this to get free stuff. That said, when I pulled up their site to get info on prices, I noticed a "Refer-A-Friend" button. Apparently if you mention my name when you place your order and probably my email address, they'll send me a buy one, get one coupon. I'm not gonna lie, that would be awesome and by all means, mention me if you decide to order, but this review is only my opinion and experience with the product. I wanted to spread the word on a product I really like. In other words, if you just really don't like it for some reason, don't send me hate mail ;)
For more info, visit their website: http://www.charliesoap.com/