More detergent. Yeah, yeah I know.
There are a few detergents I never tried since I heard they worked terribly with hard water, or just plain didn’t work anywhere. Well, our new place has slightly softer water than our last apartment, so I decided to give Charlie’s Soap a whirl even though I have *never heard good things.
I am sure Charlie’s is a fine company. I might even verify it if they ever respond to my emails. My friends who did get through to customer service were told to purchase some additional Charlie’s products to help the detergent work. Really?
Before I even tried using it on diapers and regular laundry, I studied the ingredients perplexed. After some searching on the internet I found several different ingredient lists for Charlie’s powder detergent and none of them matched the actual container. Not even the actual Charlie’s website.
- Sodium carbonate
- sodium metasilicate
- C12-15 Pareth-2 Detergent
Detergent as an ingredient? How forthcoming. Apparently they mean surfactants. According to some sources it may be coconut oil based surfactants, but since the company website does not say as much, I am guessing it varies and often includes a few others. Fine. No Problem. However, it would be nice if they just said so.
Unfortunately for my children, Charlie’s left a whole heck of a lot of ammonia behind and even a little something else. Which caused a bloody, blistering reaction so awful, my kids’ bottoms looked like a terrible acid burn. A chemical burn covering everywhere the diaper touched. I tweaked the wash routine and amount of Charlie’s to no avail. It simply will not rinse clean. So of course I then did what every insane wife does, used it on our regular laundry. Luckily my husband’s armpits aren’t burning off every time he sweats, or at least he hasn’t mentioned it. However, our clothes are not clean. In fact, I cannot tell the difference between washed and unwashed with a sniff test. Our workout shirts and socks are the worst fail. Nothing like already reeking before you even get to the gym.
If I knew what the so called ingredients really were I could troubleshoot better, but I don’t like doing that. I shouldn’t have to troubleshoot my detergent for months on end. There are plenty of eco detergents that get the job done for me every time. My instincts tell me it might just need hydrogen peroxide powder added. However, with the large amount of detergent needed with our hard water, more additives would make an already pricey detergent less feasible for the budget. There is also the chance that the sodium metasilicate, a highly corrosive agent, is not rinsing properly and causing the skin burns. So go for that extra rinse!
Sorry Charlie’s. I suggest a reformulation with better testing. I also suggest responding to your disgruntled customers who are paying for your rather spendy white powder. I have not tried their booster, and maybe it works, but I don’t feel a worthy detergent should have a mandatory booster in order for it to work in the majority of areas.
I don’t want to close on such a negative note, so I want to mention that some people really like Charlie’s Soap and it works great for them.
Bri over at Eco Baby Mama Drama has been using Charlie’s on her laundry and diapers for four years without any issues, and she has hard water. It gets an alright score in the Padded Tush Stats Detergent Surveys, so it obviously works for enough people. My gals at The Anti June Cleaver and Simply Me Plus 3 have also used Charlie’s for many months in the past without issues. I hear about more problems with hard water, and of course hard water is not all the same. Different mineral concentrations will have different reactions. Not to mention there are often other factors affecting the mineral content. (If your diaper rash cream or sunscreen contains Balsam of Peru, DO NOT wash it in high iron water! Yikes!)
So there you have it. My experience was not great, but I am still glad I tried it. My kids’ skin has scabbed over and is healing just fine. And since I already indicated my personal insanity earlier, I am trying Tide next. Yup, finally going there. Gulp!
See my experiences with other detergents in the Detergent Reviews and Natural Laundry sections.