You already know that the food you eat is important for your health. But did you know that the products you use every day, from cosmetics to laundry detergent, can have just as much of an impact? It may seem obvious how lotion can affect our health, but even products we don’t use topically can cause skin issues and other health effects.
Laundry detergent is no exception. There are many issues with conventional laundry products. For a start, most manufacturers do not disclose their ingredients. These unknown ingredients may be VOCs. The surfactants found in many laundry products (the part that makes it suds and clean) can cause major skin irritation, like contact dermatitis and even respiratory problems. Many of the ingredients used in conventional laundry cleaning products are also endocrine disruptors, which mess with your hormones. It’s very important to choose a laundry detergent that doesn’t have these harmful ingredients, and we’ve got one here for you to check out.
Meet Charlie’s Soap, the soap company that has set their standards for producing responsible and bio-degradable soap products since the 1970s. And best of all, they fully disclose what ingredients they use in their products. These guys have nothing to hide…
About Charlie’s Soap
Beginning in 1971, Charlie Sutherland Sr. started a family-owned business making yarn oil for local textile mills. Fast forward to mid-1980 and Charlie’s Soap is officially a business with products sold inside the local Winn-Dixie. Today, Charlie’s Soap cleaning products continue to manufacture products according to their core philosophy which, according to the company, is backed by science for efficiency while being eco-friendly. The ingredients used in all Charlie’s Soap products are tested for their biodegradability.
As “green” as they may be, we want to know how truly safe and non-toxic their products and ingredients are for people use.
Let’s take a closer look and see!
Charlie’s Soap Laundry Liquid: What’s It Like?
For all their eco credentials, the product surprisingly comes in a plastic bottle. The bottle opens with a cap top that’s used for measuring and dispersing the soap. While the soap may be biodegradable as they say, plastic is not. That said, the company do ask consumers to recycle. I’d personally much prefer cardboard or sustainable packaging from such an eco-conscious company.
The packaging and branding is something we like though. Charlie’s Soap has the same design it’s had for decades and speaks to its vintage roots. The company makes it very clear that the product is green and non-toxic. They do use the dreaded “hypoallergenic” word. A word that literally means nothing, but we understand their intentions.
The product itself is a clear liquid, that’s formulated for all machines including high-efficiency machines. The directions say to add a 2/3 cap full of the liquid for regular washes, and a full cup for large loads or heavily soiled clothes. The bottle contains about 40 standard size loads worth of liquid soap.
There is no scent to this product, which is great for those who are sensitive to fragrances, even natural ones. “If you want flowers, go pick some”, they advise.
How Well Does It Wash?
The thing about “natural and non-toxic” cleaning products is that, while it’s great that they don’t contain harmful ingredients, it’s also important that they actually perform. All too often the two concepts are mutually exclusive.
It doesn’t seem like we need to worry about this with Charlie’s Soap laundry liquid. They claim that the product “cleans everything from silk frillies to shop rags.” They also claim the product works on grease, grass, blood, clay, red wine, food stains, pine sap, and poop.
A bold claim we’ll have to test for ourselves.
I used the laundry liquid to clean a soiled shirt I spilled a green smoothie made with coconut oil and a bunch of other food ingredients. I used the recommended 2/3 cup and have a High-Efficiency washer.
As you can see, the shirt came out looking clean, and it smelled nice and fresh too.
Let’s Take a Closer Look at the Ingredients
The laundry liquid from Charlie’s Soap is a non-bio formulation that contains only three ingredients, which we have to say is a nice change from conventional detergents that seem to contain a laundry list of ingredients (pun intended).
What are the ingredients?
- C12-15 Pareth 2 – A biodegradable relatively gentle surfactant/cleansing agent.
- Sodium Carbonate – aka Washing Soda. This cleaning agent is similar to sodium bicarbonate. It’s used to soften water and help the laundry detergent properly dissolve.
There’s little research on C12-15 Pareth-2, but according to EWG’s Skin Deep database, the ingredient offers “some concern” for asthma/respiratory, skin allergies and irritation, developmental and reproductive toxicity, cancer, and the environment. They gave C12-15 Pareth-2 a C rating for moderate concern, which means it has some concern to health and environment.
On the same EWG Skin Deep, Charlie’s Soap Laundry Powder (the powder version of the laundry liquid) is given an A score, which is the score for lowest concern and determines that the product contains few/no known or suspected hazards to health or the environment.
Sodium carbonate has a low level 1 score on EWG, and is not known as being harmful. However, because it is a pH adjuster and a type of salt, it has the potential to irritate very sensitive skin. If you experience any itching, redness, or burning after using this product, it may be the sodium carbonate. It’s important to note that sodium carbonate is a very common ingredient used in detergents, including natural ones, and it isn’t something to be cautious about in general.
Compared to 99% of liquid detergents out there, this is as safe as it gets.
It’s also worth noting that Charlie’s Soap is made in the U.S. and is never tested on animals.
All in all, we think the laundry liquid from Charlie’s Soap is a good relatively non-harmful option that should be gentle and safe on skin and good for the environment as well.
Unless you have very sensitive skin we suggest giving this product a try.