Biokleen is a company that was started in the ‘80’s by a man named Jim Rimer from Oregon – a sales executive for a chemical supply company. Through that work, he began to realize the harmful effects of the products he was selling. He was even fired for trying to implement a more safe and smart version of said products!
After some studying, he began making his own products in a garage in Oregon. He touched upon chemistry and botany and created “All Purpose Cleaner II”, leading to Biokleen finally being born in 1989 with the intent of creating “cleaners powerful enough for the commercial industry he knew”, to quote their company website. He’s certainly a unique individual – legend says mixed his first product using a metal drum and a wooden oar!
I was particularly looking forward to receiving this Citrus Essence Laundry Liquid as the box appeared to be made of cardboard. Yes, that’s right, a liquid in a cardboard bottle. When discussing the merits of liquids and powders in an earlier article, I often choose powders because the packaging is often plastic free. Biokleen appears to have manufactured a laundry liquid and packaged it in cardboard…
I couldn’t wait to see it.
At First Glance
I was very intrigued when I received this product. It looks very impressive but I had to uncover the truth of this packaging. Unfortunately, the liquid is in a plastic bag inside of this bottle. A bag is a lot better than thick plastic they usually use for liquids so kudos for innovation.
It seems when you finish using this product you can literally take the bottle apart and compost or recycle it, and put the plastic bag in with your other recycled bags.
And unlike the majority of manufacturers, the ingredients of the product are fully disclosed loud and proud on the side of the bottle. Certainly, from a packaging perspective, they have lived up to their Eco-Friendly standing.
And if that wasn’t enough – it is made in the US.
So what’s inside this cardboard bottle?
When you open the bottle all you see is a clear liquid with a very soft, fresh, fruity scent. It also requires you to use an astonishingly small amount even for larger loads and be used as a pretreatment (for most stains). After learning about the company’s background in heavy cleaners I really wanted to see how this would live up to the standards they seem to set. From the packaging to its listed ingredients it’s clear this detergent is very environmentally conscious.
But How Does it Wash?
Now it’s time to talk performance. I was very interested to try my normal laundry, but also a tee that had red wine spilled on it (not yet set) and a shirt with a bit of an ice cream disaster. I also did not use fabric softener so I could see if the scent held the wash and dry. As for when they came wet out of the wash, there really was no soapy residue at all. Mind you they do have you use a very small amount of the product so it rinses well. I delightfully smelled nothing but a faint fruit scent as I was switching the clothes from the washer to the dryer.
After the dry cycle, I removed my clothes to find the ice cream had obviously vanished, and the red wine had surprisingly almost completely faded. Even without any sort of pre-treatment besides the one, they recommend on the back of the bottle. I do think it might have made it completely fade from sight if I had used some sort of sister pretreatment product with it.
So it performs well. The packaging is wow. What is it made of?
The ingredients are all biodegradable and plant-based. While this is often a good thing, it’s the details that count. Pepper spray is plant-based, but I wouldn’t polish my furniture with that.
And to be honest, the ingredients while well-intentioned, are a mixed bag.
The ingredients are:
- Laureth 7 – a gentle plant-based surfactant. Gentle enough in isolation but may contain impurities such as 1,4-dioxane
- Cocamidopropyl Betaine – a plant-based surfactant that won contact allergen of the year in 2004
- Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – aka SLS – a sulfate – a harsh one often used in personal care products. There is a chance this ingredient is contaminated with something much more serious.
- Lauramine Oxide – a gentle plant-based surfactant)
- Sodium Chloride
- Sodium Carboxymethyl Inulin – a plant based chelant. A chelant essentially means you don’t have to use as much detergent as you would without it.
- Citrus Aurantium Dulcis – (orange) peel extract
- Citrus Aurantium Dulcis – (orange) oil
- Citrus Grandis – (grapefruit) seed extract
- C10-16 alcohols – plant based cleaners.
So Do You Recommend It?
So, in the end, I was very impressed with this product. Although it did not fully take out the red wine, it is red wine, and I believe it would have worked fine in unison with another product. My clothes were surprisingly bright and smelled fantastic, but this smell is in no way overwhelming. It’s also a scent that works well with pretty much all dryer sheet scents.
I absolutely love the premise behind this company and the man who began it. This detergent washes well and smells great. The ingredients are all plant-based and biodegradable. While it’s gentle on the environment, there are one or two questionable surfactants, and this particular edition isn’t fragrance-free.
If you’re not sensitive to fragrances, I highly recommend checking this product out for yourself. If not just to reduce your carbon footprint and waste, than for the pure fun and effectiveness of the product.
Just make sure to rinse your clothes properly!