If you think that you have to spend a fortune to get an eco-friendly, human-friendly laundry detergent, think again. Presto! Laundry Detergent powder is super affordable (16 cents a load!), and thanks to the fact that it’s an Amazon brand you don’t even have to leave the house to purchase it.
The Presto! Powder is an 88% bio-based formula (more on that in a bit), and is EPA safer-choice approved. It’s fragrance-free, dye-free, and washes well. All of this is good news for folks trying to find a detergent that is safe for the environment and safe for their families.
Tell me more about the laundry detergent.
The Presto! Laundry powder comes in a canister with an upbeat, colorful label. It looks more like a protein powder canister than laundry detergent and certainly feels like something that should be healthy.
The plastic canister is made from recycled material, which sounds great, but any environmental benefit has to be offset by the ridiculous amount of packaging used for shipping.
Perhaps more truly environmentally-friendly is the fact that the powder is “88% bio-based.” This means that most of the ingredients are derived from plants or minerals rather from petroleum products. Of course, it’s a bit of a bummer that 12% of the detergent IS petroleum-based, but if this is big concern for you, you might try the Presto! Liquid detergent of the Presto! Laundry pods which are closer to 100% bio-based.
The powder itself is white and reminiscent of homemade laundry detergent (if you’ve ever had experience making your own). Unlike many fragrance-free detergents, the Presto! Laundry powder does have a mild, not-entirely-pleasant scent. That said, any scent seems to wash out in the laundry, and wasn’t strong enough to bother me.
So how does it perform on dirty laundry?
Of course, the true test of laundry detergent is how well it cleans your clothes. In the case of the Presto! Laundry detergent powder, it passed with flying colors. The powder is highly concentrated and only requires one small scoop to get clothing clean. My little boy did have a few outfits that were heavily soiled, and I used an extra scoop on those.
I had read in some other reviews that the detergent worked exceptionally well on smelly exercise clothes, thanks to its ability to penetrate synthetic materials. Of course, I took the bait and threw in a load of funky gym clothes as well. I’m happy to say that the other reviewer was right: the smelly gym clothes were fresh when they came out of the wash.
While I no longer have a baby in diapers, it is worth mentioning that the Presto! Detergent is cloth-diaper safe. (Most commercial laundry detergents are not, and those that are, cost an arm and a leg).
Finally, it’s also important to note that the Presto! Laundry detergent can be used in both high-efficiency and traditional washing machines.
What are the ingredients? Is there anything in there of concern?
Sodium Bicarbonate – Baking soda. Acts as an abrasive, a cleaning agent, a ph adjuster and a deodorant.
Sodium Carbonate – A ph adjuster and cleaning agent. Also commonly referred to as “washing soda.”
Sodium Chloride – Salt.
Laureth-6 – A relatively gentle surfactant.
Sodium Citrate – Acts as a water softener.
Sodium Aluminosilicate – Acts as a water softener.
Sodium Percarbonate – A gentle oxidizing agent and stain remover found in products such as Vanish.
Sodium Carboxymethyl Inulin – A surfactant.
Cellulose Gum – A gentle emulsion binder and viscosity increasing ingredient.
Coconut Oil- A fragrance and conditioning ingredient.
Sodium Silicate – A cleaning enhancer.
Magnesium Sulfate – A gentle cleaning enhancer
Sodium Lauryl Sulfate – Also known as SLS. A foaming agent and surfactant.
Amylase – Cleaning enzymes.
Mannanase – Cleaning enzymes.
Protease- Cleaning enzymes.
The first couple items on the list — baking soda, washing soda, and salt — are common DIY household cleaning ingredients and are often used in homemade laundry detergent.
While most of the remaining ingredients are equally inoffensive, there are a couple of items that require consideration. The most serious of these is Sodium Lauryl Sulfate (SLS). It is fairly far down the list of ingredients–which most likely means that it is used in small quantities–but it is there nonetheless. SLS is known to cause skin allergies and irritation in some people, as well as a host of other potential health problems.
Sodium Carboxymethyl Inulin shows up higher on the list. This surfactant has limited data and research, but the Environmental Working Group (EWG) does list it as being a “moderate concern” in that it has “some potential for hazards to health or the environment.”
Finally, both Laureth-6 and Sodium Silicate have the potential to cause skin irritation in some people.
So do you recommend it?
If you suffer from skin irritation associated with dyes, fragrances, and other ingredients in most traditional laundry detergents, Presto! Laundry Detergent Powder should be on your short-list. Unlike many other more “natural” laundry detergents, Presto! Is also affordable and easy to acquire – it’s an Amazon product.
There are one or two less-than-ideal ingredients in the powder, but seeing as how the powder is safer than most in terms of both the environment and human health, this one is worth a try. It cleans well, and with very little powder required per load, a canister goes a long way.