Nellie’s All Natural Laundry Soda is formulated to be a non-toxic, hypoallergenic and earth-friendly detergent for all household laundry.
Nellie’s asked us to try their 50-load bag of laundry soda, and I put it to the test on everything from sweaty shirts and jeans to days worth of cloth diaper laundry. I was curious about two things right off the bat. When I opened my bag of Nellie’s there was no smell. It’s completely unscented. Then I read on the back of the bag: “You wash your clothes to get the smell out.” Makes sense! And it struck me that this would make it that much easier to tell if my laundry was really fresh and clean, and not just covered up by pleasant fragrances.
The scoop also seemed quite small, and I wondered if just 1 tablespoon of Nellie’s would do the job. But after visiting their website and blog, I learned that most consumers are conditioned to think that more detergent is better, when in reality most commercial formulations are loaded with unneeded fillers. Nellie’s is super-concentrated so 1 tablespoon really is the proper amount to use.
I tested Nellie’s with our high-efficiency top-loader and local water (which is on the softer side). For regular household laundry I use warm water and a cold rinse; for my cloth diapers I do a pre-rinse with warm water and then a heavy-duty wash on hot, with one extra rinse at the end.
What were the results? Here are all the things I let Nellie tackle:
Prepping Diapers: We recently bought some flat diapers from Lovely Eco Chic and they needed to be thoroughly prepped so all the natural oils would wash out. Nellie’s plus hot water did the job just fine.
Dirty Diapers: Nellie’s recommends that you strip whatever detergent you have been using from your diapers before trying their soda. I’ve used Tide for over a year now, and haven’t had any buildup or odor issues, but just to play it safe I did strip my diapers before trying Nellie’s. There was a good three day’s worth of cloth diapers from my three little ones. Nellie’s thoroughly cleaned everything from newborn poo to the big, stinky toddler messes. I have a few Kawaii Goodnight Heavy Wetter pockets for my toddlers and they get super saturated; even those were completely fresh and odor-free. Although all my diapers did get good and clean, I did notice that a fresh stain on the Kawaii diaper lining did not come out with the Nellie’s. When I contacted the company about this, they recommended their chlorine-free Oxygen Brightener for treating and eliminating stains. I have also noticed that the effectiveness of Nellie’s was greatest when I first started using it, but that has diminished somewhat over time. This has happened before when I’ve used natural or boutique cloth diaper detergents, but I don’t know the technical reason for it.
Clothes and Linens: The results were just the same with our regular household laundry. Everything came out clean and fresh, and I never noticed any bubbles or suds (residue) in the rinse water. As with the cloth diapers, Nellie’s didn’t eliminate any tough stains, but I’m so impressed with how the detergent works (and the great price!!) that I’m seriously thinking about adding the Oxygen Brightener to my routine.
You might be wondering what exactly is in Nellie’s All Natural Soda. Here are the ingredients and how they work:
- Coconut Oil Based Surfactant: This is what cleans.
- Sodium Carbonate (Soda Ash): This softens the water so the detergent can clean more effectively.
- Sodium Metasilicate: This helps to keep the metal parts in your washer from corroding.
- Fatty Alcohol Ethoxylate: This is another natural cleaning agent.
- Sodium Chloride: This helps to hold everything together.
After using Nellie’s and learning what it’s made of, I can see why it’s especially good for cloth diapers. It dissolves completely in the wash water and rinses out thoroughly, leaving nothing behind but fresh, residue-free diapers.
The value for the money is excellent, in comparison to other natural detergents. At $9.99 for a 50-load bag, that comes to about $0.20 per load. Very close to Tide Original, which costs me about $0.23 per load (even less when it’s on sale). However, if you can’t buy Nellie’s locally, shipping must be factored in (such would be the case with me). With postage costs, my load cost is more like $0.36, but that’s still reasonable.
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