This little gem was a bit of a fluke. C and I were stopping by a local discount store (one of the ones that has all the stuff that didn’t sell at the department stores) looking for some bins to tackle our closet. We did not find these. However, we did stumble across some of Nellie’s Laundry Soda.

I had randomly seen some reviews of this product online and was curious. But, like most all-natural options, it’s more expensive than its chemical-laden counterparts. And, most reviews seemed to talk about using it on cloth diapers, not on normal laundry. (Supposedly it’s superb for cloth diapers, by the way.) So needless to say though reviews lauded it’s simple ingredients, cleaning power and scent-less result; I wasn’t too persuaded to buy it. In fact, I had little motivation to change our laundry detergent yet.

And then, the ultimate find: four perfect little canisters (albiet old packaging and dented compared to the above picture – hence their discount home…). They were HALF PRICED. Meaning we got a 120 load canister for $9.99 (that works out to $0.08 cents per load)! That was MUCH less expensive (nearly $0.06 per load cheaper) than our recent bulk purchase of a mainstream “cheap” laundry.  So I figured it was time to be eco-friendly AND frugal!

The Test: Does it actually Work?

I was really hoping that this would work. (I LOVE the packaging…so I was hoping I would get to look at this a lot in the future!) I immediately gathered a load of laundry when we got home to test this stuff out. I was a tad bit worried about using a powdered detergent again, we had switched to liquid because we were having trouble getting all the powder to dissolve in a front-loading washer with cold water. So I put in the tablespoon it required (yes – that’s really it!) closed the door, turned on the machine, and crossed my fingers.

I semi-impatiently waited for the end of the cycle. People had talked about clothes smelling like clothes and not “fresh mountain air” (have you ever thought what that actually was?) and being softer than normal detergent (presumably because it rinses clean, unlike traditional detergent), so I was hopeful for some laundry magic.  I heard the machine beep and pulled out the clothes and took a big whiff.

AND – it’s exactly what people said. No scent, but I noticed an almost naturally sweet smell. It’s not from the detergent but somehow the smell of the actual material (at least that’s my best guess). I pulled article after article out and all seemed unusually clean. As far as the claim that the clothes are softer, it seemed true for some clothes and not others – I think it has something to do with the fiber content.

So after my first run, I was almost completely in love. But I was still hesitant. It couldn’t really be that good, right?

So I made sure my next load was a dark one. If there were any undissolved soap bits, a cold wash dark load would be the one it would show up in. So I ran the test again. And again, I loved the results. There were no undissolved bits of soap, no artificial scent (and I haven’t missed it yet!) and several items seemed more soft coming out of the washer.

Well, to make sure it was really as I thought, I used it several times over the next week in hot, cold, light, dark, whites, towels, etc. And every result was awesome. If you could ever be in love with a detergent, I’m in love with this one. Until the novelty rubs off, I am in love with doing laundry!

So C and I went back and bought the remaining three canisters of detergent.

(To be completely fair, so far we haven’t had any really soiled laundry that needed a lot of stain fighting power, so I can’t attest to its power there.)

I just gave my mom a sample, to see how she likes it, and HOPEFULLY she’ll like it as much as me. Nellie’s sells their detergent in bulk – which even with shipping from Canada, is cheaper than main-stream detergents – so I’m hopping to split a bucket with my parents! (Even splitting the bucket in half gives us both about 500 loads of laundry)

I highly recommend this detergent.

The only downside is, now I still have about 1/3 of a jug of my “nasty” liquid detergent, that I really just don’t want to finish up!

Extra Tidbits

I discovered while researching and reading reviews that powdered detergents are better for front loading washers. C and I were having a hard time with our gusset molding (which is an extremely common problem). We would leave the door wide open and have to hand dry and wipe it out to prevent mold/mildew. It was frustrating to say the least. I read that when people switched to powder they had a significantly lower instance of mold. Apparently, part of the problem is one of additives in liquid detergent which coats the gusset, attracting growth. We haven’t used the detergent long enough to see a difference. Here’s hoping!

Also, all the products are made in Canada or the US – so closer to home, which means fewer fossil fuels for transport!

Nellie’s also sells an Oxy Brightener (also completely natural!). We found it also when we found the Laundry Soda. I’ve only tested it on a couple of loads, and it seems to work. So far I’ve just mixed it with the laundry soda because it didn’t seem to dispense from the bleach compartment. I haven’t used it enough to really see a difference, and again there wasn’t anything truly soiled. I used it on a white load to see if it would brighten it up. It seemed to but I had also just washed all of my comparisons, so it was hard to tell.

After discovering some dirty truths about our beloved dryer sheets (all the chemicals, don’t decompose, and makes your towels less absorbent), my next trial I would like to do is Nellie’s laundry balls. They’re similar to the blue laundry balls on the market, but seem to have higher reviews. (C had some of the blue laundry balls from before, and one split completely in half). The Nellie’s laundry balls have a 2-year warranty (so if they break, no biggie!), are PVC free (good thing since you heat them up!), and if you so desire, you can add all-natural scent sticks in the center if you miss having scented clothing. They also boast cutting drying time in half (though I’m a little skeptical). The one downside to these is the cost, but I’m hoping that they do last and save on energy and dryer sheet costs. If we get our hands on some, only time will tell!


Coming soon…Road Test: Martha Stewart “Clean” Bathroom Cleaner.