what time is it? LAUNDRY TIME! (again. still. hooray!)

Just like I promised, I'm back with more laundry talk.  WOOOOOOHOOOOOOOOOOO!  Let's talk products today, okay?

I will preface this by saying that I like to pretend I'm a purist, but when push comes to shove, I'm a realist.  I would love to stick dogmatically to principles about parabens and pthalates and fragrances and carcinogens... but, to put it bluntly, I also have a side gig called a real life.  I'm super open-minded to trying all kinds of natural methods of doing stuff (I can give you a rundown on all my failed efforts sometime), but I'm going to shoot you straight: if it doesn't live up to my standards for actually doing its job well, I don't use it.  And sometimes natural products just don't work very well.

Case in point: Stain Remover.

I use good ol' Shout.  I've been using it since college, and it works.  I deal with a lot of stains - breastmilk and formula vomit, blood, grease, chocolate, grass, paint, poop, popsicles, infection-related snot, pit sweat.  I have to be ever-vigilant in my war against stains, and I refuse to man my laundry cavalry with the simply well-intentioned.  No.  I will pay mercenaries to fight my stain battles.  And Shout is a mercenary.  Sure, it's probably loaded with all kinds of hormone disruptors and carcinogens and bad chi.  But it's not like I'm letting my kids eat it or anything, and it gets the job done like a boss, so I'm at peace with my life choices.

I keep a bottle under the sink in our bathroom, where most of us get undressed at the end of the day, so we can just deal with pre-treating any issues before they make it into the 'big' laundry.  I also keep a bottle on the shelf above the washer, because I often find guerrilla stains lurking around when I go to put stuff in.  Stains don't fight fair, so you have to be prepared at all times.

(I buy Shout at Walmart.)  (And, only because it's too funny not to mention, I accidentally just typed, "I buy Shitout at Walmart."  I think it's still an apt name.  Perhaps even more so.)


For detergent, I am an ever-faithful Biokleen groupie.  I am getting ready to bust open my fourth five-gallon bucket of this stuff.  Do the math on that.  In the last few years, I have gone through fifteen gallons of this detergent, one tablespoon at a time.  I clearly speak from experience when I say this stuff is worth buying by the drum.  (Or, by the normal-sized bottle, if you, unlike me, are a normal person, with a normal-person-sized family and a normal-person amount of poop in your weekly laundry.)  It doesn't build up in the towels, eventually making them smelly and nonabsorbent.  It gets underwear clean.  It's safe for the environment and nontoxic to pets and kids.  It doesn't cost gold shekels.  It doesn't smell like anything.  So laundry just comes out smelling like warm fabric.  Which I prefer for reasons such as parabens and pseudoestrogens and other science facts.

(I buy Biokleen detergent through Azure Standard, but it's available through Amazon and many bulk sites as well.)

Most loads only involve these two products.  I'm serious.  No fabric softener, no laundry sheets, no boosters, no whiteners, no bleach.  A few sprays of Shout and a tablespoon of detergent, and I'm good to go.


The funky load.  You know the one I'm talking about.  The one that smells like wet hair and zombie breath.  The one that, for no apparent reason (other than the fact that you left it sitting wet in the washer for 36 hours), has begun to ferment.  YOU KNOW the one I'm talking about.  So you also know that sometimes it's necessary to bust out the big guns.

First, those perennial laundry besties: Washing Soda + Borax.  4ever.
I don't know why these work.  I don't know what's in them or where they come from or whether they have other uses.  I don't know if they're married or 'just friends' or simply Burt-and-Ernie-ing.  I just know they work, and they work best together.  And they're integral ingredients in most "DIY SO-NATURAL-YOU-COULD-EAT-IT-BUT-DON'T!" homemade laundry detergent recipes.  So apparently they're natural.  According to Pinterest.  Good enough for me.

I just dump half a cup of each one into the load alongside the detergent, and whammo blammo, Funk-B-Gon.  (These also help when your towels start smelling weird and need to be stripped of buildup.)

(They carry both of these at Walmart, and they're each under five bucks.)

And my silver bullet: Biokleen Bac-Out.  I think this is made from the sweat of worker bees?  Something like that.  In the loads that are just above-and-beyond nasty (think, left-in-the-washer-for-three-days-IN-AUGUST, or mildewy-washcloth-that-got-misplaced-behind-the-hamper, or worst of all, cloth-diapers-that-got-left-in-the-pail-too-long) I add a big squeeze of this stuff to the load in addition to the washing soda and borax, and everything comes out smelling like daisies.  Or, really, it comes out smelling like clean, neutral, warm fabric.  Just like I like it.

(I also get this through Azure Standard, but Amazon and Vitacost both carry it as well.)

And those are my favorite laundry products.  Does anyone have anything else they love?


todd said...

Are biokleen and Folex friends? If not, they should hang out. They seem like besties to be.

Danielle Tiarks said...

I was just re-evaluating my laundry detergent/soap situation and realized I'm probably doing the wrong thing (whoops). I've been (needing to) look at laundry detergent to use! Do you use a scented kind? Free and clear?

paige said...

I think the kind I use is *technically* citrus-scented, but it's just because it contains grapefruit extract or something. It actually doesn't smell like anything and washes completely clean. The lavender eucalyptus scent looks intriguing to me, but they don't have it in the 5 gallon bucket.

Amanda Cushman said...

I'm so glad you posted this. I always enjoy your recommendations and I think I just fell in love with Azure Standard.

paige said...

Isn't Azure the best?! It definitely has its drawbacks - the most obvious being that you're limited to where they drop at (Cedar Falls didn't have a site), and that you have to be available whenever the time of the drop is, which can vary if the truck has broken down en route or something. But the price of so much of their stuff can't be beat - their produce alone saves me SO MUCH MONEY.

Anastasia said...

Do you have a high efficiency washer? I'm super scared to put anything in ours that doesn't have the HE logo, but we definitely have smelly towels with buildup and I have some Borax in my closet...

paige said...

Yes, mine is a high efficiency top loader and I've never had a problem! I think the issue with non-HE detergents is that they suds up too much; if it's not a product that 'bubbles,' it's usually pretty safe, from my understanding.