Home-hacking review: Charlie's Laundry Soap


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While Charlie’s may have something more than it’s cleaning agent it is just sodium carbonate. Locally we have Arm & Hammer Super Washing Soda available in most grocery stores which uses the same cleaning agent, if you wanted to see how it cleans before you buy.

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MSDS for Sodium Metasilicate: http://www.sciencelab.com/msds.php?msdsId=9925035
tl;dr - very hazardous irritant of eyes, mouth and mucus membranes
Not saying this stuff is bad, but just because it has a “natural” label doesn’t make it any safer.

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DIY recipe: by volume: one part grated laundry bar soap (i.e.: Zote, Fels-Naptha), one part borax (i.e.: 20 Mule Team Borax), one part sodium carbonate (“washing soda”). One tablespoon per load. Grating the bar soap is a pain in the neck, though.

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Nontoxic to what? Certainly notmy plants irrigated by greywater. It’s a tub of sodium useless for greywater.

I’m sure if you rub the powder directly in your eyes, mouth, or snatch, you’d be a very unhappy camper. But when you wash your clothes with this powdered blend of ingredients that includes MSDS in a small amount, you’re left with clothes that don’t stink like fake flowers and are clean.


Yeah, it’s true! But I’m not willing to make my own laundry soap.

this is exactly what i do. i grate the bar with my food processor because i just wash it in the dishwasher anyway. this method costs me about 6 cents a load. works well as far as i can tell. i’ve taken to adding in oxy-clean too, because that shit is some kind of witchcraft in its own right.

Not to argue what’s better, but for a long time I used laundry detergent from Amway. Yes, them. I worked out a deal with my neighbor — I’ll buy the detergent as long as you don’t try to rope me into joining. It was really good detergent, and really cheap.

Eventually the neighbor moved. Now we use All Free + Clear, which is WAY more expensive, but it’s well-regarded for cleaning baby clothes (and cheaper than Ivory Snow).

What about Dreft…that stuff be made with pure ground unicorn horn at the prices they want…


I think that you should do a weekly show about the ups and downs in the Boing Boing community

Love triangles (“I love my Apple iPad, but also my Android tablet, what do I do?”

Evil twins “One Cory Doctorow goes to Disney World and loves to write about it, but ANOTHER Cory Doctorow attacks corporations and the surveillance state that the Disney corporation supports. Which twin will win?”

Unrequited love, “Maggie loves astronaut Chris Hadfield but he is off planet a lot and when he is on planet he is in Canada with a wife and three kids, she doesn’t want to be a home wrecker but Science!”

Sex! Is grumpy cat pregnant? Who’s the father? Which famous cat has been tom catting around?

Crime! Jack Hammer Jill is missing! Who took her? Did she violate a patent on animated gifs?

Tune in next week for As the Boing Turns
Sponsored by Charlies Laundry Soap. Now with DOP, Detrapping Odor Power!"


I wanna be one of them science super-smartasses. Where do I sign?

I use this stuff, substantially similar claims and practical bennies: http://smile.amazon.com/Laundry-Detergent-Liquid-32-oz/dp/B004NXWM2Y/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1391204444&sr=8-1&keywords=allen's+naturally

The Charlie’s looks to be cheaper per load from Amazon. I get my Allen’s locally though, in gallon jugs.

Some years ago when Japanese ceramic rings were touted to wash your clothing without soap, Consumer Reports tested them against leading laundry detergents. They found that people could not tell the difference between the ceramic rings and laundry detergent. They performed the tests again using plain water vs the rings and detergent. No differences. Note that the clothing was washed and dried. Likely the drying process took care of any odors and such.

Have tried myself and it seems to work, although just for ducks I now use tiny amounts of detergent.

plus, C12-15 Pareth-2 is made by blasting a fat with petrogarbage ethylene oxide to make an ether-alcohol plus a tiny bit of dioxane, a possible carcinogen, as a contaminant

What kind of monster washes ducks in a washing machine?


Rattlesnake venom is natural. AND it’s made out of protein! That’s got to be good for you. We should load up on it.

Meanwhile, nasty industrial petrogarbage BHA, a chemical preservative, has been linked with decreased risk of stomach cancer. We wouldn’t want that. Not natural.

The point is that it ain’t that simple. I won’t gainsay treatment-induced changes in your personal sensitivities, and you’re certainly entitled to adjust to them, but lets please not link that to pseudoscience. We already have one Jenny McCarthy, and that’s a gracious plenty.

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How good is it at dissolving? I have to avoid any dyes and scents because I break out in rashes, so I normally go with Seventh Generation or Dreft, but I’ve had poor results with powdered detergents when I’ve tried them.

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MSDS, even in small amounts, can be pretty hazardous if it comes into contact with dihydrogen monoxide.

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One of my kids told her chemistry teacher that I had lye in the house. He gave her a very strong stare and started asking her about it. When she explained it’s for making German pretzels he calmed down noticeably. She thinks he was wondering if I was making meth in my basement.

The usual use for it, of course, is to make your own soap. To handle it, you have to wear goggles and gloves and protect most surfaces, but when you’re done you can rub it all over your body. (Well, no actually…my skin is too sensitive for those kinds of soaps. But in theory…)

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