I get questions all the time about my laundry. What’s best? What cleans best? You really don’t use fabric softener??? I get it. Most have been doing their laundry with the same detergents their parents used! Changing this seems daunting and confusing. When I was first diagnosed with allergic contact dermatitis in 2006, I swore off laundry and had my husband do it for about 6 months. We only had two children at the time so it was a lot easier to keep up with then for him. Folding laundry had always caused my hands to itch, but I really didn’t understand why. We switched to a sensitive-skin fabric softener and an allergy-friendly (or so we thought) liquid detergent. Fast forward to my big reaction of 2018 and subsequently I learned a lot more about my allergies and how to live a reaction-free life. These discoveries have been life-changing for me and for my family. It’s what inspired me to write this blog to help others on their path to living reaction-free.
We have 4 children, two in elementary school and two in high school. We have LOTS of laundry. With 4 kids in activities, school and some even working, laundry mounds up every day. When I looked at switching laundry detergents I was nervous about going with a powder, minimal ingredient version. I had heard some not-so-great things about those, like leaving white powdery marks on black clothes and just simply not cleaning the clothes. We had always used a liquid detergent and I had also recently bought a new Maytag super giant washer and dryer set with a handy liquid detergent dispenser. Why would I go with a powder form? Ugh. I began with a lot of frustration. But as is per usual for me, I did lots of research and reading and a ton of asking my friends what they’re using. They all said about they same thing… powder just doesn’t work. Ugh. I felt disappointed. I had read that ACD sufferers do best with a minimal ingredient powder as the liquids have lots of preservatives and stabilizers – stuff not great for me.
One brand began to really stand out for me though, a brand my friends had never heard of. Nellie’s Laundry Soda. Nellie’s is a small company out of Canada. Their ingredients are SIMPLE! and that meant a lot to me. Nellie’s Laundry Soda Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate, Linear Alcohol Ethoxylate, Sodium Chloride and Sodium Metasilicate. One tablespoon of this soda powder for a regular size load. Our loads aren’t regular-sized around here though, so I use two scoops per load. I’ve used Nellie’s for almost a full year now exclusively and can positively say, this is OUR laundry detergent! We are so happy with it. Our clothes are clean and they are SUPER SOFT! I have no reactions whatsoever and the best part is it truly CLEANS my family’s clothes… even my stinky teenage boys’ clothes. Sorry guys – you know how much I love you! We started with this smaller pack although you can see below that I buy it in bulk now!
Nellie’s Laundry Soda Ingredients: Sodium Carbonate, Linear Alcohol Ethoxylate, Sodium Chloride and Sodium Metasilicate
Nellie’s produces another product I can’t live without. It’s their Oxygen Brightener. The Oxygen Brightener is a laundry booster. I toss one scoop in with every load of our laundry and our clothes come out perfectly clean and stain-free every time. You can also use the oxygen brightener as a pre-soak or a hand wash additive or as a general stain remover pre-treat. I’ve also used it as a carpet spot remover using one tablespoon per 16oz water in a spray bottle. It’s really a powerhouse! The Oxygen Brightener has simple ingredients too: Sodium Carbonate, Sodium Percarbonate, Sodium Sulfate, Primary linear Alcohol Ethoxylate.
Nellie’s is the cutest little company. They ship their detergents in these adorable tins. Their mission for that is simple: iron and steel are the world’s most recycled materials and the easiest to reprocess so they use these cute little metal tins to ship in. After using Nellie’s for nearly a year now and realizing the truly amazing product it is, I went all in and bought their 500 load bucket! You can find it here if you also have a large family – or just decide you love Nellie’s as much as we do! Nellie’s Laundry Soda 500-Load Bucket
When I got started using Nellie’s, I bought their bundle of both of these products. You might consider that as well. Nellie’s Laundry Soda and Oxygen Brightener Combo Pack
These three little balls I hold in my hand are the path to NO FABRIC SOFTENER. I’m convinced fabric softener is the actual devil (and a marketing gimmick!). I’m serious! Just walk into any children’s consignment store and you’ll know what I mean. OMG! THE STENCH! I love to buy my kids things on occasion from our children’s consignment store, but lately I just can’t. It’s nearly impossible to get the stench of fabric softener out of clothes, wash after wash – still a smell. I know what you’re thinking… “Dannyelle – I love my fabric softener and it smells so delicate, I could never give it up”. NO! NO, I’m sorry it doesn’t. It smells delicate to you because you’ve been smelling it for years and you can’t really smell it anymore. Go smell another brand and if you think it smells “too strong for you!” then you might understand what I’m saying. I’m convinced Fabric Softener is a gimmick used by large commercial companies to convince you that your clothes NEED fabric softener. You really don’t. These Wool Dryer Balls I’m holding are all you need for soft, cozy, cling-free laundry! I promise. HONESTLY!! I know most of you don’t believe me. I bought my mom these wool dryer balls 2 years ago and she’s just recently taken the plunge to use them and is like – OMG! You don’t really need fabric softener. You’re kidding me? I had no idea. LOL! If I can convince you to give it a go, that’s one more family not stinking up the consignment store or the subway or the small elevator I’m sharing with you and my mission in this world is done. I’m serious! My personal health will be better if you can just trust me and only use dryer balls in your dryer. It’s really that simple. Just toss in 3 wool dryer balls at a minimum – I use 6-7 usually – into your dryer with your clothes and they’ll tumble their way to softness. One more thing… please don’t use essential oils on your dryer balls. It makes your whole process of being fragrance-free and chemical free for not. Essential Oils are fragrance and are an absolute no-no for someone with allergic contact dermatitis.
Wool Dryer Balls
Let me know if you’ve tried Nellie’s and how much you love it (I’m convinced you will! LOL!). Also, have you tried Wool Dryer Balls yet? Is your experience with them as great as mine? I should mention that getting fabric softener out of your clothes after years of use does take some time. My clothes felt a little stiff for a few weeks but now that we’ve been softener free for so long, our clothes are perfect. I’m also pretty convinced stains don’t have as much to hold onto without softener so I think stain removal is easier. Curious what your experience is!