No Rinse Detergent Review & Giveaway

Disclaimer: I was not contacted or paid by either of these companies to review their products.

This post is a follow up to my Lazy Laundress Tips, which I ended by asking for your laundry tips. The talented Tanit Isis warned against putting Lycra in the dryer as that can degrade it. When putting delicates in the washing machine she also recommends putting them in a lingerie bag. To that I would add not over-stuffing the bag. Years ago I learned (& kept having to re-learn) that nothing gets washed when those bags are more than about half full. In the meantime, Heather of Feather’s Flights made up a nifty infographic on How To Care For Fabric.

During Frosting Fortnight I tested two no rinse detergents that are popular among knitters, Eucalan & Soak. Overall, I found Soak to be a little better at getting out dirt, but Eucalan to be cheaper & contain less objectionable chemicals. That being said, I was not scientific with my washing trials. I tried to used the same amounts of water & detergent, but mostly eye-balled things.

The directions for both are simple & greatly appeal to my lazy-hates-to-do-laundry side. Fill up a bowl with tepid water, pour in a touch of detergent (1tsp/gal water), soak your delicates for 15 minutes, squeeze out the excess water & let dry. No rinsing or wringing.

Washing socks in no rinse detergent
Soak item for approximately 15min in tepid water.


My main trial was with my hand knit hedgehog socks. I washed each sock in a different solution & they both came out feeling & smelling good (for me that means scent free). The only thing was they had little skid rows of white on the areas that had been folded while drying. The Eucalan washed sock seemed to have a little more white than the Soak washed sock. The Soak washed sock also had fewer fuzzles left on it.

How to squeeze out excess water
How to remove excess water from garments after using a no rinse detergent.

When I washed the socks a second time (each sock washed with the same detergent as before) I hung them on a drying rack instead of laying them out on a towel. This greatly reduced drying time from a few days to overnight. And a smaller amount of white gunk was seen only on the sock that had been washed with Soak. Maybe the white stuff only accumulates when you put in too much detergent?Soak v Eucalan

I could feel no difference between the socks, the different detergents & what they felt like before I washed them. However, Soak seemed better at getting out the dirt that had accumulated beneath the toes. After they had soaked in their respective detergents for 15 minutes, I compared the bottoms of both toes (which had seemed equally dirty before washing) & the pair washed in Soak seemed a little cleaner. I then did something you’re not supposed to do with handknits: I rubbed & scratched at the toes to see how much more dirt I could get to come out. While both socks smelled equally clean, Soak was able to get out more embedded dirt.Soak v Eucalan results

I also washed the boyshorts I made as well as two regular, old bras. Of concern here was that things came out looking rather wrinkled. But, after doing the recommended rolling in a towel & stepping on it to get out the excess water, most of the wrinkles disappeared.

The aftermath of dirty water.
The aftermath of dirty water.

There was no real difference between the bras or panties & the two detergents. However, this did help me find a limitation in Soak’s cleaning ability. I don’t use lotion as I like to avoid synthetic chemicals & can’t stand scented things (I have a sensitive nose & skin). One day I was moisturizing with some oil when it spilled, right on the bra that had been newly washed with Eucalan. I took some dish detergent to it, but that didn’t get out the oil. Having done my sock trials & concluding that Soak might be stronger, I then soaked the bra in Soak & forgot about it overnight. The next morning, no real difference. It wasn’t until I took concentrated laundry detergent to it that it came clean. If you have an oil stain, I doubt either product will be strong enough to get it out.


Now for the not so fun part. Because of my many food allergies I’m a freak about reading labels. This extends to non-food items as well. But when I went to buy these products all that was on my mind was writing a good blog post. So when I found the bottle of Eucalan & it didn’t list its ingredients but it did list all these words that I love to see on products (non-toxic, biodegradable) I bought it anyway. By the time I hit the second store to pick up some Soak, I was more interested in getting home & assumed that the ingredients would be just as “safe”.

Now that I’ve looked into the ingredients, I’m concerned. See the table I’ve written up: Soak & Eucalan Ingredients. The list of ingredients & their potentially harmful effects on humans is an eye-opener, from carcinogens, formaldehyde, contact dermatitis to organic pollutants. These ingredients are in our cosmetics & some are even in our food. If you don’t want to read my table of nightmares, then Soak is the worst offender. Eucalan has far fewer ingredients & they tend to be not as bad for humans & the environment; they’re mainly minor skin irritants. It should be noted that most of my research was pulled off Wikipedia, so may not be perfectly accurate, but when possible I looked at original studies & got my information off of reputable websites like PubMed.

Clearly non-toxic doesn’t mean much if the chemicals are skin irritants & might be contaminated with carcinogens. If you’re not a label freak like I normally am chances are you already use these chemicals in most of your cosmetics, detergents & other cleaners. Maybe the table doesn’t scare you off because you already know you can use these things without your skin being irritated. After all, the amount of each product you use is really small- just one teaspoon per gallon of water, so that shouldn’t be as bad as lathering up with a ton of shampoo or body gel that has these chemicals.

I’d rather play it safe & avoid these chemicals altogether. Luckily though I’ve had no noticeable adverse reactions to the garments that I’ve washed with these products- & my skin tends to be more sensitive than most people’s. Although now that I’ve bought these bottles I don’t want them to go to waste. So I’m breaking my usually stringent rules on chemicals & am going to continue to use them. Well, I might not continue to use Soak now I know it has formaldehyde in it. I’ll continue to wash knits this way, but I won’t be washing lingerie like I had done during my trials (too many chemicals near sensitive bits!). Also, everything will also get a short rinse afterwards. I suppose rinsing defeats the purpose of a no rinse detergent, but it will still be less work than if I had to lather & agitate these things myself.

The Giveaway!

Win travel sized Soak & Eucalan, a button repair kit & lace hem tape in the color of your choosing.
Win a travel sized Soak & Eucalan, a button repair kit & hem tape or bias tape in the color of your choosing.

Also before researching I picked up a few samples of these detergents for a little giveaway, that is if you’re still interested in trying these products after reading the above table. I put together a mini care kit, which contains a little vintage button repair kit as well as a sample each of Eucalan & Soak so you can see which one you like best. The kit will come wrapped in your choice of lace hem tape or bias tape in the color you desire. The button kit may not be pretty but I was so tickled by its clever design that I had to get it. Little plastic units come with a needle, thread & a built in blade. The button is part of the unit & can be snapped off. What a nice idea, reaching for a button in case of an emergency. 🙂

This giveaway (my first!) is part of Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day. Go check out the site for more fabulous giveaways from other bloggers. The giveaway will be open until December 7th at 7pm CST & is open to international entries.

All you need to do is complete at least one of the following: tell me your stance on synthetic chemicals, subscribe to my blog (check out the top of the right hand side navigation bar), blog about this entry, tell me what topics you’d like to see me blog about more, tweet this giveaway, follow me on Twitter, or follow me on Pinterest. For each thing you do leave me a separate comment below & please make sure to leave me your e-mail address. Good luck!


57 thoughts on “No Rinse Detergent Review & Giveaway

  1. Finally, I actually really love your blog–the old school/quirky/nerdy references you find are amazing (and I’ve posted some on facebook). If you want to add more of your knitting/sewing on the blog, I’d avidly read that, too. However, I like your blog just the way it is. 🙂

  2. I don’t particularly care for synthetic chemicals, but I still use them from time to time. Thanks so much for such a generous giveaway!

  3. I think some just shouldn’t be used, like formaldehyde, in things we eat/wear/walk on. It’s so disturbing. I don’t think many companies will change it until we all know what’s in their products. If no one objects, things won’t change. (I know people do but it’s not a majority yet.)

    • I couldn’t agree more! And what really disturbed me about the formaldehyde in Soak is that it wasn’t listed as an ingredient. Another ingredient was listed, one who’s main purpose is to release formaldehyde. That seems too pointed of an omission! It’s just like in packaged food- they don’t have to list all the ingredients.

  4. I try to stay with natural cleaner when possible,… I like the handmade natural soap, the natural type dish detergent, etc. Thanks for sharing the information! I am new here on your blog and I’m a new email subscriber!

  5. I try to use natural cleaners, but it is not always possible. Thanks for the opportunity on a great draw. Merry Christmas to you.

    • Boy do I sympathize! Some of the worst for me is being stuck on a crowded train in the winter when everyone is wearing a down jacket & bathed in cologne & perfume. My sinuses are not happy!

  6. We try to avoid synthetic chemicals as much as possible.

    I think that little sewing kit will be perfect for our Operation Christmas Child boxes. My 8yo filled 41 this year.

  7. To be 100% honest, I had never given it a thought until your post here. I need to be more aware. Great info and giveaway.

  8. I appreciate the review, i am a new knitter and had seen both products recommended. I try to continue doing BETTER with synthetics and chemicals. My main cleaners and personal care products are good, but I still use some products that do heavy duty jobs when needed that aren’t great. I keep making progress in the right direction, so that is good. :o)

    • It can take time transitioning away from those products- they’re everywhere! For heavy duty cleaning with caked on muckety muck I use a combo of vinegar with baking soda. If things get really hairy I’ll add salt to the mix. You’d be amazed at how easily things come off with that.

  9. My son has psoriasis so we have to be careful about chemicals and detergent. Thanks for the giveaway!

  10. I try and use as few chemicals as possible because I have two young daughters that I would like to have as little exposure as possible.

  11. I’m trying to minimize our use of chemicals, which has been interesting because my husband is pretty skeptical that it actually makes any difference, so I’ll find his Irish Spring deodorant soap in the hand soap dish when my good stuff runs out, and other things like that, lol. But I have had so many fewer rashes and weird dry scaly patches since switching to dye free/scent free laundry detergent and dish soap and using more natural hand soap. Even little changes can make a big difference!

    • It does make a big difference! You can punch up PubMed on the computer & look up a few of the ingredients in his fabric products. A lot of them are mild skin irritants, so it’s no wonder your skin has been doing better without that stuff. I’d try castile soap or raw African black soap if you have sensitive skin. No questionable synthetic chemicals in those!

  12. I try to use less synthetic chemicals when I can, but as a poor college student, paying more for natural isn’t always an option. Thanks for the giveaway!

    • I completely understand how that is! You might not be near one, but the Green Fest is an annual convention/festival of sorts where a bunch of green vendors come together. Admission is around $5 although you can often get a coupon for free entry. This is sample heaven. I stock up on tons of castile soap & other products for free, so when I am broke & out of soap I have something to use that’s safe.

  13. I use synthetic chemicals, but feel guilty about it. I’ve not heard of the products you’re giving away. They’d be great for my niece with asthma that I crochet for. Thanks for the giveaway and idea!

    • You’re not the only one! I found it a bit scandalous that they don’t even list the ingredients on the bottle I bought. They do have them on the website with super brief descriptions about what they are, but they down play any potential allergic reactions people might have. Soak doesn’t even mention ingredients on their website!

  14. I have never seen that singer kit before, It looks like something I could totally use. I have no problem with synthetic chemicals. I try to use natural as often as I can but its not always possible.

    • Yes, it seems impossible to avoid synthetic chemicals these days. Even if we remove them entirely from our homes, there’s still soap in public washrooms. Luckily though not all synthetic chemicals are bad for us. And I’ve found the easy to use nature of these products to be mildly addictive!

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