Cloth Nappy Washing: Detergent Review: Earth Choice Bio Plus Liquid
Over the years I've tried and tested many plant based detergents on my children's nappies, including the whole Earth Choice line (blue liquid, cream bottle liquid, powder). I was hopeful that this recently-released product, with the addition of enzymes to break down stains and soiling, would have a little more oomph than its predecessors. The other Earth Choice products left my cloth nappies smelling like wet dog and/or poo regardless of dose, with little stain removal power, which is not at all what I'm seeking when it comes to having beautifully clean nappies.
Although I ended up having to do a few tweaks to my usual routine to get great results, I did achieve great results and am really happy to recommend this to customers and other cloth-nappy using parents.
Rather than the Quick 30 minute cycle I'd usually use for prewash if using a conventional mainstream detergent, I used a longer prewash cycle (1 hour) @ 40 deg. I used 1 cap of Earth Choice and a heavy dose of Vanish-type laundry soaker (a top loader dose- a good lid full, not the half lid suggested on the package) in the prewash. I used White King soaker initially and when that ran out I used Woolworths brand. I noticed a difference between the two- the first wash with the Woolworths brand left a few nappies that didn't smell perfect- and added more Woolworths brand to achieve the same results as the White King.
In main wash I used the suggested 1.5 caps which is 75mL and no soaker.
Although I think the fragrance of Earth Choice liquids is pretty awful, it does dissipate off the line and the dried nappies didn't smell much like the fragrance which was great. The nappies came out mostly stain free, a few re-treats of blueberry stains, but had no issue with smell which was excellent.
I had a little trouble with the thick consistency of the product and mixed it with a water in a jug before adding to the machine. It was hard to get it out of the cap otherwise. I found the suds level really acceptable, it didn't oversud which is a nice change for my machine which is prone to making ridiculous amounts of bubbles when I put the nappy load in.
After going through a 2L bottle I'd quite happily buy Earth Choice Bio Plus Liquid again if I was searching for a good plant-based liquid. I didn't try it on clothes as I used it exlusively on nappies, but suggest that if you're washing dirty kids stuff, add a dose of stain remover powder for a little extra oomph. Here's a recap of how I got it to work effectively:
Machine: 8.5kg Fisher Paykel Front Loader
Water: Brisbane (moderately hard)
Cycles I Used: Everyday Cycle @ 40 deg (1 hour) for prewash. Cottons Cycle + Heavy function @ 60 deg (2hr37min)for main wash.
Frequency of Wash: About every 3-4 days or whenever the basket is full, no daily prewash (laundry confessions!!)
Detergent Prewash: 50mL + heavy dose of Vanish/White King/Sard etc powder
Detergent Main Wash: 75mL