New user of STTP has questions!
I really love this forum!
I have read every thread that comes up on a search of "STTP". Some I have read several times : )
First a disclaimer: I have read some passionate and eloquent posts on the environmental reasons to avoid STTP. I took those perspectives into consideration and have still made the decision to use it, so there's no need to educate me on why I shouldn't.
Anyway, I was trying to decide between ordering STTP or the new softener that Charlie's Soap sells, but I could not find out what's actually in the Charlie's so I went with the cheapest option and ordered a bucket of STTP from The Chemistry Store.
The hardness of our water is 300 parts per million (ppm) or 17.5 grains per gallon, categorized as "very hard."
I live in an apartment, so installing a whole-house system is not an option.
I am using a cheap top-loader - not my choice, but they do not allow us to install our own.
I used to cloth diaper so I use Charlie's Soap powder. I have never had any problems with it, but I am a very compulsive person and often did a cold prewash of every load when I had a HE FL, so maybe that's why our clothes were always spotless. I used to use Calgon liquid, but it's just too expensive.
Anyway, I do not understand why the amount of STTP used is governed by the amount of detergent and not the hardness of the water. I usually use 1 TBSP of Charlie's in this top loader, but since I've been having trouble with rinsing (the water is still cloudy and there are still suds) I often cut back to 1.5 Tsp. I cannot imagine that 1/2 those amounts of STTP would be enough, but maybe it's because I don't understand what it's actually doing.
If it's binding to the calcium and magnesium in the water, and since our water is very hard and my top loader is using a lot of water, how much STTP should I start with? Is there any danger to the people wearing the clothes if I use too much initially?
Also, I found one extension service article online that recommended softening rinse water as well. This makes sense to me. I don't want the minerals getting into my textiles during the rinse anymore than I want them getting into them during the wash. Is there any harm or danger to softening the rinse water? And how much would I use then?
Oh, in case it matters, I had cancer in 2004 and I have allergies, so I'm a bit of a purist. I don't use any fabric softeners or dryer sheets. On really dirty or white loads I use a scoop of oxygen bleach, but it's unscented and has no additives. When I can be bothered I sometimes pre-treat stains with sprays that are scented, but that's all that goes into my laundry.
Thank you in advance for any advice you can offer. I know that I will have to experiment and figure out what works. I guess I just don't feel confident about how to judge what's working and what's not. I always feel like our clothes are clean and soft as long as they're not line dried so . . . please offer your opinions!