Help! Using Charlies and my clothes are stiff

fishers2008March 9, 2008

Hi! I'm new to this site but so far I love it. I just started using Charlies Soap (trying to go green) however my clothes are a bit stiff. I'm using new LG front loaders and we do have a water softner. (our area has really hard water) I sent an email to the company and they responded but with info I couldn't decipher. Should I add vinegar to my wash and how do I do it. Will that help? What has helped others? The clothes are clean and smell it they just don't feel so nice. Any help is appreciated!!

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Have patience my dear. It takes awhile to get all the residue from your former detergent/softener completely out of your clothes and your washer. I had everything under control after starting using Charlie's late summer, and when I started to add fall/winter clothes to the laundry, I had to go through the "stiff" stage all over again.

All I use is Charlie's soap, and with the kitchen and bath towels I add white vinegar to the rinse. I hang clothes in the basement to dry (outside as soon as it gets a little warmer) and they are all soft - even towels. The exception is the knitted dishrags. I knit them with poor-quality cotton yarn and that's the reason they are stiff. High-quality cotton isn't stiff at all.

Hang in there, and don't switch back and forth between Charlie's and a regular detergent or you will end up having to take even longer. If you add Oxy Clean or an enzyme treatment, like Biz, I think those make the clothing a little more stiff, so I just give them an extra rinse on the rare occasions I use them.


    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 6:15PM
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Thanks grainlady! Why do you use the vinegar on only your towels? What exactly does the vinegar do? Another problem is that my clothes seem to have more wrinkles in them. I just noticed this when I started using my new LG front loaders. Is it the soap or washing machines causing the clothes to be wrinkly?


    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 7:06PM
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I don't know about grainlady, but I use the white vinegar with my towels since they tend to have soap on them somewhat to start with... the vinegar helps to wash out the sopa residue...

I also was very concerned when first switching to charlies over how stiff or rough things felt... give it untilt he end of the first bag... by then all the old products should be gone from your clothes and they should be very soft... in particular I have a very lovely 100% cotton sweater... that previously was alway rough/stiff when coming out of the laundry... now with the charlies it is just as soft as when I first got it....

The front load washer may make your clothes more wrinkled. I find you really have to shake out each piece of clothing between the washer and the dryer... this really does make a difference... it's not like with the tl where you reach in and grab an arm full and toss it into the dryer... I tend to pullit all out onto the floor and then lift each item up and shake it out and then toss into the dryer... thishelps if there is any tangling and also opens up those twisted pant legs and tops....

    Bookmark   March 9, 2008 at 8:46PM
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Thanks Plumbly22. How much vinegar do you use and do you add it to the Fabric softner compartment? I'm trying hard to stick with Charlies soap. I like the cleaning aspect of it - hopefully my clothes will get softer soon!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 7:49AM
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I think I'm the cynical one. I just don't believe all this "soap residue" talk. I just don't see it. I have used HE versions of Tide, Cheer, All, etc., and never had a residue issues. Clothes always rinsed clean (clear rinse water, no bubbles or slippery feel) and came out soft.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 11:54AM
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sshrivastava - I'm going to guess you have something other than extremely HARD water to contend with. I'm sitting on top of the Wellington formation of limestone and shale with water that contains "dissolved solids ranging from 1,114 to 2,044 parts per million, total hardness ranging from 640 to 1,302 parts per million, and chloride ranging from 79 to 677 parts per million."

It is a common fact that it requires more soap or detergent in hard water. Minerals in hard water combine with soap to form a scum and that soap scum can turn clothes gray. Our hard water also turns whites a rust color.

As a good test for "rinsed clean", hang clothes on a line to dry. Now THERE'S a fairly good test for soap residue... (or poor quality cotton - such as the type of cotton yarn I use to knit my kitchen dishrags). If your clothes are stiff, then you may have soap residue remaining in your clothes.

Vinegar does several things in the rinse and as a pretreatment or soak: (according to and other sources)

1. It's a way to prevent lint and pet hair from clinging to clothing.

2. It helps to remove soap residue that makes black clothes look dull.

3. The acid in white distilled vinegar is too mild to harm fabrics, yet strong enough to dissolve the alkalies in soaps and detergents. Besides removing soap, white distilled vinegar prevents yellowing, acts as a fabric softener and static cling reducer, and attacks mold and mildew.

  1. Bring out bright colors by adding 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar to the rinse cycle.

5. Fluff up wool or acrylic sweaters (hand- or machine-washed) and rid them of soap smell, with 1/2 cup white distilled vinegar in the last rinse water.

6. Vinegar helps to remove chemicals from new clothing/fabric. Occasionally these chemicals can be irritants.

7. Skin rashes sometimes occur due to allergic reactions to clothing detergents or with sensitive skin. Using vinegar in the rinse cycle helps to clear some skin rashes because it equalizes pH balance in the detergent.

8. A solution of 50% water and 50% white vinegar can work on stains, including underarm sweat stains.


    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 1:09PM
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Hi Fishers2008,

You've gotten some great advice here.

In terms of the wrinkling, I found a major difference between using the front loader and a top loader. I think there were a number of discussions of that in this forum. From what I understand, it could be the way that your clothes come out of the washer - the high spinning means that more water is removed (and thus less drying time required), but as Plumbly22 says, you really have to make sure that you shake out your clothes. You could also reduce your spinning speed, but that may result in more drying time.

Like grainlady, I usually use vinegar in the rinse, but it's no biggie if I leave it out.

One thing you may wish to check is how much Charlie's soap you use. I use less than the green tablespoon that comes with the soap, and my wash comes out at least as clean as with other detergents.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 1:35PM
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Grainlady is correct, you will have to wash your laundry a few more times to see the results of soft clothes. I have been using Charlies for a while now and my clothes are clean and very will love it, just give it a few more washes and you wil lbe very pleased!

It seems like you don't believe a lot of everything on here. Ree

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 7:23PM
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Thanks everyone for your advice. I'm going to stay with Charlies for now. I have a son with asthma and allergies so I feel better not using any chemicals.

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 8:22PM
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Hi again.. I have a son with asthma and allergies also. When we found this out a few years back, I went to all natural everything. I haven't used a chemical in my house in a long time. The air quality is so much cleaner, and so is everything I clean on a daily basis with out the use of house hold, store bought cleaners. I promise you, Charlies is a great laundry detergent. Really give it time. Once you remove all the chemical residue from all your clothing, you will see how clean and soft they are. Did you wash out your machine before you added clothes? How many times did you wash the same clothes with Charlies?

About a year ago, I bought the Laundry Pure by EcoQuest. (I did return it, long story) but when I first got the machine, they told me to run an empty cycle at least three times The first time I put it on, a dark blue liquid was running through it, I saw it through the units window.. I had no idea what it was. .so I called the rep and she put me on with tech support.. I told him what I was seeing and the first thing he asked was "do you use tide" I said yes! He said that is all the left over detergent coming out of my machine ..I couldnÂt believe my eyes.. long story short, it took me five times on an empty cycle to get it all out So it does build up not only in our clothes, but in the machines also.. There may be an over load of detergent build up in your machine, this can re-deposit it back into your clothes until itÂs all gone.

Hang in there.. you are on your way to chemical free, clean soft laundry!

    Bookmark   March 10, 2008 at 9:17PM
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I agree with grainlady, if you want to know how much soap is in your clothes, let them hang dry without using fabric softener. My daughter has a lot of hang-dry stuff and before I switched to all natural detergent her clothes would be very stiff. Now those same clothes are as soft as the stuff in the dryer. I can always tell when I've used too much soap with my towels because they will be very scratchy.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 7:35AM
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Ree - what other things to you use to clean? I'm just starting to switch everything over to "chemical free". I do use vinegar and water for my countertops but that's about all for now. I'm currently looking for something for my hardwood floors. I've been searing the cleaning forum lately.

Your story about the tide is crazy - that's all I used to use. I started using Charlies right when I got my new washer and dryer. They haven't been exposed to anything but Charlies which apparently is good. I've only washed my clothes in Charlies once so far. Looks like I just need to be patient!

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 9:11AM
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That is a great start..Charlies and a new machine.. At least you didnÂt have a detergent build up like I did.. totally gross! Just the one wash will not get all the Tide out, it will take a few repeat washings.. Then you will notice the difference and your clothes will be soft (promise) !

I have been using Shaklee Basic H2 as an all purpose cleaner. I really like the product a lot. It comes in a 16oz bottle and it is extremely concentrated. One bottle will last for months. I also bought the shaklee spray bottles. They are pretty and come labeled.. OneÂs labeled All purpose cleaner, Windows and mirrors, and a Degreaser. They tell you how much basic H2 to use to make each cleaner. It is a truly organic product and you will save money because that one bottle will last months. When not using my steam mop, I use the basic H2 on all my flooring (I have the hoover floor mate and do not use their cleaners they recommend, I just use a drop of shaklee instead. .floors are really clean) Along with Charlies, I also buy shaklee's Nature is the best! It's a laundry boost and a stain remover.. you can also use it on carpets, upholstery etc totally amazing what it can get out.. (took red ink out of my sons white dress school shirt.. I made a paste and really worked it in.. let it sit, then threw it in the wash with Charlies, and it was completely gone!) (naturally)

I also use a hand held steamer.. Love that to.. You just spray and wipe.. I love to use it in the bathrooms, it sanitizes everything with out the elbow grease, the steam is 220 degrees and kills everything! I follow up with the shaklee.. just spray and wipe for an everyday quick clean up. My next venture I want to try the Lotus Sanitizing System. I just learned about it on here. That looks very interesting too! (so I want to give that a try)

In all honesty, since I have not used chemicals, everything is truly clean.. no residue on anything. At one time I bought everything on the shelf to clean with, something new came out.. I bought it. I did learn nothing was really "clean" between the chemical residues on all surfaces and the chemicals in the air. My air quality is also so much cleaner.. I know it sounds hard to believe, but there is a huge difference. My son no longer coughs and his allergies are better . Instead of the house smelling like "pine-sol" it smells "fresh air clean" and feels it too! Hope this was helpful, sorry this got so long.

Here is a link that might be useful: Shaklee

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 12:16PM
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