2x Detergent cause Sticky Towels

youngndomesticatedAugust 7, 2008

Hi all,

About a month ago I started using Tide Ultra 2x Detergent with my 10 yr old Whirlpool TL washer. I started noticing that my clothes would come out of the washer a little sticky. I quickly realized that I was using too much detergent and reduced the amount to about 1/3. My clothes soon became normal (more or less), but this actually marks the beginning of my true problems.

After washing some towels with Tide and drying them, and I noticed that whenever I used my towels to dry my hands (or body for that matter), my hands would feel sticky for a couple of minutes, and then oily. To me, it was obvious that some sort of residue was on the towels. I rewashed the towels without using any detergent and noticed some soap suds still forming, meaning the initial wash/rinse did not get rid of the soap. By the second rinse cycle, no suds were forming at all. However, after using the towels to dry my hands this time, I had the same effect as before. After reading the Tide forum and seeing all the post of people getting rashes from using Tide, I figured that this sticky thing was some Tide specific residue and I should just ditch using Tide Ultra 2x.

I saw some people having success with All, so I went out and bought a bottle of All Ultra 3x. First thing I did was test it out on the towels to see if the sticky stuff went away. Nope, still there. I figured that maybe it took a couple of washes before the stuff would get out. Meanwhile, I also determined that TBS was the amount to minimize sudsing and allow for a good rinse. However, today my mom washed a towel (using ½ TBS of All) that has never been washed with Tide. I used the towel today to dry my hands and I noticed that sticky sensation. Actually, I noticed the sticky sensation before I learned that she had washed it.

Has anyone had this feeling of stickiness in their towels before using this 2x/3x stuff? ItÂs manageable if itÂs sticky on the hands, but when I have to use it on my body after I shower, it feels rather nasty. IÂve never had any issues in the past using the regular Tide 1x or any other 1x detergent for that matter with this washer/dryer. I did think ahead and purchased a box of CharlieÂs soap. My hope is that it will remove any of the residues on these towels and my clothes and make them feel the way cotton was intended to feel. Why did doing laundry suddenly get so complicated?

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You left out some very important information in your post.

Before you cut the amount of detergent you were using, how much were you using? Did you fill the cap completely full?

What is your water hardness? hard, medium, soft? How often
do you use your towels before throwing them into the wash?

Are you using Fabric softner? and if so, what type, liquid
or dryer sheets? and how much?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 9:43AM
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You can't blame the soap when you put too much of it in there. I'm not sure about the "sticky" stuff you're talking about but first thing is you need to clean out that machine. By constant overdosing you likely have a buildup in there. Run some HOT, and I mean 150°+ empty loads or with old rags in there, and a couple of bleach loads with some (at least tap hot) water. Wouldn't hurt to run a vinegar load or two also. Then start rewashing without soap to clean them out and then start using the correct amount in the future.

Many of my family members, including myself, used to be very sensitive to Tide, but we've all tried it lately and no problems, even with the perfumed/dyed version. I use the Sensitive/free type but much less than recommended. This idea that more detergent will get clothes cleaner is a myth that causes so many problems.

BTW, since you get this stickiness on items that never used Tide, you can't blame Tide for it! I think you may also have an issue of poor rinsing. Try an extra rinse cycle and check the items to see if there's residue in there. If you're not spinning the water out enough that will cause trouble too. And if you have something in the water, or are putting something onto the towels before (lotions, oils, grease, cleaners, soaps, etc) that can cause trouble too. Perhaps it's the towels themselves?

I'm not trying to defend Tide. I just want to give anything a fair shake. Don't just blame the nearest thing. That won't solve your problem.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 1:14PM
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Sorry for leaving out some information. I wrote this relatively late.

The amount I started with on the Tide is the 2nd line from the bottom, which is a large load according to the box. I eventually moved to a level below even the first line from the bottom, which I guestimated was about a 1/3 of the 2nd line amount. First line is for medium sized loads

For the All detergent, we've been using 1.5 tablespoons worth, which is 3/4ths of the "medium" load amount indicated on the box.

I've never tested the hardness of the water, but I highly doubt it is an extreme of either too soft or too hard. I've heard that the water in my town is slightly hard, but I don't know the values. But, assuming our water is super soft, then a simple fix would be to use less detergent (which we pretty much have done).

I don't use any fabric softners, and just started using vinegar on the rinse load. I use dryer balls when drying.

I am narrowing it down to Tide Ultra 2x (and 2x stuff in general) because, honestly, there isn't a whole lot of factors involved. This problem only started when I picked up a Tide Ultra 2x and didn't have any of this before when I used regular 1x Tide. If I used too much detergent, I would expect that a couple of wash cycles with less or no detergent would remove the excess detergent. I've done loads with very little detergent and monitored the sudsing level at both the wash and the rinse (success if rinse has no signs of soaping).

Towels are usually used for a week and washed. I don't know, but we haven't changed our habits, so assuming we're using the proper amount of soap, our towels should come out the same.

I guess I'm going at this with this mentality... if I use too much detergent, I should be able to rinse it out. If after rinsing everything thoroughly, and there is still some residue on the towels, then the detergent is leaving something that won't rinse off.

Oh, and neither the washer nor the detergent are HE. :)

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 3:11PM
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Ok, so here we go!!!

YOU HAVE DETERGENT BUILD UP!! Just a couple of rinses will not solve the problem. Cynic as brought up some very valid points. It's gonna take a couple of washings to get all that build up out. The dosing instructions on the box are not really off by that much. Line 1 for medium loads, or a full machine. If you read on it says " Number of loads is based on measurement to line 1" I am willing to bet that most of your full loads can be washed with this measurement. The exception here would be if you have very heavily soiled clothes (i.e. if someone works in a lot of dirt, or has a very sweaty job). Once you get all this detergent out of your towels, you can probably go with filling the cap to just under line 1 (like to the bottom of the Number 1 one the cap). and maybe even less for lightly soiled loads. I have been using Gain HE 2x for sometime now and do this for most wash loads, Less for towels. Towels not only hold a lot of water when washed, but also a lot of detergent.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 3:30PM
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Would something a detergent Charlie's Soap cause detergent buildup, considering that it's practically all natural and lacks any of the additives that is designed to stick to your clothing? Or is detergent buildup a property of detergents that will always happen if it is overused?

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 6:51PM
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Yes, get some charlies soap, or here is a less expensive solustion, go to your super market, go down the laundry isle, and get a bar of Nep-fels(spelling) soap, grate it and use only 1/4 cup for your towels. It will strip away what you have built up and return everything to normal. It may take a couple of washings, but it will work.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 9:10PM
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When washing towels they need very little soap. Liquid is tough to control but if used just put a splash in the cup. Powders 2 to 3 tablespoons depending on soil level. You will be very pleased on the results.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 9:14PM
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I'm assuming 2 to 3 tablespoons isn't referring to Charlie's Soap. ;)


Thanks for pointing me to the Fels Napa soap. I've not heard of it up until now and there definitely seems to be some good uses for it in the future. For now, I have a bag of that Charlie's Soap and I'm ready to experiment.

    Bookmark   August 7, 2008 at 11:44PM
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The buildup they talk about is the chemicals designed by the manufacturer to stick to clothes: perfumes, brighteners and fabric softeners. The buildup can be up to 2% the weight of the cotton fabric (depending on the fabric and detergent used).

    Bookmark   August 14, 2008 at 4:31PM
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Before you get sucked into all this Charlies Soap hype, and they'll try to scare you into thinking that your old detergent is causing fibers to irritate your skin (if you have irritation AFTER you've tried Charlies soap, they blame it on your former detergent) because it's on the outside vs. the inside of the fabric, blah, blah, blah....all these claims that make no sense, my best advice is - think again.

I've tried Charlies Soap. I paid for the soap and shipping for "80 loads worth" and then when my clothes didn't come out clean I was told to use two scoops instead of one. My laundry isn't dirty to the point where I should have to double the dosage on an average load of laundry.

They'll first try to scare you into NOT going back to your other detergent (because it's your old detergent that's causing problems, not the new stuff of course), and then they tell you to try two scoops instead of the so called "one scoop per load", and then they'll tell you to "keep washing your clothes in Charlies Soap because it takes some time to get the "old" residue off from your old detergent."

Hmmmm...so lets see, 80 loads just turned into 40 loads of laundry. Not very economical if you ask me.

And, my husband complained that our clothes weren't as soft as they were when we used fabric softener and liquid soap, and I agree. How on earth people say that their clothes are soooooo soft with C.S. is beyond me. C.S. will say, you have to keep washing them...well I did. I went through two bags, so called 160 loads which was really only 80 loads, and still weren't very soft. C.S. will come back and tell you to wash your clothes "again" to resolve a problem with "old residue" on your clothing - basically what they're doing is just encouraging you to use more of their product which the bottom line is greater profits. Kudos to them for all the suckers out there who fall for these silly, ridiculous claims.

There are Pro-Charlies Soap people on this forum, and if you notice they tend to be the same people who are rooting for the product, but I don't believe half the claims they make, because simply put, the claims aren't logical, and the fact is they can claim what they want to claim. It's no different than cosmetic manufacturers claiming their products can make you look younger.

Bottom line, I am very careful to not put more than the recommended amount of any "ultra" soap. Unfortunately, while the bottles have gotten smaller and the manufacturers claim that they are trying to save landfills by "concentrating" their products, have you noticed that the cap hasn't gotten any smaller? Follow the recommended dosage. Unfortunately, with Charlies recommended dosage ("one scoop per load" on the package, but when all else fails use two scoops and wash twice, maybe three times, etc., etc., etc.) the product is under par, you have to double up. Whose clothing wouldn't come clean after washing it over and over and over?

Personally, I don't think Charlies Soap should use this forum to promote thier product with scare tactics regarding other products on the market. I think it's all a sham.

Getting back to the subject at hand, Liquid Tide is probably one of the worst on the market with whiteners, brighteners, etc. and I would not recommend it to anyone.

I've switched to Seventh Generation Free & Clear (I can find it at my local grocery store), and I've used All Small & Mighty Free & Clear...I prefer Seventh Generation, but both are fine. And yes, my clothes come out clean with the recommended dosage and don't feel slimy or like they have a residue on them, AND they don't have that dry feeling they had when we used Charlies Soap.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 6:22AM
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Well, Kimcoco, you are certainly entitled to your opinion.

I am a CS user and have had much success with it getting rid of detergent build up. I would be the first person to blast the stuff it if didn't work for me.

It's been said over and over again here that there are so many factors that contribute to laundry results (water chemistry, machine features, operator habits, detergent, additives, etc.) that NO SINGLE product will work for everyone. That's why this forum is so helpful. I tried CS after I heard it worked well for others. I'm happy with it.

I think Tide and related products are disgusting and specifically designed to add chemical deposits to clothing. I do not rip on those who chose to use it, however. If it works for them, more power to 'em. I had terrible luck with the other products you recommended. But again, if they worked for you, then it's valuable information for others, as well.

I don't appreciate being called a "sucker" and no one else does either. Products that don't deliver fairly consistently rarely have, or keep, a following. Please keep that in mind.

    Bookmark   August 15, 2008 at 11:45AM
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I'm a new Charlie's Soap user and I have no ties to CS or its employees. Having said that, my experience has been a good one. The one thing I like about the Charlie's is there is no perfume smell to the clothes. Everything just smells clean. I do find I have to add powdered oxi to really stinky (I have pets) items and wash them in hot water. I rinse everything in vinegar and I believe it's the vinegar that gives the clothes their softness, not so much the Charlie's, but I can't speak for others.

We cannot compare our experiences because we are all using different machines, washing laundry in different ways, etc. So it's like trying to compare oranges, peaches, apples, and pears.

The nepfels is in the Charlie's soap and what helps it to wash clean and not leave a residue on clothing.

No matter what detergent I was using I always rinsed in vinegar and stopped using bottled fabric softener a long time ago. I still use fabric softener sheets on fabrics that tend to cling and attract static electricity.

For those of you who want to make your own detergent you can get on line and find complete washing detergent kits with all the ingredients to make your own.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 11:14AM
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So... after trying Charlie's soap, I will have to say that CS will pretty much make your life miserable if you have hard water. I tried it on a load and discovered that it causes a sticky residue on the clothing that did not rinse out after a second rinse. The rinse water was clear regardless. Of course, I originally thought it was detergent residue. Well, the other day I decided to hand-wash a brand new hand towel with CS. It pretty much left the same substance on the towel even after rinsing all the soap out.

I called the water company and discovered that our water is 9gpg. Okay... so I'm not entirely sure if it's the hardness of the water that's causing CS to leave sticky stuff on my clothes, but I would honestly say that that is what I think the most likely cause is. This also falls in line with CS's claim that other soaps have water softening elements, where CS does not. If this is true, it's no wonder CS isn't more popular in the Midwest, where we have moderately hard water.

    Bookmark   August 16, 2008 at 11:10PM
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My water varies between 8 to 10 grains, so you definitely have hard water. No matter what you use, you will have to take special measures with your laundry. When you have hard water nothing will ever completely rinse clean. It is the nature of the beast, so to speak.

The hard water will leave deposits on your clothing and everything else and trap anything else as well. It results in thin built up layers of stuff for lack of a better word. No matter what detergent you use, you will once in a while have to go back and strip everything. Here's what I did to strip my clothing of build up in my old top loader.

First step is to clean the machine. I have STPP here, but Calgon powder water softener works well too. Stay away from the Calgon liquid as it doesn't perform as well in my opinion. Put the recommended amount of Calgon into your machine. Do not add clothes. Fill machine with the hottest water you can at the largest setting for the longest wash and start the machine. Let it go through the wash cycle. When the rinse cycle starts add a full cup of white distilled vinegar to the rinse water and let it go through its rinse. During the whole process keep an eye out for suds or any film in the water. By the time this is done, your washer should be clean. You should be able to smell nothing by the time this is done. If you can still smell perfume you have to do it all over.

Next, take your towels or whatever needs to be stripped and wash them in the hottest water safe for the fabric on the longest cycle with the recommended dose of Calgon. Do not add detergent. Add 1/2 cup of white distilled vinegar to the rinse. The calgon will remove detergent residue, the vinegar should remove any trapped soap that got on the towel from your body. Yes soap. Hard water will leave soap residue on your skin. You don't realize it but it's there and ends up on the towel. Considering you use the towels a whole week, a second wash may be in order to remove additional soap left in the towels.

The second wash should be done with 1 cup of white distilled vinegar again in the hottest water safe for the fabric for the longest cycle. You are trying to remove soap residue so Vinegar is the most effective in this area. You do not need to add vinegar to the rinse unless you feel like it, but add no more than 1/2 a cup if you do.

Your towels should now be stripped, and your washer still clean with the mutiple washes. Now merely dry towels as you normally would. The stickiness should be gone and they should smell clean. If not, you have a major build up problem or there is something seriously wrong with your water and you need to get it checked. Municipality water supplies do vary from time to time and there may be something in the water that doesn't pose a health threat, but may be causing the problems.

I do not know how often the towels are used during the week, but with hard water I wouldn't use a towel more than two times, and a wash cloth that was used with soap? Never more than once. In fact, personally, with our water being as it is...towels and wash cloths are only used once and then put in the hamper for washing.

I have never had the sticky feel as you say you have, but I wash everything after one use and if my towels and wash cloths start to get even slighty funky I strip them in the next wash. I also clean my washer once a week or once every two weeks depending on number of loads and what I had to use to clean those loads.

I do have CS and like it, but found that with my chlorinated, hard water my colors fade. Not CS's fault, just the cholorine in my water so I have to use stuff to prevent fading of my good clothes.

I know this seems like a lot of work. Believe me I wish it was easier. Hard water is just a pain in the buttoot.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 10:56AM
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Thanks for the response happymomof2kids. I was wondering how you determined that Calgon liquid was not as effective as the powder? I've actually started using Calgon liquid, but it did not remove the stickiness in my laundry. I'm also beginning to question it's ability to rinse off completely, since I've gotten some on my hands and trying to wash it off in water just didn't cut it.

I guess this entire fiasco is a mystery to me. Once I get time to experiment a little more, I should be able to determine if it's the water or the washer.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2008 at 9:47AM
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I had started to use Tide HE liquid when I got my new FL washer, all my towels have been stiff and sticky due to not rinsing out. I bought Charlies soap, I dont use anything in the towels, but I did start to notice a white film on the glass about 2 inches up, when I would wash on delicate cycle it puts more water in "sometimes". I had to use CLR to get it off, I have soft water so it isnt from hard water. I used CS for about a month or so , when I noticed the white film, I quit using CS. I now have been trying Gain reg but only 1/2- 1 TB. I still dont use soap in the towels I am still trying to get all the soap out, its been since April 1st with no soap. I think it is caused from the LIQUID SOAPS! I didnt have this problem with my other washer when all I ever used was powder.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2008 at 4:55PM
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I tried the Calgon liquid back when I had a top loader. Every wash I added it to came out yucky you could say. The clothes just felt weird and they smelled funny. I switched to the Calgon Powder and didn't have that prob from it.

I figured out it could clean a washer one night while experimenting. My top loader smelled bad. I had tried bleach and then Vinegar and the smell was still there. I figured what the heck..might as well give the Calgon Powder a try. Boy there were a lot of suds. Thought it might have been the Calgon, but I read on the box that Calgon powder is safe for use in dishwashers so I knew it had to be low sudsing. When it was all done, the nasty smell in my washer was gone.

I've used it to clean out my FL too and it has worked quite well.

On another note. I did some checking. While doing research I happened upon an article at Tide's website. The article stated that Tide has a polymer in it. Now a polymer can be anything from natural cellulose to PVP, etc. The article explained that the polymer is used to help lift off dirt and prevent new dirt from redepositing making the fabric easier to keep clean. Now they did not specify the polymer used, but I can imagine that whatever it is most likely remains on clothing in at least a trace amounts. I could see that adding to your problem.

I will also agree with mc58 that the problem seems to mainly stem from the liquid detergents. I do not know what they have put in them, but they are very difficult to rinse out. You add that to the fact they are more concentrated now, which makes them even more difficult to cut back on amounts, and it leaves to one nasty build up problem.

    Bookmark   August 30, 2008 at 12:10AM
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Decades ago, my mother used to add the dry Calgon to the dishwasher and the washing machine because we had very hard, well water. Why not just use a little along with your detergent, every time you wash?

I've been told we have soft water in Atlanta. Maybe that's why I really like Charlie's Soap. My son had been breaking out in a rash after I got my front loader, and he noticed his undershirts were softer with the first wash with Charlie's Soap. He's not one to notice much about his clothing or laundry. His rash also disappeared. I sent CS to college with him. Does anyone know if Auburn AL has hard or soft water?

We're all here to problem-solve and help each other. I don't think anyone sets out to offend anyone. Things come across more harshly in writing than we intend, sometimes.

    Bookmark   September 1, 2008 at 6:33PM
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I started using the powdered version of Calgon and it definitely felt like it left less stuff (if any) on my clothes. Whether or not this has fixed my laundry issue, I can't tell quite yet. I'm still not convinced it's anything related to what I put in my laundry, but rather something wrong with my water (not related to hard water) or water heater, or even the washing machine itself.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2008 at 3:43PM
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