Over the years, many people have asked me whether it matters what soap you use to handwash your woolens? It does to me.
For handwashing woolens, I have long been dedicated user of Eucalan soap (pic source). So, in preparing a post in response to the “what soap should I use” question, I wrote Eucalan (founded in 1989 by Canadian Mary Ellen Edgar who remains its president and owner) about its ingredients. Here is what is in Eucalan soaps:
- Essential oil (eucalyptus, lavender,grapefruit and/or jasmine oils)
- Ammonium lauryl sulphate (a vegetable-based soap)
- Ammonium chloride (a salt of ammonia used as a thickener)
- Cocamide MEA (a mild plant-derived foaming agent and thickener)
- Purified water
- Hydroxypropyl methylcellulose (plant-source thickener)
- PEG 75 lanolin (naturally derived lanolin)
- Methylchloroisothiazolinone (preservative and antibacterial)
“But,” the question usually continues, “given its name, isn’t Woolite designed specifically for washing wools?”
Woolite is owned by (Reckitt Benckiser, click here to read its Corporate Fact Sheet). RB produces three separate Woolite products (Woolite Everyday, Woolite Darks, and Woolite Delicate Care), each containing the same ingredients: alcohols, various derivatives of fats (as are soaps) and a benzene-derivative (hmmm). The Woolite Extra Delicates Care (not to be confused with Woolite Delicate Care), differs: It has Alkylarylsulfonic acid. In any event, here’s the list:
- Benzenesulfonic acid, C10-16-alkyl derivatives
- Alcohols, C12-16, ethoxylated
- C10-16 alkyl ethers, sodium salts
- Fatty acids, C8-18 and C18-unsaturated
- Alkylarylsulfonic acid (in Woolite Extra Delicates Care only).
The Environmental Working Group rates common household cleaning products. No Woolite product received an A, B or C rating; eight (53.3%) of its products received a D rating; seven (46.7%) of its products received an F rating. Woolite’s Extra Delicate Cares received an overall grade of D+. (Click here to see its Woolite Extra Delicate Care scorecard.)
If the reports of Toxipedia.org about some of the Woolite ingredients are reliable (now that was some interesting reading!), they strengthen my commitment to gentler soaps.