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Tested Laundry Secrets From this Former Magazine Editor

Updated: Dec 31, 2023

Inside: Here are laundry tips to handle the potty training accidents, including my favorite laundry detergent.

This content contains affiliate links, which means I may earn a commission if you make a purchase using these links.

Every child has accidents in the beginning. For a short while, night training can even feel like you're running a hotel with a rotating hamper of must-wash bedding.

Really, once you expand your family, laundry turns into one of the more overwhelming parts of parenthood.

Those piles of dirty clothes never go away!

What also seems to stick around — stains on toddler shirts, pants knees, etc.

My goal: find a laundry detergent that works without all the bad stuff.

I also cloth diapered my kiddos, so if the detergent was eco-friendly and left me with smells or stains, I was not happy. I would move on. Then I discovered Nellie's.

Before I jumped into the role of potty training consultant, I worked as a magazine editor. First at Real Simple, the magazine that built its brand on roadtesting what's best and easiest. Then at the century-old women's magazine Redbook.

I covered the home/lifestyle beat for those magazines, and part of your job as a home editor is to KNOW your cleaners. I researched and reported more than a handful of cleaning features, each which required sampling products, interviewing product developers and fragrance experts, reading the books of cleaning experts...knowing more than the marketing speak behind the brands.

I dug deep to find out what's in these cleaners that we use everyday and learned a lot about the toxic chemicals you can find in cleaners as well as the ever-growing choices in brands of nontoxic cleaners.

What makes a cleaner nontoxic? Here's the short end of it.

  • The surfactants (aka soap) are derived from coconut, soy, or palm oils rather than being petroleum-based. Basically plant-based soap, awesome! That's personally what I want washing the clothes and bedding that we keep next to our skin.

  • Dye-free: When you look at the mass brands of laundry detergent, you can probably identify some without even a label. Tide blue, for example. Whereas the nontoxic, "green" cleaners are going to be clear or milky white (for the most part — some brands like Method use dyes.)

  • Free of chlorine: The nontoxic detergents use alternatives to chlorine bleach, which include oxygen bleach, optical brighteners, or baking soda. Oxygen bleach uses hydrogen peroxide to fight stains, and it's effective.

First, will you look at the packaging?!

It doesn't get any more efficient than buying your laundry detergent in bulk that covers 1100 loads (because you know you'll always be doing laundry!) That has been a win-win for me. When I was cloth diapering (with one daily load of diapers) that tub of laundry soda lasted more than a year for our family.

Now that we've long said goodbye to diapers, it stretches two years. I love never running out!

The company is based in Canada and it's reasonably priced, especially considering how heavy that tub of laundry powder is to ship!

Here's the key with stains and your laundry..

You really want a laundry booster to tackle the stains in your wash load (ahem, track marks of a newly potty-trained toddler need more than detergent to come out).

If stains are still an issue, you want to check into the hardness of your water. Detergents remove soil and stains better in softer water — in that case I suggest some 20 Mule Team Borax, which is as old school as the term "laundry soda". But it works!

Also powder detergent is generally more eco-friendly than liquid detergent, for a few reasons.

And hey, if you want to give Nellie's a try, you don't have to go for the supersize tub at first. You can buy a tin of laundry soda and a tin of oxygen brighter. Those tins make great containers for craft supplies, too.

ps. this post is not sponsored in any way by Nellie's. I simply love the brand and have been using Nellie's for YEARS and understand it's relatively unknown since you won't find it at your local Target or grocery store.

Every mom has their go-to product that feels like it has superpowers. Nellie's laundry detergent is mine. Go forth with clean, fresh laundry.

Illustrations: Citrus and Mint

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