I like doing dishes, I don’t even mind vacuuming or cleaning windows and mirrors. But laundry? That’s the real chore if you ask me, and it’s endless; our clothes are in a slow death spiral from the first time you bring them home, a cycle of wear and get dirty, wash and break down the fibers, repeat. Eventually, they end up threadbare, tear or just look awful, so it’s time to replace them, a sometimes sad moment when a favorite pair of jeans or shirt has to be ceremonially retired.
But hidden in that clothes lifecycle is the actual task of doing the laundry, how we approach it, and what detergents and other chemical products we used to try and keep them clean and bright for as long as possible. Enter Tru Earth, a Canadian eco-home product startup. You’ve heard of laundry pods, but Tru Earth offers “ultra-concentrated, hypoallergenic, eco-friendly cleaning power [in] a tiny, pre-measured strip of liquidless laundry detergent.” Yes, little strips of what appear to be thick paper, and you just toss one in with the wash and it dissolves as the washer proceeds with its load. Could it be any easier?
Look very closely and you’ll see that each of these approx 4″ x 4′ sheets has a perforation down the middle. You can use a single strip for light loads or a double strip (that is, a full square) for a heavy load. Tru Earth is offering three types of laundry detergent options: Fragrance Free (always my favorite), Fresh Linen, and Baby. Don’t worry, the “Baby” smell is a nice one! 🤪
The Fragrance Free and Fresh Linen are also offered in a “Platinum” formulation that’s stronger, for families that have dirtier clothes, I guess. The three basic options are:
The packaging is quite attractive, very “green” and “eco”, and the entire design is brilliant: I love the convenience of laundry pods but hate the mostly-dissolving plastic that eventually clogs up the drain pipes on the washer.
Laundry strips that dissolve. Cool. But what’s in ’em? The Tru Earth Web site has an exhaustive list, but here are the highlights, the ingredients I felt were most interesting:
- Vegetable Glycerin: plant-derived from soy softener
- Starch: plant-derived from maize biodegradability booster
- PVA (polyvinyl alcohol): biodegradable supporting matrix
- Cocamido propyl betaine: coconut oil-based, biodegradable amphoteric surfactant (cleaning agent) and foam booster
- Sodium Gluconate: plant-derived and food-grade, biodegradable water softener that prevents soil from resettling on fabric after it has been removed during washing
- Lauryl dimethyl amine oxide: plant-derived, biodegradable non-ionic surfactant (cleaning agent) and foam stabilizer
- Sulfonic acids, C14-16-alkane hydroxy and C14-16-alkene, sodium salts: biodegradable surfactant (cleaning agent)
- Glycereth cocoate: plant-derived and food-grade, biodegradable water softener
- Caprylyl Glucoside, Octyl Glucoside: non-ionic surfactants (cleaning agents)
Just as important is what’s not in these detergent sheets: They’re Paraben-free, Phosphate-free, free of added dyes and chlorine bleach, free of 1,4-dioxane, hypoallergenic, vegan, and gluten-free (I guess that’s a thing). 1,4-dioxane is a synthetic industrial chemical that the FDA categorizes as “likely to be carcinogenic”, in case you’re curious.
How’d they work? I found out by doing a pretty heavy load of clothes in my front-loading LG washer. It’s easy to use with a front loader, just tear up the strip and put it in the soap tray:
It worked out well. I didn’t have anything specifically stained or looking extra dirty beforehand, but certainly, everything looked clean and smelled clean (not fragrant, thankfully) as I pulled it out. Verdict: They work! And the form is really fantastic, I really like the little sheets.
The question then is cost, and a box of strips is $19.95 at the Tru Earth Web site. For 32 washes. That’s $0.62/wash. The Tide Fragrance Free Pods I have been using cost $5.79 for 20 pods at the local market, or $0.29/wash. So the Tru Earth strips are over 2x the cost of the pods, but I think it’s well worth the additional cost. Not only that, but if you sign up for an annual delivery of product from Tru Earth, the company offers a 35% discount, dropping that per-load cost down to $0.40/wash.
I need to talk with my daughter, who does her laundry at my house too, but I think we might just make the change…
Disclosure: Tru Earth sent me some samples in return for me sharing my experience, but I’ve been interested in alternative laundry detergents for quite a while anyway. Win:win.