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Tuesday, June 16, 2009

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Charlie’s Soap: Uses Galore

Many of us already know Charlie’s Soap does wonders for cloth diapers… I LOVED Charlie’s Soap until my horribly hard water got the best of the situation and sadly I had to find another alternative for my cloth diapers. However, I didn’t give up on my Charlie’s and continued to use it on my regular laundry as well as numerous other applications.

When Charlie’s Soap says “Cleans everything from false teeth to diesel engines,” it truly does. Here’s a hilarious video I found, compliments of Charlie’s Soap available on YouTube.

As nearly all of you know, in addition to my little man Ilyas, I have two older girls, now ages 4 and 3 whom I’ve lovingly named Hurricanes Aaliyah and Halimah. Honestly, it’s amazing my two little girls are capable of wreaking havoc and disaster in 5 minutes or less! While they love to dress up and look pretty, they’re not afraid of getting down and dirty.

Unfortunately, as a result, everything within their arms reach is messy at the end of the day: sliding glass door, coffee table, walls, etc… Thus, I’m very thankful for two things, Charlie’s Soap and prefolds (oh, and the Magic Eraser too – so make it three)!

Honestly, Charlie’s Soap has done wonders for my coffee table (which functions as the girls eating quarters, desk, platform for dolly diving, etc…). Charlie’s Soap has cleaned what no other cleaner was capable of doing! It also works amazingly well in the bathroom and even washing the car. I grab a prefold and a spray bottle with some Charlie’s Soap laundry powder diluted in water and off I go. Rather than a multitude of cleaners I’m able to use this nifty “soap” for everything; and it truly works!

Now… for those using Charlie’s Soap with your cloth diapers, there are a few things you need to know. It does not disinfect your diapers, but in all fairness, no detergent was designed to disinfect (especially diapers). Therefore, it’s important to disinfect your diapers on a regular basis to avoid a buildup of bacteria that can cause adverse skin reactions and/or horribly stinky diapers.

If you’re using micro-terry fiber inserts then you will definitely want to bleach the inserts at least once a month (or more often as needed). Take the cleaned inserts only (NOT the pocket diapers themselves) and run them through a hot water wash cycle with approximately ¼ cup of bleach. For those of you adverse to the use of bleach – you can opt to use vinegar instead – but you would need at least 1 cup of vinegar for it to be effective. Follow up with a rinse or two just to err on the side of caution. *Again, this is only for the inserts ONLY.

If at all possible, put the inserts out in the sun. The sun will whiten and brighten the inserts, as well as remove stains (works best when inserts are wet)… also if you’re able to sun the inserts all the time, this would be highly recommended as the sun’s UV rays naturally kill bacteria too, which will prolong the time between your disinfecting sessions.

- By Serena


Lynn said...

That's almost a little scary!

Thank you for the bleach tip. I didn't know but had planned to do it anyway. At least I'm on the right track. ^_^

Upstatemomof3 said...

Wow!! How cool that you use Charlie's Soap as a cleaner. I may give that a whirl when cleaning my bathroom tomorrow. :)

angelina said...

hi, i use seventh generation baby formula and a quickwash hot water extra rinse, i have all kinds of dipes and have never ever had to use bleach or vinegar, they smell beautiful. i think its cause i drypail and wash EVERY NIGHT.

Amanda said...

That video was indeed hilarious! LOL

So, if you have hard water Charlies Soap won't work? What if you use a softener with it?

Amanda G.

Sara in Seattle said...

what a great idea to put some in a spray bottle! You definitely have me interested in Charlie's Soap, and I was perfectly happy with my Country Save for diapers.

A Psych Mommy said...

Oops, I posted this on the product focus post, but meant to post here:

I have only used Charlie's Soap for laundry, but I think I will give it a try for other things.

AScott said...

A couple questions. I havn't been bleaching my inserts so I'm worried they are all funky. I've been using oxiclean, is that good enough or do I really need to bleach them?

Also, I'm curious what hard water had to do with you stopping the charlie's soap, and what did you switch to?

hosiewosie said...

Ok I love my Charlie's soap but... suddenly I'm having a problem with repelling on my pocket diapers! I also have really hard water!!! I use Calgon in the wash & rinse but I don't think it's working. I've stripped my diapers (just with hot water) but they are still repelling. Any hints for stripping and should I use a different detergent besides Charlie's b/c of the hard water?

Serena said...


Charlie's Soap doesn't leave any residues behind so if the diapers are leaking/repelling then it's likely another culprit. Do you use the Charlie's to wash all your laundry or just your cloth diapers? If you're switching between detergents then it's possible that when you wash your cloth diapers the residues from your other detergent are getting on the diaper. This is especially true for those who use the liquid fabric softener dispensers in the machine - if there's any residual fabric softener in the dispenser then it can get onto the diapers that way.

It's not very common for hard water to cause repelling issues - however it's not impossible (just not as likely). How much Calgon water softener are you using? Just to make sure, you are using the Calgon water softener and not the "Calgon take me away" bath products, right? (Sorry, I have to ask because some people honestly think that's what I'm referring to when I say Calgon). =)

Have you used any diaper ointment or creams on the diaper (or is it possible that someone else has)?

Just trying to figure out what's causing the repelling...

Jenney said...

Thank you Serena for the tips o useing Charlie's other places than in our laundry! Thank you also for all your prompt responces to my questions in the past! (I couldn't see the video though...just a big blank white spot on your there a URL?)

Momto3LittleFlowers said...

Jenney: I normally forward all the questions to Serena, but I will answer you cause I this one is a technical question... If you see a white square is because you dont have Flash... You can download it for free at

If is not a Flash issue, then you can click on the link were it says "You Tube", right before the video on the post... This is the address just in case:



Stacey Ho said...

I love the cleaning tips as this is the thing I have the most fear about when it comes to giving cloth a try. I recently picked up some charlies but I have a front loading HE washer.... Any tips for use in these types of washers?

Serena said...

AScott: If you haven't noticed any [stinky] issues with your routine then I would recommend leaving well enough alone for now. You'll definitely *know* when the inserts will need to be bleached!

As for why I had to stop using Charlie's for my cloth diapers... my water is some of the hardest water in the country (next to well water which is actually the hardest). My diapers just weren't coming out as "clean" as I would have hoped (they smelled clean but I had a LOT of bright yellow breastfeed poo stains remaining). I believe the liquid laundry detergent would probably work for me, but I as using the laundry powder and it just wasn't working out for me as well.

I did add the use of Calgon and it did work much better - but at the time I had a top loading machine and Calgon is NOT cheap... so I opted to test out a few other alternatives.

I still use Charlie's for my laundry and it works great (our jeans come out soft)... of course the fact I can use it for other applications is great too... can't say that about other detergents (too many additional additives to use for all surfaces).

Serena said...

Amanda: If you have hard water - Charlie's will work, but you will likely have to add a water softener. The minerals in the water make the detergents work to fight the minerals instead of fighting the dirt and stains - so unless you add something to work against the minerals the detergent just can't get the job done!

Unfortunately, however, most water softeners such as Calgon aren't cheap... so it can become pretty expensive per load to use it!

This is the main reason why I switched detergents - otherwise I really love Charlie's. Additionally, they're just great people too! The company is down-to-earth and they have a great sense of humor!

Serena said...

Stacey Ho: My best recommendation for a front loading machine would be to use the following routine:

1 short cycle cold wash (complete wash and not just a rinse - this yields the best results)

1 heavy duty cycle hot wash

1 additional rinse, warm water works best (if an option on your machine)

I use 1 tablespoon of OxiClean in the initial cold water wash... since I wash my prefolds/inserts separately from my pockets and diaper covers - I do add a heaping tablespoon of backing soda to the cold wash, in addition to the Oxiclean (only for the prefolds/inserts - I wouldn't recommend this for pocket diapers).

Then you would use the Charlie's for the hot wash...

This routine has worked phenomenally well for me!

I hope this helps!

Momto3LittleFlowers said...

Stacey: How nice to see you here!!! Hugs!!!

Anna said...

I had no idea there were so many uses for Charlie's Soap. Great to know!

Nikki said...

I use Charlie's Soap for all our laundry, including my pocket diapers. I haven't had any issues with stink except for the time I got some used diapers with a ton of residue on them and it transferred to all my other dipes. Some serious stripping fixed the problem. We have hard water, but we have a water softener for all the water in our house, so it's not really an issue for us. I LOVE my Charlie's Soap! Thanks for the recommendations on using it for other things.

GwennS said...

Fascinating post..I love knowing the background on products I use or will potentially use!

Valerie aka Mamalovelock said...

Now I know I have to try it!! Awesome, one cleaner for everything!

MeghanT said...

I didn't know that Charlie's can be used for so many things. Cool post!

I have one question. Do fitteds need to be disinfected periodically as well? And what is the best thing for that (since I don't want to bleach my pretty fabrics ;) )? I have a few and they are starting to smell a little bit so that made me think they need something extra. Thanks!

ThriftyMamaB said...

Now I really want some Charlies!

Serena said...

MeghanT: Yes, you ought to disinfect your fitted diapers too. Since your fitted diapers don't have PUL you can use vinegar for disinfecting (however, you'd need about 1 cup for it to be effective)... You'd add it to the wash - and if at all possible hang the diapers in the sun for good measure. This should take care of killing bacteria. However, please note if you have hard water - many people have indicated that the use of vinegar with hard water has compounded their stinky problems. Not entirely sure why that's happening - but if you give it a try and you notice major stink - then clearly you'll want to avoid the vinegar.

I hope this helps!

Larky Lady said...

Charlie's has an all purpose cleaner. I use that diluted in spray bottles all around the house. I also diluted it into an old dishwashing liquid bottle for toilet cleaner.
Not liking it much anymore for dipes, thinking I'm going to try something else. (hard water) I got some soap nuts, so we'll see!

MaryAnne said...

We have hard water where I live, too. Thanks for the tips on cleaning microterry inserts!