Product testing: Soak modern laundry care – washing product for wool, silk and other delicate fabrics

I’ve had some very good reactions about my blog about Ecover Delicate Laundry Liquid and am testing multiple more laundry liquids at the moment. At the Knit and Knot in Tilburg I met Susy van der Zwan of Fiberdelic, which is the official Soak distributor from the Netherlands. She was so kind to give me a couple of samples to try out, which I have done in the last month. She gave me 2 small testers – one scentless and one with the scent called “celebration” –  and a 90 ml bottle with the scent “pineapple grove”.

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Soaks I (not yet on the picture) washed with soak. The white socks are 100% merino and have some terrible stains of walking with my leather boots. The pink ones are plant dyed and hand knit socks.

I saw on the website this little bottle of 90 ml costs 13,-! Compared to Eucalan, which is already seen as expensive, 11,50 per 500 ml seems nothing. You use about the same amount of both washing products to wash one sweater.

If you don’t want to read everything, since this blog is going to be really long, you can just read the bold parts in my blog and the conclusion 🙂

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Handspun alpaca before washing. Sadly this picture was kind of dark and not easy to light up without over exposing it. You can see that the thread of the yarn is stuck together due to the dirt and kind of grey-ish.

I’ve seen the brand before online but it wasn’t yet available in the Netherlands back then. I am told it is a brand comparable to Eucalan, a luxury brand to rather gently take care of your products instead of “aggressively” clean it. My first impression on my freshly spun, unwashed alpaca yarn was indeed that it didn’t clean as well as when I used Ecover or Sodasan. I needed to wash the yarn 4 times before it was actually pretty clean – compared to 2 times with Ecover. It did leave a nicer feeling after the washing when dry and it didn’t effect the colors of my plant dyed socks at all.

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Hanspun alpaca after washing with Soak, it has become quite white although it didn’t wash as easily as it does when I use Sodasan or Ecover. It did become more fluffy than it normally is after washing and feels nicer.

Same as I did with Ecover, I first am going to look at everything I can find on the site about where and how it’s made and which certificates it got. First of all Soak products are made in Canada. For someone in Europe that is a lot of traveling you’ll add to your product: not that eco-friendly. But if you’re living for example in the US, that might be better than buying Ecover from Belgium.

All of the bottles from Soak are 100% recyclable and are actually already made from post-consumer resin, which means they’ve already been recycled once.

I can’t really find any certificates, like I found with Ecover. The questions and answers do say that Soak products were not tested on animals, but you can use Soak as shampoo for your furry friends. Personally I’ve had no allergic reactions, although I’m quite sensitive.

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Washing the socks – as you can see there is almost no foam, which I love! 

Let’s look at the ingredients. According to the site the ingredients for all Soak products are the same, except for Scentless which doesn’t include fragrance. The ingredient list actually doesn’t include fragrance, so I think they mean parfum, which is on the list.



Ingredients:

aqua, coco-glucoside, sodium cocamphoacetate, lauryl glucoside, glycerin, sodium cocoyl glutamate, sodium lauryl glucose carboxylate, glyceryl oleate, PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate, parfum, propanediol, ethylhexyl glyercin, potassium sorbate, tetrasodium EDTA, benzophenone-4, citric acid


For ingredients that I’ve already covered in my blog about Ecover I will copy paste the part that I’ve already written there. Again, I’m also trying not to go too deep into all the ingredients since otherwise this blog will be as long as a 900-pages book.

I’m also going to cover ONLY the ingredient of which I could find anything bad. Otherwise I will have a half blog noting that the ingredient is safe.

Sodium cocoamphoacetate is a coconut oil derived foam booster, surfactant and conditioning agent. It is used in a lot of cosmetics designed for people with a sensitive skin and has no danger and doesn’t trigger allergies. However there is a study in Belgium which said that someone had an allergic reaction on an eye make-up remover containing Sodium Cocoamphoacetate. I would not worry about this too much if you’re using it  to wash your clothes. Always better be safe than sorry: try it out first before your going to use it on all your clothes! Reference: https://www.truthinaging.com/ingredients/sodium-cocoamphoacetate

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This is a pretty terrible picture which I took late at night with the light of my smartphone. But I still wanted to show it anyways. This is after I washed the socks 2 times, I even rubbed in the soak wash a little better at the yellow stains in the white socks. Did not really pass the test for stains….

Glycerin, or glycerol, is a naturally occurring alcohol compound and a component of many lipids. There is said to be no real danger and it doesn’t really trigger allergies. It is listed as a by-product of soap manufacture, which often used animal fat, but vegetable fat can also be used. I can’t find (of course) where Soak buys their ingredients so I don’t know if they used the glycerin from animal fat soap making or vegetable oil soap-making. If anyone knows – or someone from Soak reads this blog – please let me know so I can update my blog!

Glyceryl oleate is said to be safe, but can cause minimal to moderate irritation on skin, eyes or lungs.  

Reference: http://www.cosmeticsinfo.org/ingredient/glyceryl-oleate-0

There is said to be little wrong with PEG-7 glyceryl cocoate itself, but it can have very dangerous by-products. By-products such as 1,4-dioxane are believed to be a reason for the developing of cancer (no real scientific proof yet) and 1,4-dioxane can cause minimal to moderate irritation on skin, eyes or lungs. 1,4-dioxane is an unwanted by-product that contaminates about half of the tested cosmetics.

Depending on the parfum, this can of course cause irritation. Fortunately the Scentless of Soak doesn’t contain parfums, so if you’re quickly allergic this one might be better for you!

Propanediol can cause irritations, but not real danger for your health or environment.

Ethylhexylglycerin can also cause irritations. It can also be toxic for your eyes, so if you get any Soak product in your eyes: be sure to cleanse them well! (As with almost any product)

Potassium sorbate is a preservative, there is strong evidence that this is a product that can cause strong irritation and triggers allergic reactions.

Tetrasodium EDTA is classified as expected to be toxic or harmful by the “Environment Canada Domestic Substance List” and has some limited evidence of eye toxicity. Still it scores only a 2/10 on health concerns in the cosmetics database. This ingredient actually concerns me a bit, I’m not sure how dangerous it actually is. Some say it’s in their top 5 to avoid list and some say it’s not actually that harmful.

Benzophenone-4 has the ability to filter dangerous UV-B rays of sunlight. It can be found in many sun creams and such. In Soak it is meant to decrease the light sensitivity of your delicates. I couldn’t find anything about it on the cosmetics database but this site says that if you have a very specific type of allergy it might give you an allergic reaction in combination with the simultaneous influence of sunlight.

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Another picture on which you can really see how fluffy my handspun yarn has become after washing with Soak. I am really happy that it doesn’t smell like pineapples as it did during the washing progress!

Conclusion:

Soak is a washing detergent with a luxurious touch. I wouldn’t use it to clean really dirty raw fibers or stains but it is nice to fresh up something you’ve been wearing but is not that dirty. It has some ingredient that can cause irritation or allergic reactions, so be sure to test it out before you’re going to use it!

Some ingredients may be harmful in other ways. It has way less toxic chemicals than most “normal” washing detergents and I think it is a really good option to switch to a more environment friendly washing product – although it is really expensive!

What I find really nice about the product is that you don’t have to rinse it out, and it actually protects your colors. The scents are in my opinion horrible but this is just a matter of taste. I absolutely loved “Scentless”!

[Edit]

One of my readers mentioned that some of these ingredients may actually be linked with palm oil. If these ingredients can be linked to palm oil than Soak may actually be less enviroment friendly than they’re showing to be. Palm oil is found in almost everything and while it is not dangerous to us, it’s one of the main reasons – if not the main reason – for humans cutting down tropicals forests.

After some searching there is indeed a >95% change that  glyceryl oleate actually is obtained from palm oil. Also in other products under the same company (handmaid and flatter) they use palm oil directly.

Caitlin Bongers

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