Non-Toxic Living

Nellie’s Laundry Soda Review

Who doesn’t like clean, fresh-smelling laundry? Unfortunately, to get that amazing smell, most detergent companies add in tons of additional chemicals, which can affect allergies and lead to chronic health problems over time. 

Some people think in order for a product to clean really well or to have a nice scent that additives are just the price you have to pay. This couldn’t be further from the truth! 

This post may contain affiliate links, which means I could be compensated if you decide to make a purchase. You can read my full disclosure here.

bag of nellies laundry soda being held up in front of washing machine

When I was looking up non-toxic laundry detergents, I was so excited to try Nellie’s Laundry Soda. I have used other natural laundry detergents before, and while they typically work pretty well (though some of them leave something to be desired) they can be pretty pricey. So, I was curious to see if Nellie’s could deliver on both fronts

Today I’m giving you my Nellie’s Laundry Soda review, a healthier alternative to conventional laundry detergents. 

What is Nellie’s Laundry Soda?

Nellie’s all-natural laundry soda is a non-toxic laundry detergent with only four ingredients. The ingredients are all plant-based, biodegradable, and free from harsh chemicals, which makes it safer for your clothes and the environment in comparison to other laundry detergents.

The four-ingredient detergent was created by “Nellie”, whose son (James Roberts) founded the Canadian company in honor of his mother. While they are Canadian natives, their natural laundry soda can be purchased globally and online.

Why powder? Nellie’s Laundry Soda comes in powder form so that it doesn’t contain any water, which means no extra weight or packaging is needed when shipping.

In comparison, liquid laundry soap and traditional laundry detergents are formulated primarily from water, which gives them a larger carbon footprint because they’re heavier to ship and they use more water in production.

Instead, a small amount of Nellie’s soda goes a long way and reduces plastic waste. The concentration is higher, which gives it more cleaning power, and it doesn’t take much to get your clothes fresh and clean, whether you’re using cold or hot water.

Is Nellie’s The Same As Washing Soda?

Nellie’s includes washing soda in its four ingredients, but Nellie’s is not pure washing soda.

Is Laundry Detergent the Same as Washing Soda?

Laundry detergent and washing soda are not the same. Washing soda is a chemical compound with a high pH that’s used as a cleaning agent, so washing soda is often used in laundry detergents to remove stains and brighten clothes.

scoop of nellie's laundry soda being pulled out of the bag

What is Nellie’s Laundry Soda Made of?

Nellie’s all-natural laundry soda is created by using 4 natural ingredients, and it’s completely free of harsh chemicals that other laundry detergents often include. 

Sodium Carbonate is commonly referred to as soda ash or washing soda and has a high pH (very alkaline) when in concentrated solutions. Due to the high alkalinity, it’s found in many cleaning products because of its ability to cut through grease and stains. And it can soften water too, which gives it even more cleaning power. Whether you’re using cold or hot water, soft water requires less energy to clean your clothes, even with a smaller amount of laundry detergent.

Sodium Chloride, most commonly known as salt, makes for a great cleansing agent. Alone it works as an abrasive, but when combined with other ingredients it is considered a catalyst. Once it is a catalyst it helps to boost the cleaning process and acts as a deodorizing agent. Many people make a paste with other ingredients like vinegar to clean countertops, bathrooms, and appliances. 

Linear Alcohol Ethoxylate. This is a surfactant that is non-ionic and used in many detergents. This ingredient is what produces the lathering action. In higher concentrations, LAE can cause irritation, but when diluted in products such as Nellie’s Laundry Soda, there is little to no irritation and has been proven to be safe. That being said, you’ll want to make sure your clothes are rinsed well because it can be an issue for sensitive skin.

Sodium Metasilicate is the ingredient that is made when silica is mixed with sodium carbonate. Not only does it soften water, but it also enhances the efficiency of cleaning products and detergents. 

front view of a laundry room with a front loading washer and dryer

What Does Nellie’s Laundry Soda Do?

Nellie’s is a laundry detergent that dissolves quickly and does a great job of fighting stains and keeping your clothes smelling fresh after every wash.

The ingredients work together to get your clothes clean without any harsh chemicals.

You can use it in standard washing machines or he washers, and Nellie’s rinses completely clear, so it’s safe to use even if you have some skin sensitivities.

Is Nellie’s Laundry Soda Safe? 

Nellie’s all-natural Laundry Soda is a safe and effective laundry detergent that uses four natural ingredients to get your clothes clean. It is free of harsh chemicals, making it a safer choice for your clothes and the environment.

Not only is it made from simple ingredients, but it’s also paraben, phosphate, and fragrance-free. When we review products we love to see how they are rated by EWG, and Nellie’s scored a B+! Plus, it’s Leaping Bunny certified, which means the product is cruelty-free and doesn’t do any animal testing.

Does Nellie’s Laundry Soda Work?

After trying it out for a few weeks, I’ve been very happy with Nellie’s. It works very well at removing stains and doesn’t leave residue on our clothes.

What I Like About It 

One of my favorite things about Nellie’s is they actually disclose all of the ingredients they use. The laundry soda is safe and eco-friendly, and it’s gentle enough to use on just about anything, including baby clothes, cloth diapers, and your family’s underwear.

Since the formula is highly concentrated, you only have to use a small amount in order to achieve maximum results. Again, another feature that helps decrease waste (and gives you more bang for your buck). 

I switched to using Nellie’s after years of using Biokleen liquid laundry detergent because our clothes were beginning to hold stains and smells, even after washing them multiple times.

And if I’m being completely honest, I didn’t expect much of a difference when I switched, but I was wrong.

The first time I used Nellie’s in a regular-sized load, it got some stubborn grease stains out of my favorite shirt, and all of my clothes came out smelling clean (without that strong headache-inducing perfume-y smell that you get with a lot of liquid detergents).

I have a high-efficiency front load washer, and I love how little detergent I have to use when I’m washing clothes because of the highly-concentrated formula. Plus, it takes up a smaller space in my cabinet.

While I haven’t had this issue, I was reading reviews before buying it, and some people mentioned that their liquid detergents started to build up inside of their washers. After one wash of using Nellie’s they reported that the buildup was gone! This goes to show that it is working the same way to clean our clothes.

I don’t use cloth diapers (though I wish I would have invested in them with my first baby, I use non-toxic disposable diapers instead), but I read plenty of reviews mentioning how well Nellie’s was able to clean cloth diapers.

Overall consumers are giving Nellie’s close to 5 stars from almost 4,000 reviews, and I have to agree. I don’t think I’ll be switching laundry detergent again anytime soon.

Does Nellie’s Laundry Soda Remove Stains?

In my experience, it does a great job of removing stains, though there have been times that I’ve needed to use an additional pre-treatment for super stubborn stains.

What I Don’t Like About It

Honestly, there isn’t a whole lot that I don’t like about Nellie’s.

If you really enjoy the smell of conventional liquid laundry soap, you may not be a big fan of Nellie’s because it’s completely fragrance-free and has no scent to it whatsoever. At least the scent is so mild that I don’t smell anything.

That’s actually a benefit in my opinion, but I know a lot of people like that “fresh laundry” scent… they may just not realize that the scent comes from a concoction of chemicals that may not be so safe for their families.

Sometimes I do still have to pre-treat our clothes with stain solution before washing because I’ve noticed that some heavily soiled items with stubborn stains were not clean after the first wash. Even conventional liquid detergents leave stains behind sometimes though. You can always add a little more soda to larger and more heavily soiled loads for better results.

If you are a newbie swapping to an all-natural detergent you will notice that it is not as budget-friendly when compared to mainstream brands that you’re used to. But, most non-toxic and all-natural products are more expensive because of the quality of the ingredients, and Nellie’s is right on par with them.

The thing I’m not super fond of is that I can’t buy it in my local grocery store (H-E-B). I have to buy it on Amazon or Thrive Market. You can find it as Costco as well, but I don’t have a membership. So when I run out of detergent, I can’t just run to the store and get it the same day.

nellies laundry soda being put in the drum of front loader he washing machine

Where Do You Put Nellie’s Laundry Soda?

In Conventional Washer

For regular-sized loads, add one tablespoon of Nellie’s Laundry Soda in the powdered detergent compartment of your washer

In HE Washer

For HE machines, Nellie’s recommends placing the soda directly in the washer drum due to decreased water pressure. With higher efficiency washing machines, they are designed to use less water. However, if you were to put the detergent in the compartment, there’s not enough pressure to actually push the detergent to the drum. 

No matter which type of washing machine you use, Nellie’s Natural Laundry soda can be used in cold or hot water cycles. 

The brand also recommends that you test a small area on clothes that are more likely to bleed prior to washing with a full load. 

As we mentioned before, you can increase the amount of soda for a larger load or loads that are heavily soiled. 

Where Can I Buy Nellie’s Laundry Soda? 

Good news! You can purchase Nellie’s Laundry Soda almost anywhere! If your local stores are like mine and don’t carry it, you can always have it shipped from Amazon or Thrive Market

By the way, if you’re not a member of Thrive Market, you should definitely check it out. They have the lowest prices (and they price match if you find it cheaper), and you can save a huge additional amount on your first order too.

If you are one that has extra storage and loves shopping in bulk, Costco has containers that offer enough soda for 400 loads, versus the standard amount of 100 loads. 

Here are some other retailers I found that carry it online and/or in-store: 

Overall we have found that Nellie’s Laundry Soda is a great all natural alternative to conventional laundry detergent. While there are a few cons, they seem to be easily remedied, which gives you a product that you’re sure to love!  

Speaking of laundry, you may also be interested in our top picks for eco-friendly laundry detergent or our honest Norwex review.

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