If only they actually made doing laundry like a day at the spa this pic was apparently taken at

I love laundry.  Really, I would even consider myself a Laundry Geek.  I’ve always loved trying new laundry products and educating my fellow laundry-doers on best practices.   I once explained to an entire room full of women that the Downy Ball won’t work in your front-loader because it depends on the centrifugal force of the first spin cycle to pop open, I frequently give laundry baskets filled with detergent,stain removers and my favorite wash additives as baby shower gifts and I always wash my towels in a separate load, without liquid softener.

I actually hate liquid laundry softener.  It’s messy, it’s full of petrochemicals and (until the invention of the Downy Ball) I almost always forgot to add it anyway. You can’t wash towels with it because liquid softeners are oil and/or wax based and actually coat the fibers, rendering towels less absorbent.  children’s clothing manufacturers warn that using softener on kids pajamas will ruin the flame retardant nature of the fabric. I was reminded of yet another reason it sucks just this very morning when I pulled one of Kit’s shirts out of the laundry to see that in my absence someone had spilled softener directly onto it and marred the front of it with a big blue spot. 

Oh, but how I missed that fresh laundry smell.

While I was gone, the good folks at Purex sent over a sample of their new Purex Complete Crystals Softener.  They are so simple to use, you toss the crystals into the wash with your dirty clothes.  You don’t have to remember to stop the rinse cycle and (unlike the Downy Ball) you can use them in your front loader.

My favorite  part is that they are not oil based.  According to the PR folks at Purex:

Purex Complete Crystals Softeners are safe for all laundry and will not harm, wear down or discolor your fabrics like oil-based softeners.
Safe for all fabrics, including baby clothes, athletic wear, towels, and whites. Unlike other
softeners, Crystals WILL:
• Preserve the flame retardant benefits of your children’s clothes
• Retain your athletic wear’s wicking ability which draws sweat away from your body
• Maintain your towels’ built-in ability to absorb water
• Keep your white clothing from yellowing and graying vs. using traditional softeners

I hadn’t even thought about the athletic clothes thing, but that totally makes sense.

The product literature really promotes the fresh smell that infuses your clothes (they know what people want), but I wondered without the oils, was it actually going to soften the fabric?  Surprisingly (to me anyway), my clothes came out not just smelling fresh, but feeling soft and The crystals are marketed as being 92% natural and dissolving without residue in the machine, so how do they work?

According to Purex:

Purex Complete Crystals Softeners penetrate fabrics to reduce
fiber entanglement and smooth frayed fibers providing a naturally soft feel.

Even Nate, who learned how to do laundry while I was out of town, loves them.  No one had shown him how to use them, and he hadn’t tried using liquid softener, but he read the back of the sample bottle and  put some in with his clothes.  It was that easy!

Verdict? The clothes come out of the dryer smelling great and are soft, though maybe not quite as soft as those which were washed with liquid detergent.  It’s a very small trade off for a product that is easier to use and gentler on your laundry.

Want to try some?  Leave a comment and I will randomly select someone to receive a coupon for a free bottle! Follow @ParentingGeekly on Twitter for an additional chance (leave your Twitter name as a separate comment).

Disclosure:  I was sent a sample of Purex Complete Crystals for review purposes.  The opinions expressed are mine and were not influenced by the people at Purex.