Charlie’s Soap: very good

Almost two months ago, I got a 1.2kg bag of Charlie’s Soap ($12), simply packaged in a brown paper bag, but dismissed the purchase with a “more about that later.”

Now I’m ready to speak: I love it.

  • Not just because it is packaged without plastic. (I could say that about my washing soda-borax-shaved soap mix, which never worked as well as I wanted.)
  • Not just because it is biodegradable (which is a parallel reduction for a lot of people who want to use less plastic.)
  • Not just because it is cheap to use (15 cents per load)
  • Not just because it takes little to get the job done (a tablespoon; thus the low per-use cost)
  • Not just because it cleans clothes very well
  • Not just because it does so without perfume (which I think is a big plus)

Taken together, Charlie’s Soap beats that pants off the plastic-loaded alternative. (This is an independent endorsement without any consideration — or indeed contact — by the manufacturer.) The only downside is that it can be hard to find. See their site for details about the product and a retail locator.

Categorized as Cleaning

By Scott Wells

Scott Wells, 46, is a Universalist Christian minister doing Universalist theology and church administration hacks in Washington, D.C.


  1. I, too, have bought Charlie’s Soap, and the appeal of it was the brown paper bag it came in. However, when I got home and opened the bag, I discovered it was lined with a sheet of what looks like plastic. I suggest checking the inside of your bag to see if it’s as plastic-free as you believe.

  2. Good point, but I figure that even if it came in a fully plastic bag, it would be a very low amount of plastic per use, especially for a product that was otherwise as good as I mentioned. (And I don’t have access to bulk laundry soap here.)

  3. I agree that the amount of plastic per use is low, and overall am pleased with the packaging Charlie’s Soap uses. Still, I wish consumers had some way of knowing prior to purchase that what looks like an ordinary brown paper bag is in fact backed with plastic. It’s all about informed consent.

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