Written by Lisa Truesdale. Reviewed by cleaning expert Sean Busch.
Every single time we walk into the grocery store, open our computer to shop online, or peruse the glossy sale inserts in the Sunday paper, we’re being inundated with time-tested marketing tricks -- sneaky tactics designed to get consumers to spend more while also making them believe they’re getting a good deal.
One of the places consumers are being fooled the most is in the laundry detergent aisle.
Laundry is big business; laundry detergent is a basic household product found in a majority of homes around the world. According to Business Wire, the worldwide laundry-detergent industry is predicted to exceed $200 billion in annual revenue by the year 2025. Makers of laundry detergent are scrambling to compete for your purchasing dollars, and many have resorted to some pretty questionable practices to get you to open your wallet.
For instance, let’s think of those jumbo dispensing caps you’ll find on many brands of liquid detergent. Have you ever strained your eyes peering inside the cap, trying desperately to find the measurement line? It’s there, but it’s down towards the bottom, a faint line that’s the same color as the cap.
Well, guess what? It’s hard to find on purpose! The idea here is that you’ll give up and just guess, pouring above the line. Or, better yet, that you’ll fill the cap all the way to the top, assuming that the cap must be that size for a good reason. (It’s not a good reason... neither for your wallet, nor for the environment.)
Maybe you’ll also fill it to the top thinking that using more detergent will result in cleaner clothes. But using more detergent than you need can actually be a bad thing. Excess suds can hold onto all the dirt and grime pulled from your clothes, and then those suds can get deposited back onto your clothes, often hiding in places where they don’t completely rinse clean.
Plus, if you’re using more than twice the recommended amount of detergent, you’ll run out of it faster, and guess what? You’ll have to go buy more, which is exactly why they make those caps so large in the first place.
Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent has earned more than 1,000 five-star reviews online and has won the praise of countless fans since we first launched it just six short years ago. We recently sat down with Sean Busch, Puracy’s co-founder and our resident cleaning expert, to learn more about how the product was formulated, how it differs from the other detergents on the market (no jumbo cap, for one!), and why it simply works better than all the rest.
A: It’s always difficult for a new brand to break into the laundry detergent business. Laundry products are typically repeat purchases for most households, and brand loyalty is often passed down from parents and grandparents. The leading laundry detergent in the United States, Tide, controls more than 50% of the market.
When formulating our laundry detergent, we analyzed the feedback that our competitors were getting for their products. In doing so, we discovered that today’s eco-conscious consumers wanted laundry products with less wasteful packaging and an easier dispensing method.
The market leader for natural laundry detergent at the time was offering an 8X product -- 8 times concentrated. So we wanted to see how concentrated we could go, because that would reduce plastic, water, and energy waste (and reduce the product’s overall carbon footprint). We also wanted to create a high-performance product made from naturally-derived ingredients.
After working closely for several months with our lead chemists, we were able to create a 10X concentrated formula with a pump top for easy dispensing and measuring. You only need ¼ ounce of our formula (just two pumps) to clean a normal load of laundry; that’s 10 times less than the 2.5 ounces you’d otherwise need from a typical non-concentrated detergent. This helps us save about 85 percent in plastic, water and energy versus a non-concentrated formula.
We’re proud to say that to this day, our 10x formula remains the most concentrated liquid laundry detergent in America.
A: Well, one thing that it doesn’t contain is an excessive amount of water. We’re the only major brand on the market that doesn’t have water listed as the main ingredient, and we’re pretty proud of that fact.
But there are many other reasons why our laundry detergent works so well. For starters, it harnesses the power of plant-based enzymes. These enzymes are microscopic molecules that break down dirt, grime, and stubborn stains. Our laundry detergent contains four different types of enzymes -- protease, amylase, mannanase, and lipase. These four enzymes work together to eliminate hundreds of the most common stains and odors, such as coffee, blood, sweat, lipstick, tomato sauce, and chocolate syrup. If you’re interested in learning more about how plant-based enzymes work, read our related blog post: Enzyme Cleaners 101: How to Quickly Eliminate Odors & Stains.
We also included some zinc ricinoleate, which aids the enzymes by assuring that all odors are completely removed. We do all of our testing with our unscented formula so we can be certain that we’re not just masking the odors with a heavy fragrance like some detergents do. Instead, our laundry detergent actually eliminates them.
A: There are numerous reasons why our laundry detergent is gentler on the Earth. I already mentioned the fact that it’s 10X concentrated, so you only need to use a small amount. And the handy pump top dispenses the correct amount for you, which means you don’t have to guess.
By only using a small amount, you’re saving water, energy, and packaging waste. In fact, we calculated that, when you purchase our product, you’re saving about 85 percent on water, energy, and packaging waste compared to our competitors’ products, most of which are sold in heavy plastic bottles filled primarily with water. And that is assuming you aren’t using more detergent than directed.
Speaking of heavy plastic bottles, the type of high-density plastic that many manufacturers use just isn’t necessary. We use lightweight PET #1 plastic, which is the easiest to recycle. But we’ll also be introducing refill packs for our laundry detergents in 2020, which means you won’t need to recycle your pump bottle at all; you can simply reuse it when you take advantage of the refill.
Also, because our formula is naturally derived, non-toxic, and biodegradable, it’s not harmful to aquatic life or vegetation.
A: Our plant-powered laundry detergent doesn’t contain any harsh chemicals. (None of our products do.) Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent can be used by everyone, even those with allergies and skin conditions who have been searching high and low for a formula that won’t irritate their skin.
A: I do! Many of these are based on comments from users of the product, including my own wife, who didn’t believe me at first when I told her she only needed to use a quarter of an ounce per load. (It only took one sparkling-clean load of laundry for her to believe me.)
My best advice is this: Trust the side panel! Read the directions and follow them. This formula is 10 times concentrated, so you really, truly only need that quarter of an ounce. Trust that it’s going to work, because rarely will you need to adjust it. These instructions are designed for 90 percent of your clothes. The other 10 percent might require pretreatment with Puracy Natural Stain Remover, and in that case, the only thing you’ll want to do differently is add an extra rinse cycle on your washing machine to make sure there’s no detergent left on your clothes.
There are a few variables at play, of course, like different types of water, different types of washing machines, different clothing fabrics, and the level of dirt on your laundry. You might have to experiment a bit with water temperature and the settings on your machine. Just don’t use hot water, and never use bleach. Hot water and bleach will both kill the enzymes in the detergent and in our stain remover, and then of course they can’t do their jobs. Plus, hot water costs more, so if you’re not using it, you’re saving money and helping the environment there, too.
One last caution: Tap water temperatures vary greatly depending on where you live. The “warm” setting in southern Florida, for instance, might be too hot, while the “warm” setting in a place like Maine might be too cold.
We’re constantly working to improve all of our products, and feedback from our loyal customers is very important to us. If you have any comments or concerns about Puracy Natural Laundry Detergent, Puracy Natural Stain Remover, or any other Puracy product, please visit our contact us page. We’d love to hear from you!