Disclosure: I bought both of these lingerie washes myself.
My first lingerie treat-to-self of 2016 was something a bit different – lingerie wash! Previously, I’d been using Tesco’s Silk and Delicates Handwash for a good few years and had no problem with it. It was dirt cheap (£1.50 for a 750ml bottle, or 6p per wash) and it got the job done.
However I’d started to find that my hands were itching right after I did my lingerie laundry – maybe I developed a new allergy, or maybe they updated the formula. Either way, it was time for a change.
If you start Googling, you’ll find there are lots of lingerie/delicates washes out there, however the two that I see recommended the most often and sold by the most lingerie boutiques are Soak and Eucalan, both Canadian brands. They each have a number of stockists worldwide though and I was able to buy the two in the UK; a bottle of the Fig scented Soak through Deramores for £14.99, and a bottle of Grapefruit scented Eucalan through Woolstack for £11.50.
A key similarity between these two washes is that they don’t require rinsing – you just add them to water, pop your smalls in to soak for a bit, squeeze the water out and leave to dry. This isn’t the case for all lingerie washes (my old Tesco one required rinsing), and it definitely saves you time. Neither of these are miracle-workers though, you’ll still need to rub any particularly soiled areas to loosen the dirt.
So first up in differences, the price. Those aren’t too different, however the cheaper Eucalan is also a larger bottle. It’s fairest to compare them on price per use, since you’ll need to buy replacements for the smaller bottle more regularly – the ‘serving size’ for each is one teaspoon (5ml), so Eucalan’s lingerie wash works out at 11.5p per wash and Soak’s at 20p per use*.
Quick break from the comparison for a moment: I don’t find either of these prices at all expensive for taking care of your lingerie. I hand wash not only my lingerie but all of my delicate clothing (which is at least half my wardrobe) and 5 months after purchasing these lingerie washes, I’ve still got 2/3rds of the each bottle left! So for a grand total of £26.49 I’ve been able to take proper care of my delicates for what will probably amount to over a year.
Now, back to the point of this post. So what else is different between Soak and Eucalan? Both washes are biodegradable, however only Soak’s bottle is biodegradable too. Eucalan’s is still “easy to recycle” though.
Eucalan is scented with essential oils whilst Soak doesn’t disclose what it uses for scent (so it may be natural, it may not be). There’s a scentless version of each for those whose skin is sensitive to this sort of thing, or just don’t want their lingerie to be fragranced.
However I have to say, the grapefruit Eucalan may as well have been scent-free! The fig Soak wash left my laundry lightly fragranced – it’s a subtle scent, but it’s definitely there, unlike the Eucalan which loses its scent the second it hits the water. It’s not a deal-breaker for me, but I do prefer the Soak in this respect.
What of the other ingredients? Mostly, both brands use gentle ingredients that won’t irritate sensitive skin (Soak even claims it can be used as a pet shampoo!) though the Soak ingredients list does include benzophenone-4 which can be irritating, and tetrasodium EDTA which has a very minor health risk. Eucalan’s ingredients list seems ‘cleaner’, though there is still ammonium lauryl sulphate in there which can irritate sensitive skin. A report however did determine this ingredient to be “safe in formulations designed for discontinuous, brief use followed by thorough rinsing from the surface of the skin“. I have mildly sensitive skin and I’m happy to say that neither of these had any adverse effect on me!
So to conclude, which one would I recommend? I’d hoped I might have a clear favourite but liked both products, they are very similar lingerie washes all things considered – so sorry for the anticlimatic ending! I know the one I personally will be buying again is Eucalan, because it’s cheaper and the ingredients seem a little more natural. If you’re set on a wash that leaves your lingerie drawer smelling beautiful though, it’s got to be Soak.
*Cost based on what I paid, which were the lowest prices I could find at the time of purchase. Based on the current lowest prices from UK online stockists (excluding sale/offer prices, and third party retail sites such as eBay) that I can find Soak Fig works out at 12.7p per use (£9.50 for 375ml here) and Eucalan Grapefruit at 10.9p per use (£10.94 for 500ml here). Most Soak stockists charge between £12 and £15 however, it is generally the more expensive product per 100ml.
Have you used Soak and/or Eucalan, or perhaps a different brands? What are your experiences with lingerie washes and which is your favourite?