Wayce Bartels’ cottage industry making all natural home products, like many such businesses, was born out of a desire for products to meet her own needs which she then shared with family that generated word-of-mouth and voila…Made With Love is cleaning up.
“I’ve always been pretty natural,” says Wayce. “We eat healthy and local, I use little make-up and when I do it’s all natural. I decided to take a good look around the house to see what else I could change. How important is our washing? Think about your clothes and sheets and how they contact your skin.”
Regular detergents are loaded with alcohol, dyes and artificial scents, she says. “The stronger a product smells the worse it is for you.”
Wayce says that many “all natural” cleaning products marketed in stores are not really so natural and devoid of toxins, allergens and carcinogens nor are they sustainable and economical.
After extensive research and experimentation she settled on using soap berries in her liquid laundry soap.
Soap berries gave her a natural, biodegradable and petroleum-free laundry soap alternative. They grow as a fruit on trees in Nepal and India. The tree itself is from the genus Sapindus. Soap berries contain large amounts of saponins in their shells, which are a natural surfactant. Surfactants are compounds that lower the surface tension of a liquid, and so can be used as detergents or foaming agents.
To get technical, surfactants break the surface tension of the water to penetrate the fibers of your clothing, lifting stains from the fabric and leaving dirt suspended in the water that is rinsed away.
Wayce’s Made With Love Soap Berry liquid laundry soap is gentle on both clothes and skin, making them ideal for those with sensitive skin and allergies. Because they are so mild, they are perfect for baby clothes and even cloth diapers. Soap berries are also great for septic and grey water systems. Unlike commercial soaps, that have artificial foaming agents, soap berries do not produce lots of bubbles or foam so will work well in HE washers. While commercial detergents and soaps have marketed heavily around that visual, foam simply is not an indicator of cleaning power.
The berries are wild-harvested, meaning they are gathered from wild trees grown without any kind of chemicals, fertilizers, or pesticides. Saponin actually tastes bad to insects so no pesticides are needed and the trees naturally love poor uncultivated soil.
That’s all well in good but the stuff’s got to work well. I gave it a six load whirl and so far so good. She adds some essential oils (like lavender, lemon or grapefruit) from Naramata’s Pure Potent WOW to the liquid Soap Berry so your clothes smell nice or you can go with unscented.
“My husband works in mining and getting his socks clean was my ultimate test,” she says. “Whites stay white.”
She sells her laundry soap in 500 ml jars for $12 and each jar will do 40 loads of washing. She accepts the mason jars back for a dollar off your next one.
Another product in her green clean arsenal are wool dryer balls that she makes from Alberta wool. Six to nine dryer balls will help fluff up clothes, prevent static and actual reduce dryer time, saving energy, says Wayce.
How dryer balls work
Dryer balls are used to help dry clothes more quickly than usual as well as to soften fabrics in the dryer. When you load a big armful of wet towels into the dryer they will flop and tumble around. Normally fabric will stick together in the dryer, slowing down the drying process.
When you add dryer balls into your clothes dryer the balls will get in-between the towels and clothing. The balls will separate and pull them apart with their weight. This in turn allows more hot air in and around your laundry helping the dryer to heat your laundry more quickly and suck the evaporated water out of the dryer more efficiently.
Good in theory so put it to the test
I washed two loads of six towels and tried them in the dryer with and without the Made by Love dryer balls. The load with the dryer balls was done about eight minutes sooner than the load without. Claim proven. That is a good energy savings right there and the towels in the dryer ball load came out nice and fluffy. Savings are even greater when you think of all the dryer sheets you don’t have to buy. The balls will last from 500 to 1,000 loads before needing to be replaced. A few drops of essential oils on the balls will make your clothes smell nice too.
“I buy the wool from a custom woollen mill in Alberta and its nice to shape and work with,” she says. “My husband helps me make the balls if I pour him some wine. They are time consuming and hand crampy to make.”
She also makes and sells canned goods and dried fruit from locally sourced produce. Her salsas are garnering a loyal following and sell-out.
Kermit has it all wrong, it’s easy to be green when there are local products that are economical, do the job well and are good for you and the environment.