you know that I was choosing between several great Caldrea scents, and in the end I chose to go with the BBS), and today I was finally able to locate the new and improved, HE-compatible powdered Cheer!
I had heard rumors of Cheer switching to the “dark side” and releasing an updated, HE friendly version about a month ago, but didn’t want to write about it till I could confirm. I’ve heard nothing but great things about Cheer, and its main distinguishing feature is that it does not contain OBAs! Just like the expensive German Persil and Miele Color powders I normally use for my colored loads, but at a fraction of the cost. I had been visiting all of the local stores that sell Cheer several times a week, and finally today I was rewarded for my patience: they had just put out a bunch of new boxes, and all of them were the new HE version.
Optical brighteners in laundry detergent
So why is the lack of OBAs important? OBAs (optical brightening agents) are added to the vast majority of American laundry detergents to make whites seem even whiter, but the downside is that they can also cause colors to fade, especially with dark clothing. You know how your new black shirt can get this worn, dusty grayish cast that’s especially visible in daylight after only a couple of washes? That’s most likely OBAs doing their job, and exactly the reason why I don’t use detergents that contain them on colors. You can read a little more about the chemistry behind OBAs here and here.
Oh, and they also make Army uniforms a lot more visible (not quite glow in the dark, but close), which is why detergents with OBAs are not recommended for washing ACUs.
I have not had a chance to try the new HE Cheer out yet (I’m kicking myself for washing all of my colors yesterday, when I was trying out the Caldrea, which smells lovely by the way), but here are my first impressions.
The Cheer Powder Laundry Detergent Box
First of all, I have a love-hate relationship with P&G boxes. On the one hand I love that they are made out of 100% recycled paper, and that they can be further recycled after use. I’ve been really trying to move away from plastic as much as possible, so the paper is a very welcome type of packaging. But at the same time, it is just so messy! This all came out as I was opening the box. Once I shook out the powder stuck between the layers of cardboard I had a small pile of detergent on my table! So yes, make sure you open the box somewhere that you can easily clean up.
Inside the Box
The powder is all white, and the smallest particles are fairly fine and dusty – you can see all that detergent dust on the scoop. The scent is very pleasant and not as strong as Tide.
The instructions are pretty detailed. I’m not sure why they have 5 levels on the scoop if you only use 1, 3 and 5, but I’m sure there’s some reason!
Speaking of the scoop, I actually got the old version, with just 3 lines. They were not clearly visible in the picture, so I added the green lines to make it easier to see. Line 1 is about 5 Tbsp of detergent, although in that case the math doesn’t quite work out: the box is 112 oz, and they promise 80 loads at line 1, which means line 1 should be… 1.4 oz (no, I did not do that in my head). 1.4 oz is roughly 3 Tbsp (1 Tbsp = 1/2 oz), so if you use line 1 you’ll get about 45 loads out of the 112 oz box, and not 80. I think I’m going to start with 4 Tbsp and go from there to see which will be closer to the actual amount needed for cleaning.
So to wrap things up, if you’ve been looking for an inexpensive laundry powder that doesn’t have OBAs but does contain enzymes (however, just one enzyme: you can view the full ingredients list here), and is HE compatible, you can now buy Cheer powder laundry detergent! I paid around $11 for the 80 load box.
THE Cheer Powder Laundry Detergent WAS PURCHASED BY ME FOR PERSONAL USE. THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS AFFILIATE LINKS THAT WILL GIVE ME A SMALL COMMISSION ON ANY PURCHASES MADE THROUGH THE LINKS.