- BLUEBERRY JUICE
- VEGETABLE PURÉE
- TOMATO JUICE
- HIGHLIGHTER MARKER
- SHARPIE MARKER
Unicorn Beyond Clean
This wool wash came out on top in my test which wasn’t all that surprising since it’s specially formulated to be tough on grease, soiled diapers and stains. There was a noticeable difference in its cleaning action at the 15 min, 30 min and 1 hr mark compared to all other washes tested. For this reason, I think Unicorn’s Beyond Clean is the best choice for cleaning lanolized wool knits that have either been heavily soiled or are starting to smell. This is also a great choice for regular washing if you prefer to not have to soak your wool for long periods of time as it was the fastest acting wash on the stains and dirt.
Many people think that this detergent is really harsh and should only be used for “stripping” their covers, however, Unicorn assures me that this wash is not harsh on the wool fibers and is good for frequent use on your diaper covers. Note that Unicorn Beyond Clean is great on lanolized diaper covers since it will actually get the covers clean by removing the old lanolin. Old built-up lanolin can become rancid and harbor smells which are easily washed away with with Unicorn Beyond Clean. These smells may otherwise be left behind if a milder wool wash is used that doesn’t cut the waxiness of the lanolin.
Beyond Clean baby detergent is unscented but Unicorn Fibre also makes a lightly scented version called Power Scour that is otherwise identical. The instructions for Unicorn Beyond Clean call for twice the amount (0.5 oz/gallon) necessary for hand-washing a couple diaper covers: Beyond Clean is marketed for use with baby clothing and diapers and the company wants to ensure that enough detergent is being used to get these items clean. We used half of the recommended amount in our wool wash test (0.25oz/gallon) since this is sufficient for hand-washing wool knits as confirmed by Unicorn.
Best for: heavily soiled/stained or smelly knits, removing lanolin build-up
Strengths: toughest on stains, fastest acting, good for cloth diaper washing too
Unicorn Fibre Wash or Unicorn Beyond Fibre Wash
This wool wash was a close second which was apparent by the 30 minute time point. It actually out performed the winner on both coffee and sharpie marker stains. Unicorn Fibre Wash and Beyond Fibre wash are excellent choices for day to day knit washing. If you have at least 30 minutes for soaking these two versions of Unicorn Fibre Wash are quite effective on stains.
Based on frequent personal use I can vouch for the cleaning power of Unicorn Fibre Wash; it has kept all of our wool diaper covers stain free with the exception of one rust stain. Note that I soak my knits as soon as a potential stain is discovered to avoid it from completely drying and setting into the fibers. I almost always use tepid water between 98 and 100º F. With this routine our diaper covers come out smelling fresh and looking clean every time.
To clear up any confusion, Unicorn Fibre Wash and Unicorn Beyond Fibre Wash are identical with the only difference being that the standard Fibre Wash has a mild lavender fragrance. The Beyond product is unscented and marketed for use with baby items or for those with sensitive skin. There is also a difference in the product instructions; two times the amount is suggested for the Beyond version compared to the standard version.
This difference is again to ensure that those who are using this product to wash soiled cloth diapers use enough detergent to get these items clean. For hand-washing knits 0.25 oz/gallon of tepid water is sufficient for cleaning your wool diaper covers. If you feel your diapers are extra soiled it’s safe to increase the concentration to 0.5 oz/gallon of water. For washing soiled diapers I personally recommend using the more powerful Unicorn Beyond Clean to keep your cloth fresh and free of build-up.
Best for: All purpose wool wash, stains and/or moderate-lightly soiled knits
Strengths: tough on stains, fast acting
Kookaburra Wash was slow to start but after about 2 hours of soaking it started to catch up to some of the other washes. By the end of the test it did well and compared closely to the Unicorn washes with the exception of the tomato juice and green vegetable stains which were a weakness for Kookaburra Wash.
One noticeable thing about this wash is that it has a distinct tea tree oil scent that remains after your knits are rinsed and dried. This may be a turn-off for some while for others it might be a plus for baby detergent.
This wash is good for fibers of all types and is safe for use in your machine for general purpose laundry washing. Also hypoallergenic and a good option for those with sensitive skin.
I have not used Kookaburra often but at its low price-point (12 cents per hand-wash) I think it’s good option if your knits aren’t heavily soiled. Otherwise you’ll need to allow for longer soaking times with this option compared to some of the other washes.
Best for: medium-mildly soiled knits
Strengths: lowest cost
Weaknesses: out-performed by other washes on stains, slower acting, only comes in tea-tree oil scent
Eucalan performed similarly to the Kookaburra in that it took a little longer to notice the laundry detergent for babies cleaning action. Stains began noticeably fading at around 1 hour but were still brighter compared to the other washes. By 2 hours the stains faded more but were still brighter than the leading washes. When the stains were closely compared by the end of the test, Eucalan fell short on most of the stains (blueberry juice, vegetable purée, tomato juice, and coffee).
I used the unscented version of Eucalan but it comes in several scented varieties. It’s priced well at 13 cents per hand-wash and I think it would be a good choice under these conditions: 1) your knits are not that dirty/stained 2) your looking for a low-priced wool wash and 3) you don’t like the idea of the tea-tree oil scent of the Kookaburra Wash.
Best for: medium-mildly soiled knits
Strengths: low cost, comes in unscented or scented varieties
Weaknesses: out-performed by other washes on stains, slower acting
Soak received the lowest scoring by the end of the stain test and is also the most expensive wool wash we tested. The notable weaknesses of this wash were blueberry juice and highlighter marker.
Personally I would choose Kookaburra or Eucalan over this wash since they are both cheaper and performed better on the stains. I’m not here to bash any product, however, and would like to point out that this wash would be a great choice if one was looking for something that comes in several different trendy scents. The scent I tested was “fig” which was light and sweet. The scent remains detectable in garments after rinsing and drying which is mild and pleasant and a plus for this product if you like for your laundry to be mildly fragrant.
Best for: lightly soiled knits
Strengths: comes in hip/trendy scents, good for mildly soiled knits
Weaknesses: cleaning action was weakest, most expensive