This Eco-Friendly German Bleach Worked Wonders on My Stained Kitchen Towels

published Jan 23, 2022
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

I’m always looking for new-to-me products that’ll make cleaning in the kitchen easier. That’s why, after reading an article in The Strategist about Sonett — an eco-friendly, German-made, and biodegradable bleach product that seemed too good to be true — I immediately bought the stain remover with the intention of putting it to the test on my own dingy kitchen linens.

It took me a while to perform my experiment because I was busy reading up on the company, which it turns out has been around since 1977. I was intrigued — how could a bleach product keep colors safe and be environmentally-friendly and brighten even the grayest, dullest whites? I wanted to understand the science before I tossed a scoop in my washing machine and down my drain.

Turns out, it’s actually not that complicated: This gentle bleach is made from organic, wild-growing plants and is even hypoallergenic. Oxygen is released when the powdered product gets dissolved in water, which breaks down and lifts the stains. But, the big question is, would it actually work?

Credit: Rochelle Bilow

I was ready to test my tub of Sonett on a set of beloved linen napkins that looked a bit tired. They hadn’t suffered any major stain casualties, but after almost daily-use, they looked mottled and dull. The night before my intended experiment, I accidentally spilled half a glass of red wine on my coffee table (sigh) and reached for the closest thing: one of those linen napkins. Now the stakes were really high: Could Sonett erase my Blaufränkisch boo-boo?

The instructions on the tub note that Sonett can be added directly to the washing machine, but my tie-dyed napkin was begging for an overnight soak, which the directions also recommend for tough stains. I filled a bay of my plugged sink with hot water, stirred in a scoop of powder, and added all of the linens — even the ones that were just dulled. The instructions noted that soaking fabrics could be weighted down with a plate, a smart tip I used to ensure every bit of fabric was submerged.

Credit: Rochelle Bilow
Putting eco-friendly Sonett to the test.

The next morning I drained the sink and was shocked at how murky the water looked. Frankly, I wasn’t expecting much for a linen that was almost completely wine-purple. After wringing out the napkins, I tossed them in the wash per usual — no added bleach. After a normal wash and dry cycle, they were… well, see for yourselves!

Credit: The Kitchn | Rochelle Bilow

My napkins were all clean. Every single one! Know that I don’t say this lightly: I was genuinely shocked that the red wine napkin was just as spotless as the rest of the linens. And the pretty floral design on each one was just as visible as before: No color fading.

At almost $15, the tub of Sonett wasn’t cheap. But like all bleach products, it’s meant to be used sparingly. I’m going to keep this on hand for my dull and stained laundry because it works better than anything I’ve tried. The fact that it’s biodegradable, free of synthetic fragrances, and gentler on the environment just seals the deal.

How do you handle stained linens and kitchen towels? Tell us in the comments below.