Published in the January 27, 2017 edition
By RODI ROSENSWEIG ZIMMERMAN
MELROSE — With a degree in physics, a passion for collecting and restoring hundreds of vintage washing machines, and as a founding member of a club for washing machine collectors, Melrose entrepreneur Jon Charles uncovered a serious problem in the laundry industry. Detergents today have too many suds for the new, low water-use machines, are damaging washers, and are not getting clothes clean.
After seven years of extensive research, he made it a mission to educate consumers and save their washers, as well as his own 33 vintage machines and those of the 3,000 members of his washing machine club, by inventing a new formula that protected clothes and machines: Rosalie’s Zero Suds (named for his mother). Beginning this month, Rosalie’s is available in 10 stores in Massachusetts, including in Melrose, and nationally at www.zerosuds.com.
According to Rosalie’s inventor and CEO Jon Charles, “Today’s detergents are too sudsy and new machines are designed for low water use, so the suds don’t rinse out. Suds bind up the real cleaning agents so they can’t do their job. Worse, they dampen washers’ mechanical action, clog recirculating pumps, and can destroy expensive electronic parts on your machine. That is why new products to ‘clean your machine’ are now on the market. I want consumers to know that suds do not clean clothes, and they never did — even back in your grandmother’s day!”
As an expert on vintage washers, he was inspired to remake an original low-sudsing detergent from the 1950s for washers that he and his club restore. The formulas were originally invented for front-loading machines and were a dream for clothes (cleaner, brighter) and boon for washers (no residue or damage).
Jon Charles explains, “In Rosalie’s development we addressed several issues. People were happy with detergents from the ‘50’s to the ‘70s, and we wanted something similar. We had to develop a cleaning formula that was phosphate-free (phosphates can no longer be used) but worked as well as the old phosphate-laden brands, did not use suds in the cleaning, and have ingredients that comply with the EPA’s Design for the Environment – “DfE” criteria. Our formula works beautifully on clothes, machines, and is safe for the environment.”
Rosalie’s patented Zero Suds technology has higher concentrations of cleaning agents than most current brands, comes in a powder, and prevents oversudsing, giving consumers an almost suds-less flowing concentrated wash water for the deepest cleaning and fastest rinsing possible, without problems that suds can create. The formula deep cleans oil, grease and dirt; leaves clothes clean and bright; rinses away in any machine at any water level to keep the machine running at top performance; is gentle on the skin; and is environmentally sound in the process.
Jon Charles has loved doing laundry for 55 years — since his family’s 1956 GE washer. After graduating Boston University and making Massachusetts his home, he started rebuilding washers, often finding vintage ones at the town dump. He started his own “museum” – at one point owning 60 working machines. In 1989 he found an article in People Magazine about collecting washing machines, found four friends with the same interest, and started a club. Today, automaticwasher.org has thousands of members with the same passion for collecting and restoring washing machines. His oldest machine is a restored 1918 Easy he found lying in a barn. His newest is a Stainless Steel 2012 Speed Queen pair. Others include: a 1938 Bendix (“first automatic in the world”), 1951 Blackstone (“first ever stainless steel tub in home laundry”), 1957 Westinghouse Top of the Line, and a 1965 Norge top loader.
For more information and to order Rosalie’s Zero Suds visit www.zerosuds.com.