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Trib Tested: Roux Maison Sport Detergent

| Monday, Jan. 23, 2012

One must take the claims of eco-friendly detergents with a grain of natural, chemical-free salt. Roux Maison Sport Detergent allegedly cleans and preserves synthetic athletic garments in a way that doesn't harm the environment. But are their therapeutic-grade essential oils really a match for the rank and foul of a runner's wardrobe• Winter is a taxing time for our long-suffering washer, because running in cold weather requires the layering of tights, wind jackets, gloves and hats. So, we were excited to try a "highly concentrated" detergent that would require a few thimble-size capfuls to banish the stink genie.

Could Roux Maison Sport Detergent clean the Underarmor compression shirts and Mizuno running tights• We'd have to say yes, although it didn't seem to get them any cleaner than, say baking soda or white vinegar. But perhaps the real value is long-term, because Roux Maison might preserve the technical properties of the clothing, which isn't cheap.

-- William Loeffler

I put Roux Maison Sport Detergent to an extreme test: A full load of sweaty practice jerseys and game uniforms from my resident high-school basketball players. Whoa, my nose could use a clothespin when gathering these items and hoisting them into my front-loading, high-efficiency washer. I loaded the sports items and pulled out the dispenser drawer. I didn't read the directions closely enough and didn't limit my dose to just two tiny thimble-size capfuls. I probably was closer to four capfuls for the load.

My machine didn't register a suds alert with the extra detergent, but the result was terrific. I could not detect any lingering sweat odors in the armpits of the uniforms and practice jerseys. The entire load received a thumbs up. The Sweet-Tea scent was not overpowering and, also important, did not come off as girly.

A second load came out just as clean, but again, I couldn't bring myself to use only two tiny capfuls. For a third load, I pitched the dirty stuff into the washer and carefully poured in the two thimbles-worth of detergent. Call it a mother's intuition, but it was not as successful. Roux Maison might be highly concentrated, but two caps worth didn't perform the same magic. The clothes seemed passably clean, but harbored traces of sweat in the pits.

I liked Roux Maison at my dosages , but I'm not sure it's any more successful than Tide Sports with Febreze, which gets many more loads than this slim $17 bottle. Plus, the Tide cap is not a messy challenge. The container is the size of a typical bottle of water we drink -- a half-liter -- and it claims that amount will clean 40 loads. My guess is it will last through about 20, maybe 25, loads.

-- Rebecca Killian

I'd never really considered the scent of sweet tea until I found myself doing laundry with a detergent claiming that aroma. But it seems appropriate -- clean, fresh and sweet -- for how you hope your athletic gear will smell after washing. The scent also makes sense on a geographic level with Roux Maison's Southern heritage, based as it is in Nashville.

It works for me. I don't consider a workout worth the time if it doesn't leave you practically dripping. I know I've been successfully active when I get in my cold car and steam up the windows on my way home from the gym. It takes the smallest amount of Roux Maison detergent to clean and freshen those ripe workout clothes. And I like knowing it will help maintain the integrity of the fabric.

The price compares favorably to Woolite, considering the amount of detergent needed for a wash cycle.

Roux Maison makes a whole line of detergents -- essential, delicate, stain-remover and swimwear, in addition to the sport detergent we tried. My experience with this product makes me want to try more.

-- Sally Quinn

Additional Information:

Roux Maison Sport Detergent

The claim: This new eco-friendly home laundry product that utilizes natural ingredients is ideal for athletic clothing. It is custom-blended with 100 percent natural, essential oils that are synthetic-free and preservative-free. Roux Maison Sport Detergent eliminates dirt, odor and bacteria and works to maintain the elasticity of lycra, spandex and high-performance fabrics so they won't stretch unnecessarily or deteriorate prematurely. It allows waterproofing qualities to remain intact and continue to breathe and wick away moisture as intended. Available in Ambrosia, Sweet Tea and Fragrance Free.

Cost: $16.99 for 16 oz. bottle

Where: Here

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