I recently purchased some Orvus Quilt Soap. I hadn't really looked into it much until I found out that a friend of mine was looking for some.
It's been around for nearly 50 years and is commonly used by veterinarians to clean animals, or to remove manure stains on show animals. Great for those who use raw wool!
It contains no bleaches, dyes or fragrances, so if you have allergies this could be a great product to use.
It is made with sodium lauryl sulphate, a wetting agent which makes water even wetter. It penetrates the fibers to lift out stains, and rinses right out, leaving no residues. It is great for lifting oily stains. Sodium lauryl sulphate is found in many things we use every day, like toothpaste, detergents, bubble bath, shampoo, laxatives, to name a few. Like anything, it is safe to use in proper quantities, and there is no evidence of it being carcinogenic.
Apparently, Quilt museum conservators and England's Royal Academy of Needlework use it all the time.
Quilters all over the world love it, some pre-wash their fabrics with it before putting them in a quilt. Some use it diluted in a spray bottle to pre-treat stains. Mostly it is well-known for cleaning those valuable quilts that we spend so much time and money producing!
I ran a small test with it...I took some "clean", but dingy, dishcloths that I don't like to use in my kitchen anymore. I had washed them regularly with bleach and detergent. In my washing machine, I soaked them in a solution of Orvus and hot water, then agitated them, and sure enough, they came out whiter. Not real white again, but whiter than they'd come with my regular washing.
I plan to use it to wash my wool comforters and my antique linens, hopefully it will get some of those old stains out!