An unassuming purchase which makes a huge difference!
Reducing plastic consumption has been, for the past couple years now, one of my goals. It’s a never ending goal, as plastic sneaks its way into our lives, at every chance it has.
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Trying to green my laundry routine…
Over the year, I’ve tried many things to reduce plastic containers linked to laundry. Obviously I have been using eco-friendly detergents for years but these still came in plastic bottles. Then, we were able to purchase laundry detergent in refill bags. These seemed as a great alternative as they are made of less plastic but unfortunately such plastic is also apparently not recyclable or at least not recycled. And these were not always available, for some unknown reasons.
I’ve tried soap nuts but couldn’t like them. I’ve tried and tried, with essential oils too, but the smell…
Indeed, I should have tried to make my own detergent and have been putting it off, for buying all the ingredients and messing it up or at least not liking it, was a real possibility! Note that Borax is apparently banned in the EU, as it is considered reprotoxic. Mentioning this as it is widely used in US home made laundry detergent recipes.
Suddenly, it seems that Facebook read my mind (again!) and showed me an add for the Tru Earth Laundry Strips. That sounded really good! Just one strip in the wash machine per load, no plastic wrapping, a great space saver… I had to investigate. It bothered me to get my laundry detergent from across the globe (Tru Earth being a Canadian company) but then again, it made me realize I don’t really know where my current laundry detergent is made either. So I went to see if Amazon had the product available. And Amazon being what it is, I never purchase the strips.
And then I got a laundry ball!
Instead of the strips which you have to keep buying, I got a laundry ball which is supposed to last something like 1500 washes. Even with something like 2 to 3 cycles per week, it means it should last between 9 to 14 years!
To be honest, even if it last a bit less, I’ll still be happy. This is a huge saving on laundry detergent & plastic bottles.
Indeed the ball itself is made out of plastic. But again, if it last as long as advertise, it’s far far less than the number of plastic bottles or refills we would have bought.
I got this one from ProfessionalTree. I bought a set of 2 to give one to my dad. Laundry detergent bottles can be quite heavy, so I thought that would be helpful.
A similar design sold in the US would be this one from GreenWashBall. I can’t be sure it is exactly the same but it sure looks identical.
So how does it work?
The ball is filled with different types of ceramic beads which are supposed to each have a different action including anti-bacterial.
I can’t confirm it actually is anti-bacterial, I can’t confirm it kills germs either. But I actually can’t confirm my old laundry detergent did those things either, I suppose it did because it claims so and I assume such claims are based on appropriate research.
The only thing I can actually confirm is that my clothes look clean.
With the first few loads, I actually wasn’t even sure because my t-shirts were not filled with stains before washing. But eventually I had to wash the trousers I wear in my dad’s garage and… I was impressed! The second big test came when I had to wash my white carpet which I had not so gracefully decorated with a big chocolate stain… That worked out great as well! I must disclose that I had pre-washed and used white vinegar on it though.
And the last, non glamorous test came with my partner’s cycling gear. Hum… how to say this… these items of clothing do not always smell great! My regular laundry detergent didn’t always do the trick either, so I had learned a while back, to avoid mixing my clothes with his gear! Well, I was extremely surprise that the laundry ball actually removed the smell! Now that’s magic!!
So, indeed, after 4 months of using it, I’m 100% happy.
The comments on Amazon
There are lots of comments on Amazon on such products. Here are the main sorts:
The main issue some people faced is that the ball opened and the beads escaped after just a few wash. That didn’t happen to me or my dad (4 months of usage), so I guess these people were unlucky, or maybe didn’t respect the water temperature restriction or something like that?!
There are some comments about the scent. Mine just does not have any scent. Some people are happy about it, some aren’t, mostly because what it says on the box and on the Amazon’s page doesn’t match (which does happen more often than not). Some people seemed to have received scented ones… Well this all scent thing is a bit of a mystery. I’m happy with no scent!
One very interesting comment I read was someone explaining that when you first start using a ball like this one, your clothes might smell bad. Such person then went on to explain that such smell comes from your previously used laundry detergent’s build-up and that it takes a few wash for such build-up to be removed. Not sure what to think of that.
I can confirm my first load didn’t smell that great and I assumed I had just put too many clothes in the machine for the ball to roll. I don’t know. I didn’t have any issue after that.
Finally, another type of comment I found interesting is that it doesn’t work so well on grease stain. Well, it worked very well on my “garage trousers” so I can’t complain on that front. But being #ChildFree, I’m guessing I never really face the worst type of stains there are!
Are laundry balls a big scam?
Let’s be clear right away: I don’t know but I’m late making such purchase as laundry balls have been around for at least 2 decades and by now, studies have apparently been conducted and scientists have concluded that laundry balls do not work.
Wikipedia extract here: Washing with laundry balls is as effective or less effective than washing without detergent. The effect can largely be attributed to the mechanical effect of the ball or to using hot water instead of cold water.
Not that Wikipedia is proof but as usual, it does provide plenty of links, if you wish to go down the Internet rabbit hole on such topic.
In short, scientists say laundry balls do not work and yet, hundreds of thousands of people are still happy using them and getting clean laundry out of their wash machine. 🤷♀️
And for now, I’ll remain one of these people!
Hooray to my mysterious & magical purchase of last year!