Living a green lifestyle and saving money seem to go hand in hand, and enterprises around the world are always coming up with novel and innovative products which appeal to the eco-friendly and frugal living market. One of these inventions is the laundry ball, also known as the eco-ball, which you can use instead of detergent to wash clothes. In this article idea, inspired by www.lifeinsuranceaustralia.com, we’ll show you how!
Why Stop Using Detergent?
The first question that needs answering here is why you would want to stop using detergents to clean your clothes. Commercial washing powders and gels contain chemicals to whiten or brighten clothes, remove stains and give a fresh, clean fragrance. When your washing machine finishes its cycle, these chemicals go down the drain with the water and can have negative effects on the environment.
Additionally, some people believe that these chemicals can cause allergies and irritation of the skin, as residues are left on the clothes after the wash. Another reason to switch to laundry balls is that detergents can be expensive, especially if you have a large family and always seem to have a washing machine full of dirty clothes.
Manufacturers of laundry balls promote their products as being environmentally friendly, and a money-saver. For those who have yet to encounter them, a laundry ball is a small plastic ball, which is filled with smaller ceramic or mineral balls. These are placed directly into your washing machine as an alternative to using detergents, and depending on the brand can be used between 45 and 1500 times. Prices vary from as little as $5 to as much as $50.
Laundry Balls Put to The Test
I was given a non-branded laundry ball by a friend and decided that it sounded like a brilliant idea, so I was eager to put it to the test. Over a period of 3 months, I used the laundry ball to wash my clothes, and the results were noticeable…but not necessarily good.
General discussions across the web suggest that what puts most people off laundry balls is the lack of fragrance. I was happy to keep an open-mind about this – after all who needs their clothes to smell of rainbows anyway? However, after trying a few washes, it was my other half who complained that the clothes just didn’t smell nice anymore, and I had to agree. Following a suggestion found online, I added a few drops of essential oils to the wash, hoping for a cleaner scent, but it seemed not to have an effect.
More importantly, I felt that the laundry ball was not getting my clothes clean enough. When garments were very dirty (we are renovating a property, so the laundry ball was really put to the test!) they weren’t coming out of the wash clean first time. We also noticed that “whites” were looking dingier and greyer, which is OK for loungewear but not so great if you have to head to the office.
I admit – despite my determination to live a more sustainable lifestyle, I gave up on my laundry ball and starting buying detergent again.
Give Laundry Balls A Go?
My experience with laundry balls was not great. The overall result of using a laundry ball seemed to be the same as using just water to wash my clothes, a comment which has been echoed elsewhere on the web. Studies into laundry balls of all types have shown that the movement of the ball in the wash is generally responsible for the cleaning action, despite the fact that many companies claim their product uses a special ingredient or technology.
Should you give laundry balls a go? If you are curious and want to see the results for yourself, I suggest borrowing one from a friend, or buying a cheaper version from the discount store, since there seems to be no link between cost and efficacy.
Category: Frugal Living
About the Author (Author Profile)
Beck Middleton is a freelance writer who enjoys finding new ways to save money, while still getting the most out of life. Having bought a 110 year old property in 2010, Beck and her husband are stepping up to the challenges of renovating and updating their home whilst keeping to a budget. In her free time, Beck also spends time reading, gardening and picnics in the countryside.