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Calgon's marketing team has, in my opinion come up with a brilliant slogan- "washing machines last longer with Calgon"- I mean how do we prove them wrong?- the machine, I suspect, will not turn into a transformer and tap me on the shoulder one day and announce - " I would have died today if you hadn't used Calgon.......thank you so much".
According to their adverts only Calgon is any good- the cheaper options giving you half the protection- which is as bad as no protection.
So I use it, not every wash- it is a bit pricey at nearly £4 in my local supermarket for 15 tablets, using a cheaper brand on the other occasions- which I know is supposed to be not as good- but I try and tell myself that is just marketing. Finger's crossed.
It seems a good precaution as I live in an area of very hard water. And, as I say the company's claim that I am subjecting my washing machine to a slow and painful death if I don't use it- is an incentive. They add that my washing won't be as soft, that my machine won't be as efficient and I will end up using more detergents and facing heavy repair bills. Well how could I be so mean?
You have to place one Calgon tablet in the drum and then only use the recommended amount of detergent as you would for soft water areas, that way I will apparently have zero limescale in my machine. However you must remember not to use it when using the pre-wash setting.
My last machine lasted about ten years and I have recently replaced it- so that is what prompted me to write this review as I gather ten years is a long innings for a washer- so that must be the reason washing machine manufacturers recommend Calgon- because it works.
We've just moved to a really hard water area, there is a inbuilt washing machine that has been there for a bout 5 years that took so long to run through a cycle I was considering getting a new one.
On the advice of my mother in law I started adding water softener to the machine (I never really believed it was worth the extra money before) and every week after that the drain kept getting blocked up. They were getting blocked up with year's worth of lime scale being removed from the inside of the machine and the pipes.
This has not only prevented the build up of lime scale in my machine but has removed years of build up and stopped me having to get a new machine. In total spending a few pounds have saved me loads more!
I would more then recommend it to anyone, I've started to use less now that the build up has stopped coming off, but it still goes in every other wash.
I have seen no effect on my clothes from using theses and they left no residue on my hands.
Cost about £4.50 for 15 tablets
I am not what you would deem as a gadget type person, I usually leave that sort of thing to my husband as he is obsessed with them, there is one of a few gadgets in the house though, that I do have to have a lot of dealings with, the washing machine for one!
I am lucky that i have only had to buy two washing machines since I have been living with my husband, (yes, I know touch wood, it will probably bloody blow up now!)
Of both of the machines I seem to suffer with the same problems, the first being the conditioner draw not working.
Now in fairness I was a little green with the first machine, well no-one had told me that you had to remove the draw and clean it manually to remove mildew and scum, I just assumed that the powder would clean it as it went through! (Bless, I was only 19 when I got my first place!)
The second problem I have had with both machines is the grease spots that mysteriously appear on the clothes, even though I knew they weren't there going into the machine.
With my second washing machine I as of course a bit more savvy in the cleaning methods, I cleaned the draw regularly, I wiped the seal and inside drum with bleach, always putting a wash on with old towels after to clear the drum of any left over bleach.
And still my bloody conditioner has stopped being sucked through the machine, (if you have any suggestions please feel free to message me to a solution).
I mentioned this to my mum one day and she suggested using the product I will now (finally!) review.
The product I will now review is - "Express ball - Calgon tablets"
I have always been a little dubious of this product, not least because of the irritating advert and annoying theme tune that sticks with you the entire day, you know the one -
"Washing machines live longer with Calgon.....", sod off, washing machines live longer the less amount of times you use them more like, unfortunately I have 4 people living in my house, so it certainly does a few loads a day!
I decided though, that after I noticed a grease spot on my husbands shirt that something had to give, and the tablets are certainly cheaper than a new machine.
Now usually I start with a description of the packaging and state that it holds all the usual information...blah, blah, but this packaging actually contains a lot of very usual information, all of which I will go through.
The tablets state that they clean away any limescale present in your machine, not only are the pipes cleaned through, but also any plastic and rubber parts in the machine, apparently these collect a lot of limescale crusting, this in turn deteriorates the parts making them disintegrate.
They effectively clean all the limescale away from any working part in your machine, obviously if the machine is very old and gunked up it probably won't make much difference, but as mine is relatively new I hoped it would clean it up as new.
After this had taken place, I gave mine a good few washes before I expected to see any result, the product claims that it will prevent limescale collecting on the parts again, thus improving the efficiency of the machine and all it's working parts, reduces the amount of washing powder needed due to the afore mentioned point and finally due to the machine not having to work as hard to wash with a shed load of limescale on every part weighing it down, it uses less electricity, fingers crossed!
The tablets were not quite what I was expecting. I was expecting something along the lines of an Ariel tablet, but these are more like the dishwasher tablets that my mum uses.
I says that with every wash, one Calgon tablet should be placed in the draw on top of your usual detergent, this again baffled me, with most of my washes the powder doesn't all go through, so here was this product telling me to expect a solid tablet with a plastic looking ball on the top to be dissolved and dispersed throughout my machine, cleaning and creating miracles in the 20 seconds it takes my detergent draw to flush through with water, ok that might be a slight exaggeration, but you know what I mean!
I decided that if was to completely clean the machine through I would use half a box, obviously one a load, then reduce my usage down to every other load, thus hopefully keeping the machine clean and keeping the cost of buying these down also.
I do exactly as the box tells me to do, I load the machine, I put the detergent in and place a tablet on the top of it. I don't bother putting conditioner in, I was hoping that would sort itself out after a couple of Calgon washes.
I have to be truthful, as soon as the machine starts up I get tempted to open the draw slightly to see what the tablet actually does when the water hits it, and the result was quite amazing.
As soon as the water hit's the tablet it almost fizzes away, I did check the box to see if this was what was supposed to happen, but there is no reference to the tablets actions anywhere, so I just stood and hoped it was having some sort of reaction to my new and cheap Asda washing powder ( review to come, lol!).
Once the load had finished I emptied the machine eagerly, not quite sure what I expected upon removing the clothes from the drum, but there was obviously nothing to report.
After a few washes I did notice that the clothes were coming out less, well how can I put it, less dishevelled and slightly softer to the tough.
There have been some rather large mildew stains on the rubber seal of the door for a while now, and even with a good bleach cleaning these didn't budge, but have since disappeared with the help from Calgon.
My conditioner draw has yet to regain consciousness though, but I live in hope that a revival mat be on the cards any day soon!
There have, however, been a dramatic reduction in the grease spots on the clothes, I have not had any new cases since using these tablets, and I don't know whether it is my imagination, whether my kids have been exceptionally clean recently or whether these tablets have helped this but there seems to be less of my kids clothes with stains.
Before using these tablets there were certain "incidents" that meant there were some stains that were never to be removed. (My son found a red marker pen, after painting his eye lids and mouth he decided to draw on his clothes too!).
As I mentioned earlier the product states that one should be used in every wash, I think if you have been using them for a while this maybe a little excessive, and the fact that for a box of 15 x 218g tablets it will cost you nearly four pounds, I think that one in every other load would still stop the limescale building up.
The product states that this can be used with all fabrics, causing no damage to even the most delicate of loads, there is also no visible scent to them, meaning the scent of your detergent is not tampered with.
I am a convert! This does seem to have done exactly what it promised to do. The clothes are coming out better with no more machine added stains, the drum and other visible parts to me, seem to be cleaner and so cleaning my clothes better. I can't of course comment on the insides of my machine, but as I have noticed a difference in my clothes I can only assume that are improved also.
As this is marketed as a green conscious product there is a website that you can visit for further information on energy efficiency, this is -
For more information on this particular product visit - www.calgon.co.uk
Thanks for reading x
A few weeks back I noticed a problem with my washing in that on certain washes some of the clothes were getting a brown water mark on them which would not come out even after a second wash using a product like vanich on the markked area, this meant that the item was usuelss and had to be thrown away.
Now the washing machine is a few years old and we had no real idea where the problem was, we had cleaned out teh drum inside and the soap powder tray, the feed pipes are plastic so it should not be rust and then my mother suggested that it could be limescale deposits causing the problem as we live in a hard water area.
She suggested Calgon and since I have started using this there has been no problem, initially I ran the machine a couple of times empty with just Calgon in it and that seems to have done the trick.
Calgon is a white powder and I think you can also get it in tablet form which counters the effct of limescale found in hard water areas, he calgon neutralises the limescale and flushes it away with the water from the wash. I add a spoon full of it alongside the washing liquid and it works on any wash temperature. In theory as it makes the water softer you will not need as much detergent but I have not really changed the amount I use.
Calgon is designed to be used in washing machines, to soften the water and help prevent lime scale build up on the elements and various metal components within the machine. Lime scale build up will damage all these bits and pieces and prevent the washing machine from working efficiently and in some cases the lime scale will become so bad that it can corrode the metal and break the machine. A further bonus is that if the washing machine is working efficiently, not only will it last longer but it will clean better and use less water.
This can particularly be a problem in areas of the country with hard water, because this contains more calcium, magnesium and other dissolved minerals that leave deposits in the form of lime scale. It also affects the way that detergents work and prevents them from foaming and hence cleaning as well as they could. Bizarrely, this lime scale can also build up on clothes, making them feel hard.
The key to calgon is that it is a preventative measure. It is designed to be used from the start with a washing machine. It will not break down any lime scale that is already in place by the time you start using it. This is where some people go wrong. They have used their machine in a hard water area for years and then start using calgon, expecting it to sort out any existing problems. It will not. The company do not claim that it will. It is purely preventative, softening water to stop lime scale forming.
Calgon is recommended, not just by me but by Whirlpool, Bosch, Candy, Siemens, AEG and Hoover. We can't all be wrong!
It comes either in powder or tablet form. I prefer the tablets because I am lazy. I have used both and both work equally well. The box has a map of the UK showing which areas are hard water and which are soft. Alternatively, you can contact your local water supplier and ask them. If you do live in a hard water area, you will probably already know about it from the furry lime scale build up on the inside of your taps, kettle and shower head. If all these metal bits and pieces that come into frequent contact with water are as clean as a whistle you will be living in a soft water area and there is no need to use Calgon.
Calgon tablets are just under £4 for 15. That might seem expensive but when you consider the risk of not using it, you will realise it is worthwhile. Also, and more importantly for any money-savers out there, using calgon means that you use less detergent so even in the short term, it is not as expensive as it seems.
I am scared to write this in case it tempts fate but my parents' washing machine has lasted twelve years in a hard water area and still makes clothes clean and fresh as a daisy and so far there are no signs of it breaking down or even needing a repair. They have always used Calgon.
To conclude, move to an area with naturally soft water or start using calgon!
What is Calgon? What does it do? Is it worth buying?
The exact chemical composition of Calgon is probably not relevant to most consumers, so long as it is effective and is not dangerous - and no doubt the manufacturers tweak the formula every now and again anyway (New! Improved!). Physically, it comes in a box, either as a powder similar in appearance to washing powder or in cellophane-wrapped tablets, similar to dishwasher tablets. Although it has been around since the 1930s it seems it is still not widely known.
As a product, the purpose of Calgon is to soften the water in your washing machine. The benefits seem to be twofold: a better wash using less detergent; protection against lime scale build up in your washing machine, possibly extending its life and reducing running costs.
I have only used Calgon in its tablet form so far. Curiously, Calgon recommend the same dosage whatever the hardness using tablets (ie one tablet per wash), but to use a different amount according to the hardness of your water supply when using the powder. This suggests that either the tablets are over-treating (and wasteful) in soft water areas, or under-treating in hard water areas. I live in an area of very hard water and calculated that the tablets worked out more economical for me. However, in a soft water area the powder would be more economical. The Calgon box had a small map showing the hard and soft water areas though this information can be found more accurately by consulting your water supply company. In case of doubt, the inside of your electric kettle is a quick guide: clean like new: soft water; thick furry deposits: hard water.
Using Calgon I reduced the amount of laundry detergent to the amount required for soft water, as recommended by Calgon. The result was still a better wash with a noticeably softer feel to the laundry and no white specks on dark clothes. This has been true every wash. I could also see foaming in my washing machine, not apparent before, and a sure sign of softened water.
The protective effect on my washing machine has so far not been possible to assess. I find that washing machines usually last me at least 10 years and my present machine is still only two years old. Neither can I confirm a saving in running costs; my electricity bill covers too many other appliances to be able to isolate the cost of running the washing machine. However, given that nearly all my washing is done at low temperatures (30 or 40 degrees C) there should not be much lime scale forming anyway. If you regularly do a "boil wash" then the benefits of Calgon in protecting against lime scale build up would be more significant. But who wants a 20 year old washing machine?
I have also used a supermarket own-brand equivalent (in powder form). This worked out cheaper than Calgon but was messier and more difficult to use (the powder caked together). It also required a very large dosage, so much so that my washing machine detergent tray was almost overflowing. Results seemed similar.
I have noticed that some laundry detergents state that that they too contain water softeners. On the other hand it is not possible to verify how much and whether it is suitable for the water hardness in your area. And clearly, the more water softener they contain the less detergent they have.
Calgon states it is the only product of its kind recommended by most major washing machine manufactures.
Calgon comes in small tablets. At http://www.calgon.co.uk/ users are advised to use one tablet of Calgon to each wash. Theoretically Calgon eliminates lime scale which builds up in hard water.
Hard water is water rich in minerals. When washing machine is used some of these minerals stay in the machine in form of lime scale (chalky deposit).
Washing powders contain ingredients which soften the water.
Calgon is a product formulated to prevent limescale in washing machines. The tablets are commonly used in washing machines. Calgon recommends one tablet in each wash. Calgon recommends people living in hard water areas should follow this to eliminate avoid limescale. I dispute this.
Each tablet costs roughly 18p. I have been using my washing machine for 8 years, It hasnt gone wrong and lime scale hasnt affected the performance or the machine. During this time I have done thousands of washes and rough calculation tells me that I have saved hundreds of pounds.
Calgon is unnecessary product. It increases the cost. I am definitely against the use of Calgon.
Calgon is marketed as a product which protects your washing machine and prolongs its life. I live in an extremely hardwater area and although I had not noticed a problem with my washing machine I have had problems with limescale deposits hardening round cloth fibres and pet hairs which have been washed out of the machine and caused blockages in the waste pipe from the machine. On frequent occasions I had to dismantle the waste pipe and clear out calcified deposits. More recently I found that the exterior drain pipe to the main drain had blocked. After trying many of the drain cleaning products I realised that the problem was again calcified deposits. A very strong solution of Calgon left for 24 hours cleared the drain sufficiently to make it useable again. Since then I have been using Calgon every time I use my washing machine and have had no problems with the waste pipe and I am hoping that with continued use the calcified deposits built up from 20 years of washing machine discharge in the exterior drain will carry on being reduced.