* Prices may differ from that shownMore Offers
I've never seen anything like that! Horrible and ridiculous, doesn't make your washing smell nice at all and doesn't soften it. What's more, it makes all white go grey very quickly! Over-rated ! I would definitely advise against buying eco balls unless you want to destroy your favourite clothes!
I'm not an eco warrior but the facts that these eco balls are natural and environmentally friendly are a real bonus. The pack also states that you can cut your laundry bills by 80% using Ecoballs. This is a very impressive claim!
The real reason I gave them ago is because of my partner's sensitivity to detergents. I was very sceptical before purchase and rightly so. As much as my grandma raves about scrubbing clothes with a wash board and retelling the old tale of when she got stuck in a mangle. Washing without detergents is possible and yes stains do disappear but the clothes don't "feel" clean. They are lacking in the "just washed scent" and when the clothes dry; they are creased and stiff and not as a soft as when washed with powder.
Unfortunately for my boyfriend; we have had to go back to non bio detergent and the balls have a new lease of life as a play thing for the cat!
*Price and availability*
Ecoballs cost around £32.00. They are available from various websites. I bought mine from ecogreenstore.com. The pack contains 3 Ecoballs and 3 refills.
The eco balls look like chubby little flying saucers and are a very environmentally friendly green colour. Each eco ball contains a handful of little dusty pebbles which appear to be the key to all that "cleaning power." These contain Calcium Carbonate 30%, Anionic Surfactants 25%, Sodium Carbonate 17% and 4% Sodium Metasilicate. These work by ionising the oxygen in the water to penetrate the fibres of your laundry. They get underneath stains and expand the cloth fibres. This helps them lift up stains and dissolve them with ease.
You need to put all three balls in the machine on the top of your laundry for them to work. They can be placed in any sized machine; top loader or regular machine. I just slung them in one top of my load and hit go. At first I used the full 7 kg of my washing machine as I usually did and noticed that the clothes hardly looked washed at all. As I read further about them I discovered that it was advisable to use half a load with them, giving them more chance to move around and do the whole penetrating business. This makes sense but I was a bit disgruntled that I would need to do more washes than usual; taking more of my time up!
The maximum temperature recommended when using these is no more than 60°c which is fine because I hardly ever use hot washes. I like to wash my boyfriend's football kit and white work shirts on a hot wash because, he is a very sweaty dirty guy and his football kit is always covered in grass stains that don't come out in a regular wash. I think he spends more time on the floor, claiming fouls than actually playing! (Hope he doesn't read this...) I washed his kit; complimented with mud, sweat and grass stains and slipped in the trio of eco balls. The ultimate test...
The results? Mixed. They were passable for clean but some of the grass stains were visible. A little disappointing really. On other clothes I had better results and stains such as ketchup came out perfectly. It was the overall appearance of the clothes, they just didn't feel or look fresh unlike when washed with detergent. I definitely missed the just washed scent and this was the main reason why I gave them up.
If I continued to use them, they would have lasted around 18 months or 750 washes. They come with refills which are easy to add to the ball and top up the little supply of "pebbles". As the pebbles get more and more used they reduce in size. I guess similar to how stones get eroded by the sea. When it is time to revitalise your eco balls, you need to remove a stainless steel screw that keeps the ball together. Once this is done, twist the ball and it opens up, pour in the refill bag and seal it back up. As easy as that. The refills are available online and priced around £6.00.
The write up on these things sounds too good to be true. The idea is that you basically replace your normal detergent by putting these green balls in your laundry. The balls are filled with little spheres that somehow scientifically get all the dirt out of your washing without detergent.
Excellent, I thought. I have eczema, so life without chemicals sounds appealing. Also, having a family, I do about 10 wash loads a week, so spend a fortune on laundry products. I figured that although this product was expensive initially, at £32, I would save in the long term, because the balls were designed to last for a couple of years.
So I paid my money, hopeful that it wasn't in vain, and waited. I purchased the balls from an allergy catalogue, but they are widely available by mail order or online.
When the box arrived it contained 3 balls, which looked like flying saucers, as well as refill spheres and a small tube of eco stain remover.
The first time I used them I couldn't rwally tell whether they had worked. There was probably a fair bit of detergent residue on my washing anyway, from previous washes, and it looked relatively clean. I must admit I missed the "just washed" perfume, that you get with laundry detergent, as washing with the balls left no scent.
Things got tougher with subsequent washes. Whilst most things seemed to wash OK, the balls didn't really cope with anything with stains.
Although the write up says that they have been scientifically tested, i wondered whether these actually had any benefit compared to washing with water alone.
The most embarrassing experience I had was when my daughter went to stop with her nan. I packed her clothes, including pants, but was horrified when my mother in law pointed out that the pants had skid marks in them, and even asked "have you washed these?" I had!!!
At this point I had major doubts about the value of the product, and started going back to using detergent, adding the balls for a bit of "oomph."
Then one day it all ended in tragedy. I had a wash on and my toddler, unbeknownst to me, turned the dialup to full heat, mid wash. When i opened the machine, there were the eco balls, all deformed and split, with the little spheres rolling round everywhere. There is a warning about not washing them at high temperatures. There went my 32 quid.
I have not bothered buying a new set of eco balls. In my opinion they didn't work well enough to justify the price paid, which is a shame, because the product sounds amazing in theory.
When I saw these in a catalogue and worked out how much they could save me I had to give them a go - if they last as long as they say it should cost about 3p a load. Add to this the fact that you don't need fabric conditioner with them and you have to be on to a winner. I was also keen to try them because my daughter suffers from bad eczema and I thought a way of washing without detergent may help.
At first I was really pleased with them. However after a couple of washes my whites no longer looked very white so I tried some soda crystals with them as suggested on the packet and that seemed to help. However after a month or so even my dark jeans had a vaguely grubby appearance and there was a slightly unclean smell about my blouses.
I still use them but not on really grubby stuff. They are great for towels as not using any soap makes them come out really fluffy and they only really need freshening up rather than cleaning.
In my experience you get best results if you don't fill the washer too full. They also work better at higher temperatures; great on towels and duvet covers that can be washed at 60 and pretty inefficient on delicates that need to be washed at 40. Unfortunately neither of these things are ideal from an environmental or economy point of view.
As for my daughter's eczema - it does not appear to affect it one way or the other.
All in all a great idea but don't expect miracles.
I came across ecoballs about 2 years ago when I was using cloth nappies on the boys.
Someone said to me you put these 3 balls in to your washer and they wash your clothes. I thought right ok what are you on. so I bought some to have a go after reading alot of information on these.
I ordered them on line at £35 - I thought a lot to spend on 3 balls that you put in the washer.
Opened the box and was greeted by 3 strange looking things. Green spaces ships as I called them - green balls with a band of foam round the middle. - these really looked like something from out of space.
There do not smell.
Inside the balls there is little beads of natural salts and minerals.
I got a small load of washing and place my ecoballs in to the washing machine its states that no softener to be added to the wash either.
waited for the washing to finish,
pulled my clothes out and was surprised that they looked clean.
the only thing I missed was the nice smell you get from softener. these do not leave any kind of smell.
The clothes come up clean and didn't smell dirty. Even my white come up lovely
I wash the boys nappies with the balls they come up very clean and we do not get detergent build up..
works out about 3p a wish so a great money saver
I do a few drops of lavender oil or tee tree oil to the softener drawer to give the clothes a bit of smell.
Great for adults and children with sensitive skin.
I now only use these for nappies. but do the odd towel and clothes wash
husband likes the clothes to be super fresh and likes me to use liquid .
My mum gave me this set of Ecozone Ecoballs after she had received them as a gift. She asked me to try them out to see what I thought about them, knowing I like trying out new products. The box contained 3 Ecoballs, 3 refill packs, 45ml tube of Ecozone stain remover and a very handy instruction leaflet. Apparently the contents of the box allow you to do 1000 washes based on a 30 minute cycle in the washing machine. (The balls with pellets last up to 750 washes and the refills included provide an additional 250 washes) Those in hard water areas may achieve a lower amount. Just to let you know we live in a soft water area and a 60°c wash takes 1 hour 30 minutes in my machine, so I was interested to see how these perform
*** WHAT ARE THEY ***
Ecoballs are an environmentally friendly alternative to conventional washing detergents. Ecoballs are exactly that "Balls", made of plastic and green in colour with a sponge ring around them, making them resemble a UFO or Saturn (that's the planet not the Roman god of agriculture). I'd say they are about the size of a tennis ball (discounting the sponge ring). Each ball is filled with small round white and brown (more white than brown) pellets. These pellets do not contain soap, so they are kinder on the environment, your clothes and your washing machine. Because there is no soap present means you could actually save energy and water as you can dispense with the rinse cycle, that's assuming you have the facility on your machine to do so. The fact they don't contain any harsh chemicals suggests they are extremely good to use if you have sensitive skin. Not only are they hypo allergenic ( approved by Action Against Allergies in the UK ) but also have antibacterial properties too which kill Escherichia coli and Staphylococcus Aureus because the pellets raise the water PH to higher than 10 and such bacteria is only active in a PH of between 6 and 8.
You can use Ecoballs in all washing machines including top loaders and twin tubs; however you will need extra balls when using industrial sized machines. Apparently you can cut your laundry bills by 80% using Ecoballs. Ecozone advise that it is not possible to use water softener tablets whilst using the balls. They are rather tactile and attractive looking, but as the manufacturers advise, they are not toys and should be kept out of reach of animals and children.
**HOW THEY WORK**
By placing all three Ecoballs in the machine on the top of your laundry, the pellets set to work by ionising the oxygen in the water which then penetrates the fibres of your laundry to lift the dirt away without fading colours or damaging delicate fabrics. They also expand the fibres of the fabrics as they wash, which in turn softens your laundry without the need to use fabric softeners or conditioners.
It's important to point out that the maximum temperature recommended when using these is 60°c, anything higher would probably result in damage to the balls and a reduced life span, for this reason you MUST not use them in your tumble drier either.
For maximum effectiveness it is advised to reduce the amount of laundry you do each time as the Ecoballs need room to move around in the machine. Whilst you can save energy and water by cutting out the rinse cycle, I do feel that any such saving would be somewhat negated, as you end up splitting what was once one load of washing into two. I certainly found this to be so when one lot of bedding had to be washed in two loads so the balls could be accommodated accordingly.
The balls can be used continually throughout the same day, but it is advised that they are not left in the machine with wet washing any longer than necessary once the machine cycle has ended. Once you have finished your laundry for the day, be sure to remove the balls and allow them to dry before using them again another day.
If you miss the smell of your usual fabric conditioner then you can still use it but you are advised ( if your machine has a rinse hold function) to remove the balls before adding such to the dispensing drawer, by doing this you are removing any risk of chemicals coming into contact with the pellets inside the balls.
The pellets will decrease in size over time, when they reach the size of a match head, feel much lighter in weight or they no longer appear to be effective, then this is when you need to use the refills to replenish the Ecoballs. Although mine are not ready to be re filled I did follow the instructions, not only out of curiosity, but also to inform readers what exactly is involved. Firstly you need to remove the sponge ring, then using a Phillips screwdriver remove the stainless steel screw, turn one half of the ball one way and the other half in the opposite direction (I found this very easy to do) don't remove the pellets in the ball, just simply top up using a bag of refills for each ball. According to the instruction leaflet you should only need to top up after 750 washes (they estimate this as taking 18 months) After you have topped up using the refills included in the pack you can purchase extra refills (usually from the same place you bought your initial pack), which are in turn, designed to replace the remaining pellets left in the balls. Providing the outer casings of the balls are still intact and undamaged you can continue re filling for as long as necessary.
When the pellets have worn out, probably around the time you need to purchase refills, any remaining pellets left in the balls should be disposed of in your general household waste. They are biodegradable, so will not be contributing to landfill, nor be harmful to the environment.
The little round pellets contain the following active ingredients:-
Calcium Carbonate 30%, Anionic Surfactants 25%, Sodium Carbonate 17% and Sodium Metasilicate 4%
There are no toxic chemicals, harsh detergents, petrochemicals or animal testing involved in this product.
The stain remover included in the set contains Aqua, Cellulose Gum, Sodium Silicate, Sodium Dodecylbenzene sulfonate, Sodium Citrate, Zeolite and Sodium Hydroxide. There is no presence of Phosphates or fragrance and it has not been tested on animals.
**My EXPERIENCE **
I started using these in the middle of November 2008, firstly on a batch of towels which were placed in the machine along with the three Ecoballs using my usual (for towels)
60 °c wash. During the cycle I did notice a lot of "clanking" emitting from the machine, (it reminded me of the sound it used to make when I used to wash son's school trainers). I wasn't that surprised as I had expected some noise considering there were 3 plastic balls albeit with a sponge ring around them flinging themselves around in the drum. Cycle over, the towels emerged soft and smelling fresh. I would point out though that there were no visible marks or stains on them when they went into the machine so at this stage I was unable to pass judgement on the effectiveness of the balls to some degree.
Since my first en counter using Ecoballs , I have done over a 100 washes using varying temperatures from as little 30° right up the maximum of
60 °c (for towels and bedding), all of which have achieved mixed results.
They worked perfectly well on their own (and still do) on mud splattered Jodhpurs and muddy golf trousers, both of which seem to be regular weekly visitors to the washing machine these emerge fresh smelling, clean and soft.(without the aid of stain remover). They work well on all denim jeans and cotton items.
They certainly pass the male (and sometimes female) - sweaty - armpit - T shirt / vest test too, (when something is clean and dry but still pong's a bit), this surprised me somewhat as even some conventional detergents have been know to fail this in the past.
I did however encounter problems with a few other items that had a varying amount of food spills and drips which came out of the machine, the same as they went in. My fault really, as I should have had the foresight to treat such marks with the stain remover provided instead of relying on the balls to do all the work themselves. These marks included tea (that's the drink and not the meal), curry, and marmite. Now don't get me wrong we are not messy eaters but accidents do happen and in light of such stains requiring treatment before they go in the machine, I am seriously considering investing in some plastic Pelican bibs, if only to save on the laundry. Tooth paste, mascara and mayonnaise did come out though without the need to use the stain remover. I had just trained the two men in my life to separate their dirty laundry into two wash baskets, one for whites, and the other for coloureds. Now I have introduced a third for items with stains. This is purely for my benefit, I have found it saves time as I don't have to check every individual garments for items that require the stain remover treatment with all the stained stuff being is in the same place. I must say having to do this is somewhat of a hindrance, it certainly wouldn't normally be required when using my usual eco friendly Soapnuts or indeed a conventional laundry detergent.
I can however report pleasing results when using these Ecoballs on the handy Freshen up cycle that my washing machine has, for those not familiar with this, then it is designed for freshening up items that are clean, but haven't been worn for a while, or have been stored away. I tend to use this programme more in the spring (when bringing summer clothing out of hibernation) and again in the autumn when all the winter wear emerges again. I have used these Ecoballs on this programme on some curtains which I brought out of storage this winter and was more than pleased with the fresh smelling results.
I am not yet ready though to trust these plastic balls with my favourite winter woollies or other delicate items ( even if they were placed in a laundry bag) having seen the way the balls fling themselves around in the machine.
My main bug bear with these however, is the fact that to save you having to put things through the machine again, you really do need to check every item for any visible marks or stains and if in doubt treat with stain remover. It saves you the hassle of having to put items through the machine again because the marks are still there. Not only will this save you valuable time but perhaps more importantly energy (electricity) and water.
You may question why I am recommending these when my experience using them has been a bit hit and miss, well its simple really, they do work providing you pre treat stains before putting things in the machine and the fact I can use them and cut out the rinse cycle. They are perfect for use in the freshen up cycle (when I would have normally used a fabric conditioner) and yes I do think continued use would save money in the long run, seeing as the pack I have, giving me 1000 washes, only works out at 3p per wash. This could be counter productive though should the need for the use of stain remover increase as I would be purchasing more tubes of the stuff long before I am due to refill the balls with fresh pellets.
Just type Ecoballs into any search engine and you will have a plethora of links to sift through, I have therefore picked out just a few places you can purchase a set of balls for yourself.
As far as I am aware you won't find them on the supermarket shelves, you will see them in certain shops but are available mostly on line. I have also seen them advertised in the colour supplements tucked inside magazines as well as those that are included in some of the weekend tabloid newspapers. My son has also seen a cheaper version on one of the shopping channels (what I call trash TV) although these didn't appear to be called Ecoballs, but instead were marketed as Envirowash Balls, they didn't look the same either.
It is worth checking you are buying the real thing as some cheaper alternatives may well contain harmful ingredients such as SLS (sodium lauyrl/laureth sulphate) which could cause allergic skin reactions for some.
** John Lewis (where my mums came from)
3 ball pack, 1000 washes) 3p per wash. 45ml tube stain remover, 3 packs refills
£29.00 and is available both in store and on line.
** Ecozone (www.ecozone.co.uk)
3 ball pack (1000 washes) 3p per wash. 45ml tube stain remover, 3 packs refills
2 ball pack (150 washes) 7p per wash 45ml tube stain remover, 2 refill packs
Delivery charge of £3.95 applies to orders under £75.00
2 ball starter pack (150 washes) 7p per wash. 45ml tube stain remover. 2 refill packs
Available in store and online.
Orders under £49.99 carry a £4.25 delivery charge.
Further refill packs are available from all of the above and as you would expect, John Lewis is selling refills (6 x45g packs) enough for 750 washes for £19.50, but it is worth shopping around for the best deal.
No doubt you will also find Ecoballs on E bay and Amazon.
An important thing to point out is that Ecozone offer a full 30 day money back guarantee if you are not satisfied with their Ecoballs, just return the product to the place you purchased it with your receipt and a full refund will be given. This may sound tempting but in my humble opinion I don't feel 30 days is sufficient time to evaluate the product.
Previously posted on ciao with pictures.
© tune57 2009
Ecoballs are basically balls that you place in the washing machine with your washing, and are intended to replace washing powders and conditioners. They come in a green box, in which there is a set of three balls, three bags of refills (of the pellets which do the washing) and some stain remover. A box of three will set you back thirty pounds, which is expensive, but over the 18 month life of the ecoballs that will probably save you money. You can get these from John Lewis.
These balls are 100% hypoallergenic, residue free and antibacterial. They contain no chemicals whatsoever either, so they are ideal for sensitive skin and for those with any allergies. Even though there is no conditioner used on our clothes any more, they still come out of the washing machine really soft, and dont seem to fade at all either. Including the refills that come in the box, the balls last for about 18 months, or up to 1000 washes. They work best between thirty and sixty degrees celcius, so you could reduce your electricity bills.
As with any normal methods of washing your clothes, always check the label before washing. Place your wash in the machine as normal, but only fill the drum by two thirds, as doing this will allow the balls to work at their best (explained further on). Use your normal cycle, but DO NOT use a reduced cycle wash as the balls need to circulate throughout the wash. As the clothes wont have any chemicals in from washing, you can omit the rinse cycle if your machine allows. You can use these balls in any sort of washing machine, and also for washing delicate clothes.
The manufacturer, Ecozone, does give a couple of tips to get the maximum number of washes out of your balls. Firstly, they recommend you let the ball air dry out of the machine every night-you can use them one wash after another, just try to remember to take them out. Secondly, dont put them in the tumble dryer as this will reduce the life of them.
You may wonder how they actually work as they dont contain any chemicals. I will try my best to explain how they do work, but if you struggle, let me know and I will try again.
The balls increase the levels of alkaline in the water. When in water, the balls exceed OH (I dont have a clue what this means, so if anyone knows, I will adjust the review accordingly), which reacts with stains and dirt under saporification(this creates surfact-active agent which takes dirt away dirt). Activated molecules filter into clothing fibre and reduces the connection between dirt and your clothes. As the washing machine spins, the dirt becomes separated quicker and scatters into the water, and reaches cleanout. Mineral oxides somehow condition the water by changing its ionic structure. Sodium and potassium oxides dissolve into the water, increasing alkalinity (bacteria cant live in alkaline conditions, thus making the water antibacterial).
I got these originally as my partner has problems with washing powders. Since using these balls his skin has become a lot better. The cleanliness of our clothes is better than the non-bio we used before, so that is another plus in my book. If you think a stain will be tricky use the stain remover (rub into the stain and leave for a few minutes and put in the wash as normal), and this does help a great deal. Also we are saving money on not buying washing powder or conditioner, which is a plus at the moment.
For me the only real downside is that there is no 'freshly washed' smell. Our clothes do smell clean, but not like they do with a fabric conditioner. Some stains dont get out from clothes out but you cannot get every stain out with normal washing powder anyway, especially with a 17 month old running round!
I would certainly recommend these balls as they do work really well. If you dont like them, they have a thirty day guarantee.
I had seen eco balls in the shops for just over £30 - and even though I knew that if they worked for the time they were proclaimed to do, that would be very cost effective - the initial layout put me off.
Then a colleague where I used to work tried them, he had just bought a flat and was trying anything to save money. I checked out his clothes (outerwear only) and they looked fine- he had even washed his suit.
So I went onto the internet to see where I could get the best deal. Bid TV were selling them and so I tuned in for the auction and including all the phone and postage and packing costs they cost me about £21.
My pack contained 3 balls and three refills and also it came with 2 glue stick size stain removers- which I confess I have yet to use, having got another brand of stain remover on the go.
The instructions were to use one ball for a basic wash up to 5kg and two when your wash was over 5kg. Despite my best intentions-, whenever I feel I need a deeper clean I resort to adding a detergent. Not because I have to, but because old habits die hard. However, the important point here is that I am still using the same two balls I first bought about a year ago and my clothes etc; are still coming out clean. The balls inside the main ball will decrease in size, and when they are 15% of their original size, - I need to replace them- with the refills supplied, but they seem to be a long way off that. You can only use the balls up to 60 degrees. You must not put them in the tumble dryer.
The manufacturers state that the 3 balls and 3 refill packs will facilitate 1000 washes- and I have no reason to doubt them.
The balls contain no harmful chemicals, (which of course is far better for your clothes), are hypoallergenic and suitable therefore for sensitive skin. You do not need to add a conditioner- so more pennies in the savings kitty.
At the time of purchase replacement refills were £9.99 plus £3.95 p&p but no doubt by the time I need them they will be a lot more- but compared to how much I have saved that is nothing.
I would certainly recommend you give them a go, bearing in mind your particular circumstances and your need for stain removal and deep cleans. Even if you only use them periodically they will be cost saving- but do as I did, shop around and save even more.
Also check out their life expectancy as I found some were cheaper but weren't going to last anywhere near as long.
Ecoballs are made by Ecozone, creators of many clever environmentally-friendly products, & there are lots of compelling reasons for using them.
They use 'ionic cleaning power' - in other words the dirt is attracted out of the clothes without the need for detergent. This in itself is a plus for our waterways, but of course there are addded benefits from a soap-free wash: as there's no need for a rinse cycle less water is used, & the lack of detergent means the washed clothes are less prone to fading & are suitable for babies & people with sensitive skin.
Increasingly found in shops they are also available from Ecozone's website at £34.25 for 3 balls, free refill pellets & stain remover. It's a price that makes me do a doubletake but as the balls are reusable for up to a thousand washes it works out at around 3p per wash , so a sensible long-term investment.
I was really keen to use the Ecoballs as they seemed the perfect green solution. For day-to-day washing they seemed good enough; I'd heard a few tales of how they didn't get clothes clean enough & of people having to use added detergents. This wasn't a problem for me as Ecozone don't make extravagant claims for the cleaning power of their product & even include stain remover themselves in the box. As long as long as my lightly-soiled washing got clean - & it did - that was fine.
The problem however was that I often leave my wet laundry in the machine or basket till I get home from work & hang it out, & I soon discovered that not only did my washing lack any 'fresh' smell - again, no big deal - but things that had sat damp for any length of time smelled badly musty, & that smell didn't shift even after a spell outside on the line. Note this wasn't after four days in the basket but morelike four hours, & I found this a bit troubling & not at all what you'd expect from a load of spanking clean washing.
I also noticed that sweaty items (sports kit, & my partner's t-shirts) didn't lose that BO smell & needed rewashing.
So I've gone back to my old soap powder: an enormous shame, as I would have loved to be impressed by Ecoballs. I may try them again - clearly many many people swear by them & there must be something in that, but I'm not very hopeful.
I came across these on Amazon a while back and added them to my wish list but I didn't know much about them at the time. I was in no rush to buy them as I didn't have the money spare at the time and I don't like to buy things unless I know they are going to be worth the money. I then came across a review which sold them to me and I rushed back to Amazon to order myself some. Sad to say I was excited about receiving them as I was eager to try them out for myself.
I try to be eco friendly as much as I can, but it is not always possible. There are lots of new things that help us to become more environmentally friendly which is good to see. I must spend a fortune on washing detergent being a family of four and with two active young children I'm never short of dirty laundry. When my baby boy was born just 17 months ago I bought a milder washing detergent as a babies skin is more delicate and they don't appreciate heavy scents. I usually give my washing an extra rinse through the machine as I'm not overly fussed with the floral scents that most detergents leave on my clothes. Quite often I run out of washing detergent before I would do my next shop so I'm left with mountains of washing that are usually stained with food and left damp which leaves me with even grubbier washing to tackle. I hate having dirty laundry all over the place. We had three over flowing laundry bins as the washing seems to be endless. Having a toddler means I get plenty of really mucky washing that gets left in the wash bin and by the time I get to the bottom of the wash bin it can be a bit smelly and damp clothes can often become musty.
I paid £27 for the pack, but you can find them on a few online sites for around £25 - £35 and you can also buy refill packs. As soon as the box arrived I quickly opened it, the box contains 3 Ecoballs, 3 refill packs, 45ml tube of Ecozone stain remover, and an Instruction leaflet that provides you with all the information you need to know.
This pack is said to provide you with 1,000 washes! That has to be excellent value for money. This is based on a 30 minute wash however you can use them on any cycle providing the temperature is no higher than 60°C. I have been using them everyday up to 3 times a day on occasions for the last 2 months, so I have saved a huge amount in laundry detergents and the hassle of having to carry heavy washing powder/liquid home from the supermarket.
The Ecoballs look similar to a tennis ball and are roughly the same size, they also have a sponge ring around them which stops them from clanging about as much. This is removable and the plastic ball contains brown and white pellets mainly white, the ball can be opened with a screwdriver with ease to top up/replace the pellets when needs be. The Ecoballs provide 750 washes and the additional refill packs will give you a further 250 washes. There is also a tube of stain remover for those stubborn stains should you need it.
The Ecoballs are environmentally friendly as they do not contain soap or harsh chemicals, so fewer pollutants are going into our water supply from using these. They are hypo-allergenic so they are ideal for sensitive skin. They have also been approved by Action against Allergies in the UK.
They can be used in all washing machines including top loaders, twin tubs, front loaders and industrial machines but of course you would need to use more Ecoballs in an Industrial machine - so a second pack would be required. You need to leave ample space in the machine for them to be effective and have space to move around the machine. It is recommended that you fill the machine to ¾ full and then place the three Ecoballs on top of your washing. You do not need to use any fabric softener as they are designed to soften your clothes. It is advised that you do not use fabric softener however if you want to use a fabric softener you can wait until the wash is complete and remove the Ecoballs and then add fabric softener and put the laundry through a short rinse - I can honestly say that your clothes will feel soft so there is no need for the extra softener unless you want your clothes to be fragrant.
You should not set the temperature above 60°c as this could result in damaging the balls and will reduce the life span. For best results they should be used between 30°C - 60°C on a 30 minute wash cycle you can also cut out the rinse cycle if your machine allows you to as they do not leave any build up in your clothes so you can also save water.
You can continuously use the Ecoballs throughout the day but once you have finished your washing you should take them from out of the machine and leave them to dry naturally; they should not be put into the tumble dryer as this can damage them. It is also advised not to leave them in the machine for too long once the wash cycle has finished.
So how do they work...?
The Ecoballs are antibacterial they raise the water PH to higher than 10, bacteria is active in PH between 6- 8. This rise in the PH level will help to kill off any nastiness on the clothing. They also produce an ionised oxygen reaction that activates the water molecules naturally and allows them to penetrate deep into clothing fibres to lift dirt away. The outer sponge ring was a later addiction to the Ecoballs to reduce the noise they make in the machine. This is not important and you don't have to keep them on - they can pop off during a wash - however I don't mind the noise they make as all manner of things get put through my poor old machine from gym bags to toys.
When to top up or refill -
Once you notice that the pellets have decreased in size and the balls have become lighter. Also when you notice they are not cleaning as well as before. You do not need to throw away the remaining pellets you can just add more, if you chose to throw them away they can be put in the bin with your household waste as they are biodegradable and they contain no toxic chemicals.
You can use your Ecoballs with delicates, it is recommended that only two Ecoballs should be used and the garments should be placed in a laundry bag to protect them. If you are worried about your delicates becoming damaged then it is safer to hand wash them.
My 17 month old son is attracted to the Ecoballs as they do look like a toy and make a rattling sound too, however they should be kept out of the reach of children and animals.
Are they as good as they sound?
I wasted no time in testing them out and gathered up some washing and put it into the machine along with the 3 Ecoballs, there was nothing really all that dirty or stained but just items that needed freshening up. I set the machine to 40°C as I sat and waited for the wash to finish I did notice that the balls make a bit of noise but no more than expected. Once the machine had finished I took the wet laundry from the machine and put the Ecoballs on the side to dry although they don't hold any water within. The clothes didn't have a synthetic fragrant smell that conventional detergents leave in your clothes; they did smell fresh and clean and appeared clean too. The wash took less time as you don't need to put them through a full length wash and I could leave out the rinse and extra rinse I usually put my clothes through, so it saved me time. I was eager to test them out on laundry that was in need of freshening up and had body odours present to see how they would combat smells so after loading in some bedding that was in need of washing I wasn't expecting it to remove odour from clothing and bedding but much to my surprise the bedding came out smelling fresh and clean!
The next test was my son's highchair cover which gets quite grubby and food spilt on it so from time to time it gets put through the washing machine to give it a good clean all of the clips and straps on the highchair cover become quite mucky and food gets stuck in the groves in the clips which is never easy to get out so I was unsure how well the Ecoballs would clean up the seat cover and again I was happy to see that it cleaned it up just as well as my regular detergent did and it was looking and smelling clean again!
On old stains on some T-Shirts that had been left in the basket for a long time the Ecoballs and the stain remover were not effective at cleaning them out completely, but I wouldn't expect them to shift old stains so I wasn't disappointed, some of my sons T-shirts are hard to get clean as all sorts of food gets dropped onto them so I occasionally use a natural laundry bleach which always brings up my whites and stained T-shirts back to new.
They have been used to wash towels which have washed well and feel soft and fresh, all the bedding and my sons cot sheets have been washed using the Ecoballs and on occasions when he is cutting a new tooth there are blood stains on his sheet that have washed out with no problem if they are washed the next morning. I usually leave space in the machine to allow the clothes to move about and when I have heavy large bedding to wash I don't like to over load the machine with too much. The results for bedding have been perfect every time leaving them smelling fresh and clean.
Even sweaty socks and T -shirts have come out smelling fresh and clean! I soon caught up with my washing and now I only have one laundry bin as opposed to the three I had before purchasing my Ecoballs. I don't need to worry about running out of detergent and I can keep up with my washing.
My 17 month old loves his food and he also likes to play with it I gave up using a bib on him many months ago as his clothes still end up with food on. This doesn't bother me as long as he is enjoying his food and he is happy, however once he has finished eating and squashing the remains into his cup and highchair I strip his clothes off and put them straight into the machine and as you can imagine throughout the day the washing builds up so whenever anything need washing I put it into the machine and once there is enough in there I put it on with the Ecoballs, the clothes are mostly covered in food and are wet and they always come out clean and soft!
One of my son's favourite food is banana which always goes black if it is left on clothes for too long, so as long as I put the banana covered clothes into the machine with the Ecoballs soon after then they always come out clean.
I have used the Ecoballs everyday since purchasing them and I have been pleased with the results, they have saved me a small fortune and they have saved my time. I have used them on a 30°C wash and up to a 60°C wash to test them out and they have produced good results every time. I have also noticed the difference with our clothes they feel much softer and the colours haven't faded like they do over time with conventional detergents. My son's clothes stay in better condition and I no longer need to worry about giving his clothes an extra rinse to remove the strong scent and chemicals that detergents leave behind. However they won't brighten your whites but they will clean them you can use Eco friendly laundry bleach if your whites are in need of brightening which can be used separately.
They are also great for freshening up clothes that have been left in the back of the wardrobe that become musty if they are not worn for a while or clothes that are just need a quick freshen up.
I also put my son's soft toys through the machine with them and they freshen them up and leave them feeling clean. I know they are safe for him to chew on and that he wont be ingestion chemicals.
They are environmentally friendly, natural, they contain no soap or toxic chemicals, and they will reduce your water and electricity bill and save you a lot of money in detergents and fabric softeners.
They will reduce the amount of toxins that are put into our water supply and they are kinder to your clothes. They are good for people who suffer with allergies or sensitive skin, and also people who suffer with eczema. In my opinion they are better to use on babies and young children's clothes whose skin is delicate I wish I had discovered these when I was pregnant with my son as laundry detergent that is designed for babies clothes is more expensive.
I can not fault them at all in all the time I have been using them I have had good results. Some people may miss their clothes having that fragrant just washed scent that conventional detergents give but I'm sure after time you will prefer to use these and there will be no going back!
I highly recommend these to everyone! Why not give them a try!
If you are not entirely satisfied with the results they come with a 30 day money back guarantee.
I purchased my Ecoballs from Amazon as they had the best price at the time with no delivery charge. You can also buy these from Ecozone, John Lewis and Lakeland also stocks them. It is always best to shop around to find the best price. I also thought it was better value to buy the pack with the refills and stain remover and I glad I did. Make sure you are buying original Ecoballs as there are probably cheaper imitations that will not produce the same results and they may contain harmful chemicals.
For more information:
Ecozone (UK) Ltd
PO Box 59165
Tel@ 0845 230 4200
I have a major problem with having sensitive skin and this has meant most washing powders can cause irritation. This had been driving me mad over the years. Even some non-bios can irritate my skin.
Anyway, after looking through some environmentally friendly stuff for teaching my PSHE class and came across an advert for these. As they were on offer at the time for £26.95 (normally £34.99) I decided to give them a try.
the product claims it's advantages are:
Reuse for up to 1000 washes (this includes the refills)
Cost less than 3p per wash (excluding the cost of running the machine)
No more heavy shopping loads full of bulky boxes
Perfect for sensitive skin
Cuts out the need for a Rinse Cycle
You save money, water and energy, and help the environment.
Well I have a bit of an issue with the 'save money' bit as you are advised to clean out the machine by using an empty wash with vinegar at 95 deg C about every four weeks. Well to me this does not sound like it will save very much as I normally wash things at 40 deg C at the most. Also to work at their best the balls need to be able to get round all the clothes. This works best by only putting in 3/4 of a regular load hence you need to do more loads.
So what exactly do you get?
In the box are three plastic balls filled with pellets along with three small refill bags and an 'Eco-friendly' stain remover. The balls have a foam rubber ring round them to stop them banging round inside the machine too much. It's the pellets that do the cleaning and they contain (according to the box) Higher alkyl sulphate, Non-ionic surfactant, Sodium metasilicate, Calcium carbonate, Sodium carbonate, Sodium tripolyphosphate, Cellulose gum. The pellets are non-toxic.
Refilling them can be a bit tricky. First you have to remove the foam rubber ring then unscrew the small screw going through the middle then twist the balls apart. This could be difficult for those with arthritis as the two halves of the balls are very difficult to twist apart and fiddily to put back together.
They are supposed to work by 'ionizing' the water and this is supposed to help lift the dirt and grime out of the clothes. They are supposed to help soften the clothes as well so there is no need for a separate fabric softener. Well as I have never used a fabric conditioner I can't comment on whether this is true or not.
There is also apparently no need for a separate water softener so again there is a saving for those in hard water areas.
Refill packs are available for this product.
Anyway the important bit - Do they work?
On regular washing yes. This includes day to day washing of things which just have a light soiling, just for freshening things up etc. On these items I can't tell any difference between these and the washing powder I used to use. On things with a more definite stain then without the stain remover provided they don't do as well. Sometimes even with the stain remover it doesn't all come out. The clothes and my towels do come out soft without the need of the separate conditioner. However they only really work if there is enough water in the machine so the use of an 'Eco-cycle' which most modern machines have will not use enough water for these to be effective. As for the smell, well I hate the smell of most washing powders so the lack of any real smell to them doesn't really bother me. However, a slight sort of musty damp smell developed after a few months of using them. This is nothing to do with the balls but the build up grime and limescale within the machine. We don't normally notice this due to the heavily perfumed detergents which are used. This can be cleared out by the empty wash with a cupful of vinegar on a high temp. How often you need to do this will depend on if you live in a hard or soft water area.
So these are good for day to day washing but not good for items which are stained - I still have to resort to washing powder for these.
I first read about these balls in Bounty.coms environmental friendly mums forum about two years back.
I had looked them up on the internet then(as I like to think myself as a towards green person) but couldn't convince my husband( not as towards green as me) to spend £25 on some 'useless' balls that in his words' if they are that great all supermarkets would store them and more people would be buying them'.
I live in a very hard water area and off late I was really getting fed-up of using double the amount of and changing and trying different types of detergents and fabric softners from the supermarket shelves and not having so clean clothes even after all that .
My little daughter has excema as well(I like to think I am doing the best I can for her excema... have used and washed reusable nappies too) .
About two months back I saw the eco-dryer balls in Wilkinsons and showed it to my hubby and insisted we should give the ecozone ecoballs a try . It would'nt make so much of a difference would it ?
70 washes using persil would be around the same price as a 1000 washes with ecoballs...
it was very hard to believe and the added benifits were supposed to be:
-soft clothes without any harsh chemical detergents ..meaning maybe it would be soothing for my little ones excema
-laundry at 30 degrees (less electricity use)
- since there was no chemicals there was no need of the wash-cycle(ie you could set your machine at rinse hold) meaning lesser electricity being used.
-your ironing should be easier (again less electricity)
-clothes soft without fabric softner(so you don't need to spend on softners/conditioners)
TRULY IT CAN'T DO ALL THIS ??
After all they are simple green plastic balls with holes stuffed with a fistful of brown and white smaller balls.
Composition and mode of action :
Non-toxic solid washing pellets Higher alkyl sulphate Non-ionic surfactant Sodium metasilicate Calcium carbonate Sodium carbonate Sodium tripolyphosphate Cellulose gum.
Ecozone claims 'The pebbles in the balls raise the Ph of the water, in doing so they create negative ions in the water; dirt is made up of positive ions, thus the negative ions attract the positive ions like two magnets.'
Pretreat stubborn stains with the stain remover provided like you would do with vanish etc.
I ordered a basic kit containg the 3 ecoballs (1000 washes), 3 refills(another 150 wahses) and a stain remover and the instruction sheet) in a nice green box from ethicalsuperstore for £24 (free p+p as it was over £20).
I got a group mail from hubby's friends asking if I had 'lost my marbles.
I washed and dried my light coloured clothes and sent back a reply' no just transformed them into three magic balls'.. you can borrow them if you want to have a go..
I think I will be trying the mango balls next .
They have TRULY done those and more !!
I don't want to look at detergent scum marked/coated whites again.
Three of my hubby's friends have ordered them over the last two months..
A friend of mine swears that her little ones nappies have never been cleaner or softer before .
My hubby (who is allergic to most aerosols and perfumes) does'nt sneeze in succession over the whiff of fabric softners and detergents while ironing his clothes any more and asks me if I have anymore products I want to test.
My daughters excema has healed maybe just because its colder now, but I like to believe the magic balls have performed a miracle(she calls them 'the ufo balls ').
Overall 3p per wash
£25 ish for basic kit( will last for 1000+150 washes)= 50 boxes of deteregent
you may need to buy more stain remover( £1.50 per tube)
refill £5ish for 150 wahes.
Outer foam rings spare £1 each .
Beware though you might end up with fake cheaper ones if not buying from authentic stockists.
I have made my shift , don't think I will ever go back to chemical detergents again what do you think ?
I read an opinion on DooYoo back in 2005 which raised my curiosity. It was an opinion on some strange objects called Eco Balls and, from the opinion, it seemed that these gadgets were set to revolutionise the way we did our washing making it more economical and environmentally friendly to boot. Trusting both the reviewer and the review I decided that these Eco Balls sounded so good that they had to be tried. What a mistake! It should be added that I still trust the reviewer and would count the person amongst my friends. The same, however, could not be said of my new investment.
Eco Balls come in sets of three. They are made of perforated green plastic and have planet-like foam rings around the middle of them. Theyre about the size of a tennis ball and are filled with granules which, when placed in the wash are meant to ionise the water releasing oxygen into the water which simply lifts the dirt out of the fabrics. Sounds kooky and, Im afraid, it is.
I parted with my £34.99 to an internet trader and waited with anticipation. Once the balls had arrived there was to be no stopping me. Laundry piled up I was ready to go. Out with the detergent and softeners and in with the balls!
And thats when it all went wrong.
My first wash was a lights wash. No heavily soiled clothes. Id followed the recommended temperature instructions and set the machine to go. Whilst the clothes came out looking clean they didnt feel that soft. As theyd not been that dirty when they went into the wash it was hard to tell whether or not the balls had actually cleaned anything. OK, time for a bigger challenge. Soiled baby clothes.
This time the results were obvious. The stains that were on the clothes were still on the garments when they came out of the wash. True enough, some grubby dirt had been lifted but then agitation in a water-filled machine with nothing else would have achieved that. Time to call in the stain gel.
The Eco Balls are supplied with a tube of stain gel to pre-treat stubborn stains. On a re-wash this did lift some (but not all) of the stains but to my mind this rather defeated the no detergent regime that the balls promised. It was also going to work out quite costly in both time and money if I were to have to pre-treat the bulk of my washing.
There are a number of up-sides that would be apparent if these actually worked but alas, if they dont do what they say they will, the fact that theyre hypo-allergenic, non-polluting and cost effective just doesnt matter.
The washing did come out wet (but then it would!) and it didnt have any smell (as clearly oxygen just doesnt smell). They werent clean and they werent soft. Cuffs and collars were still grubby, food spills remained.
I did try playing about with the make up of the wash. I did smaller loads and tried a variety of temperatures (up to the maximum 60 degrees) and cycle lengths but to no avail. The results were still the same.
Unfortunately the box, complete with its balls, has been consigned to the back of the cupboard. The balls did come with a moneyback guarantee but somehow I couldnt bring myself to ask for it. The green credentials of these balls sounded so good and I told myself Id persevere. Ive tried on numerous occasions but to no avail. Theyre still in the cupboard, gathering dust. Im telling myself we have British Rail Water i.e. the wrong kind but I think I know, hand on heart, that our water is just the same as anyone elses and its the balls that just arent doing the job.
If you did get them to work then they cannot be used in a drier so if you have a combined washer drier then youll need to take them out before a dry cycle. You should also note that they do rattle rather in the washing machine despite the foam bands. Its not too bad a din but its not quiet either. Id be a little concerned about the damage one might do to the drum of the machine.
They cannot be used in a wash above 60 degrees Celcius either which might put some off who like to do a boil wash on towels, dishcloths, reuseable nappies and the like.
I bought my Eco-Balls from www.greenshop.co.uk and, as I say, they did come with a 30 day moneyback guarantee I just didnt use it, mores the pity.
I bought these balls and was very impressed, not so good on whites I have found.Also sometimes the washing smells "stale"Has anyone else had these problems and are there any fixes??Otherwise tremendous product, very cheap, easy and keeps the machine claen!
Eco-balls do not work. Those who claim they do are actually witnessing the placebo effect.
I learnt the hard way, as I purchased these over-priced hunks of plastic. I ran a few loads of laundry using the Eco-Balls, and my washing did come out cleaner. I was not convinced, though, that the eco-balls had really done anything. Therefore, I ran few comparable loads of laundry without detergent or the Eco-Balls, and found that the washing machine on its own produced similar results to the Eco-Balls.
Really, I feel stupid for having fallen for this scam. The claims of ionizing the water to better penetrate the clothing is spurious babble. The real secret is that running the washing machine with a bit of warm water will get a lot of clothing clean. Don't be fooled like I was.
Not to despair, though. What I've learnt from this experience is that many of us can drastically cut down on the amount of detergent we use in our laundry. If you're like me and work in an office, your clothes don't need heaps of detergent. The manufacturers of detergent recommend generous doses because they want us to buy more.
I urge you to experiment. Cut down on the use of detergent. If your clothes are relatively clean, you can probably get away with no detergent at all.