Newest Review: ... and availability* Ecoballs cost around £32.00. They are available from various websites. I bought mine from ecogreenstore.com. The pack c... more
A Load of Balls!
Member Name: cmh4135
Advantages: If they worked they'd be great
Disadvantages: They don't work
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. They’re 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, I’m 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 that’s when it all went wrong.
My first wash was a lights wash. No heavily soiled clothes. I’d followed the recommended temperature instructions and set the machine to go. Whilst the clothes came out looking clean they didn’t feel that soft. As they’d 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 don’t do what they say they will, the fact that they’re hypo-allergenic, non-polluting and cost effective just doesn’t matter.
The washing did come out wet (but then it would!) and it didn’t have any smell (as clearly oxygen just doesn’t smell). They weren’t clean and they weren’t 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 couldn’t bring myself to ask for it. The green credentials of these balls sounded so good and I told myself I’d persevere. I’ve tried on numerous occasions but to no avail. They’re still in the cupboard, gathering dust. I’m 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 else’s and it’s the balls that just aren’t 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 you’ll 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. It’s not too bad a din but it’s not quiet either. I’d 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 didn’t use it, more’s the pity.
Summary: Is this a case of the Emporor's new Clothes? I wanted them to work but they didn't