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December 01, 2009

Chemical-Free Laundry Ball - Does It Work?

LAU_001_LSWhen I told my husband we were considering adding a product to use instead of chemical-laden laundry detergent packaged in wasteful plastic containers he said, "This might be where I draw the line on your hippy environmental stuff." I laughed, but I understood where he was coming from.

In my time working at Reuseit/ReusableBags.com I've happily and effortlessly stopped using plastic bags and disposable water bottles. I've cut way back on my paper towel use and I've totally eliminated dryer sheets from my grocery list. But laundry detergent? I was skeptical.

So Thanksgiving week end I took home the suspicious Chemical-Free Laundry Ball and put it to the test against my toddler's jelly-stained t-shirts, my sweaty skateboarding husband's hoodies and all the dirty cloth napkins that piled up from our (vegetarian!) holiday dinner.

I carefully followed the instructions, giving my washer a good scrub before the first use. Nothing was overly soiled, so I just tossed the ball in with my laundry and hoped for the best.

I was thrilled when everything came out clean and smelling baking-soda fresh as opposed to perfumed. A tumble in my dryer with my dryer balls and static eliminator sheets later and I was patting myself on the back for not only finding waste-free solutions for my least favorite household chore, but also for proving my husband wrong once again. ;)

In the end, my husband's only complaint was that he likes his clothes to have another scent to them besides "clean." I took care of that with some fragrance sticks for my dryer balls. It's actually a perfect system because I don't like any perfume on my clothes - so I just don't use the sticks for my laundry.

Obviously I haven't used them 700 times yet, but I'm pretty thrilled to have found something so eco-friendly and easy to store. No more giant bottles of expensive "green" detergent cluttering up my laundry room and one less thing on my grocery list.

So does it work? Yes, it works, and it's awesome.


I have a question: can these be used in communal washers where soap debris can build up from other people's use? I'd like to try it out but there are two other units in our building.

The manufacturer suggests cleaning your washing machine before the first use - so I'm not sure if build up from other tenant's soap will reduce its effectiveness. I'll get in touch with them about your question and update when I have an answer!

Hello again! I have an update from the manufacturer about your question:

"Yes they can be used in commercial laundromats. Without cleaning the machine 1st there will be some chemical residue left in the machine but will not affect the cleaning ability.
But we can't guarantee there will not be chemicals in the clothes due to the residue left in the machine."

I hope tha thelps, it seems like it would be easier to carry this one ball to the laundromat than a heavy bottle of detergent!

Where do you get the stuff to replace the insides? Does that info come with the ball? I know 700 laods is a lot, but eventually I will get there and I don't want to be stuck with something I can't continue to use.


Good question - we are picking those up very soon! You'll be able to get them at ReusableBags.com

I read the directions on this site and it says no rinse cycle is necessary. Do you just stop your machine after the wash cycle? Maybe I'm missing something. Thanks-Katherine

I've lost a lot of respect for your company - promoting this type of product! Spend a few minutes doing some research - this type of product is a scam and has been proven over and over again to not do anything more than beating your laundry on rocks would!

I was a repeat customer - but now I'm just saddened that you would try to pass this garbage on to your customers!

I asked the manufacturer about your question and received this answer:
"Some washing machines do have the ability to only do 1 rinse cycle if the machine your using does not have that ability yes you can stop the machine just before the 2nd rinse cycle if desired."


We certainly respect your opinion, but we test every product we carry before we add it to our store. I personally use this item at home and am very happy with the results. Like you, my husband doesn't believe it really does anything more than agitate my clothes in the wash. I would argue that my clothes still get clean, so maybe all they need is a little agitation. I was never comfortable dumping chemicals into my washing machine - nor did I like spending $8+ on a tiny plastic bottle of "environmentally friendly" detergent. So for me, personally, this is a great alternative.

We wash all of our clothes in cold water and use vinegar instead of fabric softening. Do you know if these are recommended for use in cold water and/or with vinegar? Thanks!

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