Did I Really Want One of Those? 10. Wash Balls

For whiter whites the ecological way?

03 January 2014: Woken up by my partner at 3.45am who in a dream was seen at the Gudrun Laundrette in Fallowfield. I was woken up to the strains of ‘Margaret: get me some Persil!’ and a loud scream. Probably from the Hot Apple Pie purchased at the DriveThru McDonalds a few doors away.

Downstairs, you find there’s no washing powder in the utility room. Then you find something which looks like an off-cut from a 1980s coach’s air conditioning system. It has a number of pebbles inside.

Wash Balls

In the last twenty years, Wash Balls have been hailed as an ecologically sound alternative to detergents. They are sometimes referred to as ‘Eco Balls’ due to their supposed environmentally friendly credentials.

As you would with a dosing ball (see Arial Ultra’s with their liquid detergent from 1989), you placed the wash balls inside a standard washing machine. During the normal washing and spinning cycles, manufacturers of Eco Balls have often claimed they would be as effective as Persil, Bold, Ariel et al.

Users have had mixed opinions of them. In the main, far from complementary with some people returning to Persil, Ariel and Bold (or Ecover maybe). From new, prices can vary from £8.00 to £40.00 and they have often been seen for sale on shopping channels and mail order catalogues. Eco Balls (or whatever they are known that week) often feature in Betterware and Kleeneze catalogues.

Then there’s also Ecozone’s Ecoballs, which are the original ones compared with the imitators seen in the above sources. Reviews of Ecozone’s products are more complementary.

A case of ecological caveat emptor, favouring Ecozone’s version by a great distance.

*                                *                                *

2013 price: varies according to shopping channel, mail order catalogue or door-to-door salespeople’s catalogue prices.

S.V., 10 December 2013.

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