Flying Saucers Did My Laundry


The average laundry detergent contains a veritable laboratory of chemicals. All those cleaning agents, stabilizers and brightening compounds certainly do the trick, but at what cost?

Those optical brighteners that make your whites even whiter by absorbing ultraviolet light and sending it back as blue light to mask discoloration may be great on your clothes, but they are not so great against your body (eye irritations and skin rashes). Besides, they’re terrible for the environment – slow to biodegrade, harmful to aquatic life and capable of mutating bacteria. There’s a stain you can’t remove.

Here’s a fun alternative – throw a few EcoBalls in your washing machine. One set costs around $60 and lasts for 750 to 1,000 washes – a substantial saving on detergent. Furthermore, they wash quickly on a low heat, giving you another saving on your household bill (and allowing your clothes to last and last). They have antibacterial qualities, and soften clothes as they go. They’re also free of perfume.

Despite being completely soap and chemical free, these little saucers seem to work fine (check out the mostly positive reviews here). Yet again, it suggests we’ve been fooled – we don’t need to use a cocktail of chemicals to get things clean. But if little green flying saucers bouncing around inside your washer aren’t your thing (or if you miss that summer-fresh smell), there are plenty of ecologically friendly detergents to choose from”¦

Image: EcoBalls

Mike Sowden

Mike Sowden is a freelance writer based in the north of England, obsessed with travel, storytelling and terrifyingly strong coffee. He has written for online & offline publications including Mashable, Matador Network and the San Francisco Chronicle, and his work has been linked to by Lonely Planet, World Hum and Lifehacker. If all the world is a stage, he keeps tripping over scenery & getting tangled in the curtain - but he's just fine with that.