I’ve decided to add a new category to this blog: Calling Out Bullshit. I see enough bogus claims online to want to set people straight, so I’m going to start here.
Some of you might remember the 90s, specifically the fad of using “laundry balls” instead of detergents to wash your clothes. I’m sure we had some in our home when I was a kid. I didn’t know much about them then, but seeing them re-emerge in the form of this Kickstarter project prompted me to investigate.
The Crystal Wash is a plastic device filled with little ceramic balls. The theory is that these balls somehow change the chemical make-up as they swoosh around in the wash and turn your water to hydrogen peroxide. They can thereby clean and disinfect your clothes without the use of harmful detergents!
The problem is, the whole idea of restructuring water like that is a well known scam and has been thoroughly debunked. Science simply does not support this claim. Studies have also shown that using laundry balls gives virtually identical results as using conventional detergents on your clothes, and sometimes even worse results.
The makers of Crystal Wash 2.0 also claim that this product can save you energy and water: less rinsing is required in the absence of detergents, assuming you have a setting on your washing machine to accommodate this; and cold water is more energy efficient, but their own pamphlets – and their precursors’ from the 90s – advise using hot water.
If you want to be more environmentally friendly with your clothes washing, your best bet is to use less detergent, and wash in cold water. Don’t support the woo.