The Ecoegg is an affordable, eco-friendly way to wash your clothes

Originally published at: The Ecoegg is an affordable, eco-friendly way to wash your clothes | Boing Boing

Weird, the link to explain that laundry detergents are “seeping toxic metals like cadmium and arsenic” links to an EPA page which does not talk about “toxic metals” or laundry detergents specifically.

This deal gives 120 loads for $40. My local store-brand liquid washing detergent (which has an EPA “Safer Choice” certification) gives 145 loads for $8.

This product sounds like an expensive solution to a problem that doesn’t really exist.


Perfect for the BBS, then, if it also doesn’t work.


Scaring people with mention of detergents containing cadmium and arsenic (spoiler: they don’t), and containing woo like ‘natural mineral’ and ‘washing machine detox’ - has this product escaped from Goop?

In which case I can suggest where they can stick this particular egg.


Why does BB persist in promoting products that are a. overpriced for what they claim to do, and b. frequently don’t do what they claim anyhow. I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of things I have seen in the BB Store that are actually useful; the last thing I bought there was the aluminum cat litter scoop, which I am still using. Can we pretty please have some discretion exercised in what shows up being hawked here?


Info at the ecoegg site (How does the ecoegg Laundry Egg Work? The Science... - ecoegg) says that the ‘minerals’ that do the cleaning are surfactants (= detergents) with stabilizers, builders and binders added. It’s definitely lying to call surfactants ‘minerals’.


The EPA page conveniently lists detergents that do NOT contain heavy metals. For example you can find “Tide Free & Pure” at many national chains.

There are easy to read reports dating back to the 1990’s that show there are trace amounts of Cd and small but measurable amounts of As in common brands of detergent. So the claim in the Copy isn’t totally made up.

I find it plausible that the Ecoegg is more environmentally friendly than the detergents listed in the test above. I’m skeptical that it is effective at cleaning stains or odors from clothing. But to be fair I have very hard water, so I’m pretty sensitive to the efficacy of detergent products.


I suspect that it is less toxic to use conventional detergent with whatever trace amount of arsenic and cadmium it might have than to wash your clothes in Flint River Pure ™. Sorry, but I have a real disgust of snake oil-like materials.


If there are easy to read reports about cadmium and arsenic, as you say, then the article should have linked to those, not to the EPA page which doesn’t mention heavy metal contamination in laundry detergents.

I’m guessing that whomever wrote that copy either didn’t read the link, or trusted that most people interested in the product wouldn’t.


Yeah, “detergent alternative”? Sodium C12-C16 olefin sulfonate is the top ingredient. Detergent.


There is also a healthy dose of negative ion woo, i.e. alkaline water produced by what amounts to pelletized tourmaline sand which theoretically helps with the cleaning. Never mind that you would get more negative ions by putting a spoonful of baking soda into your laundry.


Better than baking soda (sodium bicarbonate) is washing soda (sodium carbonate). I throw three tablespoons (3/16th cup?) of that in my laundry to give the detergent a fighting chance in my hard water. Borax (sodium tetraborate) also works well but only in hot water and it is a little gentler on clothes than washing soda.

Another trick is chemical trick is white vinegar and only a tiny fraction of laundry detergent (several drops if doing only a few towels). A warm cycle with a cup of vinegar will remove soap residue from towels and make them soft again.

A hot cycle in a dish washer with three cups of vinegar will act as a mild bleach, it’s a bit hard on organic material like wooden spoons. Also good for removing hard water scale from an electric tea kettle.


SCAM: Sorry, people, it’s a scam.

  1. Most of the time, washing in plain water would get the dirt out of your clothes.

  2. Only a little soap is needed unless there is heavy soiling (eg rugby players in winter mud)

  3. We tend to put FAR too much soap in our washes, so our clothes hold a great deal of un-washed-out soap.

  4. Thus, for the first month after you stop putting washing detergent in your washes, your clothes will be adequately soaped by the soap still dissolved in the clothing. That’s why these products have one-month or so guarantees.

Detergent manufacturers often suggest a capful (75 mls) or more of the soap in your wash. If you’re using pods, you have no control over the amount and it’ll be far too much. Cut down to 10mls or less (if necessary, dilute it in an old detergent bottle) and save the undiluted stuff for spot-applications on bad stains. I’m in a family of 2 plus barfing cats, so do approximately 4 washes a week. Using the detergent the way the manufacturers want you to will make a 2L bottle last only 6-7 weeks. Diluted, mine lasts well over a year.

Ref: Laundry ball - Wikipedia, Do laundry balls really work? - The Straight Dope, The Dirt on Laundry Balls | Office for Science and Society - McGill University

P.S. Why can’t I log in from Australia???


this looks like a slightly different product

but there’s still the question of if the “mineral pellet” is doing the work then what is the “egg” for

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These things are probably a scam like all the other laundry balls. You’ll likely get similar results using just water.


toxic metals like cadmium and arsenic

that uses natural mineral pellets

I feel like someone doesn’t understand how ore works and where refined metals come from.


Well how often do you wash your arsenic or cadmium suits then? (Can’t believe Samsung hasn’t released phones in these ‘colors’ yet.)


I vaguely remember seeing a Consumer Reports article that mentioned in passing that washing clothes with NO detergents did a surprisingly good job. I think they were comparing soaps to some other “magic ball” and did some loads with neither as a control group.

(Edited to add: I see others have described the same thing upthread.)

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And deprive the commentariat of the fun of taking our shots at all this crap? We need our amusements!

It’s gotta be pretty tough to do these product “reviews” and pushes on a site with suc a highly-educated, intellectually curious commentariat. I feel bad for the ‘shop folks. Lol

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