Do ionic washing balls work?

Font Size:

If someone told you there was an affordable, reusable product that could reduce energy and water consumption, and work as an eco-friendly alternative to washing detergent, you’d probably think it’s too good to be true. And according to studies by CHOICE, you might just be right.

Laundry washing balls range from around $8 to $150, and there are extravagant claims about their cleaning power, financial and environmental benefits. There are pseudoscience claims, unsupported by research, while others exaggerate benefits. However, manufacturers rarely agree on how these washing balls work.

Some of these supposed benefits may be explained by the mechanical movement of the ball itself, helping to remove some types of stains. The instructions on washing ball packets often call for hot water, which contradicts other claims that these balls will reduce energy usage.

Washing balls supposedly contain products such as ‘activated water’, bamboo charcoal nanoparticles, ceramic pieces or magnetic materials that claim to help with washing and stain removal. Washing balls also claim to “separate clothing and reduce clothing entanglement”.

One Australian company claims that the small ceramic stones that fill their Eco Wash – Laundry Wash Ball contain around 80 natural minerals. These minerals supposedly “soften the water” and “open the fabrics weave” to allow water to naturally wash clothing without the use of chemicals or detergents. This product also claims to remove chlorine and bacteria from the water.

CHOICE reviewed a number of washing balls, comparing cost per wash, general detergency and their effectiveness at washing a number of different products out of clothing. These washing balls range from $30 to $150 dollars. The overall highest rating was a $40 dollar ecozone product that scored 46 per cent overall.  However, tap water used in a top loader was rated at 47 per cent, bringing into question the comparative effectiveness of washing balls.

In fact, Nanosmart Laundry Balls won CHOICE’s 2015 Shonky award. According to the tests, Nanosmart washing balls did absolutely nothing. CHOICE stated, “We put them up against plain old water in a test to remove a variety of stains in our washing machine lab, and Nanosmart lost! That’s right, using nothing is better than using Nanosmart laundry balls, and last time we checked ‘nothing’ was free – unlike laundry balls, which cost about $50 a pop.”

Do you own a washing ball? Would you consider using one?

If you enjoy our content, don’t keep it to yourself. Share our free eNews with your friends and encourage them to sign up.


Nine tips for at-home allergy relief

Everyone who experiences allergies needs to know these nine housecleaning tips.

How to clean your house to prevent the spread of coronavirus and other infections

Do you know the difference between disinfecting and cleaning?

How a bottle of vinegar can save you money

Common pantry item has an acidic taste but a sweet result on your budget.

Written by Liv Gardiner


Sign-up to the YourLifeChoices Enewsletter

continue reading

Finance News

How much you can save on electricity in your home state

As we prepare to head into the colder winter months, there is good news for those worried about heating costs...


What is thrombocytopenia, and why did it stop the AstraZeneca jab?

Anthony Zulli, Victoria University; Maja Husaric, Victoria University; Maximilian de Courten, Victoria University, and Vasso Apostolopoulos, Victoria University Australia's medical...


Ways to manage death anxiety

Winston Churchill once said: "Any man who says he is not afraid of death is a liar." But while it's...

Food and Recipes

Rick Stein's Autumn Vegie Soup

"One of the rather pathetic realities of the fact that so many of the restaurants in France are disappointing these...


Australians give big thumbs down to the public service

Only 27 per cent of Australians believe the public service acts in the public interest and only 22 per cent...

Brain health

Normal tension glaucoma linked to cognitive impairment

Australian researchers say they have established a link between the eye condition glaucoma and cognitive impairment, the state that often...


Old wives' tales put to the test

Alice Shaw-Beckett, from cleaning company Cleanipedia, dissects 13 old wives' tales related to cleaning and pest control to discover whether...

Travel & Motoring

Consider this when deciding on a roadside assist deal

A reader raised an interesting point that I hadn’t considered before. When she bought her new car, it included -...