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A laundry ball is a small reusable plastic ball that is filled with tiny ceramic pellets. When doing laundry, a ball can be added to water and used to clean clothing in lieu of traditional powdered or liquid detergents. Also sometimes referred to as detergent balls, these inventions are not actually filled with detergent. Manufacturers and marketers claim that using a plastic laundry ball is environmentally friendly since it does not contain harsh or harmful chemicals and can be used repeatedly. Though many are shaped like a ball, the same technology is also represented in disc-shaped reusable objects known as laundry discs that can also be used repeatedly when doing laundry.
Some consumers found early laundry ball models to be expensive and filled with fluid, which caused many skeptics to question the worth and effectiveness of these laundry accessories. Advertised as being safe to use with home laundry equipment, newer balls are now filled with small pellets made of ceramic, which work to change the pH balance of the water in a washing machine to such an extent that detergent is not needed. After using a laundry ball, many consumers have noted that laundry is not only clean, but that odors are also completely eliminated. In some instances, a single laundry ball may be used as many as 1,000 times before it needs to be replaced by another ball.
Traditional laundry detergents often contain toxic chemicals that are harmful to the surrounding environment. Specifically, detergent in laundry water that filters into natural water sources may cause harm to fish and can even cause fish to die if concentrations become too high. These same chemicals are also harmful for soil. Using a laundry ball, however, eliminates the need for harsh detergents, which is why most are marketed and sold as eco-friendly alternatives to traditional laundry detergent. Many further tout that they are also a good alternative for individuals who suffer from skin allergies and have sensitivities to other detergents.
Most people can find a laundry ball wherever laundry accessories are sold or may purchase balls from an online vendor. That each ball can be used for multiple laundry cycles also makes it more economical than other detergents. While many consumers find that laundry balls work as well as laundry detergent does when cleaning clothes and eliminating odors, serious stains may still need to be pretreated as usual despite using a ball.