Laundry Balls

General tips, questions and answers about going green in your home and business. Achieve a more environmentally friendly lifestyle!

Re: Laundry Balls

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Thu May 10, 2012 8:06 pm

It does it with saponin, which makes light suds, the surfactant gets the dirt out of clothing. It has no toxic chemicals, fragrances etc in it, so is safe for my grey water absorption trench. The brand I use is organically grown and fair trade, so the workers are paid a fair price for the nuts, which are harvested from the trees by hand and sun dried. Better for the environment all round than the supermarket chemical brews sold as washing detergent.

They work well, removing fairly heavy stains from metal working, welding, chook poo and gardening in a hot wash. They can also be used in the dishwasher and you can make a liquid soap for handwashing etc too.
http://gunagulla.com Loomberah weather and astronomy including live solar radiation intensity and UV + Gunagulla aquaponics, organic eggs and cherries
User avatar
Gordon-Loomberah
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 5748
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:41 pm
Location: Loomberah NSW Australia

Re: Laundry Balls

Postby Cherokee Solar » Thu May 10, 2012 9:40 pm

Hi all,

You can make your own soap wash using wood ash. My lady also has a huge collection of medicinal / culinary / other useful herbs and one of them is soapwort which can be used as a cleaner. It grows like a weed here but is probably easier to grow in cooler climates than the soap nut tree which originated in India (thanks for the tip, I've never come across this plant before).

If anyones interested in soapwort:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soapwort

People cleaned themselves and their clothes somehow before the laundry ball was invented to extract funds from us all! :D

Chris
Off grid solar + hot water. Heavily insulated + owner built flamezone house BAL-FZ. 300 mixed fruit trees + herbs + flowers + vegetables. Bees + heritage chickens. High up in the mountains north of Melbourne. http://ferngladefarm.blogspot.com.au/
Cherokee Solar
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 824
Joined: Tue Jan 05, 2010 9:11 pm
Location: Cherokee, Victoria

Re: Laundry Balls

Postby zzsstt » Fri May 11, 2012 4:16 pm

A very long time ago, when I was at school, we learnt about clothes washing as part of the chemistry course. If you exclude any enzymes that might be in the washing powder, the actual cleaning process is entirely mechanical. The bashing of clothes on rocks, or tumbling in a front loader, poking with a stick in my grandmothers old "boiler" or "swish-swoshing" in the Hooley Dooley's top loader, is what actually removes the dirt. The "soap" is a surfactant that then grabs the insoluble oils, greases and fats and keeps them in solution.

What this means is that water and agitation is all that is required to remove soluble "dirt" from clothes. Much of what comprises normal "dirt" will therefore be removed with no soap, and in that situation laundry balls may help because they increase the agitation.

On the other hand, insoluble "greasy" dirt may be physically knocked out of the washing by agitation, but without detergent it is not trapped in the water. A certain amount of it will therefore be rinsed out with the water, a certain amount will stick to the machine and a certain amount will be spread throughout the clothes. Normal "every day" levels of insoluble dirt may thus be "removed" by washing without detergent, but in reality will simply be spread around the washing and machine. Because there is often very little insoluble dirt on clothes, they may well look "clean", though the small amounts of insolubles can start to build up over time.

Heavier amounts of insolubles are unlikely to shift without both heat and detergent, as otherwise they simply cling to the clothes tighter than the agitation can overcome. If they do happen to be physically shifted, they normally redeposit throughout the load.....

So that's "cleaning", unless we include enzymes that actually break down certain tyes of "dirt" (protein, fats etc. depending on the enzyme in question). Washing powders may also contain bleaches, which also break down dirt by oxidation, optical brightening agents, water softeners and various other things.

But the reality is that if you don't need to glow "white" or smell nice, water and agitation will remove soluble dirt. But if you add oils and other insolubles to the equation and you start to need detergents. So an office workers shirt may well appear "clean" with no powder, but a chefs apron or a mechanics overalls almost certainly won't!
zzsstt
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 1296
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:27 pm

Re: Laundry Balls

Postby Tracker » Fri May 11, 2012 6:15 pm

Gordon-Loomberah wrote:It does it with saponin, which makes light suds, the surfactant gets the dirt out of clothing..


Gee, there I was picturing someone sitting astride an open washing machine, with a weird look of contentment on their face... :(

As for laundry balls, how could anyone ever believe that a totally inert plastic ball, could do ANYTHING..
Talk about "Come in spinner..." :roll:
..
.
Tracker
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 5108
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:54 am
Location: SYDNEY --- EA - Network, Retailer - EA

Re: Laundry Balls

Postby zzsstt » Sat May 12, 2012 7:15 am

The funny thing is that as with everything else, our inability to use common sense is what causes the problem. These days, for some reason, using common sense is frowned upon and the preferred approach is to legislate. So somebody trying to lick a fan is not at fault, the blame lies with the person who fitted the fan with a cover that had tongue sized holes. Common sense would suggest we can turn a tap on a small amount when we need to wash our hands, but because we have no common sense we need legislation to limit the flow from a tap!

Equally in this case, common sense suggests that if we look at what we are washing we could judge how much powder to use. A load comprising lightly soiled office shirts, for example, might require just a small amount of powder, whilst the clothes I was wearing to service a tractor, or strip the gearbox of an old car, might require a higher temperature and a full dose of powder. Additionally, common sense - and the machines instructions - would suggest that the washing needs room to move, so overloading it will reduce efficiency (and reduce the machines life), and underloading it is wasteful.

But with no common sense, the same "full dose" of detergent gets added whether the machine is stuffed with as many sets of greasy overalls as can physically be crammed in, or with a single shirt that was worn only for half a day in the office.

And, as with the flow restricted taps, it's apparently easier to buy a solution from someone else than it is to regulate our own actions......
zzsstt
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 1296
Joined: Fri Oct 02, 2009 2:27 pm

Re: Laundry Balls

Postby Tracker » Sat May 12, 2012 9:14 am

So somebody trying to lick a fan is not at fault, the blame lies with the person who fitted the fan with a cover that had tongue sized holes.

I have been using mine as a tongue cleaner.. Works better than those silly tooth-brush thingos..
Common sense would suggest we can turn a tap on a small amount when we need to wash our hands, but because we have no common sense we need legislation to limit the flow from a tap!

I have ripped all mine out for that same reason, and now when force is needed, it is there..

Equally in this case, common sense suggests that if we look at what we are washing we could judge how much powder to use. A load comprising lightly soiled office shirts, for example, might require just a small amount of powder, whilst the clothes I was wearing to service a tractor, or strip the gearbox of an old car, might require a higher temperature and a full dose of powder. Additionally, common sense - and the machines instructions - would suggest that the washing needs room to move, so overloading it will reduce efficiency (and reduce the machines life), and underloading it is wasteful.

For years, I have been saying to customers... "You only need enough powder, such that through the wash there is gentle bubbles on top, NOT a bubble-bath, and you must see the items moving, not just going back and forth..

But with no common sense, the same "full dose" of detergent gets added whether the machine is stuffed with as many sets of greasy overalls as can physically be crammed in,

and a soap technologist would likely say that too-much soap created a thick creamy soup, that prevents correct washing action.
Thus - it is possible to get as good a wash out of plastic balls, as you would by using the manufacturers recommendation of soap, which is designed to empty the box fast, not wash the clothes fast.

Common sense aint common :oops:
..
.
Tracker
Solar Crusader
Solar Crusader
 
Posts: 5108
Joined: Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:54 am
Location: SYDNEY --- EA - Network, Retailer - EA

Re: Laundry Balls

Postby Gordon-Loomberah » Sat May 12, 2012 11:44 am

Tracker wrote:and a soap technologist would likely say that too-much soap created a thick creamy soup, that prevents correct washing action.


They'd also tell you that more soap than required for the job does a worse job than the right amount as far as the surfactant part of it goes too.
http://gunagulla.com Loomberah weather and astronomy including live solar radiation intensity and UV + Gunagulla aquaponics, organic eggs and cherries
User avatar
Gordon-Loomberah
Community Moderator
 
Posts: 5748
Joined: Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:41 pm
Location: Loomberah NSW Australia

Previous

Return to Living Green

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 2 guests

new solar power specials