The Ecobola Scam

ecoball

Tests and studies carried out in recent years have shown that its washing results are very similar to those that would be obtained by washing with only water.

Our advice: Do you want to save? Put less detergent.

Already in 2011 the National Consumer Institute (INC) demanded 14 ecoball manufacturers to remove misleading advertising from their products. Given European regulations, Consumption cannot withdraw these products from the market, since this could only be done if they affect consumer safety, which is not the case.

According to the different websites that sell it: Cleans, bleaches, disinfects and softens. Without chemicals. It is an ecological, effective and cheaper alternative than traditional detergents. Its main use is for washing with a washing machine, although it can also be used for hand washing. It has an approximate duration of three years, which offers us considerable savings.

Despite the tests and studies that have already dismantled this myth, even today, large internet distributors such as Amazon or eBay include it in their catalogs. It continues to sell something that is a full-blown scam, although at least now without misleading advertising.

Its qualities are almost miraculous :

  1. The Eco wash ball does not contain detergent, it does not leave chemical residues on the clothes, so it does not cause allergies or irritations to sensitive people.
  2. Protects garments from fading caused by chlorine and helps maintain elasticity of fabrics.
  3. It has an antibiotic effect. Eliminates mold, pathogens and unpleasant odors.
  4. No need to add bleach, fabric softeners, or other additives to laundry. Doing so will enhance the activity of these products.
  5. Prevents clothes from tangling, leaving them loose, soft and easy to dry.
  6. 75-80% reduction in the use of detergent.

And the operation is more like a script for a science fiction film than a “scientific” study : Infrared radiation and negative ions produced by the ceramics contained in the Eco Wash Ball transform the molecular structure of water, favoring the elimination of the effects. contaminants and dirt without the need for detergents. This is how the websites that sell it explain.

We found a very interesting comparison of the different ecoball models that circulate and circulated on the internet:

Ecobola Irisana.

Includes: 1 ball (does not recharge).
Duration: 3 years of useful life or 1,000 washes.
For loads greater than 4Kg. use 2 ecoballs.
White and colored clothing should be separated.
The laundry should be allowed to soak for 30 to 40 minutes.
If desired, you can add bleach, detergent or fabric softener (no more than 20%).
It contains four different natural ceramics inside.
It is not necessary to remove the ecoball from the drum of your washing machine between washes.
It should be left in the sun once a month, to reactivate the bio-ceramics inside.
Eliminates mold and pathogens.
TUV certified product and CE mark.
Composition: ceramic resins of silicon, aluminum, iron, calcium, magnesium, potassium, titanium and sodium oxides.
okoball

Ökoball.

Includes: 1 ball (does not recharge).
Duration: 1500 washes.
In washing machines with a load greater than 4 kg, use 2 ökoballs.
White and colored clothing should be separated.
The laundry should be allowed to soak in the ökoball for 40 to 50 minutes.
A little fabric softener and detergent (1/7 part) can be added to add smell and aid in the washing process.
The ökoball should be put in the sun for one hour once a month.
There is no need to remove the drum from your washing machine between washes.
Disinfectant action, eliminates mold and pathogenic agents.
It contains four main natural ceramics and permanent magnets.
ecoballs ecozone

Ecoballs Ecozone.

Duration: 1000 washes.
Refillable balls.
Price 3 balls: 39.95 euros (plus 9 euros shipping costs).
Includes: 3 balls (750 washes) +3 refills (for 250 more washes) + a stain remover.
Subsequent spare parts price: 24 euros.
White and colored clothing should be separated.
The use of fabric softener is not recommended.
No need for prewash.
use the standard program of the washing machine and select the desired temperature (max. 60ºC).
It is recommended that the wash time be around 30 minutes to maximize the number of washes.
By not using fabric softener or detergent, no rinse cycle is necessary.
At the end of the wash, remove the ecoballs from the washing machine and store them in a cool, dry place.
Every month, gently wash the ecoballs in warm soapy water to remove any oily residue.
It is not necessary to leave the ball in the sun to recharge.
Antibacterial – kills E.coli and Staphylococcus aureus.
Composition: non-ionic sulfate ceramic resins, sodium meta-silicate, calcium carbonate, and sodium carbonate.
Free of phosphorus, boron and other ingredients harmful to health.
ecoball-wellos

Ecobola Wellos.

Includes: 1 ball (does not recharge).
White and colored clothing should be separated.
If the laundry load exceeds 5.5 kg (normal load) you should use two balls at the same time.
Use a minimum 30-minute wash program.
It is not advisable to use water over 60º.
You can add 20% of the usual amount of detergent or pre-treat with stain remover.
You can use bleach with the ball.
It should be left in the sun for a couple of hours once a week for the ceramic balls to recharge.
After the wash, you can leave the ball inside the drum.
Antibacterial, eliminates germs present in tissues.
It has the SGS quality certificate.
ecoperl

Ecoperls.

Includes 3 dodecahedra with eco-pearls.
Duration: 300 washes.
They contain various minerals, including quartz, aluminum silicates, metal oxides and abundant zeolites.
Reduces the use of detergent by 85%.

In the Centinel Blog we have the opportunity to read a post, which demolishes all those scientific values ​​that the sellers of ecoballs give us. I reproduce it:

Argument 1: Infrared rays. ” It is about powerful infrared rays emitted by natural ceramics (…), which break down the hydrogen combinations of the water molecule to increase molecular movement “.

I guess when they say “hydrogen combinations” they mean ” hydrogen bonds “. It is what you have not knowing what you are talking about. Hydrogen bonds are those that occur between hydrogen atoms and electronegative atoms, such as oxygen or nitrogen. As in the water molecule (H2O) the “zone” of the hydrogen atoms has a positive charge and that of the oxygen atom has a negative charge, and as everyone knows, the opposite charges attract each other, there is a particularly strong bond between the two. different molecules, since the “positive zone” of one (where the H’s are) attracts the negative zone of another (where the O’s). This phenomenon gives water the special and unique properties that it has and that are so necessary for life. Graphically it could be represented like this:

hydrogen bridge

These links are continually forming and breaking down. When the energy increases, the vibration of the molecules also and the bonds break more often. This weakening of the bonds increases the solubility of the water, since it makes it easier for other atoms to “mix” with it and be “dragged”. Well, the infrared radiation that the pamphlet mentions is nothing more than heat. Any hot object emits infrared radiation, a marble, a sock, your nephew or an apple, and the ecoball also, of course, if its temperature is above absolute zero. But from there to affirming that that (a marble, an eco-ball or an apple inside the washing machine) breaks the hydrogen bonds in a significant way there is an abyss. Sufficient heat must be provided. And everyone knows the best method to significantly “weaken” hydrogen bonds through heat: Use warm or hot water.

In summary: It has not been proven that the ecoball emits more infrared radiation than any other object at the same temperature. And furthermore, the radiation that it can emit, no matter how extraordinary, are so weak that they would not affect the washing at all.

Argument 2 : Negative ions facilitate the separation of stains. ” It emits negative ions that weaken the adherence of dirt to fabrics so that they are easily separated without using detergent.

I have no idea what negative ions the phrase refers to. And also, to assess whether these supposed ions are useful for cleaning, we should first understand how detergents clean ( The Sieve explains much better in this article ): Water dissolves some things well, but others badly For example, it dissolves very effectively salts because they are made up of polar molecules, that is, they have different charges, as the water molecule itself had. The positive parts are attracted to the negative ones, and vice versa, and dissolution occurs. But the spots are usually made up of nonpolar molecules, without charges, (those made of fat, for example), so in this case there is no attraction, rather the opposite. And water cannot dissolve them. To solve this problem there are two options: The first, wash with a non-polar solvent. But it is expensive, complicated and polluting to use solvents other than water (which is what dry cleaners do in some cases). The second option is to add a product that has slightly special molecules: Those that are at one end apolar (without charge) and at the other end polar (with charge). Thus, this “intermediate” would be able to “bind” the apolar products (fat) and the polar ones (water), dissolving each end in each of them. As you can imagine, this is soap. And what does that have to do with negative ions? I’ve no idea…

In summary: It is not known what these negative ions are or if they really emit them, and it is not understood what they have to do with reducing the adherence of stains to fabrics.

Argument 3 : “It eliminates the chloride components in the water and reduces its surface tension, thus increasing its washing capacity. “

Here they mix everything, chlorine, surface tension … What does “chloride components” mean? Chlorine ions? When washing white clothes, we usually add bleach, an important carrier of chlorine ions (dilute sodium hypochlorite) because its ability to bleach is very remarkable because it oxidizes organic compounds and breaks them down. So I don’t know if it’s such a good idea to remove them. And common salt (NaCl) has chlorine, do you mean that? I don’t know, nor do I understand what that has to do with washability. It is true that when there are more salts in the water (hard water), more detergent is needed to clean, for the simple reason that salts also react with soap and reduce its ability to react with stains, but I don’t know if they are talking about that.

On the other hand, the surface tension is produced by the previously mentioned hydrogen bonds. Water molecules are surrounded by other equal molecules, linked by these bonds, except in one case: Those that are closer to the surface. In this case “above” they only have air, so they are attracted only by those “below”. The effect is that the molecules “bunch up” in the surface area, creating a thin layer more “compact” than the rest of the liquid. This phenomenon allows some insects to walk on water, due to the extra resistance that this compact layer provides.

surface tension

Come on, that surface tension is a consequence of hydrogen bonds. And as we have said, what increases the effectiveness of the washing is the weakening of these bonds, regardless of the surface tension, which will obviously also decrease if the strength of the bonds decreases when the temperature rises or when detergent is added.

Bottom line: If the ecoball cannot significantly weaken hydrogen bonds, its effect on surface tension is not worth treating.

Argument 4 : ” maintains a pH value around 10, which is the normal pH of an ordinary chemical detergent. This pH is what allows the efficient processing of grease stains ”.

I don’t know if the ecoball keeps the pH at these values, but the influence of the pH in the usual washing processes is minimal. What really matters is what has already been said, the amount of detergent and the water temperature. In this link there is an extensive report on how different variables influence washing, which confirms what has been said.

Argument 5 : ” eliminates pathogenic microorganisms contained in the wash water of your washing machine, providing you with clean and healthy clothes. “

Any washing eliminates a large number of microorganisms, by the simple effect of dilution and dragging. Even more so if we use bleach, which kills them directly. Does the ecoball remove more microorganisms than a normal wash? They don’t claim that (let alone prove it), so they sure don’t. One more useless phrase.

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