Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Review & Giveaway: SmartKlean Laundry Ball



With a new baby on the way, and frankly just growing up in generally, I have begun doing what many people in the country have - looking for ways to better the planet by removing unnecessary chemicals from my everyday life. Sometimes it is the food I put in my family's bodies, or the household cleaners we choose to use. In this case, I was able to try a detergent free laundry solution!

I certainly didn't know such a thing was possible before I learned about SmartKlean. Even after it arrived and I read all the included instructions, as well as their website and past testimonials, I STILL wasn't convinced that such a thing exists.


Reading the packaging, I confess I was simultaneously impressed, and rolling my eyes at the claims.  

According to the box, the SmartKlean Laundry Ball performs a physical process to naturally boost the water’s ability to clean and soften, without leaving behind a chemical trace on your clothes, your skin, or our environment. Sounds great! 

But wait...I’m supposed to believe that this little green plastic ball that sounds like a baby rattle when shaken, is going to help my Mojave Desert water clean? (think Erin Brockovich, people!  That's our water!) 

Although I am not filled with much scientific knowledge, the way it is explained actually makes sense. 

The green outer shell is filled with four different kinds of small ceramic pellets and two magnets. Together these eliminate bacteria and mold from your fabrics, elevate your water’s pH levels to help lift dirt and oils, eliminate chlorine and reduce surface tension, reduce size of water clusters and increase dissolved oxygen, decompose impurities and odorous bacteria, and ensure sterilization. 




The outer ball itself has a shape and texture designed to agitate the water to beat the dirt off your clothes. All of that sounds like exactly what is needed to get the job done! It’s best read The Laundry Ball's Science for the full scientific breakdown. 

It says that is it great for general laundry, delicates, baby clothes, cloth diapers, wool, wetsuits, sports and outdoor gear, and light stains. Although it does add that for set in stubborn stains you should pre-treat with a stain remover. They even have a stain stick you can purchase for $9.80 + $4.50 shipping. 

Also, you should know that Borax or other washing soda is recommended for extreme hard water. I was a little annoyed reading that, thinking, ‘well, what DO you do then?’ Then I had it pointed out to me that even big name detergents make those same recommendations. Well then…

It sounded like it was about time to just put it to the test!

The first week, it was hard for me to choose the SmartKlean Ball over my trusty bottle of TIDE. I found myself trying it with clothes that were routine, rather than clothes I really NEEDED clean, if that makes sense. When it came to my husband's Army uniform, or baby clothes, or cloth diapers, I just couldn't trust it and would chicken out on giving it a chance. The clothes were always coming out seemingly clean, but how could I really know?

The answer was obvious, I had to let go and use it on clothes that NEEDED it. In deciding to make the official full switch from detergents, the first thing to do was clean our machine! This is essential for the laundry ball to work to its full potential. Our washer is probably around 8 years old and I know that we have never cleaned it in the 4 years its been in our possession. 

I had no idea just HOW gross it was. Over time, grime, mold and detergent residue build up inside the nooks and crannies of your machine, preventing your clothes from achieving their best clean. My husband, Daniel, spent a few hours making it sparkle again, but that will be another post for another day!




Now that we had a clean machine to work with, we were ready to give it a try.

First up, we challenged it hard: Army PT’s. Stinky, smelly, August-in-the-Mohave-Desert sweat filled, Army PT’s. To my absolute amazement, they came out smelling like, well, nothing. Which is way better then what they went IN smelling of!

After that success, I decided to really let go, and just start incorporating the SmartKlean Laundry Ball into my routine regularly. I never once was disappointed. Clothes never came out unquestionably clean, and the whole process was much quicker, from just being able to keep clothes moving without stopping to measure detergents or otherwise.

The only hang up I had was entirely mental. The Smell! Or, rather, lack there of. 

Fabric softener would change that, as my Bounce dryer sheets do the trick. (Though you should be aware that SmartKlean eliminates the need to purchase EITHER of those anymore - the SmartKlean ball acts as a fabric softener, too!) Also, you can add a few drops of essential oils on a piece of cloth in the dryer, to add a scent.

So aside from the scientific obvious answer of ‘chemicals are bad’, why should you make the switch?

The entirely biodegradable, BPA and PVC free SmartKlean Laundry Ball and packaging can be purchased for $45+$5 shipping. Sound expensive? What about when I tell you that the ball is good for 365 loads! With that math, it would cost roughly $170 to achieve the same with a bottle of my usual. To put it another way, SmartKlean costs just .15 cents per load. 

On top of the money you save on your grocery bill, how does saving money on your utility bills sound? This laundry ball operates on cold water only, so no need for your water heater to run. Not using detergents, you eliminate the need for a rinse cycle, saving 10-12 gallons of water per load! I can only imagine how much that will help your water and electric bills. So, you know, there’s that.

But if financial savings aren't  incentive enough, how about a few environmental factors? Without ever having given it much thought, it seems like common sense that the water in your washer has to drain to somewhere. Which means, somewhere out there your soapy, chemical filled water runs off into some body of water, changing pH balances, overgrowing algaes and harming wildlife. Not anymore!

You will also be extending the life of your machine by cutting down the wear and tear. Chemicals can be very harsh on the inner workings, creating rust spots and minimizing the life of your appliance. Furthermore, one of the processes the ceramics in the SmartKlean Laundry Ball perform is to strip the water of chlorine. Some of you may be quite surprised to learn just how much chlorine comes out of your faucet along with your regular water.  

You are leaving no chemical residue on you and your family’s clothing anymore, either. This is big for us, as I have had sensitive skin my entire life. Early in life, I had to be very brand specific as everything was causing to me break out in hives. I always have to keep an eye on my children, waiting for the day that they show signs of it as well. This really puts my mind at ease!




The only aspect that I saw as a negative, initially, is the size load. Because of the physical process of the laundry ball, it needs ample room in your machine to agitate the water. If you overload it, it wont have the proper space to do its job. Smartklean suggests sticking to no more than 18lb of clothes, or no more than ¾ of the way full. As someone who really hates household chores, I was annoyed by not being able to pack it full to lessen the work. However, I have since seen the trade-off and just needed to shift my priorities. Though if you just can’t wrap your head around any added loads that would accumulate, you can buy a second ball to add to your loads to accommodate the size. 

The only other thing to keep in mind, is that although it is thoroughly cleaning your clothes, it does not contain any optical brightners, so you may want to occasionally add Oxyclean or something similar to keep whites white.

The only upkeep to the ball itself, is to sit in in the sun for 1-2 hours roughly once a month. This helps recharge the ceramic balls inside, maintaining its effectiveness.  

I'm a fan, and ditching my detergent for good!


SmartKlean on Facebook 



If you'd like a chance to try one for yourself, SmartKlean is offering a giveaway of one SmartKlean Laundry Ball and 1 SmartKlean Stain Remover Stick to one of our readers in the US or Canada. 

The combined value of this giveaway (including shipping) is $59.80, and the contest will end just before midnight on Monday, September 8th.

To enter the giveaway, leave a comment in this entry as instructed by the Rafflecopter, then leave the name you commented under and your email in the box in the Rafflecopter entry. (This lets us contact you if you win!)  This will open up additional optional entries to increase your odds of winning.

Good luck, everyone!

a Rafflecopter giveaway



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37 comments:

  1. I learned that there are a lot of imitators out there that are much lower quality and not biodegradable: http://www.smartklean.com/html/beware_imitations.html I think I've seen some of these, because I've long wondered what is the point of being ecological if you have a big plastic thing to dispose of! The SmartKlean is ceramic and fully biodegradable, and also has no fragrance.

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  2. At first glance I was skeptical but cutting chemicals and irritants out of my family's everyday life is very important to me, especially with my first little one on the way. This is my first time coming across anything like this and it's kind of blowing my mind that we can change the way laundry is done altogether! I love the videos on the SmartKlean site that explain and show how ph balance works when it comes to laundry and how the SmartKlean ball changes the alkalinity of the water it comes in contact with. I really hope these take off soon for the sake of our health as well as that of the environments'! Thank you for such an informative review! :)

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    1. I'm so glad you learned something. I agree, the video's on their website were a great help in making me finally let go and try it ;)

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  3. The SmartKlean is ceramic and fully biodegradable, and also has no fragrance.

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  4. I really wanna try this SmartKlean and prove that it really works and make laundry time more anjoyabke and a lot cleaner.

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  5. my daughter has been telling me to try this since she loves it.

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  6. My personal favorite:

    Removes chlorine from wash water preventing its residues on clothing.

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  7. I have actually been wanting to try this for a while - such a neat alternative to using all the harsh chemicals out there on our clothes. this actually helps your clothes to last longer.

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  8. I learned that it cleans without suds.

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  10. I learned that it is hypoallergenic so it is good for those with sensitive skin!

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  11. I like that it washes 365 loads of laundry without using any soap or detergents and takes the place of fabric softer and dryer sheets.

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  12. Whoa! No detergent? This would be great for our septic tank! Thanks for the information and the opportunity to win the prize!

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  13. I like the idea of using no detergent. The site's videos are really helpful in explaining just how the ball works. It would be neat to give it a try.

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  14. So cool that it doesn't need soap! I wonder if it would work well enough for cloth pads and diaper covers?

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  15. I learned that it effectively washes 365 loads of laundry without using any soap or detergents.

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  16. I learned and like that it Effectively washes 365 loads of laundry without using any soap or detergents...SOunds awesome,I so what to try this!

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  17. until today I had never heard of this. I can see why people would be skeptical about this. I like it because it leaves no trace on our aquatic eco systems and is completely biodegradeable.

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  18. "Effectively washes 365 loads of laundry without using any soap or detergents. Replaces fabric softener and dryer sheets. Helps to conserve water and energy." --- this is a 'too good to be true, have to see it to believe it" type product!

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  19. Wow, 365 loads without soap. If you did one load a day, it would last a whole year.

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  20. I learned that it effectively washes 365 loads of laundry without using any soap or detergents.

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  21. SmartKlean Ball can prevent 8-16 gallons of chemicals from reaching our water systems.

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  22. I like that it's detergent free and biodegradable.

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  23. Im definitely intrigued. It would take some mental adjustment on my part not to have that fresh scent you get with detergent, but I love the energy savings aspect so it seems a good trade off.

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  24. I learned that I can wash my cloth diapers with it! Ahh that is awesome! Plus you just have to use cold water when washing them when otherwise I always need to do a hot rinse! Awesome!

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  25. I like that it is earth-friendly. It said that it cleans through a physical process and that the mineral ceramics help to remove the dirt and grime. We have well water and when using regular detergent it never seems to get our clothes super clean. I would love to try this and see how it compares to regular detergent.

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  26. Omg, I heard about this product a while ago and it's just awesome. reduces waste (it's ZERO WASTE WEEK) and saves money!

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  27. What a great idea. I had no idea this even existed until I read this blog. The SmartKlean Laundry Ball has to be the best thing to happen to laundry since detergent. I love that it has the ability to naturally boost the water's ability to clean and soften without leaving anything on your cloths. I would really like one. I would be so excited to do my laundry.

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  28. I learned that a paste of lemon and salt is a great spot treatment for tough mildew stains

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  29. I learned that it has no fragrance! Best that way!! :D

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  30. I love that there is no detergent included.

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  31. I definitely entered. You share some really great products and giveaways! I can see why you thought this was too good to be true. Hopefully I win so I can try it. Thanks for sharing this with us at the Creative Style Linkup!

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  32. I've learned that it is safe for use with septic systems.

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  33. I learned you have to wash clothes in cold water or risk damaging the oroduct

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  34. I learned and like that it Effectively washes 365 loads of laundry without using any soap or detergents.

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