Daze: Laundry Gadgets Won't Lighten the Load
it be great to throw out those heavy boxes and bottles of laundry detergent and replace
them with a small, light-weight, money-saving plastic ball? Some businesses claim that
their reusable balls, rings and discs, filled with what they say is a special liquid, can
take the place of laundry detergents.
The manufacturers claim their products "change the molecular structure of
water" to force dirt out of clothing. Internet ads and product distributors maintain
that their laundry aids, which cost about $75 apiece, can last for thousands of loads
and save customers hundreds of dollars in detergent costs.
Before you toss out your tried and true detergents, consider this: Tests show that
these gadgets do little more than clean out your wallet. At best, theyre marginally
better than washing clothes in hot water alone, and not as effective as washing them with
laundry detergent. At worst, the products are completely useless.
The Real Dirt on Getting
Your Laundry CleanFollow the care label instructions. Cleaning
instructions are required on most textile clothing. They are not required on clothing made
primarily of suede or leather, footwear, items for the head and hands such as hats
and gloves or on household items like sheets and towels. However, many
manufacturers of these items provide care information voluntarily.
Sort by color. Wash whites separately; light and medium
colors together; and brights and darks by themselves.
Dont overload your washer. Clothes need room to move
and enough water to carry away the soil.
Follow product instructions. Use the recommended amount of
detergent and other laundry products, and follow the recommended procedures. Some products
are added to the water before the clothes; others, like liquid fabric softener, are added
at the start of the rinse cycle.
For More InformationThe American Apparel
The Soap and Detergent Association.
Individual soap and detergent manufacturers many include a
toll-free number on their labels or packaging.
The Federal Trade Commission publishes Closet
Cues: Care Labels and Your Clothes.
The FTC works for the consumer to
prevent fraudulent, deceptive and unfair business practices in the
marketplace and to provide information to help consumers spot, stop and
avoid them. To file a
complaint or to get free information
on consumer issues, visit
call toll-free, 1-877-FTC-HELP (1-877-382-4357); TTY: 1-866-653-4261. The
FTC enters Internet, telemarketing, identity theft and other fraud-related
Consumer Sentinel, a
secure, online database available to hundreds of civil and criminal law
enforcement agencies in the U.S. and abroad.
FEDERAL TRADE COMMISSION
FOR THE CONSUMER