When Tristan’s skin was at its worst, laundry detergent, even the green/eco-friendly detergents, further irritated his skin – probably due to their ingredients (SLS/SLES to name a few) and the chemical residue buildup. I tried making my own laundry soap, but I just couldn’t find the right recipe. After a few fails at making my own, we moved to soap nuts and used them for at least one year before hearing about SmartKlean on a green living blog. While soap nuts were great, and about as natural as you can get, I didn’t find their odor all that pleasant. My laundry never came out smelling clean, so I had to add a few drops of tea tree oil to the wash, which helped. With soap nuts, since you’re dealing with a “soap” straight out of the tree, there are some extra steps you have to take before using the nuts and then you can only use them for about 5 wash cycles before replacing them, which I had a hard time keeping track of personally.
So, while I love soap nuts because they really helped us in our hour of need, I was always looking for an easier, but also safe/natural alternative.
I contacted SmartKlean with some initial questions and asked if I could review their product for the blog only…..but then I then fell so deeply in love with it, that I have decided to offer it as our first laundry product at The Eczema Company (see it here.)
This is why I love SmartKlean:
1) It’s EASY to use.
I keep the SmartKlean ball in my washing machine and never remove it. I add clothes to the wash, then remove the clothes when they’re clean, always keeping the ball in the wash. Sure, the company says to take the ball out every now and then to let it sit in the sun for an hour to regenerate the mineral pellets, but I haven’t done this and it still works great!
2) It’s GENTLE and great for those with eczema, other skin disorders, and sensitive skin.
- 100% hypoallergenic
- No detergent or soap residue (Did you know: 2% of a garment’s weight comes from laundry detergent residue. Ick!)
- Removes harsh chlorine from your washing water.
- Doesn’t contain SLS (sodium lauryl sulphate) or SLES (sodium laureth sulfate/sodium lauryl ether sulphate), both chemicals and studies have proved how harsh they are on our skin.
- No added fragrance or brightening agents, also harsh on skin.
3) It makes my laundry smell FRESH.
SmartKlean makes my laundry smell clean, but not that artificial fragrance kind of clean, but more like pure, fresh spring water. It’s lovely.
4) It’s ECOLOGICAL.
- 1 SmartKlean Ball is equivalent to 20-40 containers of laundry products. You’re not buying/using case after case of bottled or boxed detergents – which may be tossed in the garbage or recycled (Did you know: Only about 30% of plastic bottles are eligible for recycling). Adding to our garbage is bad, but even recycling takes energy. I’m much happier just consuming less.
- Both the ceramics and magnets contained inside of the laundry ball are natural and 100% biodegradable. The exterior shell case is made up of recyclable thermoplastic elastomer, which is a number 7 plastic, so you can recycle it at most community recycling centers. Inside the ball, you have mineral based, non-toxic ceramic beads and magnets. SmartKlean’s active ingredients are 100% free of harsh chemicals including surfactants, toxins, ABS, LAS, SLS, SLES, formaldehyde, ammonia, chlorine, glycol solvents, phthalates, artificial colorants, petroleum distillates, pesticides, fragrances, phosphates, parabens and allergens.
- Cold or warm water wash only – the ball works most effectively in these temperatures, so you’ll save money and energy by skipping the hot water wash.
5) It SAVES money.
- If you can believe this, one ball lasts through 365 washes! Given the retail price of $44.99, this may be the lowest cost option (around $.13 per load), next to just washing your clothes with water and baking soda.
- Your clothing will last longer since using detergents leaves residue buildup, which is hard on clothes.
- Skip the fabric softener – you won’t need. My clothing came out nice and soft.
- No need to wash in hot water – listing this one again since it’s both an ecological and economical advantage.
Negatives: The only negatives I found are pretty common complaints with any natural, non-toxic laundry product. And they are…
1) WHITES lost luster.
Over time the whites will become less so and will need a bit of a freshen-up. This is very common for natural laundry products and wasn’t a surprise for me. I did find my whites stayed whiter longer with SmartKlean than with soap nuts, so that was a bonus. To freshen up my whites, I like to use sodium percarbonate, also known as powdered hydrogen perioxide, but SmartKlean has a few natural ideas of their own on their blog.
2) STAINS need assistance.
There are no miracle, chemical based stain removers inside the ball, so I find I do need to use a stain remover of my own. I like the one they sent me to try, SmartKlean Stain Remover, as it contains great non-toxic ingredients with lovely essential oils, and it works! (I don’t sell the stain remover yet, but hope to soon!)
3) HARD WATER alert.
We don’t have hard water, but I have read that the ball may be less effective in hard water and a booster like baking soda may be necessary to use along with the ball.
So, just how does the SmartKlean ball work? I found this overview from their website:
“The laundry ball is filled with four types of mineral-derived ceramic beads and two magnets, each performing different cleaning functions. When these components come in contact with water, they form ‘oxygenated’ water with an increased pH level and an ability to eliminate germs and bacteria. The result is fresh, safe and clean laundry! “
If you’re interested in the science behind the SmartKlean ball, take a look a look here.
SmartKlean is giving away one (1) SmartKlean ball and one (1) SmartKlean stain stick. One winner will be selected. Contest is open to US and Canadian residents (except Quebec).
**Enter the giveaway HERE.**
Good luck everyone!
5/31/13 Update: Congratulations to our winner Shannon Hurley!