In this column, Cecil’s experimental evidence indicates that laundry balls don’t work. It also finds that regular detergent doesn’t work.
Now, I realize that the section at the end of the column has already mentioned some of this, but I feel I must make a few points about the way we do laundry.
Most americans wash their clothes in what is referred to as a “top load” washing machine. Top loaders are more popular because they are less expensive than front loaders, and because people are accustomed to that style of laundry.
Top load washers, while somewhat effective at stain removal suffer from a few drawbacks. They require a large amount of empty space in a wash load in order to remove stains because they are somewhat dependent on water circulation. They all have a large agitator in the center of the tub. The agitator esentially beats the clothes to loosen dirt and stains. Because of the agitation process, most people find that their clothes experience more wear and tear in the washing machine than when they are being worn.
There are many other drawbacks to front load washing machines, but most of them are minor in comparison to the ones above.
So what, you ask, is the answer?
I was an appliance salesman for a number of years, and I have personal experience to back it up. Front load washers (of which there are now several models available in the U.S.) are far superior in performance and reliability to top loaders.
I guess what I’m saying is, it doesn’t matter what you use in your washing machine if your washing machine isn’t capable of cleaning your clothes very well in the first place.