I Tried a Laundry Egg—And Here's What I Really Thought
Recently, I tried the EcoEgg laundry egg. The product name says it all: It's an egg-shaped plastic container that holds capsules that promise the same cleaning power as commercial laundry detergents, but with fewer unpronounceable chemicals. Another promise: The multi-use egg will save you money on detergent, since you'd be using the same cleanser over and over again instead of using up detergent and buying new. Needless to say, I was intrigued, so I placed an order to put this laundry gadget to the test.
When the EcoEgg Laundry Egg arrived, it was in a no-frills box without any packaging—slightly unexpected, since it was displayed inside packaging on Amazon. But no matter, because all of the parts were there: the egg itself, plus packets of black ceramic tourmaline pellets, and white mineral pellets (the aforementioned chemical-free cleaning agents) and directions, the most important part! Included in the directions was a handy calculator to figure out how much money the egg would save you, but I didn't need that to make the comparison: The egg promises 210 washes, while my usual detergent offers 125 loads for exactly the same price. If the egg works as promised, it's about half the cost.
How Does the EcoEgg Work?
The directions said that the tourmaline would "weaken the adhesive forces between dirt and fabric" and that minerals "naturally ionize the oxygen molecules in the water" to lift dirt and grime. While I don't totally understand the science, I know how to test it: Do the wash. So I gamely filled the eggs with two packets of white beads and one packet of black, as instructed. I placed the egg on top of my soiled laundry inside the washer. And then, I started my Sunday laundry, which included a set of sheets and two loads of my husband's and my clothing.
Test 1: Washing Sheets and Clothing
For better or for worse, the change was…undramatic. A set of sheets came out smelling fresh and looking clean. My lights and darks were refreshed. The laundry was less fragrant than I'm used to from my regular scented detergent, but other than that, everything seemed clean. And that was good, because I'll admit that I was worried that it wouldn't be effective, in part because I have a high efficiency (HE) washer, which uses lower levels of water. According to the EcoEgg's instructions, the pellets need to be fairly saturated in order to release their cleaning power. I was mostly happy that it didn't suds up too much and overflow, which is the fear I have with using non-HE detergent in an HE machine.
Test 2: Washing Stained Laundry
I also noticed that part of the verbiage on the EcoEgg packaging mentioned that most people wash clothing that's only lightly soiled, after wearing a garment once or twice. This made me wonder if perhaps our clothes weren't dirty enough for a true test—I'd say our grownup laundry is sweaty at worst, but rarely stained. So the following Saturday, I broke out the big guns: My kids' laundry and the kitchen linens. With these loads, I knew I'd have stains: Grass, berries, markers, and dirt, plus anything from olive oil to coffee spills on the dishcloths I keep on the countertops. I'll admit that the silver lining to a particularly messy loose tooth was that I had a few garments with blood on them to experiment with. Exciting!
As before, I used the egg for three more loads. At the end of these loads, I checked everything out. Blood was totally gone! Berry stains were lightened (though I probably should have pre-treated those, regardless of the detergent). Scrubbed-in dirt was visibly lightened, though I didn't expect it to miraculously scrub away months' worth of dirt in one load.
All in all, the laundry egg performed just as it was supposed to, and better than I expected. And it certainly has some pros compared to regular laundry detergent: It's cheaper, has fewer chemicals, and is much lighter and smaller than a bottle of detergent, making it great for those who go to a laundromat or are short on storage space. For me, the biggest hurdle to using the EcoEgg is letting go of the detergent smell I'm used to associating with "clean." Even though no smell is the new clean smell, it's hard to unlearn years of association!