Here's how to make this cult-favorite cleaning product more eco-friendly. 

By Katie Holdefehr
Updated June 10, 2019
Cora Ball, Microfiber Laundry Ball
Credit: Cora Ball

Ask any Real Simple editor for their top-ten favorite cleaning products, and there's a good chance the humble microfiber cleaning cloth will make the cut. Over the years, we (and our trusted cleaning consultants) have recommended picking up a microfiber cloth to do everything from wash windows without leaving streaks to clean a flat screen tv. Because this innovative cloth is lint-free, causes less streaks than a paper towel, and is so finely woven it's actually capable of cleaning on the microscopic level, it has proven itself to be a truly game-changing cleaning tool. The only catch: when you refresh used microfiber cloths by tossing them into your washing machine, the tiny microfiber particles leach into our waterways, eventually contributing to the pollution in our lakes and oceans and entering the food chain. Luckily, there's now an easy way to reduce the environmental impact of our laundry routines—introducing the Cora Ball ($38), a microfiber-catching laundry ball.

How exactly does a Cora Ball work? Toss this looped laundry ball into any type of washing machine, whether top-loading, front-loading, or high-efficiency. The ball will collect the tiny microfiber particles as it spins inside the machine, catching them before they can enter the water system. As the name suggests, microfibers are small, so it will take several wash cycles before you start to notice little fuzz balls accumulating on the Cora Ball. Once you do, the clumps of fuzz can be removed and thrown away.

While the loops on the Cora Ball make it dangerous to use when washing delicate lace or garments with spaghetti straps, it's a great solution when you're washing a load of dirty microfiber cloths, synthetic clothing, or your fleece pullovers. According to a study conducted by the University of Toronto, the Cora Ball is effectively able to capture 26 perfect of the microfibers in each load of laundry before they flow down the drain. Although it's not a perfect solution, over time it can help reduce the environmental impact of your laundry.

Want to boost the Cora Ball's fiber-catching abilities? Combine it with a fiber-blocking laundry bag from Guppyfriend ($30). A step above your basic laundry bag, this bag made from micro-filter material prevents fibers from breaking off of clothing in the first place, plus it collects more than 90 percent of fibers in its fine mesh. When used strategically, such as to separate out your microfiber cloths or a completely synthetic-fiber top, this innovative bag can have a significant impact. As more and more microfibers make their way into the food chain and end up in the seafood we eat, filtering our laundry—no fancy gear or new washing machines necessary—is one simple way to make our cleaning habits more eco-friendly.