Ditch the detergent

Small steps…

  • Stop carting those big bottles back from the store, and get yourself an Ecoegg.
  • It’s chemical-free, allergy-friendly, and far, far cheaper.
  • It leaves far less residue on your clothes than everyday detergents.
  • Above all, it does a great job of cleaning.

I honestly can’t think of a single reason not to get one.

(Can’t quite believe it’s come to this – an article about washing clothes. But here goes…)

As a family of four and with year-round guests in our holiday cottages, our washing machine’s never quiet. Such frequent use meant we unthinkingly bought the cheapest detergent and fabric conditioner we could get away with, resulting in a constant stream of large plastic bottles from the local supermarket.

But because all our electricity is green and we kept the temperature as low as possible, because we don’t tumble dry and diligently rinsed and recycled all those empty bottles, I figured we were doing our bit. But then I read about global plastic recycling rates and how most of it just ends up in the ground – which can mean, all too often, finding its way into the oceans.

And then I realised that, with every wash, we were churning out chemicals into the water course. A classic case of flush and forget: it should have been obvious that our laundry soaps and fabric conditioners were pouring enzymes and bleaches, perfumes and colourants out into the world. But, because it was something we’d just always done, I never stopped to think.

In our case, because we live beyond the reach of the mains sewage network, it’s even more immediate – I can see our local river from where I’m sitting now, and trace the outlet trickle from our glorified septic tank down the hill and directly into the water.

Cue the EcoEgg, a (recyclable!) plastic, egg-shaped container about the size of a (disappointingly small) Easter egg. It comes stuffed with two types of pellet: one to loosen the ‘stick’ between dirt and fabric, the other to ‘lift away the dirt and grime’.

You can still use it with fabric conditioner if you want (we don’t). And, because it contains no soap agents which means comparatively little residue on your clothes, you can even shorten the rinse cycle – saving further on water and energy.

Cost-wise, it’s a no-brainer. They say one standard egg (£12.99) should last about 210 washes, and ours is well on the way. Or you can buy a 720-wash egg (£24.99). Both come with refills, which can also be bought separately (£6.99). We were paying far more for even the cheapest detergent – as was the planet.

Obviously we want the best for our cottage guests; the fact that we’ve been happily using our Ecoegg for months now is testament to the quality of the wash, whether it’s on mud-stained rugby kit or white sheets. They all come out clean, without even a hint of earthy, tree-hugging aroma; at least, people aren’t edging away from me any quicker than usual.

There’s still the issue of microplastics. But one step at a time. The Ecoegg comes with a 30-day money-back guarantee. Try it. I’d be surprised if you ever go back.

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