Whilst we were in Johannesburg for DD and WGuys wedding RMan, MKid and I nipped past a large shopping centre in the neighbourhood - our local village shop doesn't stock the type of item I was looking for.
It is an Icon (or Biowash) washing ball. Safe for use with all fabrics, eco-friendly, chemical free and it eliminates germs and bacteria whilst reducing the risk of allergic reactions due to the use of chemical detergents.
It works via "friction on the Cermatech beads which causes the Ph level of the water to rise - effortlessly unlocking dirt and grime from any fabric….quickly and effectively".
All you do is pop it in your machine instead of washing powder and the little ceramic balls inside do all the work. It's just what I need for the laundry on the farm, as it will produce water which will not be harmful for the biological and ecological composition in our grey water reed bed.Prior to using it for the first time, one has to "flush out" the washing machine to remove any trace of remaining soap suds by adding a cup of vinegar and allowing the empty machine to run through two full "hot" cycles. Finally, rinse out the machine and it's ready to use with your washing ball.
Any heavy stains should be pre-treated prior to placing your washing in the machine.
It can also be used with a commercial fabric softener, or with using vinegar as your softener.
After the washing cycle is finished the ball must be removed and allowed to dry (naturally) before using it again. It should last for up to 1000 washes - a good couple of years - using it two or three times a week.
I still have a couple of loads of washing powder left which I need to use up before I can use the washing ball. I will therefore, as always, report back on the effectiveness of the washing ball once I have had a chance to access it's performance.
Yay - I DO NOT do handwashing - not on a general laundry scale! My electric washing machine is definitely coming with us. Now I can use it with a clear conscience :)