Americans love their laundry detergent — and we may not even need it. According to Ellen Bryon of the Wall Street Journal, we dump way too much soap into our machines, almost never taking into account the precise measurements that our now-highly-concentrated detergents and ultra-efficient washers require. Big laundry detergent brands aren’t helping, either: “Even though concentrated detergents have been on the market since at least 2007, many caps still hold more than is needed for an average load,” Bryon reports.
A Dutch company named GreenHabit aims to cure us of our ecologically-damaging detergent habit for good, with a new product named the Ecowasbal. Users simply toss the green gadget in with their clothes — no soap needed. According to the Future Perfect, a boutique that’s selling the Ecowasbal stateside, it is effective for up to 1,000 washes (which equals about four years of laundry).
The greening of everyday chores like laundry or dishwashing is a huge trend of late. But though the demand for more natural, earth-friendly cleaners is on the rise, are we ready to toss the soap completely? And will we really trust a product that removes dirt via a space-age process that causes “ions [to] reduce the surface tension of water, activat[ing] the water molecules and [causing] dirt [to be] released from fibers?”
Most likely, the future adoption of products like Ecowasbal will depend on the power of effective marketing, to convince consumers that the soap-free options work just as well. Certainly, mega corporations like P&G–the owner of Tide who last year made $6.3 billion dollars from fabric and home care sales — are working to make sure this doesn’t happen.