Q. What are Laundry Disks?
A. According to advertising materials, laundry disks can eliminate the need for laundry detergent, offering the consumer substantial cost savings. They typically sell for $50-70, and according to advertising claims, can be used for hundreds, even thousands, of loads. These products claim to increase the cleaning power of water by changing its molecular structure. At last count, there were at least 24 variations of the laundry disc companies.
Q. Do Laundry Disks Work?
A. We don't think so. Consumer Reports tested laundry disks from the Real Goods catalog, and came to the following conclusion in the February 1995 issue of Consumer Reports: "We don't think the disks are worth it. If they unleashed an "electromagnetic wave" in the wash, we sure couldn't tell from the results. The disks performed no better than plain water in our tests for stain removal and brightening, not even when we added a bit of detergent, as the instructions advise." The tests were conducted at the University of Utah Department of Physics and an independent chemistry lab, San Rafael Chemical Services of Salt Lake City. Several laundry disk manufacturers and marketers have come under legal fire for making unsubstantiated claims. TradeNet Marketing, Inc. of Dunedin FL, a large manufacturer of laundry balls, has been forced to pay substantial legal settlements in several states for making claims which could not be independently verified. TradeNet was ordered to pay the Oregon Department of Justice $190,000 and was fined $10,000 by the Utah Division of Consumer Practice.
They may show decent results for a few loads, as the detergent residue left over from previous washings will continue to work until it is eliminated from the clothes. However, over time clothes will become dingy.
Q. There are a lot of scams out there- why are you so concerned with this one?
A. First of all, a large number of people have been defrauded, who have spent hundreds of thousands if not millions on these products. Secondly, our customers are generally open to alternative products, and we don't want them to waste their money on products which don't work. Finally, there are some top-quality, innovative laundry products on the market, which really do work exactly as claimed. Unfortunately, products such as laundry disks give all alternative products a bad name, which hurts both consumers and ethical companies. Sources:
1. Laundry Disks. What, No Magic? Consumer Reports, February 1995.
2. The Laundry Disk 2000. http://www.worldwidescam.com/indexld.htm