▷ Washing Clothes Without Detergent: EcoWasher Review
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Washing Clothes Without Detergent: EcoWasher Review

Written by Mark Hansen and updated on April 28, 2018
EcoWasher Review

Post Summary

Washing clothes without detergent is a healthier, less costly and more environmentally sustainable way to clean your clothes. The EcoWasher is a device that kills more pathogens than detergents, zeroes out your exposure to harsh chemicals and saves you money in the long run.

I’m a rash-y guy. I get a lot of skin rashes—or I used to anyway. I’ve had them on most parts of my body at one time or another, including many of the parts where you really don’t want rashes.

I used to visit my family doctor or dermatologists for the rashes and they would almost invariably give me the diagnosis of “contact dermatitis” and send me on my way with a steroid or hydrocortisone cream.

I eventually realized that "contact dermatitis" basically means that I came into contact with something my skin didn’t like and I got a rash. The doctor doesn’t know what that substance was or how to avoid it, so they’re giving me a cream that suppresses the rash but doesn’t address the real issue.

So What’s the Issue?

There are (probably literally) a million things that can cause a rash, and it’s some interaction between your particular body and the environment. So it’s hard to paint with a broad brush here, but I can tell you what has worked for me.

That is reducing the number of chemicals that I’m exposed to every day. I reduced the chemicals in my food by going (mostly) organic. I reduced the chemicals in my medicine cabinet with more natural personal care products. I reduced the chemicals in the house through the use of natural cleaners and with air filtration. The latest research says this is important, and guess what? I almost never get a rash now.

Pros:
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    Zero exposure to detergents
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    Kills pathogens that detergent doesn’t
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    Uses only cold water, saving some extra money on hot water
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    Easy on septic systems
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    No fragrance on clothes (which some people hate)
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    Saves money over time
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    Keeps your washing machine very clean
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    Doing a load of wash is easier and less messy
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    Very easy to install (no plumber required)
Cons:
  • Up front cost
  • Doesn’t clean stains well
  • No fragrance on clothes (which some people like)
  • Consumes a small amount of electricity
  • Some models have a small amount of maintenance
  • Will have to be replaced eventually

Better than Organic Laundry Detergent?

My motto now is that for most situations, the best chemical is no chemical. And thus ends my long introduction to my latest gadget, the EcoWasher. This is a system that promises clean clothes with absolutely zero detergents. In fact, it completely eliminates E. coli bacteria and dramatically reduces other pathogens that aren’t killed by a combo of hot water and detergent.

My mother has been allergic to Tide laundry detergent since I was a kid. Being a close blood relative of my mother and whatnot, I probably should have thought to get rid of the detergent sooner. But I’ve always been a late bloomer…

I did get rid of detergents with chemical fragrances quite some time ago, and I still consider that the 80/20 rule for protecting yourself against nasty chemicals in your laundry. However, you can entirely remove detergents with this device, which also saves money in the long run. So I wanted to give it a try.

EcoWasher Review

I first bought this device on Ebay, but the product was unintentionally misrepresented because the seller didn’t know much about these units. 

When the right unit did arrive, it came in this compact little briefcase box you see here. Interestingly, on the top it says it’s great for families, babies, allergies—so far it all makes sense—and…hunters. I’m sure they know their market, but I’m still scratching my head about that one.

First, Deep Clean Your Machine

The very first thing they tell you to do is to give your machine a deep cleaning. This involves several wash cycles and hand scrubbing anywhere that detergent might build up.

This was the part of the process that took the most time by far, though most of it was just waiting for the cycles to finish.

Second, Buy Silver Coins

I pop open the instructions and the first thing I see is this advertorial selling silver coins. Again, they must know their market but this is an incredibly odd place to encounter a pitch for precious metals.

Now, the Installation

The installation is actually the easy part of the process. There’s a bit of work in getting to the back of the washing machine and messing with the hoses, but this is truly a quick process. Below are the unboxing photos showing what comes with the unit.

The pleasant surprise here for me was the screwdriver. It’s not one of those little disposable chunks of metal they normally give you. It’s a full-size Phillips head screwdriver…with a magnetic tip! I kept this in my toolbox after the install and it feels like a little bonus.

You can see the internals in the photos, and the only reason you really need to look at them is to access the mounting holes for the screws. There aren’t a lot of considerations in the mounting except that you want several inches of clearance on all sides of the unit  and it needs to be mounted horizontally as in my photo, not tilted or vertically mounted.

At the end, here’s what it looks like on the wall behind the washer. Because there are hoses and mechanicals behind the washer, there’s plenty of room for it in terms of depth. The only other consideration is that you’ll need one more outlet open because it needs power to operate. The whole installation process took me about ten minutes.

Does It Work?

In a word, yes. It works quite well. The way this machine works is that it uses ozone to clean the laundry. They tout the fact that it smells like the outdoors after it rains, and that’s true. When you first pull the clothes out you can definitely smell the ozone. That fades quickly though and the clothes pretty quickly smell like nothing in particular, which is actually exactly what I want.

I’m not the only one with sensitivities in our household; we have a variety of sensitivities. But no one has any issue with the laundry now. As the manufacturer points out, you also save money on laundry detergent over time, a savings that ends up exceeding the cost of the unit.

Because there’s no detergent, there’s also no build-up of gunk in the machine. The inside of the washing machine always looks pristinely clean now, and it’s nice not to have to think about detergent or get it on your hands. You just thrown the clothes in and hit the button, it’s on par with the dryer now in ease of use.

The EcoWasher does have its limitations though. The company does sell a stain pre-treatment. While you don’t have to use theirs, you will still have to pre-treat stains with the most natural stain product you can find. There’s also no enduring scent on your clothes. That’s actually the main feature, not a bug, in my mind. However, some folks like their clothes to have a scent. (Though something more natural like essential oils is a far better choice than chemical fragrance.)

Conclusion

All in all, our family is in love with this thing. There is an up front cost to it, but you get the money back and then some over time. It simplifies the process of doing the wash and keeps your washer perpetually clean (which must extend the life of the machine, though I have no proof of that). And best of all, it reduces your detergent exposure to zero. My skin thanks me for that.

Have you tried the EcoWasher? What did you think? We’d love to hear from you in the comments below.

About the author

    Mark Hansen

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