DO THOSE LAUNDRY DISCS
In the field portion of the study, conducted in Lake and Cook counties, 25 households compared the discs with their normal clothes washing methods. Participants completed a survey before and after the study describing their typical laundry methods and rating their satisfaction levels for whites, colors, and heavily soiled clothes. We provided a white cotton T-shirt that they wore and washed six times with their regular detergent and laundry aids such as bleach, of their choice. Then they received another white cotton T-shirt to wear and wash six times with the ceramic discs and laundry aids, of their choice. Participants tended to use more laundry aids with the discs than with their regular detergent.
Thirteen of the 25 households reported that their satisfaction with their whites was lower when using the discs than when using their regular detergent. On a scale of one to ten (with one beinglow), the ratings for discs ranged from one to ten while the ratings for detergent ranged from four toten. When the two T-shirts from each household were compared, there was no significantdifference between the detergent with laundry aids and the discs with laundry aids.
Ninety percent of the participants plan to continue to use the discs and two-thirds indicated thatthey would purchase discs in the future. Environmental concerns and curiosity were two major reasons given by the volunteers for participating in the field study. Personal preferences and observations vary, but most participants completing the field study appeared to be satisfied with thelaundry discs and seem willing to accept clothes that are less white when they feel they are makinga choice that is good for the environment.
Keep in mind, when washing clothes that have been used for applying pesticides or that have beenused by people who are ill, it is important to clean clothes as thoroughly as possible. We did nottest the effectiveness of ceramic discs in removing trace contaminants or disease-causingorganisms.
Written by: Barbara Liukkonen Water Resources Education Coordinator Water Resources Center 1518 Cleveland Avenue N, Room 302 St. Paul, MN 55108-6001 612-625-9798
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