Live chat with Ecoegg marketing executive Amy Barron

Ecoegg-eggFor our 10th live chat we invited Ecoegg to answer some of our (many!) questions about how these curious and mysterious little eggs work their magic in our washing machines. Amy Barron, marketing executive for the company, stepped forward and volunteered to chat with us for an hour, and this is the write-up of that chat.

Q: Is Ecoegg’s performance backed up by any independent testing? And also, what’s inside each egg and how does it work exactly?
Amy: Yes, the Laundry Egg is backed up by independent testing from Satre. We have had it tested to show that the Laundry Egg works just as well as regular washing detergent. In fact, without this testing, QVC UK would never have allowed Ecoegg to appear on their shopping TV channel. QVC require these tests before they allow you to make any claims on your product on air. Inside the Laundry Egg are two different kinds of pellets. These are mineral pellets and tourmaline pellets. The tourmaline pellets work by weakening the adhesive forces between the dirt and the fabric. The mineral pellets work by naturally ionizing the oxygen molecules in the water which then penetrate deep into the fabric lifting away the dirt and grime, without fading colours or damaging the fibre. Scientific testing shows that these two types of pellets used together give the best cleaning results. The ionized oxygen molecules also increase the pH level of the water, which has a natural softening effect on your laundry

Q: Is there a difference between the Ecoegg and “laundry balls” which seem to have been fairly widely discredited.
Amy: Yes, there is a difference between our Laundry Egg and Laundry Balls which often just include ceramic pellets. Many Laundry Balls don’t actually have any independent testing. They claim that the ions from the ceramic pellets clean the clothes on their own. However nothing actually disappears in these balls, suggesting that perhaps nothing is being cleaned. However, I would not like to speak for other companies. All I can let you know is that our Laundry Eggs have been independently lab tested in 34 different countries and across a range of different fabrics over the last 6 years. So you can rest assured that our Laundry eggs are very effective with powerful cleaning results.

Q: what do you mean by mineral pellets and tourmaline pellets? There are loads of different minerals, and tourmaline itself is a mineral.
Amy: The mineral pellets contain an ingredient similar to bicarbonate of soda which has long been known to have powerful cleaning effects.

Q: some manufactures say not to use laundry eggs / balls to wash nappies as they will shorten the life span of the nappies. Please could you tell me what Ecoegg make of these claims, and have you done any research into washing nappies with your product?
Amy: Yes, we have done some research into washing nappies with our product. In fact, many of our consumer testers test the Laundry Egg on their nappies. All of these testers have come back saying the laundry egg is great on their nappies.

Q: Did you test for stains and/or bacteria?
Amy: 
For stains and bacteria, this has been independently tested to show that our Laundry Egg works just as well as usual detergent. Unfortunately I don’t know whether this has specifically been tested for reusable nappies.

Q: Have you done any lab research though?
Amy: our Laundry Eggs have been independently lab tested in 34 different countries and across a range of different fabrics over the last 6 years. So you can rest assured that our Laundry eggs are very effective with powerful cleaning results.

Q: I must confess I’d never heard of Ecoeggs before I started cloth nappying, then I started seeing references to them on nappy forums and bought one. Do you have any sense of how many of your customers are nappy users? Do cloth nappy users use Ecoeggs more than other people?
Amy: Although I don’t have any specific figures on this, I can say that from the cloth nappy users I have spoken to, I know that they feel they want to use a product that will not irritate their babies sensitive skin.

Q: A question that came up during our chat with a detergent scientist is how does the Ecoegg stop dirt being deposited on the clothes once it’s been lifted off? Synthetic detergents are chemically designed to keep the dirt in suspension; how do Ecoeggs work in that regard?
Amy: Our laundry egg keeps dirt in suspension to prevent is from re-depositing back onto the clothes.

Q: How do they do that Amy?
Amy: I apologize, however I don’t know the details on how this works. I know that the laundry eggs has been formulated to keep the dirt in suspension, but I do not know the chemistry behind it. I’m afraid chemistry is not my strong point but I can always get back to you on this question.

Q: Can you tell us a bit more about how those tests work? (We are designing our own experiments at the moment and trying to work out the best ways to go about it)
Amy: For how the tests work, I know that they use an industry standard test that is used for all laundry detergents which we have passed, but unfortunately I don’t know the details of that test.

Q: What does Ecoegg make of the claim from some cloth nappy companies that the eggs will reduce the life of nappies?
Amy: We have no reason to believe that the Laundry Egg will reduce the life of your nappies. We have many recommendations from members of the reusable nappy association who are very happy with their laundry egg. As mentioned earlier, it can actually help with increased absorbency which is great for nappies.

Q: I Would love to know how it increases absorbency
Amy: The current laundry egg we sell does not, however we will be launching a new product soon for this.

Q: Another question that’s come up in the group is about killing bacteria and thrush when washing. Have Ecoeggs been tested to see how effective they are at that?
This question wasn’t answered

 

That was an hour absolutely packed with question and I’d like to thank Amy for giving us the opportunity to chat to her. It would be great to know how exactly the egg prevents dirt from depositing back on the clothes so hopefully will hear back from her soon!

EDIT

After the chat we sent Amy the following questions, some of which had already been asked in the live chat. These are her answers:

  • Have Ecoeggs been specifically tested for removal of stains and bacteria on nappies?

This question wasn’t answered

  • Can you give us any details of the lab research that has been done on Ecoeggs? E.g. how the tests work, what fabrics it has been tested on, what wash temperatures have been used?

Ecoeggs have been tested by independent laboratories, but Amy doesn’t have access to the details, methods and exact results of these tests at the moment. She said she will however get in touch with the labs and try to dig the information out for us. However, we haven’t heard back from her yet.

  • Do you have any sense of how many of your customers are nappy users? Do cloth nappy users use Ecoeggs more than other people?

This question wasn’t answered

  • How does the Ecoegg keep dirt in suspension to prevent it from redepositing on clothes?

This question wasn’t answered

  • Can you tell us some more about your new product which is supposed to increase absorbency? How does it do this?

“We don’t claim that our laundry eggs increase absorbency, but just that they help to maintain the nappies absorbency. As I explained in the chat, I wrote increase rather than maintain as I was hurrying to write an answer as quickly as possible! I’m not the quickest or most accurate at typing!

  • Another question that’s come up in the group is about killing bacteria and thrush when washing. Have Ecoeggs been tested to see how effective they are at that?

This question wasn’t answered, however Amy mentioned a new product that they have recently released which is a laundry egg with antibacterial properties. There was however no mention of scientific tests and lab analysis.

  • What do you make of the claims by a leading nappy brand that Ecoeggs will reduce the life of nappies by wearing down the fibres of the fabric?

I believe you are referring to Tots bots who are not recommending the use of our product on their cloth nappies, however we have no reason to believe that our laundry eggs would do any damage to nappies. I have spoken to them over email about why they don’t recommend them anymore, and below is their response:

‘In the past we had customers that were experiencing balding with some of the fabrics in their nappies. When troubleshooting, the only thing that was found to be a common factor was using products such as yours. We were concerned of any abrasive action of these types of product with continued use.’

I sent them a reply asking for clarification on what ‘products such as yours’ means, but I have not had a response. I have been meaning to give their customer services a ring to get some more information about why they don’t recommend us, as we have no evidence of our laundry eggs causing damage to reusable nappies and they have not provided us with evidence that thy do. If they did damage reusable nappies, we would be receiving customer services complaints about it and I can honestly say that in the 9 months I have been working for Ecoegg, I have heard of no complaints. I also don’t think the Real Nappy Association would continue to recommend us if numerous people thought Ecoegg damaged their nappies*.”

  • Do you have any guidelines as to preferred methods of strip washing. It has been indicated that using an Eco Egg might mean strip washing is required occasionally, what frequency would you recommend and what method do you prefer?

“For strip washing, we don’t have a recommended amount that we recommend, but it would definitely not need doing more than when using regular detergent. This is because the laundry egg leaves very little residue compared to other detergents, so there should be very little build-up. However, you may find that strip washing will still be necessary due to nature of the dirt which may begin to build up between the layers of the nappies over time”

  • Also do you have any suggestions as to why strip washing might be required and what symptoms to watch out for that indicate it is time to strip wash?

This question wasn’t answered

  • I’ve heard that in hard water areas you need two eggs? Is this true?

“No, it is not true that in hard water areas you will need to use 2 laundry eggs. The 1 laundry egg will be effective in hard and soft water.”

*Ecoegg is a “supporter” of the Real Nappy Association, providing them with marketing and donations

 

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