If you’re anything like me, there was a time in your life when you purchased quite a bit of fast fashion. Hey, we didn’t really know what we were getting into at the time! Now, as someone trying to reduce my plastic waste and carbon footprint, it doesn’t really make sense to throw all those clothes out. After all, reduce, REUSE, recycle, right?
Yet, each time I put my clothes into the wash, I knew they were releasing harmful microfibers into the waterways. So, when I learned about the Cora Ball, I wanted to save up and make the investment.
Here’s my honest review of the laundry ball that promises to reduce microfiber pollution after one month of use.
What is Cora Ball?
The Cora Ball is a laundry ball designed as an external microfiber filter that protects the ocean and your clothes. It is an eco-friendly solution to microfiber pollution – teeny tiny particles released from our clothing.
The ball catches microfibers that shed off your clothes during washing, stopping them from entering the waterways and harming marine (and human) life. The biggest culprits are synthetic fabrics like nylon, polyester, rayon, acrylic, or spandex.
It’s small, around 4”x4”x3.5” and weighs .4lbs. It is highly durable, and made from recycled plastic. It’s designed to last up to five years, making it a long-lasting solution to microplastics. Learning that the ball can last up to five years was the final straw for me to make the investment!
What is Cora Ball made of?
Cora Ball is made of 100% recycled and recyclable soft and stretchy plastic. And, a lot of that plastic is reground laundry balls! The plastic is designed to withstand the temperatures and movement of the washer.
The plastic it’s made of is free from harmful chemicals like BPA, phthalates, and PVC. Also, each ball is made in the USA, right in Vermont!
How does it work?
At first appearance, you might be wondering (like me) if this funny-shaped ball can actually catch tons of microplastics. Here’s what I learned about how it works.
- Place the ball in your washing machine with your usual laundry detergent. I recommend Tru Earth laundry detergent for a zero waste detergent option!
- During the cycle, the ball will catch microfibers that shed off your clothes.
- When the laundry load is done, check the ball for microfiber build up and hair.
- Remove any build up, and place in the next load.
- Repeat for up to five years!
The ball’s design was inspired by the way coral filters water in the ocean. It has spikey, circular, coral-like arms that catch microfibers as they flow through the water during the wash cycle. The fibers get tangled in the ball’s arms and prevent microfibers from entering our waterways.
Keep in mind, microfibers can be as small as a grain of salt, making them almost impossible to see with the naked eye without a generous amount of build up.
While sending microplastics to landfills isn’t ideal, it’s better than sending them into our water. So, while we all cycle through the end of our fast fashion clothing, and invest in sustainable, plastic free clothing options, Cora Ball can help us make the transition responsibly!
Why should I use Cora Ball?
To protect the environment. Microfiber release from clothing may not seem like a big deal at first. The truth of the matter is, it has long-standing negative impacts on our planet. Learn more about the damaging impacts of microplastic pollution.
Extend the life of my clothes. A surprise bonus! Using a Cora can help protect your clothes! Putting a laundry ball in your laundry load helps prevent additional microfibers from breaking off, and ensures your clothes last longer. It’s a great way to save money on your wardrobe and reduce waste!
Easy to use. Just toss it in the washer and take it out before putting your clothes in the dryer and hanging it out on the line. Clean it after every wash, or every other wash! It’s 10/10 when it comes to ease of use.
The best part: Stop the circle of microplastics. Fair warning, this next reason is kind of gross.
Clothes are made with plastics, and then our clothing shed the plastic and it enters our waterways. This pollutes those waterways, like rivers and oceans. Then, the microplastics are also eaten by marine life. Guess what happens when humans eat marine life… Yes, you could literally be eating the microplastics from the elastic in your middle school gym shorts you now use as pajamas. Cora ball helps prevent the circle of microplastics!
The plastic equivalent of 30 million water bottles could be divested from drain water if 10% of US households used a laundry ball that caught microfibres.
Tips for Using Cora Ball
After a month of using the Cora Ball, I’ve picked up some tips! Here are some things you should keep in mind:
- Use it with every wash: It’s designed to be used with every wash. It usually won’t hurt to put the ball in the washer with your clothes (small caveat to this below). The more you use it, the more microfibers you’ll collect!
- Don’t overload the washing machine: While the ball can work in any washing machine, you shouldn’t add too many clothes to the load. I’m a sucker for throwing as much in as I can. But if the clothes don’t have enough room to move around, neither will the Cora, and it’ll collect less microfibers.
- Clean it regularly: I clean my ball after every wash. I pull off any build-up I find on the ball and dispose of the build-up (hair or microplastics) in the trash.
- You won’t always collect microplastics. Using the ball with synthetic fibers will increase your odds of finding build up. If you use it with natural fibers, you may not see any build up. Or it may take longer to notice build-up.
- Don’t use fabric softener. Fabric softener can clog the arms of the ball and reduce its effectiveness. Instead, you can use a natural alternative like vinegar or baking soda!
- It’s not strap-friendly. The Cora Ball can get caught on straps, so be sure to put things like your favorite strappy dresses or bra in a laundry bag to keep them safe.
Protect your delicates! Don’t use it with anything that has lace, tassels, chunky or wide knit, crocheted sections, or frayed threads. Items like these have a high likelihood of getting tangled in the ball, too. If you’re washing these with synthetics, put them in a laundry bag for safe washing!
How do I clean my Cora Ball?
You can clean Cora like a hairbrush. When you see fuzz or lint balls that are big enough to grab, do it! Grab them and place them in the trash.
You don’t need to deep clean your Cora Ball (it gets washed every time it goes through the wash) but if you want to, here’s how!
- Fill a sink or basin with warm water and a small amount of dish soap.
- Add the Cora Ball and let it soak for 15-30 minutes
- Gently scrub the ball with a soft brush or sponge.
- Rinse the ball thoroughly with warm water.
- Squeeze out any excess water and let it air dry.
While you don’t really need to deep clean your ball, you do need to remove hair and microplastics regularly. Since the ball is meant to last for years, trying to get excess build up could be a pain to get off. Don’t do that to yourself! Especially if you have pets or long hair.
The hair collection is real.
Is it safe to use in any washer type?
Yes! Front load washer, you’re good. Top load washer, you are also good. The ball is safe for any type of laundry machine. You also are safe to use the ball if your machine has a center spindle, no spindle, or is some kind of hybrid.
How many do I need for each load?
Don’t be fooled by folks trying to sell a three-pack of Cora Balls. You only need one for your load. A three pack of these microfiber catchers would last 15 years! Or, you could give the ball to someone else if you wanted. The more using a laundry ball, the merrier!
Is the Cora Ball also a washer filter?
The simple answer here is no, it is not a washer filter. You may sometimes still have to clean your filter, especially if you have a pet.
The ball works by catching microfibers that are released during the washing process. These fibers are normally too small to be caught by traditional washing machine filters.
That said, there’s a good chance your washer filter will need to be cleaned less and there will be less build up, as the Cora catches hair and rogue strings, too!
How long does the ball last?
The Cora Ball is a significant investment. When I bought mine, I had to know that it would last. The good news – the Cora Ball is meant to last five years! Of course, the lifespan depends on how often you use it and how you take care of it. But, with proper use and care you can expect it to last for years.
When it does eventually wear out, you can recycle it (if your city has the facilities to take it). Or better yet, send it back to Cora Ball so it can be broken down and made into a new ball!
Does it catch more than just microfibers?
Yes it does. If you’ve got pets, or longer hair, your Cora Ball will also grab those in your washing machine. It's designed to catch all kinds of tiny particles, so no hair or fraying threads are safe! It can also collect lint or sand.
Is it a substitute for a pet hair roller?
The ball is not a pet hair roller, it’s a microplastics filter. That said, it will collect quite a bit of hair in the washer naturally. So, you’ll need the pet hair roller less! This is another nice way to save some money and reduce your waste.
I don’t think it’s doing anything… How do I know if it’s working?
It may seem like the Cora Ball isn’t collecting anything. In fact, it took a month for me to see the results. Keep in mind that if your clothes don’t have a lot of microplastics in them (cue natural fiber clothing made of wool or cotton), then you won’t see any microplastics build up. Synthetic clothes will create the highest build-up.
Water temperature and types of washing machines can also impact the amount of microplastics released in a load. Warmer water and top load washing machines tend to be harder on clothing and release more microplastics.
Also, they’re microfibers, not macrofibers. They’re hard to see until there’s a lot of them!
Who shouldn’t buy a Cora Ball?
If you’re doing your laundry the old fashioned way, with a bucket in the backyard and a washing board, this purchase will not help you with your laundry. So, feel free to pass on this investment!
The Bottom Line: Cora Ball is Worth the Investment
Cora Ball was a worthwhile investment for me. I wanted to ensure I wasn’t contributing to the microplastic crisis and ocean pollution with every load of laundry. I really loved that it would last up to five years. It made the payment seem much lower.
Plus, as a woman who wears a lot of yoga pants, and the average yoga pants being around 80% plastic, I knew tons of plastic could end up in the ocean because of me.
While I have my own washer and dryer at home, I did fantasize about how great of a conversation starter it would be at a laundromat. Picture the cute fellow laundry day goer asking you, “What the heck is that?”
You get to tell them all about the benefits of a laundry ball. You look thoughtful, and responsible. Like someone they’d like to go to dinner with. Look at you, saving the world in your own love story.
Pro tip for the rock stars who make it to the end of the blog post:
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