AirToob Lightning
(Updated again in June 2018. The web site URL has changed and will now be found here.)

In 2016, this product won a Queen's Award for Enterprise, an awards programme for British businesses and other organizations who excel at international trade, innovation or sustainable development.

If you haven't seen one of these before (I hadn't until March 2012, when we bought one) then you might be forgiven for wondering what on earth it is.

The literal answer is that it's an egg with holes in it, made of durable rubber, containing dark tourmaline ceramic pellets and white mineral pellets. It's called an Ecoegg, and you simply bung it in your washing machine along with your clothes, run a wash cycle as normal and your clothes come out clean. And it saves you an awful lot of money.

How does it work?
“The tourmaline ceramic pellets weaken the adhesive forces between the dirt and the fabric. The mineral pellets then naturally ionize the oxygen molecules in the water which then penetrate the fabric lifting away the dirt and grease, without fading colours or damaging the fibres.”

“Yeah, right...” you may well be thinking. But after many years of using it, it obviously works just as well as the detergent we previously used.

The wondrous thing about this product ("wondrous" and "laundry" are two words I hadn't previously associated) is that it goes on doing this job for about 72 washes (2 to 3 months) before you have to open it and refill with a small (30g) packet of the white pellets, like the one on the right.

You get 12 of these packets with the Egg, which collectively will do about 720 washes.

The dark tourmaline ceramic pellets last much longer than the white ones - also about 720 washes (2 to 3 years).

When all the pellets run out, you don't throw away the Egg case - you can buy refill pellets.

I am updating this in June 2018, after using it for many years. The only problem we have had is the original rubber case had a rib come loose, and was replaced free by the manufacturer with the new, much more robust (and easier to refill) rubber egg shown above. This one is sturdy and locks very firmly in place. Washing clothes on average 5 to 7 times a week, in a machine with a 7kg wash capacity, we now find it simplest to add a 30g packet of pellets to the Egg every 72 days.

When we used powder detergent, a 1.2kg packet of detergent would last between about 12 and 21 washes, depending on the type of detergent. 72 washes therefore used 4 to 7 kilos of powder, and cost quite a lot of money. However this thing works (and it works fine), it is using far less resources than a normal detergent wash does.

You can read more about this gizmo and how it works here, which is also one of the cheapest places to buy it.

When I see this kind of product advertised I am naturally very sceptical about it - if you are sceptical too, I can well understand. But I can say that it saves a lot of money, it's good for the environment, and the danged thing really does what it says on the tin. (It has also been tested quite thoroughly by SATRA.)

If you like this...

[My "Environment and Technology" page]