I wish I had some way of telling whether clothes are cleaner, or wear out quicker, or fade more, depending on what type of washing additive you use. But in absence of a scientific method here are my findings about eco-laundry:
- Using laundry detergent gets your clothes clean
- Using "eco" laundry detergent gets your clothes clean
- Using soap nuts gets your laundry clean
- Using "eco balls" gets your clothes clean
- Using heavy plastic washing balls gets your clothes clean
- Using nothing at all gets your clothes clean - even when all the residual detergent has been flushed out of your machine
I wash all my clothes on 30 degrees with plain water and no detergent. Most stuff comes out clean. Some things need a rub with some kind of stain remover and washing again - but that also happens when you use detergent. Dry things outdoors when you can. Not only does it save energy, but the sunlight whitens clothes and kills bacteria (if you're worried about bacteria).