Drum roll, please! Dropps is introducing a new laundry accessory for those who love and care for our waterways as much as we do. Pull up a chair and meet the Cora Ball! This is a new innovative product that started as a Kickstarter from researcher and entrepreneur Rachael Z. Miller, and has grown into the fantastic product we know and love today.
Synthetic materials such as polyester, acrylic, and nylon represent a significant portion of clothing worldwide. When washed and worn, synthetic clothing and textiles can shed tiny plastic fibers that are often not visible to the naked eye -- these fibers are called microfibers. Many washing machines do not have filters and if they do, they are often unable to detect and catch those fibers. Microfibers are shed in the washing machine and often go straight down the drain, with their final destination being our waterways. From there, aquatic organisms such as plankton and fish may consume these plastics, which can ultimately bring them harm.
Our friends at Cora Ball were inspired by the feeding process of coral, in which the coral catches microscopic organisms in our oceans to nosh and help tackle this microfiber problem. The Cora Ball gets tossed around in your wash load and, similar to coral, it allows water to flow through it while picking up microfibers along the way. Research has shown that the Cora Ball prevents up to 31% of microfibers from flowing down the drain of your washing machine (McIlwraith, 2019; Napper, 2020).
Because the problem of microfiber pollution caused by laundry is a relatively new one, related science is ongoing with regular updates. Here are some ways you can reduce the amount of microfiber produced in your home:
- Wash less often
- Use cold water
- Wash with a 3/4 to full load
- Use a liquid detergent, like Dropps pods (rather than a powdered detergent)
- When it's time to replace or select a washing machine, front loaders cause less shedding than top loaders
- If you have hard water in your home, using a softening system will have multiple benefits, one of which is to reduce shedding in your washing machine
- Use a Cora Ball!
We recommend that you separately wash anything with lace, tassels, chunky or wide-knit, crocheted sections, or fraying threads with Cora Ball. The stalks on the Cora Ball might catch or tangle with these delicate items and potentially cause damage. The good news is that these items are not contributing much microfiber according to current scientific understanding, so leaving the Cora Ball out of the wash for your delicates is okay.
On the days you wash your heavier items, like fleece, sweatshirts, etc., you are likely to see the fibers stuck in the Cora Ball. Sometimes, after everyday clothing loads, you may not see much. It may be there accumulating and tangling up with hair and larger fibers, it’s just too small to see and you will be able to remove it when the tangles do get big enough to grab. Don’t panic if you don’t see many fibers when you first start washing! Even when you can’t see the fibers in Cora Ball, Cora Ball is preventing microfiber shedding in the first place!