Marie-Josée Bergeron, a mother of two young children, wants to improve her washing habits. She already uses washable diapers and ecological cleaning products. Gargoyle’s proposal directly challenges him: “An alternative [sic] zero waste, which works just as well, maybe even better, than traditional laundry detergent, ”according to a video ad posted on Facebook.
Convinced, Marie-Josée ordered ten Gargoyles for $ 150 plus taxes, for herself and to give as gifts. When he shared his findings with those close to him, their reaction was not what he expected. Instead, they warned him against such products, prompting him to do more research.
” I can find nothing except opinion sites, blogs, mom sites, which say the product doesn’t work. […] I was really looking for a scientific resource, someone who would have done more research. “
To determine if or not Gargoyles could replace the laundry detergent, we called engineer Gaétan Piédalue, from the independent laboratory of Services Polytests.
He and his team will compare three types of laundry:
Each load contains the same amount of fabric, at the same temperature.
To assess the performance of the three washing methods, they use stained pieces of different ingredients:
- Milk chocolate
- Mineral oil stained with carbon black
- Sebum and pigment, to mimic sweat
Once the pieces have been washed and dried, a technician uses an optical reader – a colorimeter – to measure the intensity of the spots. Using this data, Gaétan Piédalue calculates the washing efficiency rate.
” With perfect washing, you get 100. On the other end, washing with water only gives a result of 75. So detergents are always in between. “
After testing, the laboratory calculated an efficiency rate of 82.4% for detergent and 75.9% for Gargoyle.
We asked Marie-Josée Bergeron to compare the pieces used for the eye exams.
” Ah, but you see, there is no difference! Useless! What a trap. It’s the same. I wash with water. “
In the words of Marie-Josée, it is very expensive paid for 0.9 efficiency.
We asked Gaétan Piédalue if he thinks it would come out of the washer to clean clothes washed with Gargoyles. They will come out as clean as water.
” The eye sees a 1 or 2% difference. And then there, we found ourselves under 1%. “
To convince its customers to buy its products, the company relies on science. To separate true from false, Jason Robert Tavares, full professor in the Department of Chemical Engineering at Polytechnique Montreal, subjected the Gargoyles to a series of tests.
Increasing the pH of water
Gargoyle’s first argument: ceramic balls make water more alkaline without using toxic products, such as for detergents. According to the company’s website, the more alkaline water then allows the dirt to be naturally removed, to clean the linen deeply and to disinfect it.
What does our expert think? Professor Tavares says that alkaline water itself has no purifying power unless it reaches a very high pH.
If we have very alkaline water, we can do the so -called saponification reaction. This is the reaction to making soap, he explains. He and his team wanted to calculate the effect of a Gargoyle on the pH of the water.
” We took a new Gargoyle and soaked it in water for 15 minutes. The pH was then measured, then the experiment was repeated about ten times. “
Results? Although the pH rises in the initial tests, the difference is not enough to notice the cleaning properties of the Gargoyle.
Restructure water molecules
Gargoyles will also have the effect of providing water high solubility and good permeability. Water molecules in smaller groups lead to better water absorption by tissuesaccording to their website.
According to Professor Tavares, the business is likely to refer to surface tension in the water. By adding a detergent, the water tension is reduced, which helps it to penetrate fabrics better. Soapy water is more liquid than clear water.
Comparing water with Gargoyle and water without Gargoyle, we see that the shape of the water droplet is the same, unlike water with detergent.
” There is no mechanism by which a ceramic can significantly change the surface tension of water, thus facilitating the ability to penetrate clothing. “
The mechanical action of Gargoyles
The company estimates that if three Gargoyles were added to a normal load, the friction between the clothes and the plastic balls would help loosen tough stains.
Does the Gargoyle’s mechanical action in the washing machine have the power to remove stains? No, not significantresponse by Jason R. Tavares.
The company’s response
We contacted those responsible for Gargoyle and explained to them all of our procedures and results. They refused to give us an interview on camera.
Via email, the company determined that a usage, performance and effectiveness test conducted with 65 French consumers was credible. According to this test, Gargoyle is a more effective washing solution than washing with plain water.
However, officials did not say who conducted the test. Moreover, no scientific studies are included with their explanations. Customers who want to know more about the science behind Gargoyles should rely on seller information.
” When we search for numbers, a study reference, a footnote, a clickable link, a scientific journal, we find nothing. “
Regarding the lab test results, an official wrote: Even if the cleaning result doesn’t make a big difference in your study, there is still a difference and customers notice the difference.
But no, Marie-Josée Bergeron reacted. Customers notice that they wash their clothes because obviously, the water cleans. That’s all. He no longer intends to use Gargoyles.
” It’s their last day in my bathroom! “