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Fibrefree is a microfiber trapping laundry ball. Serving three functions, Fibrefree combats the catastrophic pollution caused by washing synthetic clothing, replaces our toxic dryer sheets, and reduces drying time thereby saving energy.

  • Final prototype with filter mediums

  • Video describing Fibrefree, its use, and inspiration.

    Video describing Fibrefree, its use, and inspiration.

  • Outer shell without filter

  • Microfibers collected from placebo laundry

  • Microfibers collected after using FibreFree

  • Early prototype

What it does

Fibrefree is a microfiber trapping laundry ball. Serving three functions, Fibrefree combats the catastrophic pollution caused by washing synthetic clothing, replaces our toxic dryer sheets, and reduces drying time thereby saving energy.

Your inspiration

Hundreds of millions of microfibers are released every day from washing synthetic clothing, and these microscopic plastic fibers are polluting our oceans. They poison and starve marine life, and then make their way into our food chain via seafood consumption. Farmers can use fish meal to feed livestock or fertilize crops with sewage. Up to 70% of textiles produced are unregulated synthetics, and many of the 8,000 different chemicals used are known to cause hormonal imbalances, infertility, and cancer--- symptoms marine life is already experiencing. We sought to combat this problem at its origin, before the fibers even leave the house.

How it works

Fibrefree is a laundry ball that has been shown to catch up to 40% of released microfibers in a load of laundry. It does so thanks to a porous shell, which allows the free flow of water through the shell and filter. The filter is a dense network of interlaced strands that entangle and lodge microfibers within, and is designed to work independent of how the water is moving. After a few washes the filter can be easily replaced and recycled. Fibrefree follows all your clothes through the normal laundering process. The shell effectively acts as a laundry ball. In the washer, it gently agitates the clothes to clean them more effectively. In the dryer, Fibrefree fluffs clothes to make them softer, as well as increasing air circulation to reduce drying time and improve energy efficiency. One or two additional Fibrefree can be added to increase the effectiveness.

Design process

To stop microfibers from leaving a washing machine, we initially considered designing a filter that could be placed at the back, in series with the drain. After speaking with a General Electric representative, we found this to be unfeasible as it could void the washing machine warranty and interrupt drain flow. We then decided to pursue a laundry ball, designing with simplicity in mind. Our first tested prototype was also a shell with an inner removable core, but used only within the washing machine. We attempted to collect microfibers with small extrusions on the core’s surface, but realized quickly our design’s ineffectiveness. Drawing from the device's shortcomings, we went through several iterations before reaching our best design yet, Fibrefree. Fibrefree is an effective and user-friendly design offering the most impact with the least effort. We made the outer shell multi-purpose, and used a filter that can sift down to 1 micron, catching even the smallest of microfibers. Furthermore, the filter being of 100 percent recyclable plastic helps to address the problem of how to dispose of collected microfibers.

How it is different

Fibrefree is a simple and unique design that requires minimal maintenance and offers multiple capabilities. First and foremost, it is a microfiber trapping device. Yet Fibrefree has been crafted to also replace washer balls, dryer balls, and dryer sheets. It is designed to slightly agitate clothing to better clean in the washer and soften in the dryer. Further, it increases air circulation in the dryer to reduce drying time and save energy. The 100 percent recyclable and replaceable filter reduces user involvement and makes disposal easy. It is a one of a kind solution to a newly discovered problem, and allows everyone to make an impact with something easy to use, practical, and effective.

Future plans

We have done a large amount of initial development and have a patent pending on the current design, but we are confident that the design can be made even more effective. In future iterations of Fibrefree we are looking to determine the optimal material for the outer shell and exploring the alteration of the filter design to optimize the collection of microfibers. We hope to get Fibrefree into the homes of as many people as possible. The more people who use Fibrefree, the more we can protect our oceans, marine life, and food.


Participated in the Invention Accelerator at Syracuse University which is a six week intensive design, prototyping, and pitching program

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