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Downy Ball

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The Downy Ball is a spherical plastic tool used to dispense liquid fabric softener in clothes washing machines. Liquid fabric softener has to be added at the correct time to a load of laundry in order to work effectively. The Downy Ball got its name from the brand name that first introduced its use and is also known by the names laundry ball and softener ball. Though the name Downy ball implies that it can only be used with Downy brand products, other brands (such as Snuggle, or Suavitel) can be used with this product to achieve the same results.


The ball has a gasket on one side that has a small weight that hangs toward the center of the ball and a ring, to pull the gasket closed, on the outside. Before starting a load of laundry, fabric softener is poured through the opened gasket. There is commonly a line on the side of the ball to show the correct volume of softener to use. The ring is then pulled to snap the gasket closed and the ball is dropped on top of the laundry in the washing machine.

As the washing machine goes through its cycles the ball floats on top of the water. At the start of the spin cycle, the ball, along with all of the clothing, is pushed out to the sides of the rotating tub. The momentum of the ball and the properties of Newton's First Law cause the weight inside the ball to pull the gasket open when the ball hits the side of the spinning tub. With the gasket now open, the ball fills with water and sinks. The softener and the water are able to mix and circulate through the tub to apply softener to the clothing at precisely the right moment.

The ball can be used with top loading as well as front-loading washing machines.

See also

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Downy_Ball". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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