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Trib tested: Berry Perry's Berry Ball & Bag

| Monday, Nov. 28, 2011

Laundry! Yeah, I know, very few people say it with the exclamation point. I utter it in tones reserved to describe paying gratuitous cellphone bills, but I'm even more grumpy when it comes to hand-washing. Gather everything, read the care tags, run the water, soak, hand agitate, rinse, sigh, repeat. It's a mind-numbing process, but if I dare skip it and toss everything in the washer -- even on delicate -- I get nothing but snags and damaged underwires as a result.

Berry Ball is supposed to put an end to hand-washing by allowing the inclusion of a delicate piece or two in a normal machine wash cycle. Open the ball, place a bra include the agitator ball and toss in the machine. Voila! Clean.

Well, the good news is that it works. Items I placed in the ball came out clean, not twisted or crushed. The bad news is it holds just one or two items per use, so my hand-washing actually took longer. I am, however, quite happy using the ball as a packing tool -- especially because I'm a classic over-packer when it comes to travel.

-- Caroline Hirt

Berry Perry's Berry Ball has a lot going for it if you're looking to avoid hand-washing delicate clothes. The sturdy ball double-locks, so it won't come open in the spin cycle, which, sometimes, even zipper lingerie bags do. It has vents to maintain water circulation, and a scrubber-ball insert to provide gentle "agitation" within its protected confines.

I tested it on a T-shirt bra that, if you don't get it out immediately at the end of the wash, ends up with creases in the foam. In the Berry Ball, there was no crushing, so no worries. I also used it successfully without the scrubber to wash a black silk turtleneck that often hangs on to soap residue if I'm not careful. But it came out with no streaks of soap, no pulls and no pilling. Because of this, I think the Berry Ball will be great for washing swimsuits.

What I didn't so much care for was that you can put only one item in the ball, although you can use multiple balls per washload. Even with the included zipper bag, that's really practical only if you're doing laundry every couple of days.

-- Vaunda Bonnett

I have a variety of mesh laundry bags, in an equal variety of sizes for lingerie, pantyhose and tights. One or two ends up in nearly every load of weekend laundry, depending on whites, brights or darks. So this new product was of special interest -- particularly for use with molded cup and underwire bras, which can end up in a tangle even while laundering in the bags.

The Berry Ball & Bag is a cheerful addition to the laundry room. Mine is a wildly pink one, an appropriate color, I think, for girlie intimates. The ball has a double-lock system to prevent it from opening in mid-cycle. To wash a bra, you first hook the bra shut, open the berry ball and place one cup in each side, with the outside facing down. Pop in the Scrubbing Ball, then close and secure the Berry Ball, which is tossed into a regular wash cycle. When completed, remove the bra to line dry. No tangled and stretched straps or mangled underwire. Genius!

Included with the Berry Ball is a zippered mesh bag for panties, hose and socks. I can always use an extra one!

-- Sally Quinn

Additional Information:

Berry Perry's Berry Ball & Bag

The claim: Bras are protected from twisting, pilling, tangling and underwire damage throughout the entire wash cycle inside the Berry Ball, maintaining shape, comfort and support. The Berry Ball features a unique scrubbing ball to clean bras from the inside out. It works with other delicates, such as lingerie, pantyhose and swimwear. The Berry Ball also is a convenient place to pack bras when traveling. It comes in two sizes and three colors -- pink, purple and blue.

Cost: $13.99

Where: Online

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