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The Laundry Solution

The Laundry Solution

The Laundry Solution, a 21ST Century technology, promises to free us from environmentally-damaging and harsh laundry detergents. Laundry Balls are non-polluting, non-toxic, hypo-allergenic, color-safe, convenient, economical, do not promote static cling and will not damage fabrics. Independent investigation reveals that they are so benign as to be virtually inert. But its hard to dismiss the reports of strong customer satisfaction.

Buy one and you can use it for 1,500, 3,000, maybe even 4,000 or more loads of laundry. Skip the rinse cycle, never pay another dime for detergent, save the planet and keep harsh chemicals out of your clothes.

The pitch for these laundry balls gets more baroque over time, but basically the theory is that by using magnets, the balls rip apart clusters of water molecules that form naturally by magnetic attraction. When these clusters are ripped apart, creating activated or structured water, it makes it easier for individual water molecules to get at the junk youre trying to remove from your dirties. All without expensive, damaging, and unhealthy chemical detergents

Arent magnets simply amazing! Is there anything they cant do?

The best assessment of the laundry magnets Ive seen comes from Bruce Toback:

It has nothing to do with quantum mechanics, or activated water, or anything else of that sort. The science behind these devices is psychology: they make you feel comfortable using less detergent, or none at all. its the instructions, not the devices, that work.

. . .

[T]hey do absolutely nothing except make you feel comfortable with not using detergent. If you can convince yourself to use less detergent without a little plastic ball, you get all the benefits and you dont have to pay for the ball.

Now to me this seems like a delightful way to keep overconsumptive Americans from polluting the water supply while at the same time helping to ease the burden that excess cash has on the overly gullible.

Those members of society pledged to protect us from ourselves are much more hostile to the devices.

The Oregon state attorney general, for instance, won $190,000 from two companies selling such products, in a settlement in which the companies agreed to stop selling their wares in Oregon, but were not required to admit to any criminal fraud.

[T]he department of Justice obtained the various products and had them tested by a qualified, independent laboratory. Results of the tests indicated that the water in the spheres had no special characteristics. The globe products essentially contain nothing more than water, blue dye and a foaming additive contained within an impermeable plastic shell.

Utah s Division of Consumer Protection also dragged $10,000 away from one company whose miracle balls were clearly too good to be true.

Bruce Toback checked the claims for The Laundry Solution and found that [t]he claims make perfect sense, and are in complete accord with the current state of scientific knowledge There is not a single false claim in their marketing material. In fact, its a model of probity compared to the verbiage printed on a box of laundry detergent:

1. Everything at room temperature emits far-infrared electromagnetic radiation. So does their product.

2. The water is specially treated, since water doesnt occur naturally in plastic globes.

3. Water plus mechanical action will clean quite well. Since the globe is small, it wont interfere with the mechanical action of the washer or displace much water.

4. The company recommends a procedure to clean out the washer before the first use of their product. The procedure will remove soap scum and mineral buildup This could account for any repeatable observations of brightness the first time the product is used.

5. The company notes that once in a while, for greasy clothes, you may need Borax or, for extreme cases, a tablespoon of laundry detergent.

The power of multilevel marketing has led to an amazing proliferation of structured water products whose profit margins must be absolutely breathtaking. Onesource Worldwide Network, for instance, puts forth the bold claim (and probably a different claim than it makes to the IRS), that in nine short months it has paid out an unprecedented $6.7 million in commissions on more than $84 million in product. The sidebar to the right lists only a select sample of cyberhucksters; hit the search engines for more.

Its hard to say how many of the folks selling detergent placebos know about their bogus nature. Some are probably just as taken in as their customers. Others, like The AwareHouse (which calls their product The Emperors New Detergent) or Judy & Company (which sells a product theyve dubbed Snake Oils which have specially treated waters called Structured Waters) probably sleep well at night despite vending bunk.

Even Floridas Secretary of State and Al Gore nemesis Katherine Harris got in on the act, ordering a study in which, according to an article by Jim Stratton in the Orlando Sentinel, Researchers worked with a rabbi and a cardiologist to test "Celestial Drops," promoted as a [citrus] canker inhibitor because of its "improved fractal design," "infinite levels of order," and "high energy and low entropy." The study determined that the product tested was, basically, water that had apparently been blessed according to the principles of Kabbalic mysticism, chang[ing] its molecular structure and imbu[ing] it with supernatural healing powers.

Im thinking of marketing a somewhat similar product: Dihydrogen monoxide. For all thats been written about its alleged dangers, DHMO is actually a quite benign solvent and a normal component of the atmosphere you can actually drink small quantities of the stuff without harm.

My special DHMO mixture, when added in sufficient amounts to the gas tank of your vehicle, will almost completely prevent the harmful environmental degradation caused by the oxidation of fossil fuels in the engine. As we all know, the products of fuel oxidation are responsible for much of the pollution of our precious air and water supply.

Furthermore, DHMO will substantially reduce your risk of injury or death in vehicular collisions, and will result in fuel savings as well.

In California, if you pledge to use DHMO exclusively throughout the year, you may be eligible for a special certificate from the Department of Motor Vehicles allowing you to a special bargain rate on automobile registration and a complete exemption from emissions control verification (the smog check).

When I first thought of this idea, I was sure Id make a million, but I may be too late. The magnet people beat me to the punch with a very familiar sales pitch:

When gasoline remains in your tank for a while, the fuel molecules start to cluster. The molecules on the inside of these clusters cant be exposed to the oxygen necessary for combustion. The result: Incomplete fuel burn with the unburned molecules emitted as pollution or remaining inside your engine as damaging carbon/varnish deposits.


When fuel burns, carbons are combined with oxygen and converted into their components, releasing energy. Passing fuel through a magnetic energy field which is both properly configured and focused causes the fuel to accept an induced charge. Furthermore, this application of highly focused physics will attract more oxygen molecules to the fuel resulting in more of the available fuel being completely utilized.

Unlike the laundry balls, though, which at least save you money on more-or-less worthless detergents; the fuel magnets (and magnetic air filters) appear to have no benefits to those who arent selling them.