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The Laundry Solution

laundry ball

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 it’s 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 you’re trying to remove from your dirties. All without expensive, damaging, and unhealthy chemical detergents.

Ionic 1000

Aren’t magnets simply amazing! Is there anything they can’t do?

The best assessment of the laundry magnets I’ve 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…. it’s 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 don’t have to pay for the ball.

Drop one in your wash

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.

Never use detergent again!

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, it’s 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 doesn’t occur naturally in plastic globes.
  3. Water plus mechanical action will clean quite well. Since the globe is small, it won’t 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 'Magic' of Science

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.

It’s 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 Emperor’s New Detergent) or Judy & Company (which sells a product they’ve dubbed “Snake Oils” which “have specially treated waters called Structured Waters”) probably sleep well at night despite vending bunk.

Even Florida’s 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.’”

The Amazing Laundry CD

I’m thinking of marketing a somewhat similar product: Dihydrogen monoxide. For all that’s 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 I’d 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 can’t 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.

However:

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 aren’t selling them.

The Original Laundry Clean Ring

Laundry Balls On-Line

Among the best pseudoscientific gobbledygook comes from this explanation of the Grander Process, in which “[t]he water to be treated is channeled (without coming into direct contact) along a concentrated fluid that has been treated with specific naturally occurring high frequency fields. This fluid serves as an organization template for the water structuring. Thus, the oscillatory composition of the water is harmonized and the water becomes more and more of a mediator for natural oscillation energy…” Say what you will about this sort of advertising, it’s legal.

EuroWash A Euro-Wash Laundry Ball Detergent Replacement (U.S. $49.95) information page once noted that it will “last you an unlimited number of washes. Depending on the amount of washes you do weekly, that should be over ten years for the average family.”

The Natural Wash Plus system (U.S. $39.95) is even anti-bacterial!

How does it work? “Makers of the Eurowash Laundry Ball mount 4 powerful, permanent magnets in a durable plastic bracket which is then covered with a tough, vulcanized blue rubber. Two tunnels through the middle of the ball allow water to flow directly through the focused magnetic fields. The result is a virtually indestructable water restructuring device.”

As seen on TV, AsiaNation Direct Laundry Balls also can be used to wash cars, dishes, floors & work surfaces, vegetables and flowers, people and food. Things you wash with Laundry Balls stay cleaner longer, because they don’t attract dust; vegetables washed with Laundry Balls stay fresh longer; and pre-treating your water with Laundry Balls improves the growth of your houseplants. Bathing with Laundry Balls relieves “tension, stress, rheumatic pain, stiffness and poor circulation” and “can lead to the remission of athlete’s foot, fungal infections and split skin.” Put one in the back of the fridge to absorb odors and help preserve the food.

The Skeptical Inquirer did a story: Magnetic Water and Fuel Treatment: Myth, Magic, or Mainstream Science?

Rest assured, the packaging that comes with The Laundry Solution (U.S. $85) is made of recyclable plastic. “The product works by properties of physics. Hence there are no residues left on your clothing.”

And (it’s about time), the laundry disc now comes in stereo!

“Although it sounds too good to be true, The Original Laundry Clean Ring [U.S. $79.95] achieves its amazing results through advances in physics.”

After all, the Wonder Laundry Ball (U.S. $39.95) “is more than just a product, it is an economically empowering network. Details available with purchase.”

Why stop at the washing machine? Attach the Magnetic Conditioning System (U.S. $70) to your pipes and get the benefits of structured water throughout the house.

“How does the laundry solution [U.S. $75] work? It is structured water that emits far-infrared electro magnetic waves through the walls of the container into your laundry water. This causes the water molecule cluster to disassociate….”

Dr. Shui-Yin Lo Dr. Shui-Yin Lo is quoted in the IETM Crystal Overview: “These electric fields extend only a few billionths of a meter but are stronger than forces currently generated by man-made machines. We use such changes not only to grow IE Crystals, but tailor them to fit different chemical reactions.” (What does any of this have to do with Scientology? Anything?)

Dr. Shui-Yin Lo was more recently spotted in Wired magazine using his theories of structured water to explain homeopathy.

The Ultra-7 LaundryMaster System (U.S. $94.90) uses the “science of liquid magnets” — “stable, colloidal suspension of subdomain magnetic particles in a liquid carrier… coated with a stabilizing dispersing agent, which prevents particle agglomeration.” (Whoops! Last time I checked, the link redirected me to another page advertising “Magnetic Success” — a “revolutionary new and effortless way to lose weight and inches using the miraculous method of magnetic balancing” using a “tiny magnet placed on the wrist” that “can melt away pounds and inches in a matter of days.”)

The Laundry Solutions SuperGlobe “contains concentrated iETM Crystals” and “proprietary activation beads.” The SuperGlobe “is designed and intended to be used in conjunction with the SuperGlobe Booster” which is “a highly concentrated liquid with its own built in fabric softener.”

At AquaSchemes you can learn all about magnetic water, “catalytic” water, “clustered” water, and “other water-related crackpot schemes and devices.”

Learn about how the latest 21st Century Technology (U.S. $79.95) cleans clothes “much like a magnet can hold a piece of plastic to a refrigerator.”

Dishwasher Balls (alas, their site is down), are certainly well-described: “Composed of high molecular active substance, it does not consist of any harmful chemical elements. Anti-oversensitive it is skin-protective to hands. Stop using harmful detergent, CodeWash Dishwasher Ball helps to avoid one’s getting different kinds of common diseases such as urinary gall bladder, lowering blood count index or female blood disease increase, especially the deadly cancerous disease.”

Smart Laundry’s product (U.S. $50) “works on principle of Magnetichydrodynamics and No Allergic for human skin during washes (even by hands of fine washables in the sink without soap suds) or sleeping on the bed linens.” Note that “for our live drinking water, we MUST USE — even by law — Euro-Wash Laundry Balls instead harmfull any detergents.”

Wellness Water Cup Consider ordering the patented Wellness WaterTM Cup, because magnetized water should be “a vital part of our preventive health maintenance system” and the WWC “is the ONLY patented cup in which NORTH Polarity Faces Water!” (In case you didn’t know, “North pole magnetized water infuses energy back into the body, reduces acidity of the gastrointestinal tract, controls bacteria and stimulates brain activity.”)

A once-online manifesto on magnetohydrodynamics noted that “main-stream, paradigm thinking physicists, chemists, and engineers” are skeptical of the benefits of magnetized stuff, and gives us this gem: “Interestingly, while similar poles repel and opposite poles attract, the South or ‘positive’ pole is approximately 7% stronger than the North, or ‘negative’ pole. Is this possibly why the EARTH tilts on its axis; the stronger pole — south / positive — is reaching for the weaker pole — north / negative?”

Safe Wash not only sells laundry disks, but includes a link to the laundry-disk-skeptical World Wide Scam Network and is a member of something called the Association of Ethical Internet Professionals.

The Green Bar takes a different tack — instead of structuring water, it uses “neodymium bio transmitters” which “removes the propensities of calcium and magnesium to cling to foreign objects” although a “chemical analysis of the water would detect no difference.”

“Nature imparts on water a unique structure that closely interacts with the Earth’s natural paramagnetic force,” according to Nature’sAlternatives.com. “It is this force that gives rivers its oscillating snake-like appearance. It is this structure that gives water ‘life’. Living water is that which has been structured by nature and carries the life-giving force the body needs. It is this water that heals the body.” It is this water that’s gonna cost you $499.95 (U.S.)

Let’s give Structured Waters Technology a chance to explain: “A type of positive — negative charge causes the water molecules to form clusters. The clusters generate a point-to-point charge variation within the water that makes it highly sensitive to electromagnetic fields. This unique electronic organization of water molecules creates the electrovibrational resonance that we call Structured Water Technology.” ($99 U.S. for one, or only $379.97 for a six-pack.)

“Warning! Your Laundry May Be Making YOU SICK!” according to this page. Asthma, allergies, cancer, dizziness, headaches, skin rashes, resperatory infections, acne, lack of energy and insomnia are listed as potential hazards of non-magnetic detergents.

Don’t miss the study of Magnetized Water Therapy of Early-Stage HIV. “There is reason to believe that the true mechanism of action of homeopathy is identical to that of MW: they are both energized water therapy that activates the chemiluminescence of the red blood cells.”

A gentleman friend of mine places one of his discs in his fish aquarium (with fish)… swears he almost never has to clean and change their water. At least not as often as he used to. Fish are thriving… After shampooing my hair, I spray my hair with structured water, it DE-TANGLES, leaves my hair less frizzy… While I am running my bath water, I put the disc in the tub. I Leave it in while bathing. I Can’t believe how soft I feel after. For you ladeeeees, I spray it on my legs, no Shaving cream needed, or soap lather, The razor just glides. After washing my face, I sprits my face with the structured water, My face feels so smooth, although I still use a moisturizer.



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On This Day in SniggleryNovember 22, 2007: Members of the Australian Liberal Party are caught distributing leaflets from an invented “Islamic Australia Federation” claiming that the Labour Party was on their side supporting terrorism. (See Election Hacks for more political shenanigans)