Magnets Versus Laundry Detergent

Soap cleans clothes better than magnets. There, we are spoiling the ending so don’t accuse us of clickbaiting. The funny thing is that folks believe this is plausible enough to ask magnets experts so often that they dedicate a blog entry to comparing magnets and soap. Since you already know how this ends, let’s talk about why this is important. Science. Even though some magnet retailers, herein referred to as [the experts] can easily dismiss this question as fanciful or ridiculous, they apply the scientific method to show that their reasoning is sound and clean evidence is on their side. [The experts] detail the materials and techniques in their experiment so peers may replicate the tests and come to the same results themselves. We do not doubt that the outcome would be equally conclusive.

The experiment includes a control group which processes dirty clothes without detergent or magnets, one group with only magnets, one group with only detergent, and one group with both. White clothing was soiled with four well known garment killers and manually agitated in a bin of warm water. We guessed that magnets would be on par with the control group, and we were pleased to be right. [The experts] now have a body of work to reference the next time someone comes at them with this line. The only question now is if tricky spouses used science to get nerds to do the laundry.

In this age of spin, keeping facts straight instead of jumping to heartfelt conclusions is more vital than ever. We are all potentially citizen scientists so testing a conspiracy is within everyone’s grasp.

30 thoughts on “Magnets Versus Laundry Detergent

  1. Thank. You. If I have one pet peeve it’s people in S.T.E.M. fields responding to scams, pseudoscience, and trolling with “your stupid, believe in SCIENCE!” Instead of demonstrating through testing.

      1. Don’t tell that to a theoretical physicist like those who are into unverifiable concepts like string theory and multiverses. They might go into serious pout mode or rage-quit the meeting. … sounds like an experiment to do … SCIENCE!! (Actually all that intellectual fantasizing can, on rare occasions, be useful when real observations need a model to explain them. It also serves society by keeping them at their desks rather than out in the open where they can be a hazard to everyone else.)

        BTW, Earnshaw’s theorem is TRUTH. Anyone saying otherwise hasn’t done enough of either playing with magnets and working with some of the math and simulation. :-)

  2. A ghastly number of scientists (and their fellow “scientists”) are unable to identify the impossible, and particularly if it is in statistics. I won’t say which disciplines suffer the most, but they sound like biology, sociology, and all the wild animal studies stuff. Learning to identify the impossible is incredibly useful.

  3. Next up, someone should test whether smart meters can cause cancer. There’s an astonishing number of people who believe this as well, and I’d wager they overlap with people who believe magnets can clean laundry.

    1. I’ll bet the believe magnets can cure arthritis, especially if they are “nano-magents” infused into elastic bracelets, elbow, and knee things with the incantation “copper” printed on them.

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