Clean Clothes

I read an article by Mark Thornton recently in Daily Reckoning, and it really caught my interest. Mark makes some really interesting points. First, lets have him set the stage:

You can chart the course of human progress in terms of how clean our clothing is. In early times people used animal skins, had no change of clothing, and had no soap. By Adam Smiths day, soap had improved in quality, was produced industrially, and was becoming available to the common man. In fact, the Industrial Revolution, which is usually discussed in terms of iron, steam, and factories, was actually all about bringing products like soap and underwear previously only available to the rich to the common peasants.

Only after WWII did electric automatic clothes washers displace hand-cranked machines. Then detergent replaced soap in the washing process, and competition resulted in much more effective products. In 1956 the product Wisk was launched as the first liquid laundry detergent. And in 1968 its famous Ring around the Collar ads came along. Other companies followed with products that were even better. Between the 1920s and the 1970s, washing clothes went from a grueling full-time job to a weekly activity that could be accomplished by young children.

Mark goes on to quote the demographic researcher Hans Rosling, who has called the washing machine the greatest invention in the history of the Industrial Revolution. It liberated homemakers from boiling water and washing clothes. For women around the world, the washing machine makes the difference between poverty and prosperity, cutting many hours of hard labor previously spent on washing clothes. Instead, they can apply their time to building a better society. Rosling says, even the hard core of the green movement use the washing machine.

In the name of energy conservation and water conservation both being decent goals our regulators (government) have been systematically undermining these advances attacking the washing machines workings at the most fundamental level. The basic premise is this: with enough hot water and a decent laundry detergent, any machine can get your clothes clean. Between 1996 and 2007 Consumer Reports found that the machines ability to clean your clothes has declined dramatically. In most cases your clothes were nearly as dirty as they were before washing.

The newer front-loading machines work better, but are much more expensive and have mold problems. None of the top-loading machines of 2007 performed as well as a mediocre top-loading machine from 1996. In order to meet new standards, manufacturers had to cut back on energy and water use. Less water means less soap, less rinsing, both essential to getting clothes clean. The result is that clothes come out of the washer still dirty. The water soluble stuff like sweat or urine is mostly removed, but grease and body oils is not. Most people are still not aware of this change, perhaps because they have an older washing machine, or they are just oblivious to this type of thing.

If you need to wash dirty laundry, your options are limited:

  1. do smaller loads with larger water levels
  2. use more detergent and rinse twice

In both cases you are increasing your soap, water and energy use. Regulators are not good for you. Entrepreneurial competition and full cost resource pricing (remove artificial price supports) would naturally make doing laundry easier, better, cheaper, and more efficient. That’s what open unregulated markets do. Instead we have more expensive, more inefficient, and truly ineffective clothes-washing machines. And to add insult to the injury, changes to laundry detergents are forcing you to wear dirty and smelly clothes again. Some progress

There is a solution: a better detergent combined with vibrational water treatment. To increase soaps action you help it by decreasing water surface tension, acidity, hardness and clustering things known to scientists, but ignored by regulators. Water Treatment Devices When you add the Miracle II Laundry Ball to your load, it reduces your detergent need by 90 percent. When you use the Miracle II Soap on the shirt collars or other grease spots, they come out clean. And when you add the Prills to the mix, you remove chlorine from the environment, and wash with energized water that leaves your clothes clean even in the new inefficient washing machines.

Author: Martin Pytela