Back in February of 2012 I purchased a Norwex Magnet ball to try in our washing machine. The magnet ball is advertised as being able to soften water by removing mineral deposits. Soft vs hard water is a big topic when discussing care of cloth diapers. Washing diapers in soft water is easier because it allows the consumer to use less soap. Those cloth diaper users with soft water will have fewer problems with repelling fabrics, build-up, and odor. Our water is fairly neutral, if not a little on the soft side, however I was overtaken with curiosity about the product.
From a scientific standpoint, I don't understand how the magnet ball
would actually soften water. The ball is magnetized, and would
therefore attract charged metal particles. Whether this would remove
enough particles to soften water is unclear to me. What percentage of
water contaminates are magnetized? Other non-magnetic contaminates still
make up a large part of the problem with hard water.
After purchasing the magnet ball, I immediately placed it into our
top-loading washing machine and forgot about it for 6 months. We use
several eco-friendly detergents, and I proceeded to use them in the same
amounts as I typically would without the ball. It was after about six months,
when I lifted the ball to inspect it, that I had a slight shock. The
inside of the ball was covered with tiny magnetic fragments of metal.
There were even a couple of loose staples from my husband's home
projects that had been attracted and contained by the ball.
I'm still completely baffled by these small magnetic fragments
collected by the magnet ball. Did they precipitate from the water?
Were they some type of contaminate present in/on our clothing? I still
can't say if the Norwex Magnet ball made a significant difference in our
water hardness over the course of use (as I said our water is already
on the softer side), however I will definitely advocate for the Magnet
ball based on our experience with the collection of metal fragments.
*Note magnet ball is for top-loading washers only and can not be used in front loading machines