"To me this seems complete nonsense."
As it does to anyone that looks any further than the company's own advertising.
McGill University's Office for Science and Society ("Separating Sense from Nonsense") has a report on the magnetic laundry device.
The two key points are that the patent has nothing to do with whether the device actually does anything useful:
It is important to understand that the only requirement for obtaining a patent is novelty. In this case, since nobody before had the idea of putting magnets into a washing machine, the patent was not hard to get. When it comes to the patent, there is no need to show that the magnets actually do anything, just that their use in this context is novel.
and that except for marketing, the scientific tests were pointless:
How about the study carried out by a testing lab that examined the cleaning efficacy? Technicians actually took bundles of clothes, washed them in a magnet equipped washing machine and demonstrated they came out cleaner than they went in. Surprise, surprise! Water is an excellent solvent and cleans remarkably well even without any detergent. The “study” had no control. That is, there was no comparison between laundering with just water and laundering with the magnetized water.