While researching a Hot Home Products column about laundry appliances, I learned some cool things that I just didn’t have room for in my piece. For instance, Philippe Meyersohn, general manager for GE Appliances Canada, told me that the future will belong to smart appliances, which will be able to do fancy stuff like adjust the water temperature of the washer based on electricity prices. This generation of machines will require shape-changing municipal infrastructure, but GE has already tested the technology with good results in Vancouver. Meyersohn also said that while there are currently no Energy Star regulations for dryers, the company expects to see something in place by 2015.
“These changes will come about as people more concerned about environment, and because water and energy costs will keep going up,” says Meyersohn.
I also chatted to Steve Preiner, director of marketing for Bosch Appliances, about his company’s decision not to introduce steam, which is a hot (get it?!) feature on many lines, into its laundry products.
According to Preiner, steam adds cost to the machines and may not actually add that much functionality. “If you get a high enough temp in the wash, you don’t really need steam,” he says. “As for the dryer, you can get the same effect by spritzing a garment with water and using a gentle cycle.”
It’s a good tip, one I’ve frequently used. In fact, even with older or basic machines, good laundry “habits” can produce cleaner clothes. For example, do you:
- Shake clothes out before you put them in the wash, and turn them right side out?
- Make sure you’re not overloading the drum?
- Add detergent to the water before adding clothes, rather than loading the machine and pouring detergent on top?
- Treats spots and stains as soon as they happen, rather than letting them dry?
- Sort clothes appropriately, separating, for example, natural from synthetic fibres?