Whirlpool Wants To Sell You A $500 Laundry Machine That Doesn’t Clean Your Clothes

Pods sold separately.

Pods sold separately.

Do you often find yourself needing to remove some wrinkles and the smell of cigarette smoke from your favorite jacket, but unwilling to leave the house to go to the dry cleaner? If so, the Swash, a new laundry-ish appliance from Whirlpool, may be exactly what you need. It costs $500 and does not clean your clothes.

What the Swash does, as far as we can tell, is something in between dry cleaning a garment and blasting it with Febreze while hanging it in a steam-filled bathroom. You hang the item in the narrow, vertical machine, and then add a chemical cartridge from Procter & Gamble, Whirlpool’s partner in this strange laundry venture. The substances in the packet are sort of like Febreze, which would make sense because Febreze is a Procter & Gamble product. The packets can de-stink your garments, but do not necessarily clean them.

That leads Bloomberg Businessweek to the question: who will buy this? If you can afford a $500 machine that doesn’t do laundry, you can afford to take your clothes to the dry cleaner on a regular basis. The marketers behind this product show it in a woman’s walk-in closet, where perhaps she freshens up a glittery sweater before wearing it.

It could work in a hotel room, as a compromise between cleaning and wearing a wrinkled dress or suit during important business travel. Otherwise…for whom does this appliance make sense? More importantly, what happens to the people who do buy them if the product fails and is taken off the market, and the chemical cartridges are no longer available?

The Problem With Swash, Whirlpool’s New Not-Quite-Laundry System [Bloomberg Businessweek]

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