Tuesday, July 22, 2008

The Blazer that Traveled Through Time: Whirpool's Fabric Freshener

This, according to Jim, is our portable time machine:I think he's watched Primer too many times. I refer to it as the egg:Last fall, Whirlpool sent us their Fabric Freshener (MSRP $199) for a real life trial. As clean corduroys and a sweater tend to define our family's standard of formality, it took some time for us give it a substantive test.

The idea behind the Fabric Freshener is pretty basic. Insert clothing which is typically dry-cleaned, fill with appropriate level of distilled water, and close. The water is transformed to steam and circulated throughout the bag. Then interior sensors deploy the fans and gently dry items.

While this can't entirely replace dry-cleaning, it does extend the time between visits to the dry cleaners by removing wrinkles and odors. It's also chemical-free (which I really like).

A smoker friend gave me a wool jacket. I was pretty nervous about using wool because I know it shrinks and felts in the wrong conditions, but after a full cycle the jacket emerged exactly the same size and texture. The smell of smoke was gone and the jacket's colors looked more vibrant.

I've used it to successfully dry woven rugs and take the chlorine smell out of swimsuits. Someone with Martha Stewart style creativity could probably use it for everything from drapery freshening to bagel making (but we lack such domestic ingenuity).

The machine seems to have promise for families who dry clean often and want to reduce their chemical use/exposure, but in our typically permanent press household it's more of a conversation piece or home video prop.

1 comment:

Mimi-n-Moe's Mom said...

It does look very space age-like. We try to avoid buying anything that requires dry cleaning, so this is not a good appliance for our house....Although I wonder how it would work on medium sized dog??? :)