By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
LG Electronics has enhanced its SteamWasher by adding a high-temperature anti-allergen cycle and increasing its capacity to an industry-leading 4.2 cubic feet while maintaining its previous pricing.
The company is also rolling out its SteamDryer, first shown at last year's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS), as a companion piece to the washer, as well as a combination unit that combines both functions within a single SKU.
All three products are currently shipping and are expected to reach all retail customers by month's end.
Suggested retails range from $1,400 (white) to $2,700 (stainless steel) for the washer, and from $1,200 to $2,700 for the dryer, while the combo product is priced to hit a $1,900 retail. The units are also available in midnight blue and wild cherry.
LG is supporting the rollout with a new TV spot that continues the theme of consumers considering fanciful ways to destroy their old appliances in order justify the purchase of a new, fully featured LG majap. In-store materials will also be available to help tell the washer's allergen-reducing story.
LG said the enhanced SteamWasher's new "Allergiene" cycle reduces allergens — including common triggers such as dust mites and pet dander — on fabrics by more than 95 percent by raising the water temperature to 131 degrees for a limited period of time, which is gentler on clothes than the machine's high-temperature cycle.
The unit is the first washing machine to be certified as "asthma- and allergy-friendly" by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA), an independent non-profit foundation dedicated to helping consumers and patients with asthma and allergic diseases.
"LG's new Allergiene allergen-reduction cycle enables us to provide an industry-first benefit to consumers who want to reduce their exposure to allergens," said marketing VP John Weinstock. "This exciting new application of our TrueSteam technology is the latest example of how our continued innovation in steam laundry can provide meaningful new benefits to consumers."
The steam feature is applied in two ways: SteamWash feeds hot steam into the top of the wash drum through a spray nozzle to penetrate the fabrics, remove dirt and stubborn stains, and better dissolve cleaning agents without causing excessive wear and tear on garments. SteamFresh is the washer's 20-minute steam-only cycle that uses steam to freshen and reduce wrinkles on clothes.
Similarly, the SteamDryer freshens clothing and reduces wrinkles for large garment loads and bulky items such as comforters, and neutralizes static electricity in normal loads by introducing steam during the final five minutes of the drying cycle, producing more comfortable, static-free garments.
Weinstock said the anti-allergen feature was first introduced in Korea, and was brought to the U.S. market in response to what AAFA officials described as an allergy and asthma epidemic. Some 20 percent of Americans are affected by the chronic conditions, the foundation said, including 50 million allergy sufferers and 20 million asthmatics.
"We are thrilled that LG has developed a washing machine that is so effective at reducing common household allergens that we are able to certify it asthma & allergy friendly," said Mike Tringale, AAFA external affairs director. "By designing a special wash cycle that meets our standards, LG has created a tool that can help millions of Americans in their efforts to reduce their exposure to allergens throughout the year."
LG noted that the washer's greater capacity and energy efficiency will encourage consumers to clean a wider range of household products more often, including slip covers, dog beds, area rugs and curtains.
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