By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
Given the distraction of a multi-billion-dollar merger with a former competitor, Whirlpool unveiled a truncated assortment of new additions to its laundry and kitchen clean-up lines at last month's Kitchen/Bath Industry Show (K/BIS), held here at McCormick Center.
Among the former was a pair of innovative laundry room accessories: a laundry worksurface and a vertical laundry tower, developed to address the problem of under- or poorly-utilized laundry room space.
The worksurface is essentially a platform that spans the tops of front-loading washers and dryers to create a work space for sorting, treating and folding clothes. Inspired by an online survey showing that 80 percent of consumers do not perform basic laundry tasks anywhere near the laundry room, the platform features a stain- and scratch-resistant nitrile mat, a PVC base, and supply trays and a backguard to hold loose items and prevent clothing from falling behind the washer-dryer pair.
Its suite mate, the vertical laundry tower, features two oversize drawers, a pull-out tray, tray dividers and a 10-inch steel and chrome retractable hanging rod to aid laundry room organization.
“In most laundry rooms there is no designated place to do anything more than load and unload clothes, but there should be areas for time-consuming tasks, such as sorting, treating, hanging and folding,” said Eric Bauchet, specialty laundry director for the Whirlpool brand.
The laundry suite is an extension of Whirlpool's laundry room accessories line that launched in 2001 with an ergonomic storage pedestal for the front-load Duet washer. Both products will be available nationally this September in a range of colors to match the company's laundry pairs. Suggested retails are $199 for the worksurface and $199 to $299 for the tower.
Elsewhere, the company introduced a Whirlpool Gold PowerScour dishwasher that uses 36 targeted water jets to blast baked-on food without soaking, pre-rinsing or hand scrubbing. Despite the extra cleaning power, the unit can still accommodate delicate glassware in the same load thanks to an “adaptive wash” cycle that calculates the size of the load and the dirt level of the dishes, and then automatically adjusts between light, normal and heavy cycles. Whirlpool also says that its PowerScour technology uses significantly less water than hand-washing and pre-soaking.
The dishwasher itself features a slate-colored tub (available in plastic or stainless steel) that reduces the appearance of stains, while exterior options include white, black, biscuit and stainless steel. Suggested price points range from $599 to $819, depending on finish, and shipping is expected to begin this summer.
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