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Whirlpool Intros Catalyst Design In Kenmore Washer

A new Catalyst Cleaning Action washer technology, developed by Whirlpool and first introduced in Sears' Kenmore line, is expected to be available to other appliance retailers under the Whirlpool brand next year.

The Whirlpool-made washers went into Sears stores in mid-August, according to a Whirlpool spokeswoman, who said the Whirlpool-brand versions are expected to be on view at the Builders Show in January for distribution in 2000.

The new washer technology is designed to handle complex and delicate fabric blends as well as traditional clothing materials such as cotton, denim and wool. The Catalyst Cleaning Action is said to dramatically reduce the need to pretreat clothes. The washer sprays a concentrated detergent mixture onto dry, dirty clothes as they spin before wash agitation begins, effectively pretreating the entire load with a sudsy lather, Whirlpool said.

Additional features include an Ultra Handwash cycle for delicates and an Express Wash cycle said to take half the time of an average load, and a Triple Smart dispenser system so consumers can load detergent, bleach and fabric softener into dispensers at the beginning of the cycle -- the system then dilutes each additive and releases it at the right moment in the cycle.