When it comes to clothing, the comfort of cashmere and the warmth of wool are hard to beat. But unlike garments made from synthetic materials, or more robust natural ones, these delicate weaves need treating with care. They must be dry-cleaned and, rather unhygienically, it’s advisable to clean these fabrics as infrequently as possible. A new potential fix is Swash, which claims to “refresh” such clothes in between full washes.
The Swash system, a venture of Whirlpool and P&G, comes in two distinct parts. The hardware is a vertical drawer, which allows a single item to hang within, but keeps it firmly clipped on every side in order to keep creasing to an absolute minimum. Within this sealed unit, the garment is sprayed with a fine mist, which is the combination of water and neutralizing chemicals provided by a Swash pod — the other essential part of the refreshing system. According to Swash, this both rids the material of odor and relaxes the fibres. Finally, the damp garment is then heated, essentially mimicking the entire dry-cleaning process, and providing a similarly crisp look and feel.
Although only one item at a time can be refreshed, the whole cycle takes a conveniently brief 10 minutes, and the $499 starter kit comes with 12 pods. It’s also worth noting that the Swash drawer is very bedroom-friendly — that is, it simply requires the power of a wall socket, with no water supply or outlet necessary. Additionally, you can use it to refresh any standard clothing fabric.
Of course, paying $499 for something that merely impersonates dry-cleaning sounds a little over-the-top for most of us. But as with the progression of most home appliances, I can envision that the initial rush of financially secure early adopters could bring the price right down for the rest of us.
The Swash system is currently on sale exclusively in Bloomingdale’s — for more info, check out Swash’s website.