Swash Brings New Life to Once-Worn Clothes

Swash might change your feelings about re-wearing clothes.

The Swash machine from Whirlpool. Credit:

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UPDATE: When we first heard about Swash, details were scarce. We reached out to Whirlpool and P&G to find out more about the product, and have updated our article accordingly.

Everyone complains about laundry, and startups from Paris to Santa Monica claim to have a way to make it less of a hassle.

But what about those clothes you just wore once? They're not quite ready to go into the washer or the dry cleaning pile, but you also wouldn't wear them to work or a nice dinner.

Well, a new gadget claims to offer a unique solution for those rumpled sportcoats and saggy jeans, promising ready-to-wear clothes in ten minutes.

Swash, a small box that can fit in a bedroom or walk-in closet, uses special pods to refreshen and reshape clothes between wearings. It relies on a unique pod that rapidly dampens clothes and a heating element that quickly dries them, and it's safe to use on nearly all fabrics except those that can't get wet.

The product is a joint venture between Whirlpool and P&G, and is the product of years of combined research between the companies. The more we learn about it, the more it's apparent that there's nothing else on the market like it.

First of all, it's not a steamer. The unit stays below 200ºF, and the tiny bit of water it uses is in the Swash pod—not a big tank. Users clip garments into place for optimal wrinkle removal, and a unique spray-jet system evenly coats clothes in a super-fast wetting agent that helps clothes regain their shape, along with a buffer complex that removes body odor. The whole process takes about 10 minutes, and pods are available in three scents: Awake, Recharge, and Unwind. An unscented pod is coming soon.

It's also not about stain removal. Both Whirlpool and P&G recommend that users keep washing and dry cleaning their clothes as applicable. But, according to P&G's Lauren Thaman, it's just right for those "in-between" cleanings—like when your sweater smells like smoke, or your sportcoat is wrinkled from sitting on a plane.

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It's also designed for specialty garments that are particularly hard to clean, like dark denims and thick jackets with lots of decorations.

"They're very expensive to dry clean, and you don't want to do that every time you wear them," Thaman said.

The initial investment of $500 for a Swash machine is actually surprisingly affordable, assuming the appliance works as described. Of course, you're also buying into Procter & Gamble's proprietary detergent pod system. The single-use pods cost $6.99 for a 12-pack, but we'd gladly pay 60 cents to skip ironing.

It's currently available for pre-order through Bloomingdale’s. Whirlpool let us know the first machines would be shipping in August, with a wider launch later in the fall.

We'll have to wait to formulate an official opinion on the Swash until we get our hands on one next week. But for the time being, our interest is piqued.

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