Pet owners, Maytag feels your laundry pain
By Parija Kavilanz, CNN Business
We love our pets, but their shedding? Not so much.
Pesky pet hair and dander loves to cling on to clothes and it often turns into a bigger mess when it’s run through a regular laundry machine. Household appliances maker Maytag says it has a solution to this long-standing pet peeve.
The company is launching a new laundry washer-dryer system specially designed to rid clothes, towels, blankets and other household fabric items of pet hair in the wash and dry cycles.
Maytag said its Pet Pro system will be the first washer-dryer unit on the market to feature technology developed specifically to remove pet hair.
“We’ve engineered this system for homes with pets,” said Anna Utley, vice president and general manager of laundry at Whirlpool.
Consumers are craving some excitement in appliances
Industry analysts said Maytag’s new washer comes at a time when consumers are craving innovation in home gadgets.
The pandemic forced families to accept a more home-centric lifestyle, and consumers continue to look for ways to improve that at home experience, whether its new ways to prepare meals, clean up or entertain.
In 2022, the home space and home improvement industries have a significant opportunity to deliver “new” ways for customers to add a bit of spark to their daily routines, said Joe Derochowski, vice president and industry adviser for the home and home improvement categories at market research firm NPD.
What Maytag is doing is an example of that, he said.
“This new laundry system hits a lot of positives. It solves a long-time need of pet owners who’ve probably hoped for a better solution to get the pet hair off their clothes,” Derochowski said. “In home improvement trends, what we’re seeing is a migration from the outdoor space in 2020 to remodeling of bathrooms, kitchens and laundry rooms now. So this innovation is also hitting this trend at the right time.”
But Maytag’s timing may be less than ideal. Big box stores that sell appliances, including Best Buy and Target, have said that inflation-weary shoppers are scaling back on discretionary purchases for the home.
And Maytag’s Pet Pro system isn’t cheap: Utley said the Pet Pro system will be available for pre-order in both white and black finishes (priced at $1,199 each for a white finish washer and dryer and $1,299 each for a black finish set) beginning Aug. 26. on Maytag.com.
The system will also sell on Lowes.com beginning Sept. 27 and exclusively in Lowe’s stores in October.
How it works
Utley said Maytag was already researching the issue of pet hair removal pre-Covid.
“Our system really has been a while in the making,” she said, adding that it’s launch is even more timely now given the surge in pet ownership during the pandemic.
With the Pet Pro washer, Utley explained that customers can select the Pet Pro option to any wash cycle. The cycle employs increased water levels to help lift pet hair off clothes and pass through a built-in pet hair filter. Utley said tests showed the Pet Pro filter removed five times more pet hair from clothes versus traditional Maytag washing machines.
The dryer has an option to use no-heat extended dry time to lift pet hair off clothes and capture it in a lint trap.
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