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For those who want to do laundry without the excessive use of detergent and fabric softener, the pureWash Pro system (above) might be the answer.

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The Philips Hue go (above) is a portable light that holds a three-hour charge.

Smart solutions for laundry, lighting needs

Oct 21, 2016 5:50 AM

EVEN as companies start marketing smart home systems via the Internet of Things, it is wise to remember that some smarts can take on another aspect in your home.

For those who want to do laundry without the excessive use of detergent and fabric softener, the pureWash Pro system might be the answer. Instead of using harsh chemicals and other solvents to clean your clothes, the pureWash Pro (price: S$499) introduces oxygen and ozone into the water before it enters your washing machine to clean your clothes.

If it sounds familiar, that is because some chain hotels and hospitals have been using this method to wash linen and towels, and a system now recreates it for your home.

The pureWash Pro is a rectangle unit, measuring 41 x 31 x 9.5 cm, that needs to be drilled into your wall, and placed near your washer. The water hose from the wall enters this unit, and another hose feeds this water to the washer. There is a second outlet, for when you need water for other cleaning purposes.

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Oxygen, ozone and ions are injected into the water, while a desiccant removes moisture from the air that flows into the system. The desiccant attachment (S$33) lasts for six months on regular use and needs to be replaced when it turns from blue to pink. Once it is plugged in and powered up, the system detects the flow of water when the washer is activated, and turns on to treat the water. A window with a blue light comes on when the unit is in use.

The real test, though, is how well the treated water cleans clothes without the use of any detergent but the first hurdle users must cross is the realisation that detergent can be harmful to the skin. The aroma of the detergent also masks any odours that clothes might retain after a wash.

For the first few washes, the laundry was done without any detergent but some odours, especially those from baby clothes, remained. Luckily, any other body odour was cleansed.

So the choice was made to use only a quarter of the recommended detergent. This way, the clothes retain the familiar fragrance.

In both instances, the clothes came out clean. Dirt, food stains, milk solids and even light poop stains were removed from clothes, while odours were no longer attached to bath towels and floor mats.

But the system is not a miracle one. Extensive stains, such as chilli, crayons and water-colour paints remained, as they would even with regular water and detergent. You still need to treat these stubborn stains with detergent, before tossing the clothes in the washer.

The S$499 investment in the pureWash helps but it will not improve the cleanliness of your wash tremendously. But if you are new parents worried about exposing young ones to harsh chemicals and cleaners from a young age, this is a viable alternative.

The pureWash Pro is available exclusively at Courts.

Meanwhile, for homes looking at installing smart lighting systems, Philips has introduced new lights and controllers that go beyond installing them at existing lighting spots.

When connected to a hub, all Philips Hue lights can be individually controlled via the Philips Hue app, which are linked to a hub in the home.

The Philips Hue lightstrip plus (S$129) is a 2m long strip of LED lights held in a rubber casing. Users can choose to place them anywhere, such as along the edge of the couch or the bed, so that when these lights are turned on, they will not flood the entire room, especially if it is late at night.

Otherwise, there is the Philips Hue go (S$109), a portable light that holds a three-hour charge. Parents can leave the light on in their children's bedroom, and shut it off remotely when the kids are asleep.

They can also be charged and placed where they are needed, whether it is in the garden for a late-night barbecue, or around the living room for some mood lighting.

With the app, home owners can turn the lights on before they step into the house, control which lights come on, and even change the temperature and colour of the lights individually.

There is also a tap switch (S$89) that allows home owners to activate the different lights at home without their smartphones. This allows anyone at home to control the lights at anytime, but still offers the convenience of remote access when no one is home.

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