No longer are washing machines only suitable for garments labelled ‘machine wash’.
Washing machines are now on the market that enable consumers to wash wool clothes with the confidence they won’t felt and shrink European appliance group AEG-Electrolux has paved the way forward developing a washing machine and a washer-dryer combination – with automatic gentle washing technology – that handle delicate fibres such as wool.
The two Woolmark-certified appliances - the ÖKOMix and ÖKOKombi - have been awarded the highest Woolmark Apparel Care certification in their class, making it possible to safely wash Woolmark labelled garments with a ‘hand wash only’ care claim.
AEG-Electrolux believes that this is the future of laundry.
“AEG has developed a cycle that treats wool garments properly and gives them the respect they deserve,” says IWTO president and consultant for The Woolmark Company Peter Ackroyd in a pair of videos produced and released by the international appliance group.
“Washing wool gently means you eliminate all the problems of shrinkage, and shrinkage is caused by the matting of the fibre in a rough wash. A gentle wash is the way forward and that this can be done in a machine is a major breakthrough.
“This gives consumers the confidence to put woollen garments into a machine, which has been lacking for the past 30 or 40 years.”
Another major breakthrough delivered by these two new machines is the level of energy consumption, thanks to AEG Electrolux’s patented pre-mixing technology.
The traditional washing machine mixes water with the detergent in the drum, meaning a quite inefficient washing cycle. Yet, for the first time in the market, the ÖKOMix actually does the mixing outside of the drum. That means that the washing is gentler and more efficient, and more importantly, means that wool garments can be washed with confidence.
The Woolmark Company manager of the Apparel Care program Cathryn Lee says relationships such as the one formed between The Woolmark Company and AEG-Electrolux are important in telling consumers that wool is easy to care for.
“For too long wool has been stigmatised and put in the ‘too hard basket’ when it comes to doing the laundry. Yet the Woolmark Apparel Care program is about providing consumers with tools for laundering their wool apparel which have been tested as suitable for washing wool without causing damage.
“These innovative appliances designed by AEG-Electrolux, along with the educational videos the company has produced, are in-line with AWI’s strategy to address common consumer misconceptions and seeks to show consumers that caring for wool textile products is easy.”