Appliance Manufacturers Focus on Hygiene

December 3, 2020

Appliance manufacturers are putting a new focus on keeping bad germs out as they look to attract virus-weary buyers to their new products. LG Electronics, Whirlpool, and others are rolling out products that focus on hygiene by removing germs and allergens.

For example, LG Electronics is touting refrigerators that have sterilizing ultraviolet lights. Whirlpool Corp. is launching washing machines with built-in heating designed to eliminate germs from clothes. Beko Electrical Appliances Co. has introduced “HygieneShield” to a range of its refrigerators and ovens that include disinfection drawers.

“People now think of home as the safest area—and they’re using their appliances more because they’re at home,” Dae-hyun Song, the president of LG’s home appliances and air solutions division, told The Wall Street Journal.

Since the pandemic, consumers have been rushing to buy products for greater germ control inside their homes. From mid-March to the end of August, sales of vacuum cleaners, fans, humidifiers, and water filters climbed 32% compared to a year ago, according to NPD data, as reported by The Wall Street Journal. Washing machines with purifying steam functions increased in demand by 46% from May to August. Air-treatment appliances increased 23% in that time period.

“All of our product development now is being done through the lens of hygiene,” Mark Choe, a senior vice president at Samsung’s digital appliances business division, told The Wall Street Journal.

LG is taking it a step further by even promising that some of its cleaning products with steam functions can “kill over 99.9%” of viruses when sanitizing items. It’s also starting to sell a “wearable” air purifier, worn over the face, with small motors that direct air through a pair of HEPA filters.

Refrigerators, Ovens Get a Hygiene Makeover During COVID-19 Pandemic,” The Wall Street Journal (Dec. 2, 2020) [Log-in required.]