Refrigerators and ovens are getting a hygienic facelift during the pandemic. Manufacturers are adding sanitizing heaters and ultraviolet light to their home appliances as consumers seek virus-fighting upgrades.
The $500 billion industry is revamping products to include enhancements that can kill viruses, germs, and allergens.
For example, according to The Wall Street Journal, Whirlpool Corp. has a washing machine with a built-in heater that removes pathogens from clothes. LG Electronics Inc. has designed a refrigerator that uses disinfecting UV lights once used in water heaters. A Turkish manufacturer created a stand-alone appliance that disinfects everyday items like phones and wallets.
“All of our product development now is being done through the lens of hygiene,” said Samsung Electronics Co. executive Mark Choe.
Experts say that since consumers have cut back on travel during the pandemic, they have more disposable income to spend on upgrading their home appliances to ensure extra safety from the virus.
According to a November Gallup poll, Americans said they have confidence that they can protect themselves from COVID-19 by wearing masks and social distancing. Two-thirds of global respondents said they prioritized staying home over leading a normal life, according to the Journal.
The sales of home appliances has grown dramatically with kitchen appliances and cleaning tools paving the way. Sales of vacuum cleaners, fans, and humidifiers shot up 32%, and the demand for washing machines with purifying steam capabilities rose 46% compared to similar time periods before the pandemic.
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