When talking to representatives from various companies at Berlin's IFA conference, we found that certain manufacturers are trying to combat rising energy costs by using the lowest effective level of heat possible in their clothing and dishwashers. They still do a good job at fulfilling their respective purposes... but at what price? If internal temperatures don't reach a certain point, clothing and cutlery may appear clean to the naked eye but still actually be crawling with bacteria and germs. Haier is one of those companies attempting to reduce appliance energy consumption by lowering maximum heat levels, but they have something in place to combat the negative side effects: a new Anti-Bacterial Treatment (or ABT for short) consisting of a special material which has been injected with a unique concoction designed to kill any persistent microbes.
Most bacteria-resistant surfaces are just that: surface-only. An item is made and then coated with whatever chemical or formula has been designed to prevent the build up of germs and other unwanted organisms. This can wear out over time, potentially flaking off or just losing its effectiveness. You may not know when this happens, either, depending on how the original coating was applied in the first place.
The unique thing about Haier's ABT is that the antibacterial element is actually injected into the the rubber and plastic which is used to make certain parts of the machines. Now you won't have to worry about any nasty water build up inside the lip of your washer, or have to go out and buy extra strong detergent. Haier's also made it quite easy to recognize which parts of their appliances have been treated with ABT, as it's colored a very striking bright blue.
On washers, dryers, and combo units, the most prominent ABT component is the door's interior lining. If you find that not all the water has drained away, with some pooling up just inside the door, you won't have to worry about it being unclean or full of whatever was just washed out of your clothes. Washers also use it for their detergent receptacles, a spot that has quite a few encounters with a variety of liquids. It's used on dryers to coat the lint trap, a particularly nasty component that has lots of lint and other unsavory particles blowing through it with every load of laundry. Combo machines, though less of a big seller in America, also have ABT on any aforementioned part used by that particular model.
Haier hasn't left out its dishwashers, either. The interior lining of the main washing compartment is made entirely out of material infused with ABT. The filter located inside the device itself is also made with ABT, resulting in dishes that are actually as clean as they'll (hopefully) look. The catch there is that ABT is only coming to dishwashers as of this October, so you'll have to wait a bit if you want this feature in your kitchen.
This was launched in Europe first, and is also found on Haier products in the United States. While we weren't able to get exact dates as to when this was first implemented in either market, it was explained that from this point forward every single Haier washer, dryer, and combo unit is going to come equipped with ABT. The representative assured us that this has been done without raising prices for consumers, as the actual process of making ABT apparently costs mere pennies. Add to that the fact that Haier is apparently offering a warranty on ABT elements for the entire life of a Haier appliance and you've got yourself a very confident company. If a rubber lining ever rips, or a plastic piece cracks and breaks off, they'll replace it as long as the appliance itself still works. Given that this is a Haier-exclusive feature, it's not like they have to really worry about competitors at this time, making it a strong gesture of support for their products.
Photo: Yikrazuul, Wikimedia Commons [CC-BY-3.0]