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Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Testing Silvercare's mettle.(up front: News / Trends / Advice)(SamsungSilverCare Washer WF316LAW, washing machine)(Product/serviceevaluation)(Brief article). USA, LLCAppliances at

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Samsung's SilverCare Washer WF316LAW ($1,200; www promised lower water and energy use and less wear on clothes when it made its debut earlier this year. But the intriguing feature on this front-loader is its SilverCare setting, which the maker claims will sanitize your wash by releasing a trace amount of silver from two small bars into the water during washing. The setting is designed to remove or kill 99.9 percent of "tested bacteria" with cold water but without chlorine bleach. The washer is part of a wave of products inspired by nanotechnology, which involves engineering materials at the molecular level. (A nanometer is a billionth of a meter.)

How we tested. We washed T-shirts 10 times using the SilverCare setting, drying the shirts between each wash. Next, we cut the shirts in half and sewed them together with halves of shirts cleaned in a conventional washer. Volunteers wore those shirts while exercising, then tore them in half and stowed each section in separate zip-top bags. We let the shirts "ferment" over a weekend.

What we found. The Samsung performed very well overall, and T-shirt halves washed on its SilverCare setting were less malodorous than those washed normally, so clothes should smell fresher longer. But SilverCare adds 6 to 24 minutes per load, and you must replace the silver bars after 10 years or 3,000 washes (about $50 to $75 per pair). We're also concerned about potential health and environmental impacts of silver on clothes and wastewater.

CR's take. This Samsung is fairly pricey. You can get a washer with comparable ability to remove dirt and stains, such as the Kenmore HE2, for less.

Source Citation
"Testing Silvercare's mettle." Consumer Reports Oct. 2006: 9. Academic OneFile. Web. 19 Jan. 2010. .

Gale Document Number:A152937015

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