Will Procter & Gamble's new product wipe out laundry day?


According to research by Procter & Gamble, 75% of us re-wear dirty clothes as much as 3-4 times per week. Hoping to capitalize on this trend, Procter & Gamble, which already owns 60% of the $7 billion laundry detergent market, is introducing a line of products designed to clean clothes without actually washing them.

Swash comes in sprays and wipes, and the four different varieties are designed to remove wrinkles, stains, and odors. For about $5 for a small package, consumers can pick up a product that will make clothes re-wearable within minutes.

Swash tested well among college students, but I have to wonder if it will really save anyone any time, hassle, or money. If three quarters of the population was happy to pick up unwashed clothes from the floor without "swashing" them already, why will they think they need this product? Does a $5 Swash stick go as far as a $5 tub of detergent and the energy it costs to run a wash cycle? My guess is that no, it doesn't -- but perhaps the immediate gratification factor will be enough to attract consumers.

My other concern is that those in the habit of re-wearing between washes will perhaps become overly confident in Swash, doing even less laundry than they do now, thus going out in clothes that are smellier than ever. Even Procter & Gamble states that this is not a miracle stick -- it's not meant to replace the washing machine altogether, just reduce the amount of washing we do. Still, this blogger suspects that the product may do little more than perpetuate nasty habits.