Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Bosch from Hamper to Hanger

BoschGal I have appliance envy.  I just returned from a blogger trip courtesy of Bosch Appliances and have become a groupie.  Let me start by saying Bosch was already on my radar because my mother owns a Bosch dishwasher which she raves about.  In the US, Bosch is best known for their really quiet dishwashers.  They however, make literally every appliance you could use in your home, including appliances you’ve probably never heard of (more on that later).  I was invited to participate in Bosch’s “Hamper to Hanger” Blogger Retreat which centered on visiting The BSH Gallery & Training Center located in Scottsdale, AZ.  The gallery is an amazing space with every appliance in the Bosch family installed and fully functioning.  My fellow Bosch Vision Laundry - 4 bloggers and I split up into two of the kitchen areas.  Our assignment?  To use a variety of food items to stain cotton t-shirts.  We were going to put Bosch washing machines to a real test!  Eggs, chocolate syrup, Coke, raw meat and salsa—we thrashed and then signed our shirts with sharpies.  Next stop was the laundry room where they had several Bosch washers and dryers set up.  We watched as our thrashed shirts were tossed in a washer for the “blogger test wash”.  With our shirts spinning and cycling behind him, Chris from Bosch was introduced and gave us a great overview and demonstration of the Bosch Vision Series.

Here are some key things about Bosch washers and dryers that I really thought were awesome.  Bosch’s Vision line of washers are the most energy and water efficient brand of full size front-load washers in the U.S.  This is huge especially here in California where we are in a water crisis.  A lot of what contributes to Bosch’s eco-friendliness is that their appliances are “smart” and are able to monitor water, temperature and suds levels.  The washers use 70% less water per load than the industry average.  In Vision dryers, ActiveDry sensors detect remaining moisture throughout the cycle to lower the energy usage.  Not only is this earth friendly but it translates into lower energy and water bills for you. 

My readers know that safety is a big deal to me.  Front loading washers and dryers are easily accessible for kids to crawl inside.  There have been accidental deaths of children inside front loading washing machines in homes.  As front loading machines are gaining popularity in this country, I was really, really interested to hear Chris explain a feature available on the Vision 800 series washer.  When an adult uses the washer, they unlock it via the menu screen on the front.  When the washer is actually in use, it is locked anyway (you don’t want to flood your house, right?!).  When the adult is finished using the washer, they then enable the locking of the washer via the menu screen on the front.  That’s it, it is locked.  The Vision 800 series is the absolute safest choice if you have children in your home.  Continuing on my safety spiel, let’s talk flood.  Not the kind from rain.  The kind when a pipe or a hose or a valve in your house lets go and your house is flooded.  Misery.  Bosch has a back up system to a back up system in its exclusive AquaStop Leak Protection System to make sure that doesn’t happen to you.

Now let’s get to the actual functionality of the washers and dryers.  Like, what do they do?  I have a washing machine that is about twelve years old that I inherited with this house.  I don’t have the owner’s manual and I have no idea what all the various stops on the dials really mean.  So theoretically, I’m not really using the machine to its full potential, I guess.  I’m not happy with how well it cleans my clothes (see my opening sentence) but I’m getting by.  So, if you had a brand new Bosch washer and dryer, could you just get by?  I suppose you could, the models all seem very easy to use.  But, I must say you’d be missing out on some great features!  You can program in what kinds of stains you have on your clothes via the Stain Removal option, even if your load has all different kinds of stains, and the wash will cover each type of stain in one cycle!  Over on the dryer, I was impressed that The Vision Dryer offers three steam cycles, Steam Touch-up for when you left your clothes sitting in the dryer, Steam Refresh which is a quick way to touch refresh a garment and remove odors in just a few minutes and my favorite, Steam Wrinkle Relax which lets you toss something in (say Surfer Guy’s shirt before work?) and relax the wrinkles without having to iron!

I touched on the fact that Bosch is famous for their super quiet dishwashers, but their washers and dryers are also really, really quiet.  In the room where we were sitting, the floor was tiled and we could not hear the machines going at all.  Bosch’s Anti-Vibration System (AVS) makes Vision one of the lowest vibration washers on the market.  AVS was designed and tested with second story installations in mind, making it a low vibration quiet solution for house and condo owners looking to move their laundry room upstairs or closer to the living area.  This was something we talked about at the event, how it makes sense to have your laundry room on the second floor if you live in a two story house and that is where your bedrooms are.

One of my favorite stores is The Container Store.  Every time I go in there I find something amazingly awesome and useful to buy.  I was really excited that the manager of the Scottsdale store came out to the Bosch Gallery to give us some tips about getting organized in the laundry room:  Use a laundry hamper that has 3 sections: lights, darks and colors so you aren’t constantly sorting just to get a load going.  Having a laundry rack that allows you to hang garments straight out of the dryer really helps to minimize wrinkling.  Assign each member of the family their own color clothes hanger, which I also realized has the added bonus of making their closet look organized.  Use Sock Cops to clip pairs of socks together in the wash, you will never lose socks and will save time matching pairs!  The Container Store carries the Elfa line of storage and organization systems which you can actually design with their help in store.  Just bring in the dimensions of the space you are trying to organize and a Container Store expert will help you design your dream storage system at no extra charge.  Even if you aren’t looking to re-do your laundry room, you can still benefit by getting modular pieces like the Elfa laundry storage a simple yet useful unit.  We were each given a FlipFOLD to help us fold our laundry perfectly when we got back home and a $25 gift card to visit our local Container Store.  I’m really excited because I keep meaning to re-do my office closet with an Elfa system and this is just the motivation I needed!  My thanks to The Container Store for such great ideas and for a wonderful store filled with useful things!

So after learning so much about Bosch washers and dryers and getting organized with The Container Store, we then got to use some of the other appliances in the Bosch Gallery.  Bosch also has Thermador and Gaggenau brands in its lineup.  I was familiar with Thermador having actually had a vintage 1950’s Thermador oven in our kitchen before we remodeled two years ago.  We cooked our own lunch, under the guidance of a couple of chefs,  in two of the gallery kitchens, which was really fun.  Then we toured around the rest of the gallery checking out all the amazing appliances like wall-installed espresso makers, burners that are dedicated to woks, and space saving ovens that are installed on a wall.  You load from below and then the bottom raises up like an elevator to bring the food to the heating area.  I was really blown away and decided I needed to remodel my kitchen again.

Vision washers and dryers have a MSRP range of $999 to $1,549.  Before you run out to buy yours though, I strongly suggest you do a little online research to see if there are any rebates available to you.  For example, some states offer a “cash for clunkers” type of incentive for appliances.  Some utility companies will also give you a rebate if you buy an energy efficient appliance.  You can sometimes even “double dip” and get another rebate from your utility by having them pick up your old appliance.  This could be $200-$300 in rebates, again, depending on where you live.  Definitely worth spending a few minutes looking to see what’s available.  If you add up all the rebates you can score it may actually allow you to get a higher level Bosch than you thought you originally could afford.

For more information on any of the Bosch products I’ve covered above, visit www.bosch-home.com/us or call 800.921.9622 to request a catalog.  Connect with Bosch on Twitter at @BoschAppliances or become a fan at Facebook.com/BoschAppliances.

Wow, lots of info.  I was in overload.  As I walked out of the Bosch Gallery scribbling some notes, I was a bit dazed in the bright Arizona sun but realized how lucky I was to have the opportunity to see this amazing design award nominated gallery.  High end designers, custom home builders and major appliance stores come to the BSH gallery to learn about these products.  Here I was just a simple blogger who got the chance to report back to her readers.  We headed back to The Intercontinental Montelucia Resort & Spa in Paradise Valley where we were staying.  Our afternoon was perfect with spa treatments at Joya Spa, which is definitely in the top tier of spas I have been to.  I can’t wait to get back to the Montelucia, the pool, restaurant, views, oy, I could go on and on.  The bathroom in my room was pretty amazing.  It was really, really nice to be in Arizona with the glowing red sunsets and the mountains surrounding the hotel.  It felt totally southwest!

So, what about those t-shirts we thrashed?  Just before we headed to dinner that night, some of our t-shirts were brought out for our inspection.  Keeping in mind that a dozen totally thrashed t-shirts were thrown into the wash without being so much as rinsed off, I would say they fared pretty well, most totally clean.  There were some slightly visible stains, mainly the ground in chocolate syrup, but I would have pre-treated and had some other clothing in the wash in a real world test.  In my book, Bosch wins on water efficiency, energy efficiency, safety, quietness and washing and drying features.  My next appliance purchase will be a washer and I am going to seriously consider a Bosch.

Because I always think it’s good to get as much perspective as possible here are some links to posts by all the lovely ladies and new friends I made on this trip: Jen at The Dirty Shirt, Caryn at Rockin’ Mama, Sugar at Sugar Jones, Jamie at Blonde Mom Blog, Jennifer at Tiny Oranges, Jocelyn at Hip Mamas Place, Julie at Angry Julie Monday, Katie at La Jolla Mom, Sarah at Technology for Mommies, and Shanna at My Favorite Everything

Album photos courtesy of Caryn Bailey aka Rockin’ Mama

Bosch paid for my trip to the Bosch Hamper to Hanger Blogger Event.  The content of this post is entirely my own.

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