One of the more inane concerns I had in the early days of lockdown was: what about the dry cleaning? It’s silly, I know. Aside from being tremendously trivial compared to a global pandemic, what occasion would I have to wear freshly pressed trousers? While I didn’t lose any sleep over it, the situation did make clear how much I rely on my local laundromat. What if there was an alternative (that doesn’t require an entirely machine-washable wardrobe)? Now, thanks to Samsung’s AirDresser, independence from the dry cleaner is very much a reality.
Launched earlier this year, the AirDresser is a free-standing steam-cleaning revelation for clotheshorses—or anyone with a lot of fussy linens. Simply plugged into a standard wall outlet and given a tankful of water, the AirDresser sanitizes textiles without sending them through a spin cycle or taking a trip to the cleaners. It also tackles a number of things I’d generally be wary of sending to the laundromat: leather, fur, down jackets, raw selvedge jeans. It offers twelve cycles geared to everything from suits to knits to a quick, 24-minute steam refresh. There’s even a low-heat drying cycle that solves the issue of coming home with wet raincoats and parkas.
The AirDresser’s biggest perk is its convenience. Even in the best of times, my trips to the dry cleaner were criminally inconsistent. It was a love-hate relationship, set to the tune of “I’ll drop it off next weekend.” Now, my dry cleaner is literally in-house. Aside from making easy work of keeping my wardrobe laundered, the AirDresser has proven handy for a number of other household items. Down comforter? Cleaner than ever. Dog leash? Thoroughly sanitized. On that note, the AirDresser will eliminate 99 percent of bacteria on most anything—a particularly valuable tool during a pandemic.
Sleekly designed, the AirDresser resembles a futuristic refrigerator—not an altogether unappealing look for a home appliance. It’s configured like a standalone closet: the door opens to reveal three hangers (with clips for trousers or skirts) and can be configured with shelves to accommodate sweaters, scarves or anything else that isn’t hanger-friendly. It’s large, to be sure. It would be ideal in a dedicated laundry room or walk-in closet but, considering the proportions, it may be best to have a closet designed with the AirDresser in mind. The minimalist exterior, however, could discreetly be tucked into most any room.
While there is lots to love about the AirDresser, it isn’t entirely a replacement for a trip to the dry cleaner. This has less to do with the actual cleaning and mostly comes down to pressing. If you’re a fan of a crisply pleated trouser, you’ll still want to iron your pants after they’ve received the AirDresser’s steam treatment. The steam is powerful enough to eliminate bacteria and odors but it can’t replicate the strength of an iron. But, to be fair, it’s a bit like wishing your washing machine could fold your laundry too—you can’t expect one appliance to do it all.
At $1,400, it’s not an insignificant investment. Thought if you usually send dry cleaning out twice a month, the AirDresser pretty much pays for itself in a year. Moreover, saving me the chore of going to the cleaners, and saving the environment from the estimated tens-to-hundreds of millions of toxic solvents the dry cleaning industry uses annually, the AirDresser has undoubtedly made my life cleaner all around.