Beko’s newly launched product line wasn't designed as part of a longer-term plan. Rather, it was created and engineered to address consumer concerns about home hygiene.
When 2020 took a sideways turn, Beko carried out consumer research to find out what people wanted from home appliances. The survey results were loud and clear: people wanted peace of mind in their homes.
Unsurprisingly, daily exposure to safety campaigns about hand washing and mask wearing has made people hyper-aware of the bacteria and viruses they're bringing into and spreading around their homes. We're worrying more often and cleaning more often and want products to help ease the strain.
As a result, Beko focused its engineering capabilities on creating a line of products for customers in a pandemic-conscious world.
The Hygiene Shield range comprises seven major home appliances, each of which has sanitising and disinfecting capabilities, effective against over 99% of bacteria and viruses, including coronavirus. The appliances can be used to disinfect everything from food packaging to keys and wallets, clothing and bedding.
The range was built to be affordable, with the hygiene tech adding less than 10% to the price of the appliances, with a similar bump in the amount of energy they use to run.
The appliances use either UV-C light, heat, steam or a mix of technologies to clean and disinfect items to professional levels. CEO Hakan Bulgurlu of parent company Arçelik said: "The products have been tailored to help consumers achieve professional levels of hygiene at home and protect them from infections and diseases. Our technologies are being independently tested by Airmid Health Group, a respected biomedical research organization."
Apart from the cabinet, there's a dishwasher, an oven, a washing machine, a washer-dryer, a tumble dryer and a fridge.
The combi-fridge is equipped with a disinfection drawer. Packaged food can be placed inside and UV rays will disinfect it in 40 minutes.
The inbuilt oven has two heat and steam disinfection programmes: one at 70°C and one at 120°C. You can use them to sanitise packaged products and baked goods in 15 minutes, without affecting the taste or structure of food.
The dishwasher uses higher, sustained temperatures - 60°C for the main wash and 70°C for a hot rinse - to disinfect kitchen items.
There's also a washing machine, a washer-dryer and a tumble dryer. The washing machine and washer dryer have a steam function that fills the drum, keeping clothes at a high enough temperature for long enough to disinfect them - without using a lot of water. This is a more environmentally friendly solution that washing your garments at 60°C, and is gentler on clothing than a hot wash.
Meanwhile, the tumble dryer has UV technology that you can use to sanitise fabrics. It's especially useful for clothes that need to be washed at low temperatures.
The products will be rolling out from the end of 2020 and into the first quarter of 2021. We'll have more details as the products become available.
If you read the start of the article and thought: Wait, what? I'm supposed to be disinfecting my keys? - you're not alone. For the record, I don't, and I don't know anyone who does.
But should you be? Recent evidence, including a paper in medical journal The Lancet, suggest that early concerns about surface transmission of COVID-19 were perhaps overstated. The current focus of virus protection is on droplet transmission, which means mask-wearing, keeping your distance from other people and, of course, hand washing.
Beko insists that the Hygiene Shield line isn't an attempt to capitalise on people's fears. It's a response to customer demand. And it's certainly true that this year has seen a spike in sales of sanitising products such as steam cleaners.
What we can say is that these are affordable appliances with science-based technologies. They could help people in frontline jobs ensure that they're not bringing anything extra home from work and provide peace of mind and agency to anyone worrying about home hygiene.
If you're interested in other home appliances that can sanitise clothes, bedding, children's toys and more, read our hands-on review of the Styler, LG's steam wardrobe.