Bosch FreshUp full review

The FreshUp comes in a rectangular box that’s reminiscent of smart phone packaging, except that it’s a lot larger. Inside, you get the FreshUp, a charging cable, a mains adapter, a black sleeve case, a quick start guide and a registration leaflet complete with safety advice.

Bosch FreshUp box contents

FreshUp design & appearance

The device itself looks like a large wireless computer mouse and is about the size of a sunglasses case. It's comfortable to hold and has a silver tablet-shaped power button on the top, next to an LED.

Underneath the FreshUp is a long, depressible bar, ringed with gold and intersected with a thin wire.

Underside of FreshUp device

It’s all very neat.

How to charge the FreshUp

You charge the device by plugging the cable into the USB slot at one end of the FreshUp and then into the mains adapter – the LED will pulse white as it charges – and a couple of hours later, it's ready to use. It'll run for sixty minutes from a full charge, although you'll probably never use it for this long at once.

How to use the FreshUp

Using the FreshUp is just as straightforward as charging it. You press the power button, the LED flashes, and both “lozenge” ends of the device illuminate in white. You place it on the smelly part of your garment, push it down and the “lozenge” ends turn purple. Then you swipe the offending area until the smell has gone.

Does the FreshUp work?        

It does what it says. It gets rid of smells from your clothes.

Bosch claims it will remove body odour, smoke, food smells, mustiness, deodorant and certain fragrances.    

We tested the FreshUp on body odour from the underarms of a t-shirt, perfume on a pillowcase, fat smells from a kitchen apron, and a musty top that had spent a few days on a chair, and the results were impressive.

Smells were wiped out; the FreshUp had given the fabric enough of a boost that items could be worn again, and the process was remarkably quick. We estimate that we spent about ten seconds swiping a key area on an item for the smell to disappear.

However, a very strong smell required a swipe on both side of the fabric. We tested a very pungent pyjama top and found the FreshUp lifted the density of the smell, but still left a slight trace. In short, it did the heavy lifting, but didn’t entirely replace putting the garment into a hot wash.

When you use the FreshUp, it gives off a slightly metallic scent, and that smell can linger on the fabric a little. Still, you'd have to know it was there to notice it and it’s innocuous. You’d generally just think the garment smelt clean.

FreshUp device

You must use the device on dry fabric though, and it only works on cotton, silk, cashmere, wool, linen, polyester blends, sportswear and functional clothes. It won’t work on leather, real or synthetic skin, hair or pet hair, metal or sequins, or non-textile surfaces.

That means you can't refresh highly embellished evening dresses or costumes or an over-worn pair of leather trousers. So, in many cases, you can't use it as an alternative to dry cleaning.

Bosch advises you to put a garment on a flat surface to swipe, but also suggests that you can use the FreshUp while you're wearing an item. When we tried this under the arms on a soft cotton top, there was a sense of warmth, a tiny waspy buzz, and it left a slightly antiseptic smell, but it was a very convenient way to treat a hot spot of odour. It could be a useful tool to stick in your bag and freshen up between meetings, or between work and dinner.

You can also use the device on items you know aren't dirty, but just need a lift, like decorative cushions or throws. We tried this and found the FreshUp revived the fabric well and the effect was still obvious a fortnight later.

How does the FreshUp work?

The freshUp is a type of ioniser. Bosch states that its “Bosch Plasma Technology”, delivered by the FreshUp, releases active plasma particles that dissolve odour molecules, so the device destroys the smell on the garment, rather than masking it.

That said, we can't say for sure that the FreshUp kills bacteria on clothes. 

Will I use the FreshUp?

 In our view, the FreshUp really feels like a gadget for the traveller, particularly business travellers who may be engaged on multiple short-stop journeys and need to ensure that their clothing doesn’t smell.

We found that the device handles odours on suit jackets well and, depending on how heavily worn a shirt is, it can freshen the fabric up to a wearable level.

Again, if you are someone whose lifestyle requires quick clothing changes during the day, you will probably find you can get more life out of your clothes between washes, so you aren’t washing items after only a few hours of wear.

The FreshUp is also something you might use to deal with odours in garments you just can't wash or dry clean easily: delicate fabrics, beaded gowns, articles of clothing with heavy embroidery or those that are naturally dyed. So it could be a handy tool in the arsenal of a dress agency, a costume hire business or a costume department.

Again, if you are required to wear an official outfit, such as a legal robe, or ceremonial or municipal dress of some description, you might find the FreshUp useful, as may members of the armed forces or civilian services who have occasion to wear ceremonial or parade uniform. 

And it must be said, if you have medical issues that cause significant body odour problems, the FreshUp might help you live a little less self-consciously – a comfort that can't be underestimated.

All that said, outside of these circumstances, we found that the FreshUp came in useful at odd moments, particularly when a garment was ostensibly clean but had been worn for a few hours and didn't have that "freshly laundered" smell. Treating the item with the FreshUp gave the garment another day's wear, which is useful, saves money and time on laundry, and extends the life of a garment. 

Indeed, if you are environmentally conscious, the FreshUp will help you decrease your dry-cleaning visits for non-washable garments and give you more time between washing at home.

Price & availability

The FreshUp is pricey. It currently retails for £249.99 on the Bosch site and comes with a two-year warranty and free standard delivery, with free returns. It's not yet available in the US.

You have to ask yourself whether the gadget is going to make sense for you and your lifestyle. If you find that your dry cleaning or laundry costs for certain key garments in your wardrobe to run at £50 a month or more, and the FreshUp allows you to halve that cost, then it will pay for itself within a year.

If you live in an area or have a lifestyle where easy access to dry cleaners is tricky but your profession requires garments that can’t just be thrown in the wash, the FreshUp is probably going to be a good purchase.

But if this doesn't describe you, you might want to give purchasing the FreshUp a bit more thought.        

Verdict

The FreshUp is a natty gadget. We like it.

However, we would say that outside of specific lifestyle considerations, such as frequent travel or professional usage, you may struggle to use it on a daily domestic basis.

But maybe that’s not the point of the FreshUp. It’s very much a tool for specific situations: for example, the paranoid moment between meetings when you think your shirt may be broadcasting your nervousness, or when you’ve got a formal outfit out of plastic with no time to take it to the dry cleaners and are greeted with that particular “vintage” smell.

All in all, for most of us, the FreshUp will be a nice-to-have, rather than a must-have, but for some people, it will probably be the most useful and convenient clothing tool they ever buy.

After more home clothing care options? Have a look at our review of the LG Styler.

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