Few stains are more stubborn than curry splatters, so while developing a new washing machine for Indian consumers, Panasonic made sure to include a special cycle that removes the reddish-yellow blotches from clothing, BBC News reports.
Most Indian households still opt to do laundry by hand (only around 10 percent own washing machines), making India an untapped market for electronics companies. Customers complained how hard it was to scrub curry from clothing, so Panasonic spent two years developing a machine with a “curry” button, along with five other cycles created specifically for Indian users.
Panasonic examined the contents of a typical curry dish and found that they usually include turmeric, a ground root that contains a compound called curcumin. Curcumin isn’t water soluble, so savvy foodies typically recommend washing a pre-treated, curry-stained shirt in hot water, then leaving it in the sunlight to dry, which helps fade the stain. In Panasonic’s case, the company tried to identify the optimal time and water temperature needed to remove lingering curry splatters.
So far, Panasonic has sold around 5000 of their special washing machines—which, at $330, cost about 10 percent more than the average laundry appliance. Panasonic hopes to sell at least 30,000 of the machines by March 2018. The company also hopes to introduce custom machines to other Asian markets, designed to remove more culturally specific stains.
[h/t BBC News]