Every now and then, a product comes along that is so clever, you are blown away. Even if you subsequently realise that it may not be all that useful for most people. The Bosch FreshUp (bosch-home.co.uk) is one such product. The nearest thing we can compare it to is high-tech Febreze, which is a fabric cleaner designed for sofas and curtains but which some people – skanks, let’s call them – use to freshen up their clothes, by masking the smells emanating from them. Bosch FreshUp removes rather than masks smells, however, and the way it does so is ingenious. This handheld device slightly resembles one of those handheld crumb removers that you occasionally still see used to clean tables in restaurants. When you power it up, it creates plasma. Yes, plasma: the mysterious ‘fourth state’ of matter, after solid, liquid and gas. Well, it turns out that plasma, as well as helping to give us life, and make TVs in the mid-2000s, is also able to completely dissolve odour molecules. Who knew? So as you run the FreshUp over your clothing, any lingering smells – from smoke to body odour are removed completely. With lighter fabrics and lesser smells this is generally done with one application.
Things do get trickier with heavy fabrics such as denim, and if you are trying to remove the smell of a bonfire from your best winter coat, you may be there some time. In particular, Bosch says waterproofed garments are harder to treat. It also can’t be used on leather, fur or damp fabrics. In fact, if you try to use it on fabrics that are moist, the FreshUp will detect this, flash purple and refuse to work – clever.
Bosch is at pains to point out that there is no cleaning going on here. FreshUp cannot remove stains or general muck. However, it does remove smells from garments that are clean as far as the naked eye is concerned, so they can be re-worn without social Embarrassment.
As a pure piece of technology, FreshUp is quite brilliant, so hopefully it will succeed. It works for 60 minutes on a single charge and recharges in 3 to 4 hours via USB-C.