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ATLANTA, Mar 24 (Reuters) Samsung Electronics Co., which is gaining display space from U.S. retailers for its high-tech appliances, on Thursday said it will sell a washing machine that uses silver to kill bacteria in cold water without bleach.

The South Korea-based manufacturer said in a statement that its new front-loading washer, which will start selling in the United States this month at a suggested price of up to $1,399, injects tiny silver ions into the tub during the wash and rinse cycles to sanitise clothes.

Samsung said that in tests, the cleaning process removed or killed 99.9 per cent of odour-causing bacteria, including E. coli.

Silver has long been known for its cleaning properties. Research at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis has shown that some resistant strains of disease cannot develop with silver the way that they will with antibiotics. Water treatment facilities that service hospitals also use silver ions.

Samsung, appliances of which are sold at U.S. retailers such as Lowe's Cos. Inc. and Best Buy Co., said its disinfecting technology, dubbed SilverCare, uses less energy than hot-water cleaning and treats delicates such as lingerie more gently. It added that skin testing shows the process to be hypo-allergenic.

''Samsung is committed to being first to market with advanced technologies that benefit and enhance people's lives,'' said Peter Weedfald, a marketing senior vice president for Samsung Electronics America, in a statement.

The company said its cold-water washer has other features including a slanted drum for easy loading and a child safety lock.

REUTERS SD PM1702

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