(Pocket-lint) - Hotpoint have updated their Aqualtis family of washers and dryers for 2009, bringing in some innovative new features.

The highlights for 2009 include new models that now give you the option of a steam cycle. There will be two types of steam cycle available. The first is a light steam refresh, which takes 20 minutes to freshen-up clothes when they don't really need washing.

The second is a steam hygiene cycle, so if you are washing your clothes at a low temperature, you can use the steam setting to ensure that all the bacterial nasties are eliminated.

Steam options will be available on several washers and washer dryers, with more advanced models also offering a weight sensor to recommend detergent amounts and adjust the washing times depending on the load.

If detergent dosing is your thing, then you might be interested in the new "Auto Dose System" that will also be available (although not on a model also offering steam).

The Auto Dose System allows you to pre-load your machine's internal tanks with liquid detergent (up to 6 litres) and fabric softener (up to 4 litres). You then tell your machine how dirty your clothes are and it adds the correct quality of the liquids at the appropriate part of the cleaning process.

There is also an automatic cleaning cycle for the internal tanks once they have emptied so they stay nice and clean.

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Writing by Chris Hall.