Saturday, January 28, 2023

Say Goodbye to Wrinkled Clothes and Musty Smells: How Notifications Can Streamline Your Laundry Routine


When it comes to laundry, there's nothing more frustrating than pulling out a basket full of wrinkled clothes and musty-smelling linens. It can make all of your hard work feel like it was for nothing, and who has time for that? But, what if I told you there's a simple solution to this problem? By generating notifications when your washing machine and dryer have completed their cycles, you can minimize wrinkles and prevent musty smells in your clothes, making your laundry day a little less painful.

Let's start with the type of notification you want to receive. Some people prefer text messages or emails, while others prefer push notifications on their phone or smartwatch. I personally prefer audio prompts on the smart speakers in the house.  This works well, even when I don't have my phone on me, and it also is useful for others (read kids) in the house to move their clothes to the next steps in the process.

I have tried several ways to trigger these notifications.  At first, I figured I could use the fact that the washing machine and dryer vibrated when the cycles ran, to trigger the notification when the vibration stopped.  I used some double-sided tape to attach a Multipurpose sensor to the back of both the washer and dryer.  For Home Assistant, I found this blueprint to that performs an action when it detects that shaking stops.  I needed to tweak the automations using this blueprint to make it work for my scenario.  For example, I needed to set the hysteresis both for what it will use to consider the cycle having been started, and when the cycle has finished. Unfortunately, this does mean that there is a delay between when the cycle has finished to when the notification is generated.

For an unrelated reason, we replaced our washer and dryer with appliances that support LG's ThinQ.  These appliances are WiFi connected, and when configured to their cloud service, mobile phone notifications can be generated when cycles complete.  Since I want to have the notifications spoken over our smart speakers, I needed to figure out how to connect these devices to my Home Assistant setup.  I found this custom integration that integrates with various LG ThinQ devices.  Once paired, the washer and dryer, and their corresponding states, are represented in Home Assistant.  I am now able to trigger automations from state changes from these appliances.

Automation

This automation was fairly easy to setup, it looked something like the following: 
  • When the washer or drier's "completed" stated changes to "on", and it is between 6 am and 11 pm, then run the following actions:
    • If the dryer cycle has just completed, announce "Dryer has completed" on the smart speakers around the house
    • If the washer cycle has just completed, announce "Washer has completed" on the smart speakers around the house
Since one of the goals is to inform everyone in the house (including our kids) I plan on including their speakers in the announcements.  But since I don't want them to be too tired for school, I only have these speakers included in the announcement before sunset.  Instead of calling the tts service directly from automation, I have the automation call a script, where I can control which speakers are used.

Here are some screenshots for these automation and scripts:




Summary

In summary, by setting up notifications when your washing machine and dryer have completed their cycles, you can minimize wrinkles and prevent musty smells in your clothes. It's a small step that can make a big difference in the appearance and smell of your clothes. So, give it a try and see the results for yourself. Trust me, you'll be glad you did!

Overall, notifications can help you to streamline the laundry process and make it more efficient. By keeping track of the cycle status and taking action promptly, you can minimize wrinkles and prevent musty smells, saving you time and hassle. So, give it a try and see the results for yourself!

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