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Move over, selfies! Smart lights have another practical use in the bathroom

Until a week ago, I was still holding on to a few CFL (Compact Fluorescent Lamp) bulbs in some parts of my apartment. That all changed when two of them in my bathroom sputtered out. I tried desperately to resuscitate them back to life by tapping on them a few times, but my efforts were all in vain. But their demise gave me the opportunity to say adios to CFLs and completely go LED in my apartment — not just any LED light bulbs, but color-changing smart ones!

I switched out all three bulbs in the bathroom to Sylvania Smart+ A19 LED bulbs. In using them for just a short while, there’s no arguing that they add a certain new dynamic with bathroom selfies — but I also found an unintentional use for them. They actually made me realize how dirty surfaces were, like the deposits around the faucet in the sink and the hard water stains around the tub. After seeing all of this, it instantly gave me the motivation to clean!

Sylvania Smart+ LED light bulbs bathroon feature 1 of 6
John Velasco / Digital Trends

What’s unique about these Sylvania Smart+ LED bulbs is that they directly connect to my home’s W-Fi network. It’s one big incentive to use them over another set of Philips Hue smart LED bulbs, which require the use of a hub. They’re also not as costly — a four-pack costs less than $35, versus $90 for just a pair of Philips Hue bulbs.

Once I got them set up and connected to the network, I started scrolling through the different colors. While I don’t typically snap selfies of myself, the occasion presented me with the opportunity to scroll through the various colors. Coming across the color blue, I quickly glanced at the mirror in my bathroom to see the results, but then I looked down at the sink to notice how the blue-colored light made the hard water stain outlining the rim of the drain more prominent. It was black. 

The hard water stains in the tub were also quite apparent — they’ve typically been imperceptible under normal lighting conditions. You can see in the comparison images how the blue-colored light adds a higher level of contrast to the hard water stains.

All of this, of course, forced me to grab some cleaning solution and a scrubber to get those nasty stains out. Now, I will tell you that my eyes started to strain a bit after switching back to normal lighting conditions. This isn’t just isolated to the blue color tone I used to expose the stains — it applies to all the other colors as well. That’s why I ended up switching back and forth between the two tones, just so that my eyes weren’t too strained by the blue.

Still, I never intended for smart LED light bulbs to have any practical application in the bathroom. Bathroom selfies can only go so far, right? I suppose there are more functions to look into if you’re willing to invest more time tweaking your smart home, like setting up routines and automations. For example, you can set a routine through the Google Home app for the lights to automatically turn on whenever you announce that you’re home.

It’s funny how things go sometimes. One moment I was exploring color combinations with these smart LED light bulbs,  and the next thing I knew I was in cleaning mode trying to get rid of those stains. If you’re particular with the cleanliness of your bathroom, then you’ll certainly appreciate how you can leverage smart light bulbs to expose all of those nasty stains.

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John Velasco
John is the Smart Home editor at Digital Trends covering all of the latest tech in this emerging market. From uncovering some…
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