Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Top vs. Front

I'm sure you're all wondering what in the world I am talking about. It's nothing bad. It's about washing machines. In my first seventeen years of marriage, I've had two top loading machines. Before the arrival of baby number four we went from an apartment sized machine to a top loader with the biggest drum we could find at the time. It unfortunately kicked the bucket in late September. We promptly bought a new one -- out of desperation for clean clothes and the super fast disappearance of every last bit of change in the house from a visit to the laundromat -- but this time it is a front loader (with the biggest drum we could afford).

Now that I've been using it for approximately six weeks or so, I've learned a few things about it that I don't appreciate:

1} 57 minutes to do a load no matter what its size is just waaaay toooo loooong! I now know why people do laundry everyday of the week and find that they never get ahead. With my top loader, I could do  a denim load, one or two dark loads, a red load, a white/brights load, and a hot load, and have them all up on the line before noon.

Now, I'm lucky if I get three loads done before noon -- and that's not even dried. The weather hasn't been too conducive to line drying lately (except for yesterday) and even if I attempted it, having the last load go on at 3 pm is pointless. Hopefully that will be better in the summer.

2} The soap. Sure it supposedly uses less soap, but considering I've always used Melaleuca soap before, I've never used a lot of soap. But what I want to know is, what is with that whole HE thing anyways? I did some research and discovered that HE soap has less sudsing which is good, because soapy bubbles clog up your washer and make it stinky, and worse yet can even ruin it! I've also heard/read that liquid soap should not be used. Soooo my Melaleuca laundry soap is definitely out of the question. Of course I would learn all this after I'd bought a new bottle of Melaleuca, a bottle of Woolite for darks, and a box of Ivory Snow for the Littles in case they have a sensitivity.

3} What is with the constant stop start, stop start, that is always does? One of these times I am sure I am going to find water pouring down all over the basement floor. The pipes love to do a bouncing and a hopping when the washing machine is running.

4} What happened to being able to soak a load? Do a quick rinse?

So now that I've had my little new appliance woes rant, let me say that I am very happy with how CLEAN my clothes are coming out now. I was secretly glad to see my top loader croak because even with using liquid soap and not stuffing it full, I almost always had the first dark load after a white load, or the first white load after a dark load, come out with smarmy (for lack of a better word) lint streaks all over them. I often tossed the load in the dryer in hopes that the super heat and sucking power (or whatever it does) would remove the schmutz.

I am also happy with the delay start button. With the ever impending Smart Metering System coming our way, I'll be doing wash at midnight. Provided I get over the fact that we could wake up to a flooded basement. All the more reason Bub should be in a loft bed I guess :o)...

How about you do you have washing machine woes that you'd care to share? Any thoughts on how to solve my soap and rockin' pipes problems? Should I build a boat in case of a flood?


  1. My mom has a front loader and loves it. I never quite understood why they've become so popular, but your post has shed some light on the matter. Thanks!

    We have a top loader, and most of our laundry is done on Saturday (or late at night during the week if something HAS to be washed) so I'm glad I can do many loads in a relatively short time. We get the same yucky linty stuff on our clothes, but it's never bothered me too much. We do go through a lot of lint brushes, though!

    Glad you're enjoying your "different drum," even if does have its weak points. :-)

  2. We bought a front loader when our top loader died a couple of years ago. Our top loader was extra large capacity and I could fit our comforters (queen) in there (one at a time!), but they fit even easier into the front loader. I also like that we're using less water, especially since we have well water and our droughts (we're in another one - imagine that) are more frequent and severe each year.

    The things I don't like ... the timer/clock is off. The other day it said 2 minutes remained so I stood and waited. 5 minutes passed before it finished. This is a consistent thing. Of course small loads are finished in less time than the 45 minutes it automatically pops up. Another thing is my little guy's socks are forever getting trapped between the seal, and I don't always remember to check! I sometimes have to run an extra spin cycle to get more water out of the laundry, but I think that's my fault for probably putting too much in at once. I've also noticed our clothes are pilling faster since we've had the front loader. I hang most of our clothing to dry, so there's no wear and tear happening to them from the dryer - it has to be the front loader.

    I've read some people say their front loaders have developed an awful odor. I personally haven't had that happen. I do run bleach through (Ecover brand) to keep the machine fresh (when I remember!).

    Oh, and I do use liquid. I use Seventh Generation, less than the suggested amount (even though it's for HE). I've never used powder in it.

  3. Deborah,

    We switched over to a front loader about a year and a half ago, and it's been a change, but a good one :D

    1. Yes, it takes longer to do a load, but the spin cycle is a lot faster so your clothes come out dryer than they used to, which equals less time on the line or in the dryer.

    2. I don't know anything about the melaleuca. We use Costco's cheapest generic HE detergent (liquid) and I normally wash on cold, and our clothes seem to get just as clean as before.

    3. I have no idea about the stop/start thing. It's just the way it washes. Weird.

    4. There should be a way to do a presoak or just rinse. On my Whirlpool there are cycles labeled Drain/Spin, Rinse/Spin, and Soak, as well as the wash cycles.

    5. If you're worried about it flooding... when ours was installed they strapped the drain hose to the drain pipe so it can't wiggle around. We haven't had a problem.

    I tend to do a load a day (when I go to bed or when I get out of the shower in the morning) rather than save several loads for one day, so I don't mind too much that the wash takes longer.

    One thing to watch... you might want to leave the door to the washer open when you're not using it. I would automatically latch it shut all the time, and because it's so tightly sealed it never could dry out and started to smell sour.

    Running a bleach load took care of the smell, but leaving the door ajar between uses will prevent it.

    Hope you like your washer as much as I like mine! (And sorry for the long rambly comment!)


  4. A friend gave us her front loader because she decided they were not "front loader people"! Since my washer was 20 years old and always flooding we took it in a heartbeat. I do like that it uses less water but there is a serious lack of control over it all. Appliances in general are getting more and more...what is the word....computerized/high tech/sophisticated. And unfortunately I can't keep up.

    So about a month ago my husband found the matching dryer marked way down, plus the pedastools. Now my appliances are as tall as me!

    The dryer takes so much less time that it makes up for how long the washer takes. It is as if they have switched rolls. It used to take my dryer twice as long.

  5. Better than a consumer report article!! Thanks friend!

  6. I long for the day of the front loader in my basement. I so long.

    Our water bill is extremely high. Our small town has not done well in regards to water. Long story. We pay a lot to say the least. So as laundry is our biggest water user a new machine would pay itself off in no time.

    I am bad about getting to the laundry during the day so I would so benefit from putting in a huge load and coming back later...like way later. :) Plus my oldie machine doens't get the water out near as well as it should nor even close to what I know the front loaders do, thereby allowing for less drying time.

    And then there those quilts, and comforters....ya....they are way better for front loaders.

    Need I say more on my end? I would be overjoyed it my washer would make it's way to the washer graveyard. Soon, very soon.

    Hope you are well!

  7. I see someone mentioned something I failed to say ... I always leave the door ajar (usually wide open). My particular machine's instruction book says to do this between washes so the drum can fully dry out.

  8. Oh yes, buy Bub a high bed, for sure!
    I bought the cheapest washing machine I could find almost twenty years ago. It's still kicking and it's so old and so pathetic!

  9. I'm w/ Annesta-- better than cosumer reports!!

    I've been thinking about the whole front load option for a while now as I never know how much longer my top loader will work. These are the details you never find anywhere else in the research process... a thousand thanks, Deb!!

  10. sometimes there is no need to reinvent the wheel :O) Thanks for sharing!

  11. I think I have one of the "first" of the new front load machines and it's been wonderful after always having a top-load machine. I worked the heck out of my old ones and now the appliance store will hardly sell a ranch family a top load machine. Says they won't clean really dirty clothes well enough. One thing I've learned....put little things like baby socks and etc. in a lingerie bag so they don't get lost in between the door or sucked into the motor.


  12. I have an old top load and though I would like a front load in terms of capacity and because we live in the country and pay to have our water trucked out, the more I hear about front loads, the more I think that maybe I'll stick with my top load. I like that there is no real maintenance and I use Melaleuca or Norwex so I wouldn't want to switch. I have heard from some friends that their front load drums really smell even when they leave the door open between loads and clean it out thoroughly. I would hate that.
    Thanks for the comprehensive report!


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