High Efficiency Front Loading Washers: A walk in the park, a ‘Green’ dream? Or…More trouble than they’re worth?
Love the new tehnology and the look of these machines? We do too, but pay attention...there are some issues to be aware of.
First, a few definitions (and some money-saving tips, too!):
Laundry Land: Our affectionate description of the ‘ever-growing-pile-of-laundry-and-didn’t-I-just-do-a-load-of-towels-the-other-day?’ room. It seems that when you’re fortunate enough to have an active loving family the laundry just never ends…ever.
2. High Efficiency Washers: By definition, a high-efficiency washing machine, known to most people as a front-loading washer, reduces water use by 40 to 60 percent and energy use by 50 to 60 percent per load, according to Energy Star and the National Geographic Green Guide.
3. High efficiency detergent differs from regular detergent because it is a highly concentrated solution that doesn't create as many suds. Using normal detergent in a high efficiency machine can result in too many bubbles. This leaves clothes soapy because all of the regular soap does not rinse out.
a. Our friends at ‘Mother Earth News’ have shared a recipe for a natural Bleach/Brightener Substitute. (Store this mixture in a labeled plastic jug and add 2 cups per load)
1 cup hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup lemon or grapefruit juice
12 cups water
b. ‘Wellness Mama’ shares two recipes for laundry detergent:
Powdered laundry soap:
Grate the bar soap or mix in food processor until finely ground. Use the soap of your choice. I personally use Dr. Bronner’s Pure Castille Bar Soap because of its exceptional quality, and because it is available in several different natural scents like lavender, tea tree, peppermint, almond and others.
In a large bowl, mix 2 parts washing soda, 2 parts Borax and 1 part grated soap. (Add a few teaspoons of baking soda if desired).
Store in closed container. I keep mine in quart or half gallon mason jars. If you are using a big enough container, you can skip step 2 and just put all ingredients in storage container or jar and shake. Use 1/8 to 1/4 cup per load of laundry.
Liquid Laundry Soap:
Grate one bar of soap with cheese grater or food processor.
Put grated soap in pan with 2 quarts water and gradually heat, stirring constantly until soap is completely dissolved.
Put 4.5 gallons of really hot tap water in a 5-gallon bucket (available for free in bakeries at grocery stores, just ask them) and stir in 1 cup of borax and 1 cup of Washing Soda until completely dissolved.
Pour soap mixture from pan into 5-gallon bucket. Stir well. Cover and leave overnight. Shake or stir until smooth and pour into gallon jugs or other containers. Use 1/2 to 1 cup per load.
Now…back to the issues at hand…Walking down the aisles of the supermarket or held captive while watching TV, you hear the subliminal suggestions of detergent manufacturers and lo and behold, the next trip to the supermarket finds you staring at the shelves comparing products.
Today, ‘all-in-one’ laundry detergents have become extremely popular. They’re easy to use, pre-measured, so you use the correct amount with each load, and messy spills are a thing of the past! What’s not to love!? You can even find anti-static additives accompanying the detergent and fabric softener in a single sheet (Purex®) or enjoy an all-color bleach and stain release added to your detergent in another favorite brand (Tide Pods®). These new innovations surely make our lives easier, don’t they?
So what could be bad? At appears that these single sheet types, when used in a front-load washing machines, appear to slip between the inner wash tub and the outer tub, clogging the lint catcher sump, and then makes their way to the pump assembly. In either case, the result is an appliance repair service call. Now, from your local appliance repair company’s perspective, that’s a great thing; however, truth be told, we’re happiest when our customers are pro-active and call upon us to check things out preventatively. Purchasing a quality washing machine and routinely performing some service checks can extend the life of your appliance. In checking the Purex®’website we stumbled across a warning posted in the FAQ section. The warning read: “Can you use Purex 3-in-1 HE Washing Machines?” The response: “Due to the design of some front-loading models, it is possible for small articles such as socks or laundry sheets to pass through the gap between the drum and seal and into the internal workings of the washer. If your front-loading washer has a visible gap, we recommend using a small mesh bag to contain the laundry sheet just as you would for similar small items. Always refer to your washing machine owner’s manual for proper operating procedures.” Our suggestion: If you are a fan of these products, be on the safe side and use a lingerie bag to hold smaller items that may find their way into the tub and create a problem.
If you are currently experiencing a problem where your washer drains slowly or not at all, give us a call or schedule service now.
Another common problem that many of our customer’s have brought to our attention is a residue on dark clothes. After numerous trials, we’ve learned that the sensors built into some of these High Efficiency machines are based on water levels. Try running your dark load in “Bulk” cycle mode. This will not only allow for more water in the process, but also runs a second rinse. Our thoughts: It seems like there are many steps and ‘hoops to jump through’ to accommodate the needs of these newer types of machines. Many detergent manufacturers have brought to the marketplace HE detergents. A machine that was manufactured to be ‘green’ by using less water and less energy, and now we find special purchases have to be made to use these machines, along with increasing the size of the load to compensate for the shortfall of the efficiency, and now, further research shows that there may be a mold problem with some of these HE machines which could become a class action suit and encompass a re-design placing additional air vents because these machines are built “tight” and therefore it becomes necessary to wipe the gasket of the door and leave the door open so the rubber material can dry adequately. It just ain’t what it’s cracked up to be…Or is it?
With all these rules, suggestions, and thoughts, we hope that we’ve given you something to think about. Need service for your washer or dryer? If you’re in our service area, Contact Us Now.