My washer is sounding like a jet engine that is about to take off and then explode into a bagillion pieces. I’ve taken to loading it and sprinting up the steps just in case it decides to spray shrapnel all over my basement. It is (was) a good washer (an Admiral that was bought with no research whatsoever); it’s been around for 15 years and survived two moves without us ever having to call a repair man. From my research it appears that the transmission is going (transmission? Washers have transmissions? Yep, I double checked it) and repair costs average $400. That’s $100 more than we paid for it, so alas, it has served our family well but I believe it is time to replace it.
My very excited husband immediately began making plans to buy a high efficiency front loading washing machine. I screamed, “Stop!” then explained to him that I’ve heard grumblings about the mildew smell if you don’t keep the gasket on the door dry. He didn’t believe me so he asked his mom, who has one of these washers, and she said, “yeppers, you have to dry the inside of the washer and leave the door open so mildew doesn’t build up.” This is washer, not a baby. I shouldn’t have to coddle it and make sure it’s all fluffy and dry every day. Plus, my washer is never empty long enough to actually dry out.
So now that I know I don’t have the washing machine mom gene I continued my search with the high efficiency top loading washers with no mold harboring gasket. Do you know that those washers don’t have an agitator? These machines have a little bump that moves up and down and mixes clothes gently so as not to offend or bruise the whites.
In order to be an informed washer shopper I signed up for a one month subscription to Consumer Reports. Consumer Reports rates washers according to their water usage, efficiency, noise, and amount of fading of clothes. I don’t care about fading I want to know if a washer will actually get my clothes clean! It seems that little tidbit no longer matters as long as it is an energy saving, water conserving, noise pollution eliminating machine.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for conservation but puleeze, I still need it to do the job it was originally intended for (that includes using more than ½ cup of water to wash a load of laundry) and from everything I could determine most of these machines like to massage clothes as opposed to washing them. The top loading high efficiency machines just sloshes the clothes around a little.
The high efficiency washers are highly rated by Consumer Reports (and the only washers that are actually recommended by them) but it takes looking at all the consumer reviews (1300 and counting) about the smells and lack of clean clothes to get the complete picture. One poster even said that it just disperses the dirt onto the other clothes.
I would also have to switch to a high efficiency detergent (not excited about that because I have 2 kids with very sensitive skin who break out in hives if I change anything I use to wash clothes) and then I would have to avoid liquid fabric softener because the animal fat doesn’t dissolve well because these machines use less water. Of course, I’ve already been warned not to use dryer sheets because the wax on them can melt and gum up the electric motor in the dryer. Okay, I’m going to have to resort to beating my clothes on rocks.
Now I’m sure there are a ton of consumers out there who love their high efficiency washer. I may be in the minority but I went ahead and bought another old-fashioned, conventional, top loading washing machine; another Admiral made right here in Ohio for half the price of the cheapest high efficiency washer (and less money than the repair estimates). I hope it’s at least another 15 years before I have to make another huge, difficult decision like this one.