On the latest…

On the latest counteroffer (which looks promising; need to discuss with Kevin once he wakes up), the sellers want to exclude their washer/dryer (because their new place doesn't have one). Any thoughts on what to look for in purchasing a washer/dryer? Are the new top-loading ones worth the initial extra expense? Brands to look for or avoid? The two-in-one combo machines look cool -- but do they actually work as well as separate washer/dryers?

Also, anything to be particularly aware of if you're going to be using them for yarn-related washing, i.e. blocking projects, etc.? (I vaguely remember some thread at Ravelry about this, but can't remember the details at all). What else should I be thinking about when looking at washers/dryers? (I don't think space would be an issue here.)

12 thoughts on “On the latest…”

  1. Can’t offer brand advice, different ones over here, but check the wash-cycle time. Mine is so bleedin’ efficient it requires a soak cycle for every wash, making it take nearly 3 hrs! But there is a massive variation in timing, so if this matters to you, check it out.

  2. If you plan to felt hand knits, you’ll need a top loader so you can stop mid-cycle and check progress. And about two-in-one units: if either one dies, you’re screwed! (Yes, bitter experience.)

  3. Barbara, the review said that some of the newer front loaders have an option of stopping partway (you have to press a button first, I think, presumably so the water can drain or some such). Would that still work for hand-felting? Not that I’m sure I’m going to want to learn that, but it’d be nice to have the option.

    Good point re: two-in-one!

  4. Ok, I have a lot of experience with side loaders, having dealt with….5 of them in England. The bottom line is that they are more efficient but they don’t clean nearly as well. They are harsher on delicate items and require harsher (usually bio-active) detergents to work really well. That’s especially unfortunate as you’re wanting to wash both handmade items and baby clothes. While you may be able to stop some of the newest sideloaders partway, you can’t stop them, take a look at the state of the washing and continue on if you want. I also think you lose the ability to wash really heavy blankets which may be too much for the rotors but which you could wash acceptably well by simple soaking. (Side loaders don’t use much water and depend on rotary action. If the item is too heavy – like a comforter- it may just give up). The most efficient sideloaders may also start with cold water and heat it up to the desired temperature. NO NO NO. THIS WRECKS COLORED CLOTHES. EVERYTHING TURNS GRAY. ESPECIALLY IN THE PRESENCE OF BIOACTIVE DETERGENT. NO NO NO. (Many bad experiences here).

    Stick with the traditional washing machine. Given the delicate nature of some of the Indian fabrics and your hand-knitting, you will be much happier.

    As far as brands go, I’ll look mine up when I get home. I have 2 washers and dryers and both are quite good. Otherwise, as you’re now houseowners, I’d pay for a subscription to Consumer Reports. The actual models they tested are never available (long story) but usually you can figure out which are equivalent models.

  5. At my condo, I’ve been using a front-loading stacked washer/dryer (two separate units, but designed to stack) without any problem for the past few years.

    But at the new place, the previous owners left their non-stacked front-loading High Efficiency washer and dryer here for the time being, and said I could use them. Unfortunately, the washer has a strong mildew smell.

    So I poked around online and found a thread with info about that brand of HE washing machines (Whirlpool Duet). And boy does it make me not want to get an HE washing machine of my own.

    That thread suggests, among other things, that gunk tends to build up in a particular semi-inaccessible part of the washing machine, and HE washing machines don’t use enough water to wash those areas out.

    It also says that liquid HE detergent generally contains animal fat, so when the detergent doesn’t get washed away thoroughly enough from parts of the machine, it’s a good breeding ground for mildew/mold. No idea whether that makes any scientific sense, but several people said that when they switched to HE powder instead of HE liquid, their mildew problems went away.

    But I also get a general sense that a lot of people with HE washing machines have resigned themselves to having to do various special things (taking stuff apart and cleaning it, running an empty load with just bleach, etc) every couple of weeks to prevent mildew.

    Anyway, so after reading that I went and looked at the washing machine here again to see if I could find parts of it to clean, and I found a tangle of a dozen or so little worms or larvae wriggling around in one part of the machine, behind the rubber gasket. Gross!

    I don’t know whether this stuff is a flaw in the HE design, a flaw in the front-loading design (but I’ve never had this problem at the condo with my non-HE front-loader), or a flaw in the design of this particular model, but at the very least I definitely don’t recommend the Duet, even though it looks fancy and cool.

  6. All I can say from recent experience is: don’t buy French. 🙂

    But check Consumer Reports. A year’s on-line subscription is only something like $30 — well worth it if you’re buying a major appliance.

  7. I have been very happy with my front loader, which was one of Consumer Reports “Best Buys”. I think it cleans better than the top loader I used to have; the clothes look brighter to me. I use less detergent than it calls for and I leave the door open between loads so that it dries out and I’ve had no problems with mildew or odors. But I don’t wash heavy comforters or craft-related items in it, so I can’t speak to those issues.

  8. We have had a series of Maytag top loaders. The current one was bought new (all others were used) and has extra large capacity. A cycle uses quite a lot of water (we use the extra rinse), but it cleans well. We also frequently use our daughter’s washer when we visit, a Sears top of the line front loader. It uses very little water.It seems to do a decent job, though the Maytag cleans a little better. Our drier is a 40 year old Kenmore electric, which we use very little. We line dry most washes outdoors.
    Our daughter’s drier is a Sears top of the line electric, a match with the washer. It works well, but we mostly line dry there, too.
    The combined machines seem to have a well deserved bad reputation. Also, you can’t wash while drying.

  9. I have access to Consumer Reports through a database subscription at my local public library. The articles are online, so I can read them from home, but this is a different format from CR’s own online website subscription. The magazine is included in a couple of common library databases, so your public library may offer it too.

    I researched the 2-in-1 models a while back and learned that it often takes a VERY long time to dry. If you plan to hang-dry most things, this may be fine. (I did not end up getting any new washer so can’t offer actual experience.) I also know someone who has felted successfully using a front loader washing machine.

  10. Kevin tells me that apparently we already subscribe to Consumer Reports. This shouldn’t surprise me. 🙂

    Have abandoned the idea of all-in-one unit.

    We do want to do the eco-friendly thing if possible, but we also don’t want to deal with a lot of mildew and other yucky issues, and definitely want a unit big enough to be able to deal with comforters and the like. Will research more.

  11. I have Bosch front loaders. I really like them, except that you do have to leave the washer door open, or it does mildew (they may have fixed that problem by now, though). The controls are nice and simple and self-explanatory. The only problem is not being able to wash comforters.

    I use less detergent than they say and am always clean…. 😀

  12. I am on my second set of front loading HE washer/dryers.I have the whirlpool duet (set) and it is great. I use Ecover HE detergent and it does not contain animal fat.But you do need to keep the rubber gasket clean. I just leave the door open a bit between uses so it can dry out. The new Duets actually have a special cycle for cleaning the gasket to avoid the problem the machine used to have.You need to clean out any washer once in a while. The bigger Duets can handle comforters.

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