Philosophy of a Washing Machine

Our trusted old washing machine died a few weeks ago.  You know the type, white top-loader that you could hear all over the house when it was spinning.  It agitated the hell out of your clothes, and they came out tangled and wrinkled, but they were clean and the process was simple.

When we visited the local home improvement store to look for a new one, and I was surprised at the latest enhancements in washing clothes, and OMG the prices.  I think most washers were more than we paid for our set.  I wasn’t interested in a new front load pair.  One, I’ve heard the stories of the doors leaking and machines having foul odors after a few washings.  Two, again with the prices!  We could do that bathroom remodel we’ve been wanting for less.  No, I just wanted a plain ol’ washing machine like we had, and hopefully one that closely matched our dryer.

We found one on sale that seemed to be as close as I would get to my seemingly out-of-date requirements — a simple washing machine.  Of course it was out of stock and we would have to wait 10 days for it to be delivered, but I was willing to wait.  Hopefully I could go 10 days without too many trips to the laundry mat, and at least I could still dry clothes at home if needed.  The delivery went as planned, the installers were on time, and they hauled the dead washer away.  The installers did a quick test of the cycles and all was good.  By this time we had several loads of clothes to wash, so I was anxious to get started.

After a quick glance through the owner’s manual I was ready.  I put in the first load of clothes, hit the start button (I guess pulling the timer button is an ancient concept now).  The machine started filling, slowly, and I mean S-L-O-W-L-Y.  I checked the hoses behind the washer, no kinks.  I checked the valves, and they were fully open.  I looked through the set up instructions to see if maybe there was something that should have been removed from the hose connections that wasn’t…nope.  So while the first load was still filling, I hit the internet searching for reviews on this model.  I found several that mentioned the washer filled slowly, and people complaining about it.  At the rate it was filling, it would take two days to do all the laundry we had accumulated.

Aggravated, I called the manufacturer customer service number.  I explained to the person that my new washer filled too slow, and she asked if we had low water pressure.  Sure lady, we’ve lived in this house six years and have very low water pressure and I just never noticed.  Thanks for helping me see the light.  Are you crazy?  I pointed out this was a problem with the washer, not my utilities.  She put me on hold to talk to a technician.  When she came back, she said the washer was designed to fill slowly because it was one of the new super efficient models.  I asked what was so efficient about a washer taking 30 minutes to fill.  She went on to explain that as the washer is filling, it’s constantly “sensing” the load to make sure it has the proper temperature and balance, and adjusted the load, tub position, and water temperature as needed.  She then tried to explain how this was saving me money.  I still don’t see it.

This started another discussion.  I told her that I was washing the clothes in cold water, so there was no need to check the temperature.  Well apparently I was wrong.  This super efficient model adjusts the water temperature for you, whether you want it to or not.  If you’re doing a cold water load, it may had some hot water to keep the load at a preset temperature range.  Same is true for a hot water load, it may add some cold water for you.  So I had to ask, what about the warm cycle?  I learned that’s now cooler than I was probably used to, because the washer will adjust the hot and cold water as it’s filling, again to a preset temperature range.  And again, this is part of the super efficient design that is saving me money.

It wasn’t until I washed the first load of towels that I realized this super efficient space-age washing machine doesn’t actually have a timer.  The knob is just settings.  It doesn’t turn with the cycle.  Now I know the reason for that start button.  We have all white towels, and I like to wash them twice.  With my old washer I would start the load washing, turn the timer back around after a while, and let it keep washing, doubling the wash time.  I can’t do that with this machine.  I’ve learned it doesn’t like to be told what to do.

I normally use dryer sheets, but occasionally I will use a liquid softener.  It’s just as well, because on this washer you have to hit the pause button on the rinse cycle, and wait until IT decides you can open the lid to put in the softener.  On my first attempt to use the liquid, I heard the rinse cycle start and decided I could wait a while since it was filling so slowly.  I walked back in a few minutes later, and it’s on the final spin cycle.  I’m like damn, how did I miss the rinse cycle?  When I started the next load, I was ready for it.  When I heard the rinse cycle start, I stood in waiting like a predator until the rinse light came on.  It started filling, and then started spinning again.  I’m thinking great…a brand new washer and the rinse cycle doesn’t work.

So I call the customer service line again.  They hate hearing my voice by now.  I explain that this brand new washer doesn’t rinse the clothes.  The lady asks what wash cycle I used and I told her the Normal cycle.  She explains that the normal cycle doesn’t have a fill and rinse cycle, it has a spray rinse, which is explained the user manual.  Well thank you for pointing that out, but what exactly is a spray rinse?  That’s when I learned that the new super efficient washing machines don’t use a typical rinse cycle, they just spray water on your clothes while they’re spinning.   I pointed out that I don’t believe that will get all the soap out of the clothes.  She tells me to use the Casual cycle then, it has a full rinse.  I asked if this full rinse cycle filled as slowly as the wash cycle, and yes it does.  Great….it should only take about an hour and a half to wash one load of clothes.  That’s efficient.

Now to prove that I have indeed opened the owner’s manual, I ask another question.  According to the manual, the Normal cycle has a high-speed final spin, but the Casual cycle only has a low-speed final spin.  Exactly how do I fully rinse my clothes, no spray rinse, and still use the high-speed spin?  I don’t want to put my towels or jeans in the dryer still soaking wet.  That’s what that Rinse & Spin cycle is for!  I can wash my clothes on the Casual cycle so they get a full rinse, and when that is finished, I choose the Rinse & Spin cycle and start again.  Two hours later, I will have clean, fully rinsed and high-speed spun clothes.  Now that’s super efficient!

All-in-all, this machine gets our clothes clean, which is what I wanted.  But I have to wash them on the machine’s terms and conditions.  It doesn’t like to be told what to do.  I don’t like a washing machine that thinks for me.  It’s a sad day when manufacturers think people are so stupid they can’t wash a load of laundry.  Or maybe I’m just getting old and set in my ways.


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