All I want is clean laundry!

ReginasunraeJune 11, 2011

Man, I don't even know where to start so I'll just say I know this is going to turn into a wall o' text because there's just no way to be brief.

About five years ago I bought a Maytag washer to replace my dying Kenmore I'd had for twenty years. This was just a normal top-load water-hogging washing machine, and in its way-too-short life it washed on average 1.5 batches a day and did an excellent job. Sadly, it had a design flaw and a little over a year ago it stopped draining. I called around to repairmen and they explained that it would cost almost $200 to fix it and then more than likely it would do the same thing within a couple of years.

That started me on a search for a new washing machine. I researched but I didn't have a lot of time. The laundry had already been stacking up because we'd only been washing essentials since the old washer was having trouble spinning. I ended up buying what I have dubbed the Crapio, a Cabrio WTW5500X, top-loading piece of junk. Of course none of the reviews I read had anything bad to say about it and I loved the fact that it would use so much less water because there just isn't a lot of ground water where we live and our well pumps slowly at its best.

Now I've had that machine just short of a year and although it wasn't noticeable at first with much of the laundry, over that year towels and such have gotten downright grungy. My husband's socks aren't white any more. My formerly off-white bath bath towels and dish rags are now off-white with gray and brown splotches. My pants and bedsheets are pilling (they never did this before) and the sheets are now gray. My husband's work clothes have to be washed three times on the bulky setting before they start to resemble anything that looks clean and then they still smell like diesel. I followed the manual's instructions on how to use this machine. I use HE detergent plus supplements to help with odors and grease. I've experimented with different settings. I have called Whirlpool to see if I'm doing something wrong, and even the dealer. They all told me I'm doing everything right and no one can understand why my laundry isn't coming clean.

Then a couple of weeks ago my little Crapio quit completing the wash cycle, just stopping and unlocking between the rinse and drain/spin. The repairman was out yesterday and after running tests for about an hour, all he could tell me is that it's throwing an error code but his equipment can't pinpoint it so he's going to have to order in a bunch of parts and start replacing one by one until he finds out which part it is that's gone bad. I asked the repairman about the condition of clothes coming out of the washer and his answer was no, your clothes are never going to come clean in this thing; you need a washer that uses water. Thank goodness it's still under warranty, but there's no way I can continue with this washer!

So last night I started reading this forum then came back this morning. By now my brain is completely broken and I know no more than I did when I started so I decided to post in hopes that someone can give me some input.

Here's the situation:

We live in the country where there is dirt. My husband is a mechanic at a dairy and at the end of the day his clothes look like he's been rolling in dirt and oil, which he has. I have a thirteen-year-old son who spends as much time as he can getting dirty.

A front loader is not a good option for me. I have health problems that make just getting the laundry out of the dryer a challenge on my good days.

Also, what is all of this pre-treating laundry business? I am fifty-one years old, was raised in a laundromat where I learned to properly sort clothes and respect the machines by not over-loading the clothes and using the proper amount of detergent. I've never had to pre-treat anything except the worst grease stains on polyester-blend clothing or blood stains on cotton.

Right now I also don't have much money to spend. The Crapio cost over $600 which seriously hit our savings account, and during the past months we've had a bunch of unexpected expenses so by now our savings is nearly exhausted. Borrowing money is not an option because interest means paying at least twice for anything bought on credit. I have no problem with buying a used machine if I can find a good one. It seems these days good ones are few and far between, though, unless you're willing to pay an arm and a leg and I'm fresh out of "legs". I'm also ready to go back to a water-hog if it means having clean clothes again.

So please, any help would be appreciated!

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P.S. Because in all of that I forgot to mention I've been using the same extremely SOFT water for over a quarter of a century.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 3:57PM
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I bought an excellent, "water hog" washer on Craig's List for my mother-in-law's basement apartment. $200 for both the washer and dryer (gas dryer), and they look brand new. They've been working well for two years. I have a front-loading Duet, which I'm very happy with--now that I understand what cycles use the most water AND I always use "second rinse." I use Charlie's Soap, which works well and rinses very clean. Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 4:23PM
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I would suggest in your situation to get something like this. It's a WP TL water hog

Here is a link that might be useful: Roper TL washer

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 7:49PM
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Don't know about you folks but my water bill is still the least of my obligations at two locations.

I know....gotta heat it...don't want to start any wars.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 8:51PM
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I spent a considerable amount of time today reading and looking on CraigsList. Mainly the listings are spam from various used appliance stores with a few private party ads, very few of which had any specs on the washers (as in what size is the tub, which model is it, etc.). Long story but I'm currently in possession of an older Maytag (which happens to be an excellent old water hog) that belongs to my sister so hubby installed that this evening so we can at least get some laundry done while we're in limbo on the situation.

I've had way too many irons in the fire for about the last year and this laundry situation is just extra stress I've been trying to deal with on top of it. I am by no means the cleanest freak around, in fact my house is quite the mess at the moment but dishes and laundry are something that have to be CLEAN.

One thing that is just blowing my mind is when I read over and over the extremes people are going to to get clean clothes with some of these high-efficiency machines. One person wrote about how difficult it is to get cloth diapers clean and said they have to add an extra couple of gallons of water to the wash. Another one said their work-out clothes smelled bad and someone suggested buying a special detergent just for work-out clothes. Why are people so willing to accept jumping through so many hoops to get clean clothes?

Stain treating products came out just about the time I was in my early adulthood but I haven't bought them in over twenty years because they turned out to be a waste of money. A little grease-cutting dish soap and a toothbrush are all that I've ever needed to get out bad grease stains, and minor grease stains have always come right out. Sometimes I throw in a handful of baking soda if clothes are especially smelly. Hubby's work clothes have always been problematic, but Dawn or Palmolive oxy dish soap added to the wash takes out the fuel smells with no problems.

I'm thinking I'll get the Crapio fixed then call the place where I bought it. It's a family-owned business that's weathered every storm sent its way over the years and they're really nice people. Maybe they'd be willing to take this one in trade on a decent older machine.

For me, it's not so much the cost of the water as the supply. We're on our own well and live in a desert. The good water table is 500 feet down. Water usage for one thing cuts into something else. I've always been, as my mother put it, just an old hippie. I was "green" before "green" was cool. We don't even have a grass yard because of the detriment it would be to the environment. This, of course, leaves line drying right out because if it's windy enough to soften the clothes, the clothes are also getting a dirt bath.

I just took a look at the batch of whites that I put through my sister's machine. Geez, I opened the lid and they screamed at me, "LOOK AT US, WE'RE CLEAN!!" They LOOK clean, they SMELL clean! I haven't seen any of my laundry that clean since the Crapio moved in.

I suppose one of my earlier questions is, is there an HE machine that for future reference does clean as well as the good old-fashioned water hogs?

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 12:57AM
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I do not blame you one bit for being upset.. I would be too. I think if I were you I would check Craig's list or my local newpaper adds and watch for a good deal on a used set. You could also check with local used dealers. I know someone that owns one close to me and he was telling me about a great, brand new looking and working Kenmore set that someone sold him because they just "wanted" a front loader...It sounds like with your husbands line of work, you need more water.. good luck and be sure to update us with what you come up with...

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 1:02AM
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If you go the front loader route, I'd say make sure you get one with a heater. Probably what is happening is the water is getting colder by the time it gets to your machine.

Have you been using detergent with enzymes? That may help get some of the gunk out. I think with the new HE machines you need some sort of enzyme in your detergent to help. More because of the increased load of clothes than anything.

We've had 2 FL's, both LG's although one says Kenmore on the front. Both with heaters. We use Sears, Costco, or sometimes a "name brand" detergent. Put in dirty clothes, out come clean clothes. No real complaints. They use a small amount of water and do the job. Workout clothes don't stink. Whites done on sanitary or whitest whites are white. Even nasty kitchen washcloths come out smelling good.

Good luck on your quest - the new FL machines are quite good and should get your clothes clean with a minimal of fuss.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 8:03AM
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I just bought a new washer last Tuesday and I'm sending it back tomorrow. It's a GE top load model GTWN4250MWS and whatever you do, don't but one. I specifically bought it because it offered water levels from small to super, had an agitator, and extra rinse, but it turns out you can't get enough water to cover two sheets and two pillow cases. I called GE customer service and was told that Government regulations don't allow more than 14" of water in energy star machines, which is about 1/3 of the way up the tub. So I went from 5 loads of laundry to 12 loads. When the machine rinses, it doesn't fill up with water but has a "rain shower system" which means it doesn't rinse at all. I'd be interested in how the fabric softener works if it never touches the laundry. I tested it with one load by letting it go through the entire cycle using the smallest amount of HE detergent and then filled the machine again and ran it through the wash cycle and watched as a soapy scum remained in the water. If you want clean clothes, don't buy an energy star machine. All it does is save water, not electricity, so it doesn't even save energy.

    Bookmark   June 12, 2011 at 9:10PM
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Minigramma, that is just insane! I know the regulations are making it hard on the appliance companies, but the government has no business sticking its nose into how people get their laundry done. Maybe a bunch of people should put on their "clean" clothes and converge on Congress. I only have a high school education, did very badly in science, never took a chemistry class because it scared the crud out of me, but even I know the process of saponification and how it requires actual water to work. As many times as I put some of our laundry through the Crapio, it didn't save any water or energy. One day I was headed to the shower and realized my pants were in a stack on the living room floor, having not been put away after they were washed. I went back and grabbed a pair and saw there was dirt on them, probably someone had walked by and accidentally bumped their foot against them. I tossed them back into the hamper. The next day they were put through a wash cycle and the same dirt was still on them.

@itguy08, that's good to know, I'll be making a note of that! Does the sanitize setting take any longer to run than a normal wash? I remember reading yesterday where someone said their washer gets stuff super clean (they're a zookeeper so you can imagine the mess) on sanitize but it takes nearly two hours to run. After the looks of my dish rags I was beginning to think people using these machines must be using paper towels for their kitchen cleaning. Mine look much better now after having gone through just ONE regular wash in that old Maytag, but they still don't look great. It seems like we are just dirty people but I think the reality is that there are multiple people in this house pretty close to 24/7. My husband is in and out all day, comes home for this, comes home for that. All he has to do is touch stuff and it turns black.

I should be remembering to say thank you all, because I really appreciate the input.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 2:04AM
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Yes, the sanitize function does take about 2 hours or so to complete. We don't run much on sanitize unless someone is sick. About the only things I sanitize are the kitchen towels and bed sheets. Our machine has a whitest whites cycle so I use that for the underwear and such. We usually run the sanitize either as the last load or let it run overnight.

The nice thing about the bigger front loaders is while they take longer you can pack about 2x the clothes in there and still have them come clean.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 8:09AM
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Reginasunrae, one thing to keep in mind (and I think a lot of people forget that when complaining about the new FL machines) is that you cannot realistically expect clean laundry AND very short cycles at the same time. I think the machine and the detergent need time to work! My machine has a Quick Wash cycle which is about 35 or 40 minutes TOTAL. You put stuff in, use that cycle and take your stuff out pretty much the same as it went in, except that now it's wet!

I like to use a 3rd rinse on all my cycles - that means that the rinse/spin portion of my cycles alone is 50 minutes. I think that to get your clothes reasonably clean, you need at a minimum 20-30 minutes of tumbling for the wash portion (longer if your internal heater needs to kick in to heat water to hot or extra hot). So I plan for a good effective Warm temp cycle in my machine to take at least 1 hour 10 to 1 hour 30 minutes. If I wash on hot or sanitary, the cycle times are in 1:50 to 2:15 range. If you don't need a 3rd rinse, that will reduce the cycle times by 10 minutes.
I've had great results with my LG front loader, clothes come out clean, no funky smells, no pretreating necessary except for the very worst stains, but I don't expect to get 5 loads of laundry done in 4 hours. My machine also has a Water Plus option which uses additional water throughout the cycle. I use it for towels and other large loads and I think it works well.

So don't write off HE machines - if used properly, they work great. But they work differently from the old type TL machines and if you do not learn how to use them properly, you will not have good washing results.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 11:12AM
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Reginasunrae writes: "I know the regulations are making it hard on the appliance companies, but the government has no business sticking its nose into how people get their laundry done. Maybe a bunch of people should put on their 'clean' clothes and converge on Congress."

Before you allow yourself to get too upset by third-hand irumor that a poster on a public forum writes that a person on the telephone at GE Customer Service told her about government regulations, maybe it would be a good idea to read the regulations themselves.

The regulations do not tell anyone about how to get his or her laundry done. The regulations simply establish a standardized test procedure for determining how much water and energy a specific washing machine uses to wash a standard load (part of the regulation defines a standard load). Other government programs provide monetary incentives for manufacturers and purchasers of washing machines that the tests show to have lower water and energy usage.

The regulations are Appendix J1 to subpart B of part 430 of chapter 10 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR), and you may read them on line at the link below.

Here is a link that might be useful: Code of Federal Regulations, chapter 10, part 430, Subpart B, Appendix J1

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 3:55PM
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Another thought, Regina. Would getting a front loader with a pedestal help you with loading and unloading issues? Do you also have an issue with the dryer? Maybe pedestals could help with both?

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 7:12PM
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Herring_Maven, thanks for that information! If the government sets regulations, though, as to how the machines can be built, they are in essence setting the rules about how people have to do their laundry. If it's no more than a standardized test procedure that's one thing. If they are establishing a base line of how much water a machine is allowed to use per cycle, that's another, but like you say that may only be rumor. Seriously, I don't let myself get too upset about stuff like that. Thanks so much for the link, is now bookmarked and will read when my brain isn't so fuzzy. :D

///So don't write off HE machines - if used properly, they work great. But they work differently from the old type TL machines and if you do not learn how to use them properly, you will not have good washing results.///

That's what I've been told but every time I explained to anyone who I was using the Cabrio everyone said the same thing: "Yep, you're doin' it right." I don't have a problem with different, just a problem with spending hours on the washing of a single batch of laundry then end up with it not even clean.

One thing I do know, though, is that the more efficient machines become, the longer they are taking to do their jobs and to my mind that becomes extremely inefficient. For example, twenty years ago, one day a week was my kitchen cleaning day. I got up in the morning and emptied and reloaded the dishwasher. While that load ran, which took roughly an hour, I wiped down the counters, canisters, etc., and collected anything extra that needed to be run through the dishwasher. At the end of the hour, the dishwasher was ready to be emptied, so I did then filled it with the remaining stuff and set it to wash again if necessary. Last year I had to replace a dishwasher that just didn't clean (as in everything had to be pre-washed before it could even go in). (And of course this was yet another drain on the savings account.) As much as I love this new dishwasher because there really isn't much it doesn't get clean, it takes two hours. Now instead of being able to get in and get the kitchen cleaned up I'm wasting what seems like half my day waiting on it to finish its cycle.

It would be the same thing if I was waiting for hours for a batch of laundry. There are five people in our house and we economize on clothing, which means already we don't necessarily put something in the laundry after only one use. For example, everyone has their own bath towel and is expected to use it at least twice before it hits the hamper. Even so, with a large capacity washer, we average over one batch a day. Optimally speaking, one day a week is laundry day. If that's eight batches, that should be eight hours worth of laundry, not twelve or sixteen. I know other families with fewer people than our family who have twice the laundry we do. Imagine spending thirty hours a week doing laundry for a family of four. This is the kind of time-frame people are looking at having to use all those extra rinses and extended wash times.

The energy and water usage of these machines is based on a single wash/rinse cycle, isn't it? Bear with me, as I said earlier my brain is really fuzzy today, but a traditional washer uses roughly 45 gallons of water per batch of laundry, I think. The HE machines use roughly 15 gallons. On the surface, that seems like much water saved but having to run the clothes through several wash/rinse cycles eats up those savings before long, plus wastes absolutely hours of time having to wait that long on a batch to complete.

Also, the most efficient way to use a clothes dryer is to never let it cool down between loads. This means constantly keeping the washer and dryer in sync. One thing I love about the HE is the ability to really wrong out clothes, which meant for me a 40-minute drying time compared to the original 45-50. A washer isn't making the best use of energy if it can't keep up with the dryer. If the dryer gets cold between cycles, it uses quite a bit more power just to heat back up.

Sometimes we haven't had time to get all the laundry done when it should be done and once in a while at 9 p.m. all of a sudden someone realizes they need something for the next day. If that batch is going to take three hours to finish, it's midnight before it can even go into the dryer. If it's something that can't sit overnight in the dryer, that's one in the morning. In a perfect world this kind of thing wouldn't happen but there's no such thing.

My life is pretty simple compared to many people. I don't leave home to work. There's almost always multiple people here. We prepare and eat three meals a day right in our own home. That kind of thing makes plenty of dirty dishes. When I run errands I drive the speed limit because even having to drive twenty-five miles to town, driving faster might shave off a few seconds but isn't worth the stress of constantly feeling rushed. One thing is for certain, which is I certainly don't want to spend upwards of sixteen hours a week molly-coddling a washing machine through second and third rinses just trying to get the laundry done.

I think for now I'll probably stick with a good old-fashioned water hog hoping it will either last me the rest of my life or that by the time it needs replaced there will be improvements in the designs.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 8:04PM
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I think you may be thinking about it wrong. With our old Top Loader you loaded fewer things into it and it took less time to wash. With the new FL's we've had you cram more things into them as you can fill the drum all the way up. I can do about 8-10 pairs of jeans in ours and they all come out clean. Not sure about your Cabrios but I think they still had to be loaded like a top loader.

You can also set it to run at night and have the clothes done in the morning. What I've done when I realize I'm out of underwear is set it up right before I go to bed to be finished by the time I get up. When I get up, I go down and put the stuff in the dryer. With the super high spin speed and gas dryer, by the time I have my breakfast, coffee and shower I have dry underwear. Same with jeans although I do sometimes have to wait.

I'll run the washer at night but not the dryer (almost burnt the house down with our previous electric unit). So that alone makes long cycle times not a big deal.

I'd buy one from Sears or another store with a good return policy. Try it out and see what you think; it may work for you. I know for us it's as simple as:
put laundry in
put detergent in
select soil level or stain cycle
adjust spin speed if needed
hit start
come back 1-1.5 hours later and put in the dryer.

Clothes come out clean and smelling good.

    Bookmark   June 13, 2011 at 10:27PM
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Regina, it sounds like a standard TL machine may be what will work best for you given your requirements and expectations. To me, using an HE machine with long washing cycles is not a big deal but I was brought up in Europe where all washers work like that. When my mom visits she's appalled by how short some of the cycles are on my machine ;-) Every time I have to explain to her that my machine draws hot or warm water so the washer does not need to heat up the water for most of the cycles.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 6:45AM
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@izeve - When we had a foreign exchange student from Sweden living with us in '98-'99, he was amazed that our TL would wash the clothes in 45 minutes, and were washed and dried in less than 1 1/2 hours. When we visited him and his family, and had to do laundry, it took three hours for wash & dry. That's when I realized why he was amazed.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 8:36AM
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My mother used to "walk 15 miles to school in 12 feet of snow" too. :)

Times change. Technology changes. Some people don't like it.

I suggest people do A LOT of research before they lay down significant funds on something new.

I've had a front load machine for about 10 years now. I had a very basic Frigidaire pair for 10 years and just this year bought a new Miele set in February (W4842/T9822). I can tell you the Miele is superior to the Frigidaire but the Frigidaire still did its job well.

I used an older top loader at the cottage last year - I could never go back to that technology.

It is a fact that front loaders clean better and definitely rinse better than old top load designs. I'm not a fan of the top load HE machines. Europe has been using front load machines for ever (manufacturers developed these HE top load for North Americans who can't wrap their head around front load - my opinion).

We are a family of 4 and I have no issues with using my machines. When cycles are very long (ie. extra white, extended, sensitive which can take 2 hours), I sometimes set it to start washing in the early morning hours so when I wake up it's ready to dry. Doesn't get easier than that and my whites are blindingly white.

My mom recently got new LG front loaders after her 60 some years using top loaders. I instructed her on how front loading is different and all the changes she would have to make to how she was used to doing laundry. She complied with those changes and she loves her new machines. Sometimes you can teach "an old dog new tricks" (sorry mom).

If you're not willing to make changes, then stick with what you know.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 10:22AM
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OP, I haven't read all the posts yet. The main thing which has occurred to me is this: AFAIK, there is not a Cabrio model which has an internal water heater -- which means you are not getting true hot water with it. Even if you set it for a hot water wash, the machine will mix hot and cold water and you'll only get warm water, at best. BUT, the dirty/greasy clothes you are washing most likely need true HOT water to come clean.

Your Cabrio washer also may be a real lemon. Whether or not this is true, you need a washer which will give you true hot water if you want your dirty/greasy laundry to come clean.

I wonder if the spots you mentioned are dirt and/or grease which are being re-deposited on other loads of laundry? I'm no repairman; that's the only thing that comes to mind.

I saw that a pp recommended a Roper washer and posted a link. I clicked on that link and there are a number of bad reviews there.

I was recently out of town and had to use a Roper washer in a rental. It was "okay", not great. It had no dispensers for bleach or fabric softener, though that was not a huge issue; just thought I'd let you know. The real problems were lack of cycles I'm used to (I have a Maytaq Bravos, which does have an internal water heater, and I *love* it), and it was also VERY loud. Also, I noticed that some laundry which had odor still had odor after being washed. The odor was lessened, but was still there. So I could not in good conscience recommend a Roper washer.

If you could get your Maytag washer fixed at a decent price, I think I would do that first. Then, if it gives you further problems, only then would I replace it. JMHO

Good luck to you!

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 5:31PM
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herring_maven, there are hard limits on energy usage and (since the 1st of this year) water usage, that all US clothes washers have to meet. The limits aren't consequential for front-loaders because of their inherent efficiency. But I believe that the limits do affect conventional deep-fill agitator top-loaders. They're probably why even a non-Energy Star machine like the top-loader Speed Queen, as delivered, doesn't fill the tub completely when set to the highest water level. Complaints about the Speed Queen were showing up in the forums even before this year, when there was no limit on water usage. But lowering the water level improves the Modified Energy Factor, which includes energy used to heat the wash water.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 5:55PM
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suburbanmd writes: "herring_maven, there are hard limits on energy usage and (since the 1st of this year) water usage, that all US clothes washers have to meet. The limits aren't consequential for front-loaders because of their inherent efficiency. But I believe that the limits do affect conventional deep-fill agitator top-loaders."

I presume that you refer to 42 USC section 6295(g)(9), which does not limit usage by consumers, or even sales of new and used 2010 or older washers, but does apply to manufacturers of clothes washers that are newly made after December 31 of last year:

"(9) Residential clothes washers manufactured on or after january [sic] 1, 2011. --
(A) In general. -- A top-loading or front-loading
standard-size residential clothes washer
manufactured on or after January 1, 2011,
shall have --
(i) a Modified Energy Factor of at least 1.26; and
(ii) a water factor of not more than 9.5."

While the numbers in the statute are "hard" in terms of absolute, they are not "hard" in terms of difficulty to meet them. I doubt that production of any clothes washer that was being sold in America in the past couple of decades had to be shut down specifically because of that statute. In fact, you probably would find a fairly high rate of compliance among clothes washer contemporaries of a "step-down" Hudson automobile, that is to say, about the time that the first top loading automatic clothes washers were introduced to compete with the conventional automatic front-loading Bendix machines which had been the standard among clothes washers up to that time. It is difficult to believe that even a top-loading Speed Queen could fail to comply with them. (Standards with teeth are expected for clothes washers manufactured after 2018 or 2019, if deadlines do not slip.)

The Department of Energy has not issued any regulations under 42 USC section 6295 other than the test procedures for determining MEF that are covered in part 430, subpart B, Appendix J1, referenced in the earlier posting.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 7:25PM
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Here's my thinking... The water factor is described in

as "the number of gallons per cycle per cubic foot that the clothes washer uses". 1 cubic foot = 7.48 gallons. Very simplistically, if a cycle consists of a wash and a rinse, both of which fill the drum, then you've got a water factor of 7.48 x 2 = 14.96.

Modified Energy Factor is more complicated. I don't even understand the units, since the CFR says it's "expressed in cubic feet per kilowatt-hour per cycle (or liters per kilowatt-hour per cycle)". It has to be one or the other.

    Bookmark   June 14, 2011 at 8:53PM
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Here's a thought on washing machine fill levels. My old Kenmore, if on super-sized load (which I used pretty much all the time because I wash large batches) would fill slightly below the top of the tub. My sister's Maytag appears to fill much higher. I'm washing the same sized batches in her machine as I did my old Kenmore. I think it's just a design thing. Her Maytag also stands a couple of inches higher than my old machines did, and the bottom of the tub isn't nearly as far to reach. At first I thought her tub was smaller until I realized the height and water level differences.

Yesterday the repairman came out to fix the Cabrio. His advice? Go buy to one of the two dealers in our area that still carries them and buy a Speed Queen. While I trust his advice better than a sales person's I'll do more research first.

I'm not against change. After all, I've used a computer for years now and play video games. I even have a cell phone that I keep just for using in town in case of emergencies. Of course no one but immediately family has the number because otherwise people call me when I'm driving; if they want to talk to me they can call me at home. I'm also rather fond of learning new things. I am, however, very resistant to changing to a laundry process that so far for me hasn't been much more efficient than washing my clothes in a stream.

///OP, I haven't read all the posts yet. The main thing which has occurred to me is this: AFAIK, there is not a Cabrio model which has an internal water heater -- which means you are not getting true hot water with it. Even if you set it for a hot water wash, the machine will mix hot and cold water and you'll only get warm water, at best. BUT, the dirty/greasy clothes you are washing most likely need true HOT water to come clean.///

Good point, although I've always washed hubby's dirty work clothes in warm. Our well water hits the surface at 68F, so cold water doesn't cool down the hot nearly as much as typically cold water does.

///I saw that a pp recommended a Roper washer and posted a link. I clicked on that link and there are a number of bad reviews there.///

Since it was a Roper recommended and that the link looked suspicious to me so I didn't click it. LOL

///I wonder if the spots you mentioned are dirt and/or grease which are being re-deposited on other loads of laundry? I'm no repairman; that's the only thing that comes to mind.///

It doesn't seem so. We run the washer through cleaning regularly and what's left appears to have been stuff already there. Take the dish rags, for example. Kitchen clean-up is dirty, no two ways about that. The rags end up with tea stains, grease, etc. so by the time it goes to the dirty clothes they look just awful. One trip through the Cabrio makes them look slightly less brown. One trip through the Maytag puts them back to a few shades darker than their original color, and this is after almost a year's worth of built-up stains from having gone through the Crapio. One time I tried some darker colored dish rags but the dye was cruddy and within a few washings most of it had bleached out to a light color anyway. I've just stuck with light-colored rags since then.

///My mom recently got new LG front loaders after her 60 some years using top loaders. I instructed her on how front loading is different and all the changes she would have to make to how she was used to doing laundry. She complied with those changes and she loves her new machines. Sometimes you can teach "an old dog new tricks" (sorry mom).

If you're not willing to make changes, then stick with what you know.///

All of us make changes throughout our lives. Some are good, some not so good. If I had not been willing to make changes, I never would have tried an HE to begin with.

///I think you may be thinking about it wrong. With our old Top Loader you loaded fewer things into it and it took less time to wash. With the new FL's we've had you cram more things into them as you can fill the drum all the way up. I can do about 8-10 pairs of jeans in ours and they all come out clean. Not sure about your Cabrios but I think they still had to be loaded like a top loader.///

Interesting thoughts. I've been washing that many jeans or equivalent in a top-loader all my life. A typical batch of hubby's work clothes is four pairs of jeans, five or six t-shirts, and at least two bulky sweaters. For the jeans, though, are they stinkin' filthy when they go in? I mean has whoever's been wearing them been rolling around in dirt and fuel all day long in them? Granted, not every pair of jeans hubby throws in the laundry are that dirty but they commonly are. And his obsession with sweaters is just ridiculous. He won't wear long underwear in the winter because he finds them uncomfortable. Instead, he wears a sweater under a lab coat.

It's been helpful reading everyone's responses so far, even the ones I may not agree with. :D

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 5:57PM
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Reginasunrae, I have had two sets of front loaders since 1997. I haven't been thrilled with either. My previous one was Maytag and I currently own the Whrlpool Duets. They are "O.K". Great for doing large blankets....leave a great deal to be desired otherwise, as far as I'm concerned. Then again, I'm old enough to have used a great number of washing machines in my day.

I recently visited my daughter who had a set of old Maytag "waterhogs". I couldn't believe how wonderfully fresh and clean my laundry was. the first time through. Used less water overall because I wasn't "presoaking", "prewashing", double washing and/or double rinsing.

Takes all day to do one load of very dirty clothes and actually get them clean in a front loader. But I live and play hard, outdoors.

I keep my Duets limping along while I look around and consider an inexpensive top load set. Yes, the non glamerous ones...not the new He top loaders. Something I can choose my own water level on. I don't care if it has an on board heater, and I don't give a hoot for looks or bells and whistles either. If I want to deal with programming I have a GPS.

We are switching to high quality on demand hot water tanks, so I expect that will suffice for my needs. If I need extra sanitizing...well, I live in the Sunshine State and mother nature can take care of that on a clothesline. That said, I'll keep my front loader going as long as I can get parts, for washing my quilts.

I see a lot of marketing hype out there and I'm done with it.


    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 6:10PM
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Reginasunrae -
I had the same experience as Sandy. Did a load of laundry in my sister's old waterhog Maytag and was amazed! Clothes looked cleaner than they had in 4 years and after only one wash. Came home and sold the HE top loader and bought an old fashioned Speed Queen top loader. It won't handle king size quilts or large area rugs, but will easily wash 8 pairs of jeans quickly and thoroughly. We have had no problems with it in the year that we have owned it.

I would not ever consider an HE top loader again, although, to be fair, ours did not have a heater. We had two different brands - the Kenmore had many, many service calls. The Maytag Bravos ran well, but the clothes weren't clean.

    Bookmark   June 17, 2011 at 6:32PM
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Reginasunrae, I haven't read all the responses but agree with you on FL not getting clothes as clean as the old water hogs. I've had FLs for about 8 years now and if I had it to do over again I don't think I'd buy them. Some things they have gotten cleaner than the water hog, like the body oil line on a bedspread, BUT food stains on tops and things like that are another story. I've never pretreated spots on tops like I have since I got this washer. I called the company for help and was told 'We don't guarantee that our washers will clean your clothes.' I about fell out of my chair that day.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 10:05AM
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///'We don't guarantee that our washers will clean your clothes.'///

Oh my word! Whirlpool's attitude has been similar. So I'm thinking these new machines are just for looks and so we can go through the motions of washing clothes and feel good about "helping the environment"? Yeah.

I think part of the green movement is to get people to spend more money, and in some cases it's money we can ill afford. The size of the box of laundry detergent I buy is almost $20 (although if Foca works well and doesn't give anyone here rashes I'll switch to it because it's much more economical). A large jug of Clorox bleach is about $3 here (and Clorox is the only brand that has consistently done what bleach is supposed to do--you should've seen my hubby's socks after coming out of her wash with store-brand bleach, just as bad as coming out of the HE washer). Dryer sheets and fabric softener add even more. (I only use fabric softener in whites and clothes that get a lot of static because it costs much less to use dryer sheets. Funny thing about that is that one time I was running low on dryer sheets so used fabric softener in my sheets. I crawled into bed that night and about died from the fumes! There's only one liquid softener that someone in our family isn't allergic to and that's Suavitel and the only store around here that carries it is WalMart. Downy gives me hives. Snuggle gives my daughter hives.) And how much more does it cost if a person has to pre-treat or pre-soak everything? I use a little Dawn dish soap for when I need to pre-treat. It doesn't take much and works better and is more economical than anything I'd used in the past.

Like I've said before I'm extremely environmentally conscious. I see people today talking about "phosphate-free" as if this is something new. I've been using phosphate-free detergents for over twenty years! I buy in bulk which cuts down on packaging waste (definitely no single serving containers of anything come into this house). If we have to use bottled water we buy a gallon and fill reusable water bottles. Over sixty percent of our trash goes to the recycler. I reuse everything that's reusable, like bread bags for storing smaller amounts of food in the freezer and glass or plastic containers that would otherwise be pitched in the trash instead of buying canisters for every little thing. I don't drive a gas guzzler and drive as little as possible. We use fluorescent bulbs in most of our lights, even if it means the lights can't have covers over them. We don't even have a lawn because of the amount of water and chemicals it would take to keep it alive. We garden organically and most of the stuff I've used in my garden has been made from someone else's waste, like raised-bed frames built out of 4x4s off of discarded palettes and tomato frames built from wood someone was throwing away.

///But I live and play hard, outdoors.///
We resemble that remark. There's always something going on around here where people get dirty.

///bought an old fashioned Speed Queen top loader. It won't handle king size quilts///

That's something I will have to keep in mind. My old washer could handle my king-size comforter with no problem. I have one that's old and pretty thin but another that's reasonably thick. There's another that's thicker but it's smaller. When I replace the old ones, though, I'm getting smaller ones because hubby and I finally realized that it works best if we have our own blankets. He used to sleep hot and I slept cold but now that's reversed so having the same blankets for both of us still just doesn't work.

I got the impression from a few of the posts that taking hours to do a single batch of laundry should be acceptable because this is the way it has been done in other countries for a long while. We United Stateseans are by no means superior to people in the rest of the world. Sometimes their inventions are better, sometimes ours are better. However, that reminded me of the Romans all those years ago. The Romans adored the Greeks and loved everything they did. They even went so far as to emulate many of the things the Greeks did INCLUDING going to their writing style by removing spaces between words. Just because someone is superior in some ways doesn't mean they're superior in every way.

The following is from

performing or functioning in the best possible manner with the least waste of time and effort; having and using requisite knowledge, skill, and industry; competent; capable: a reliable, efficient secretary.
satisfactory and economical to use: Our new air conditioner is more efficient than our old one.
producing an effect, as a cause; causative.

Does anyone besides me think this definition doesn't exactly fit the HE washers?

We humans NEED to protect the environment but we need to be doing that with products that are environmentally friendly AND clean efficiently. People need to be willing to stand up for themselves and not just be rolled over by something like this. For quite a while I made excuses about why my HE washer wasn't cleaning our clothes right. I was doing something wrong, I forgot to put it through a cleaning cycle, the water filter was plugged (cleaning it made no difference), etc., etc. Don't accept having to pre-soak, pre-wash, pre-treat, extra rinse, etc. for hours just because this is the way these machines are being designed now. Consumers are the most powerful group of people in this country. Use that to your advantage.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 6:12PM
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Regina, as much as I agree with you on recycling, reusing, etc. I have to disagree with you on laundry ;-) In my house, the recycling bin is overflowing every week and we have maybe one or two bags of garbage in the huge garbage container provided by the town. But I love my front loading LG washer and think it does a much better job than a top loader I owned years ago. And I think my 2 hour hot washes are also more environmentally friendly than a hot wash in TL washer.

My washer - 15 gal of water per cycle(including an extra rinse which I use because both my daughter and I have eczema and allergies)

Water hog - 45 gals per cycle

My washer - will heat up the 4-5 gallons of water for the wash portion of the cycle

Water hog - will heat up 50-60 gal water tank

My clothes come out very clean, with no funky smells, stains or residue. My whites are bright, my kitchen towels clean (we don't eat out, I cook and rarely use paper towels), my bed sheets and bath towels clean, fresh and soft.

The only advantage the water hog has is TIME. It's almost 7 pm here and my last wash of the day is almost finished. I started at 8 am and this is the 7th load of the day (towels and bedsheets on extra hot)
So yes, it will be 12 hours of laundry today, but I don't stand around and wait for it, I clean the house and do other chores, run errands, cook dinner, garden, read, knit, etc, while the laundry is going.

It's just a matter of adjusting your attitude and schedule a bit....

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 6:58PM
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A couple of additional thoughts:

I checked out the model number of your Cabrio and I would never buy that washer. First of all, I don't trust top load HE machines to clean anything, second, it has ATC hot, warm, etc, which will never give you a true hot or warm wash and combined with low water levels and poor turnover will give poor wash results. I think front loaders are superior to top load HE washers, they really can achieve great results with very little water. But I think for them to work well, they really need an internal heater. My LG front load washer is a simple machine, no fancy features, it just has a heater. I got it for $500 and am extremely pleased with it. My laundry is finally clean and fresh, as it should be. Yes, it takes longer than a water hog TL but I would bet anything that my clothes are cleaner than yours and doing my laundry uses less water and energy than yours.

    Bookmark   June 18, 2011 at 7:15PM
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FWIW...reposting these segments of my responses on another thread.....

I have FL six years at one location. Old TL for almost twenty years at another location. Due to my care-giving duties, I use the machines at both locations depending upon convenience at the moment. Excellent results with both machines.

FL machine is Duet 9400. Nominal 3.8cf capacity -- which is about 18lbs. I have soft water. For a full load of "normally" soiled whites I use 1/4 cup of Tide HE powder and about 1 tablespoon of Oxyclean. (If I had hard water, I would increase the dosage depending on how hard) Sometimes I use Downy liquid. My "whitest whites" cycle heats to 127F and I increase the time so that I get a dwell of about 20 minutes at that temperature. This cycle gives a second rinse also. My results have been consistently excellent for more than six years, now. Non-whites I usually do at 100-105 in a cycle that takes a little less than an hour with extra rinse.

I have always had soft water. After all these years of posts I think there's reason to assume that is likely factor in the result, but don't really know. The effect that I do see clearly and easily is the vastly reduced dosage of detergent required. Otherwise uncertain as to effects.

Other machine at other location (mom's house) which is 20-year-old TL (Maytag) which washes max-temp around 110-115F. (No on-board heater there to bring it up.) Soft water there, too. Same excellent results but using Tide non-HE liquid. Sometimes I'll take a load of her laundry up to my other machine as a matter of convenience -- been doing that for years. Sometimes I do my laundry in her machine. There's no difference in the appearance or feel of any of our laundered items. Total cycle-time for mom's machine is about 40-45 minutes with an extra rinse.

Both machines have been clean and reliable (none of the issues so frequently reported here and elsewhere) I much prefer the FL because of the added heat possible, double the capacity, fast spin-out, and quietness. If buying again today, I would not consider anything other than FL. Water's cheap. Heating it isn't, but excellent results are my hot button ahead of either of those considerations.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 5:52PM
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Correction - I CAN was king size quilts in the Speed Queen. I cannot wash king size bulky comforters. Also, I don't use any laundry additives, just powdered detergent that doesn't irritate our skin (Country Save).

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 9:16PM
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With respect....."king size", "queen size", etc., mean next to nothing when talking about laundry. This is a common rave among posters here. Problem is, the differences in materials, construction, filling of such items render such ID's meaningless. All you've told us is that whatever it is that you happen to own happens to fit in your machine. That's good for you, of course, but it says nothing meaningful for anyone else.

Cut to the matter what machine you own, no matter what its size or capabilities, there will be some things you own that will not fit in it.

I'm glad you like your Speed Queen. Everybody who owns one that posts seems to.

    Bookmark   June 19, 2011 at 9:45PM
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Hi all! It's obviously been a long time since I originally posted this and I really did mean to get back much sooner than I did but either I would remember when I was busy elsewhere or just forget all together. On the plus side, I've had plenty long enough time to use my new washer to know that it works very well.

Shortly after my last post I decided to buy a commercial grade Speed Queen washer. These machines do use much more water than an HE but they don't use as much as the traditional water hogs. The normal fill level is at roughly 80% of what a traditional washer would be. That actually works for most of our clothing and it has a built-in cheat if we do have something extra dirty or bulky that needs more water. Just wait for the washer to fill up then hold the water level knob to the right until I'm satisfied with the water level. This works perfectly for really dirty whites, hubby's work clothes and large bulky items. For some reason he ended up wearing his good coat for work so I used it for an experiment. Just one wash with no additives or pre-treatment was enough to get all but the most stubborn spots clean. I'm not having to constantly add a bunch of laundry boosters and what-not to everything.

Most of the dish rag stains are gone. After about three good washings hubby's jeans quit looking all brown and his socks are white again. I have never needed to wash much in hot water, mainly the whites and the same holds true here. If his jeans are super dirty I'll put them through in extra warm water but not a whole washer full of it. Even my warm water batches are done at a temperature barely above tepid.

The whole cycle lasts about forty minutes and the spin is dry enough that most batches are done in about the same time or a little less saving at least five minutes on the drying cycle from the older machines. (I only switched out the washer, not the dryer.)

Oh yeah! It also is all mechanical! There are no computer parts that can up and quit communicating with each other.

At any rate, this is working well for our lifestyle and does save a considerable amount of resources compared to an older machine.

    Bookmark   September 23, 2012 at 11:34PM
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Perhaps someone at could give you some advice on getting clean laundry and a possible new machine. I have a Maytag Neptune, purchased in May 1999. Have always gotten excellent results from this washer and dryer.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:12AM
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I personally will have a top-loader, waterhog, until I die. And I willl use Tide POWDER with hot or warm water for most of my laundry. I think I have the cleanest laundry in the world and I'm old as dirt.

    Bookmark   September 24, 2012 at 9:41AM
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Folks who have read my previous posts know that we have the Electrolux IQ Touch. I'm not too crazy that it uses so little water but it does get my clothes clean; although my towels have never been truly soft since the sad loss of my old TL waterhog. Below is what I follow to get pretty decent results with none or very few rewashes for stains.

First: I never fill the machine more than 1/2 to 2/3 full for any load

Second: I choose the appropriate cycle "Whites, Normal, etc..."

Third: I always use the recommended amount of detergent and since most loads are typically 1/2 the capacity, I fill to Line 1 on the Tide cup or lid, depending on liq or pwdr.

Fourth: I always use 2nd rinse option, which results in most cycles being just about 1hr on the nose.

Additional Info: I recently have been using Downy Free and Sensitive filled to max line and using MAX spin speed for towels and have had absolutely no absorbency issues.

Water in this area is slightly hard at approx. 2.8-3.0gpg

Once again, results will vary depending on where you live and your laundering practices. Yes, I will admit that I think our clothes could be a bit cleaner and smell just a bit fresher out of the washer but over-all I'm satisfied.

Yes, it would be nice to not have to jump through all the hoops as the poster says to get stains out or worry about wiping down the door and seals and stuff but I've been doing it for about 9 years now, so it's kind of a habit when I do laundry and just normal routine.

In conclusion; I just wanted to say that folks need to do what they feel is right for their needs and satisfaction. If you want a TL; then get your hands on one while you still can. Everyone has their preferences and little thing that they are OCD about; for me, it's a spotless kitchen; hence how I became known as the "June Cleaver" of NC - lol but that's another story ;-)

@Reginasunrae; just go with your gut instinct and do what feels right; I know a Speed Queen TL washer may not be in your budget right now but from what I've heard; they are a true "tank" and one of the last remaining few washers that get the true TL results :-)

    Bookmark   September 26, 2012 at 9:52AM
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