GE Harmony TL HE washer: too little water, too much suds

flseadogJuly 22, 2009

So far I've washed 3 loads of sheets, two loads of towels, one load of delicates, and one mixed load of normal clothes in my new GE top loader. I'm using Tide HE liquid and our water is very soft (about a 2). I've been watching each load wash and rinse since this machine has a glass lid and for me this is the best way to try to understand the capabilities of this washer. I've been using half or less or the recommended detergent amount because of our soft water but very load I've done except the load of delicates has had at least a bit of suds residue in the water at the end of the rinse cycle so I've run each load through another rinse and spin cycle to get the suds out.

The delicates cycle seemed to have a bit more water in the machine in proportion to the amount of clothes so I guess this is why that load had no residual suds. I could keep reducting the amount of detergent but I'm using so little now that I don't know if that will really get the clothes clean. So that is the first question: should I drastically reduce the amount of detergent. Another side point, I use liquid detergent even though I have heard powder works better with soft water because with the high humidity in Florida powders tend to clump up very quickly.

One of the loads of sheets was two sets of twin bed sheets washed together and in that load there was so little water in the machine that the very top of the load was still dry until the rinse cycle started. Then I had a lot of suds at the end of the rinse still floating in the water. Although maybe "a lot" is a relative term since it was a swirl of suds about 1/4" high and 8" wide in the center of the drum. But still, I expect rinse water to run clear at the end of rinsing or I always rinse again.

I was telling my tale of woe to DD about how I could adjust the water level in this machine but had to resort to an extra rinse and she said, "why don't you just add a bucket of water manually to what the machine allows you to have?" This does sound like an easy way around the problem of too little water but will it mess up whatever sensing mechanism this washer has? In principle I dislike having a machine bossing me around and I like the idea of working around the low water level but will I cause myself more trouble in the long run?

This is only day 2 of the new washer so maybe I just have to learn to adjust but I would appreciate any insight you have. TIA.

Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've run across numerous complaints that Tide HE, particularly the liquid, tends to be high-sudsing, even for an HE formulation. I use Tide HE powder in my Calypso and there is some sudsing. I don't find it to be excessive, but I have harder water (11 grains) than you. Other detergents I've used do suds less -- Fresh Start, Wisk and All liquids, HE liquid from a regional grocery chain, even Fab powder (which isn't specifically HE but is low-sudsing) works nicely for me. I have a box of Gain HE powder that I haven't yet opened.

I primarily use powders, but the occasional liquid for variety, and liquids tend to work better on greasy-type soils. An odd idea, but perhaps you could store powder in your refrigerator or freezer to protect from moisture?

I don't have any experience with the Harmony, but I recall someone found that at least one of the cycles does a deeper fill. Seems like it was the Shag Rug cycle, but that cycle may not be on the latest model. Maybe a Bulky cycle?

How did you load the sheets? Don't wrap them around or place them atop the impeller, drop them into the basket in bundles spaced evenly around. Place pillow cases between the sheets.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 5:41PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I've heard similar complaints from owners of other HE TL's, but I haven't had this problem with my Maytag Bravos HE TL.

Have you contacted GE about this? I would tell them the laundry is not getting completely wet. They should fix this since the washer is so new.

As for detergent, I can only tell you of my experience. My washer also has the clear glass lid. I have observed that Tide HE Total Care seems to suds a bit (not much) more than other HE detergents in my washer, so I use an extra rinse (combining vinegar and fabric softener half-and-half in the final rinse) when I use it.

I have not observed this with Tide HE w/bleach (the only other Tide HE formula I've used).

I also have not observed this with Cheer HE ColorGuard (which I can no longer find on store shelves), Woolite HE, or Sears Ultra Plus Stain Fighting HE formula. I buy the last in powder form.

Except when washing towels, for which I use no fabric softener at all -- only vinegar in the final rinse -- I combine vinegar and fabric softener half-and-half in the final rinse, regardless of what detergent I use.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 6:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I forgot to mention, our water is medium -- not soft or hard.

ITA with the above poster about loading sheets in an HE TL. That is the way I load mine when I wash them.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2009 at 6:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you both for your responses. Yes, I did just drop those sheets in on top of the impeller so I'll try to arrange things better the next time I do sheets. Maybe I can outsmart the machine by using a different cycle because I did tell the machine I was doing sheets on that load but on another load I just call the queen size sheets "cotton" and there seemed to be enough water in that load. Also, I like the idea of using the vinegar in the final rinse. Does anyone have any opinion on what effect adding water manually would have on the washer?

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 7:10AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

flseadog, I'm not familiar with your washer, don't know if it's like mine or not.

With mine, as long as the light is on which indicates I can still add more laundry to the load, I can press Pause, then Start, and more water will go in the washer. As long as the light I mentioned is still on, more water will continue to go in as long as I Pause and then Start the washer. I found this out by accident when adding items I hadn't already seen before I started the washer.

Have you contacted GE, since your washer is so new and you said laundry wasn't getting completely wet? Surely they would come out and make the necessary adjustment(s).

If loading sheets in "lumps" around the impeller doesn't help, or if any other type laundry wasn't getting completely wet, I would definitely contact them. JMHO

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 8:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, mara. I reread the instructions about loading the machine and it just says to load the washer loosely with the heaviest items on the bottom. So, I just sent an email to GE stating the problem of the water level and the suds left in the rinse water and I'll let you know what they say. Thanks, again.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 10:18AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have this washer and dryer and if you want more water put it on Comforter or rugs..You can also change the agitation
to what ever you want..It uses more water but I like it better for towels jeans ETC..Linda

    Bookmark   July 23, 2009 at 8:36PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks, linkay, I'll try that the next time I put in a big load of sheets. This morning I did another test run with a mixed load of polo shirts, T-shirts, and a few handtowels---ten items total. First, I ran it through a complete mixed garment wash and rinse but did not add any detergent at all. I did this b/c I've been reading here that over sudsing may be due to suds left in clothes from prior wash products used in the former washer. Some residual suds did appear in the wash water and the water looked very murky by the time it drained but the rinse water ran clear. At the end of the rinse cycle the water was perfectly clear. Since I knew that this load of laundry had no suds at all in it I ran the same wash and rinse cycle again with the same clothes and literally only one tablespoon of the Tide HE. There were still suds at the end of the rinse cycle so I ran a separate rinse and spin cycle and still had suds at the end of that but not a lot. At that point I gave up trying to rinse and just put the load in the dryer since nothing felt soapy but this is getting discouraging. I think I'm using more electricity and water now with all this rinsing than I every did in the old regular washer. I'm still waiting for a reply from GE, by the way. Keep the suggestions coming if you have any ideas of what I should try next. TIA.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 2:21PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Stop using the liquid Tide HE and find a powder detergent you like. That's the only way I finally rid my clothes, towels, etc. of the build up and eventual musty smell left from using liquid Tide for years.

I would not have believed this if I had not gone through it myself. But now after using powder detergent, my clothes are softer, cleaner and most of all have a great clean smell to them.

Some powder detergents to try:
Sears Ultra Stain Fighting Formula (it does contain optical brighteners though that may cause fading)
Cheer Bright & Clean (though not labeled HE, it's low sudsing and rinses well. It's what I'm currently using and am very pleased with it's cleaning)
Gain HE Powder (strong scented)
SUN Powder Detergent (found at most dollar type stores, I've used it and liked it)
Charlies Soap (not recommended if you have hard water)

I'm sure there's more, but this gives you something to start with.
Good Luck!

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 4:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

You may have noticed that the wash plate moves back and forth at the begining of the cycle, before the fill starts. That's the load sensing, and it will not work properly if you just throw items in loosely. A couple of rules for loading the Harmony:

1. Put heaviest items in first -- towels, jeans, etc.

2. Don't pile stuff on top of the center of the wash plate. Move it out towards the edges.

3. Whene everything is in, push it down towards the bottom. You don't need to press hard, just push it down a bit to make sure it is in contact with the wash plate.

This way, the wash plate will "feel" the weight of the load, and will do a proper fill. Also, there seems to be some kind of long-term leaning process that goes on, and over time it gets better about the correct fill.

If you want a full fill, select one of the Comforters or Rugs cycles.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2009 at 5:04PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thank you for the most recent suggestions. This morning I did a lightweight cotton twin bedspread on the blankets cycle and the washer filled to almost the top with water. This was more than enough water and the next time I do 2 sets of twin sheets I'm going to try this cycle. I also did a fairly big load of rags that consisted of old cotton t-shirts and towels and used the throw rugs cycle. The same thing happened---almost a full washer of water. The next time I do towel I'm going to use this instead of the towels setting which was so skimpy with the water for my big load of towels earlier this week. Then I did a load of microfiber clothes that was fairly small and called this play clothes. This load gave me more water than when I did a similar sized load previously and called it mixed garments. I also tried the trick of pushing down the the load after I put it in and before the load sensing began. So I have to really thank all of you profusely for your great suggestions. You're really helping me outsmart this machine. The only thing I can't do is use the powder HE detergent because it is so humid here it would be one big clump in no time. I'm still waiting to hear from GE but I already feel I'm way ahead of them.

    Bookmark   July 25, 2009 at 5:15PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

flseadog, would it help if the powder detergent were in a plastic container with a tight-fitting lid, and/or if you put it into a plastic bag (huge zipper bag for a small box, maybe even kitchen-sized trash bag for a huge box), then put it in a container or bucket with a tight-fitting lid?

I have friends in Florida who put their dry dog food into a plastic trash can (used only for that purpose) which has a tight-fitting lid -- otherwise, they say the Florida humidity will cause it to clump.

Before they put dog food in it, they line it with a thick trash can liner which they keep closed tightly. That way, wild animals don't come around and try to get in it. I wonder if perhaps that might help with powdered detergent. I don't know what type laundry detergent they use.

Janet, do you know if Cheer Bright & Clean compares to their former Color Guard formula? Does it not come in an HE formula? I've seen it on store shelves and thought I saw it with an HE symbol. But I'm not sure.

BTW, it's good to see you here again! :-)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 6:58PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have to again point out the irony of people spending extra $ for a higher-end HE washer, then going to lengths and trickery to manipulate the machine's behavior and get it to use more water. ;-)

    Bookmark   July 26, 2009 at 11:55PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I hear you, dadoes. But, to be fair, that does not apply to all HE washers.

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 3:03AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Mara I don't know how this new Cheer Bright & Clean is in comparison to the former Color Guard because I've never used Cheer before at all.
I think the liquid formula is available in HE, but not the powder. I am using the powder and I've been very happy with it. Very low sudsing and rinses well. I think it does an excellent job at cleaning too, at least for me and my hard water, and without fading. I also add some Borax to all my laundry loads too.

Thanks for the welcome back. Actually I'm usually here, checking in every day or so, just not always posting.


    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 12:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Ah yes, Janet, you did list powdered detergents, didn't you? I didn't catch that.

IIRC, don't you have an HE washer? Does the non-HE powder not cause too many suds? Does the Borax help with that?

I'll amend my earlier statement to say, it's good to see you posting again. ;-)

    Bookmark   July 27, 2009 at 6:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes my washer is an LG FL HE machine. But the Cheer Bright & Clean non-HE Powder has worked fantastic. No problems with too much suds. I use a 1/8 measuring cup for most loads. A bit more if it's a larger/dirtier load, a bit less if it's a smaller load.
Not sure what effect the Borax has, but I've heard it helps boost cleaning power, softens water and helps remove odors. I just kind of got in the habit of using it on hubby's work shirts and then just started adding it to every load. I use 1 heaping Tablespoon per load.


    Bookmark   July 28, 2009 at 5:00PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Thanks for all the helpful hints here - I'm having a lot of the same issues with the washer. Remodeled the house and put in new GE Profile Hamony washer & dryer. You seem to have to "trick" the dryer as well -- and I'm trying to figure out where the supposed "sensor" setting is on the dryer.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 8:26PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a LG waveforce washer which is based on the GE harmony, both made by LG. Ive had it for just over a month, though I havent experienced dry clothes or excesive sudsing in my machine (rock hard Water here) I can tell you this much. Your machine senses the load by how much resistance there is when it first starts and the impeller moves back and forth. The more resistance, them more water it will use to fill the load. I can and have used my cotton/normal cycle for sheets, but I do perfer to use my Bulky/beding cycle for it. It uses more water, and the sheets move around more "freely" As far as your water being soft, yes keep decreasing the detergent amount till you get the suds under control or changed detergents. I know if I add STTP to my wash, I can turn out some major suds, at least when I had a FL, making cool whip was not a problem LOL. Currently I can use Regular Tide, not HE lavender scent with no sudsing issue. Im sure my rock hard water has much to do with that. Plus al of tide Normal detergents do have a suds surpressor in them as stated on the tide website. I am more on a powder kick these days, it smells better and seems to work the same. I mainly use Tide and gain HE Recently Tried the new Wisk HE, works as good, smells decent, not too heavy and cheaper too. Persil rules though for cleaning performance and a truely clean rinse, but you gotta pay for it, not everyone cup of tea. I hope this helps you out some and keep us posted

    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 7:44AM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Good sheet set, stand up to laundering...
Hi all: I placed this post in the laundry forum because...
Affresh vs. Washer Magic
We've had our Duet for about two months, and so far/so...
Combo washer-dryer in USA?
Do they allow to purchase and use an all-in-on e washer+dryer...
Persil at Walmart!
I was looking through the walmart flyer and I saw that...
Fisher Paykel Washer/Dryer
Sears is now carrying Fisher Paykel washers and dryers....
Sponsored Products
Knoll | Suzanne Double Lounge Chair
Harmony Dark Chocolate Bronze Three-Light Pendant with Saffron Glass
$106.95 | Bellacor
Steve Silver Harmony Dining Table - Cherry - HY4284T
$554.00 | Hayneedle
Carlton Desert Harmony Glider Recliner
$379.99 | zulily
GE 1.9-cubic foot Over-the-Range Microwave
Knoll | Platner Arm Chair
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™