Washing Down Comforters/Pillows in a Maytag Bravos washer

appliance_researcherAugust 23, 2010

Hey folks!! :o)

So since my grandmother raves about the Bravos 6600 I bought her a while back, I was in the market for a new W/D set and decided if my grandmother loves hers, it MUST be a good washer since she is so critical of the slightest flaw!!! lol!!

So back in January I bought an 850 set (dryer too) and while they perform wonderfully for the most part, there is definitely a learning curve. I just learned today that when using the Bulky cycle, it's best to wash 2 large quilts/blankets together as opposed to just one so it doesn't roll up into a giant quilt-ball and go unbalanced!! lol!

But other than the Bravos set is marvelous.......except when washing items filled with down!!!

I've washed my down pillows, my queen-down comforter and queen down duvet in the Bravos, on the Bulky cycle, and all they do is float to the top and barely circulate through the water or don't circulate at all.

I use Perwoll as my detergent when washing down items......great stuff!!!

Anyhoo, not sure how to troubleshoot this one. The down is so lightweight even after an initial soak and spin to get out air bubbles, the down items just suck in air again.

Also, the Bravos does this soak/spray thing at the beginning of the Bulky cycle that takes FOREVER and seems to give the down items more time to suck in more air!

Any other items I have no problem w/ the soak/spray thing it does on the Bulky cycle, its actually a nice feature! But that length of time seems to promote more air getting back into the down items and hence, they float to the top so the impeller only circulates the water and not the items that need washing. :o(

I've also tried lower water-level cycles such as the Colors cycle and it still did the same thing! Also tried packing the Bravos w/down items (a bunch of pillows and the comforter and duvet all at once) thinking that would leave less room for air but nope.....just floated to the top and almost hit the glass lid because it was so full!! :o/

I don't know.....should I try the Normal cycle? I'm afraid that would be too little water for bulky down items.

Mara_2008, I know you love your Bravos and have had no problems w/it. Have you washed down items in it successfully? And did I hear you got an 850 too? Do you LOVE it? :o) How do you like the heater? I absolutely LOVE the heater feature but I was very pleasantly surprised to see how well my Bravos washes clothes (except for down items of course) without the heater engaged!!

Yes it's true, I do feel the Bravos is a fantastic washer and do recommend it despite the down issue I'm having!!! Yes there's a learning curve but I've figured out most of the issues I've needed to and once I did it performs beautifully for me!! And really, what HE machine doesn't have a learning curve? And as for this down items drama, I'm hoping it's just a matter of time that I figure out how to troubleshoot this issue!!!

So any suggestions anybody may have would be greatly appreciated!!

And do let me know if I left out any pertinent info! Thanks so much!!! :o)


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Hey, Kevin! Long time, no see. ;) I'm not here as often as I used to be; my work schedule has become a good bit heavier.

I'm not having that issue with my comforters and pillows. I wonder if that's because mine don't have down in them? A couple of us here have allergies, so down is out (no pun intended).

I'm sorry I can't be of any help. And I'm really glad you're enjoying your washer otherwise. Have you called Maytag, or a serviceman, just to ask about it?

If you find out anything, please post here and let me know. I'm so sorry you're having this problem.

    Bookmark   August 25, 2010 at 11:06AM
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It doesn't matter what kind of washer you have, you MUST get the down wet manually first. I put it in the bottom of my big laundry sink, run the water and and work and work and WORK it with my hands...FIGHT the huge air bubbles that pop up, one after another, like a Whack-a-mole! LOL. Keep working and working till the darn thing is wet. THEN put the wet comforter into the machine, and it'll wash up just fine.

Down has these magical properties of resisting water and capturing more air molecules than practically anything else in the world. If you think about it, down would NOT keep the ducks and geese warm and dry as they swim around in cold water if it didn't have these properties. So it is very difficult to get it wet. The better quality the down (more lofty, less feathers), the harder it is to get it wet.

It's just as hard to get it dry fast enough before it mildews, too. I've always ended up with tiny specks of what I think are mildew after drying. It tangles in a ball, so then the fibers on the inside of the ball stay warm and wet, perfect for mildew. I think my king comforter took more than half a day, maybe 6 hours, to dry on high, and I untangled it many times. I tried putting a tennis ball in a sock, but that didn't help and actually made a really yucky smell. Maybe adding a few clean towels would help. That's what I'll try next time; and I will check/untangle it every 10 minutes.

Or maybe I'll take it to a cleaner next time. :)

    Bookmark   August 26, 2010 at 8:04PM
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When I wash my small down blanket, I put it in the washer first and put other (non-down) items on top, then fill. The other items help hold down the down so it can get wet. Add the soap at the beginning too.

With the comforter, I think I just stand over the washer (top load) and push it down as the washer fills. Sounds like this might be an issue when I get that front loader I want.

As for drying, I usually put 3-4 tennis balls (no sock; they're reserved for laundry) in the dryer. I run that for 20 min or so, then move the comforter to the line. That takes 2 people. At some point I usually turn it over. Later when it seems pretty dry, I put it back in the dryer for another 15-20 min. Obviously, it's an all-day process. I haven't had the money to take it to the cleaners, but I'm sensitive to smells so I'm not sure I'd trust it to come home smelling acceptable to me.

Wet down is pretty stinky, so don't panic if it smells during the process.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2010 at 7:51PM
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Thanks everyone for the responses and sorry for my kinda late reply!

But I will try what you did timberframe4us and put other non-down items in with it to weigh it down. I have washed these items in a FL and did not have these problems simply because the lower water level (but not too low) and the axis of the drum do not allow the down products to float.

And unfortunately I do not have a huge utility sink to soak and pound it in before I throw it in the washer, so that's out. But maybe I will follow your advice andersons and take these items to the cleaners the next time! :o)

But yes Mara I'm willing to overlook this down issue and absolutely say that I LOVE the Bravos set for many, many other reasons!!

Thanks everyone for your helpful posts!! :o)


    Bookmark   September 4, 2010 at 9:14PM
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I wish more people would post on the bravos 850 series with the internal heater. I like the fact that you can turn it on and off. IN my case it would always be on. Mara, I know you love and brag about yours. Ive seen video's on youtube on the oasis version, just wondering how good does it wash, with the low water, slow turn over from what I have seen on the vids.? From what I have seen, it makes me wonder if you have to increase the wash time to compensate for the slow turn over? Does everything get wet? Have u done pillows in it. I have a 9yr old FL, pillows can be done in mine, but since I dont have a bulky cycle, I learned to manually add water with the garden hose while it fills or they do not "seem" to get enough water. Id loveto hear your comments

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 10:08AM
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Keep in mind that video clips on YouTube, at least the ones I've seen, are not the full wash period. There ought to be sufficient time in a full wash/rinse/spin cycle for the load to turn over enough to get clean.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 12:54PM
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Hi, gates1. Good to see you! :)

You asked about the Maytag 850 w/ the internal heater, which I have. I have found I use the heater more than I thought I would, about half the time.

To answer your questions:

~ My washer washes very well. With some cycles, like Power Wash, the turnover is not slow at all -- naturally, wash and rinse speed vary according to the cycle I choose. If I wash really dirty, stained clothes (my dh is an engineer and often works out in the field, and my dc are active in sports), I get the washer going on wash cycle, then hit Pause and let them soak -- often all night -- before resuming the cycle the next day. I only do this when necessary, and I've done this with every washer I've ever owned.

~ YES, everything gets wet. Always.

~ I have washed pillows in it, on the Bulky cycle as the washer manual directs. They come out of the dryer clean and fluffy.

What dadoes said is true. That makes a difference.

If I missed any of your questions, let me know. I hope this helps. :)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2010 at 8:52PM
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Yes I second what Mara and dadoes says!

I have the Bravos 850 and despite the issues with down, the turnover for other items is great!! And so is the heater!!!

And while I have trouble with down, other pillows get turned over and everything gets thoroughly saturated! I've have yet to see a dry spot on any items of clothing or linens that have come out of my Bravos!!!

Hope this helps!!! :o)


    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 2:06AM
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Thanks everyone for answering my questions about the Bravos! One thing I really do like about it VS the new LG toploader is the bigger dispensers and not having to use a dispenser drawer located inside the machine. In sears, I played with it and it is not that easy to remove, and seems like if you do it incorrectly, you will be buying a new one. Also, doesnt the Bravos have a soak cycle on it? I thought in the owners manual it said it does, but it will drain and stop after the soak cycle runs. I didnt know that you could start and fill it, pause it and let clothes soak. I thought it would automatically drain the water if you did that. I work in manufacturing, machine operator, and I come home with oil on my clothes. I can get the oil out, but not the smell. So all my work clothes are kept seperate from my other stuff and washed seperatly too. I actually wash my work jeans and T shirts on sanitary cycle in my HE3T with soak cycle. Mara, I thought you had a 750 series, Im glad to hear from people who have the 850 model with heater. How hot does the sanitary cycle her in yours, anyone know? Its nice of you to remember me Mara, Im not on here much anymore, been working a pile of mandatory overtime all summer long :( but now I can pay cash for the new set when decide on what to get. One more question..what exactly is the "deep rinse"? DOes it fill more than the wash cycle or just not the spray rinse that is on the bravos. Im sorry for all the questions, but sales people are no help as well all know.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2010 at 8:58AM
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* Also, doesnt the Bravos have a soak cycle on it?

Yes, it does. You can choose how long you want it to last, according to soil level. And you can let it continue until it's through, or you can Pause the washer and let laundry soak longer.

* I thought in the owners manual it said it does, but it will drain and stop after the soak cycle runs.

Yes, it does, when the Soak cycle finishes.

* I actually wash my work jeans and T shirts on sanitary cycle in my HE3T with soak cycle.

The Bravos 850 also has a sanitary cycle.

* How hot does the sanitary cycle her in yours, anyone know?

I've never taken its temp, but it gets REALLY hot. I think the manual tells how hot it gets.

* Its nice of you to remember me Mara, Im not on here much anymore, been working a pile of mandatory overtime all summer long :( but now I can pay cash for the new set when decide on what to get.

Me too, gates -- working longer hours. Glad to know you're getting overtime! The increased pay sure does help. It is SO NICE to be able to pay cash for appliances and other big purchases.

* One more question..what exactly is the "deep rinse"? DOes it fill more than the wash cycle or just not the spray rinse that is on the bravos.

I rarely use the spray rinse, simply because I must use the deep rinse in order to use fabric softener or vinegar (or both). I'm assuming it does use more water than the spray rinse.

My dd has used the spray rinse when she's washed her clothes (usually on the Quick Wash, when she's in a hurry for a particular outfit). Her clothes came out fine.

I hope this helps! And I hope you get a break from so many hours soon -- after you've paid cash for the new set, of course. ;)

    Bookmark   September 9, 2010 at 4:20AM
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Thanks again Mara for your imput. Im still deciding on what to get. I keep digging for info on Bravos, The new LG, and the latest model from Electrolux, I read it now has a water plus option on it and I do love the 1400 rpm spin speed. I want to find out what cycles does the heater come on, and what the wash temps are on the lux.

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 1:51PM
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That's great! That's exactly what I did before I bought Bravos; I spent several months doing research. New washers/features have come out since then, so I can't say what I would have done if I were researching now. I'm just very grateful for my washer (and dryer too).

Here's hoping you get a great washer! :)

    Bookmark   September 10, 2010 at 2:36PM
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