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  #1  
Old 08-01-2008, 05:52 PM
Green Cymbeline Green Cymbeline is offline
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Do front-loading washers clean as well as top-loaders?

I'm used to using a top-loading washing machine, but yesterday I did my laundry at my brother's house, where he recently got a new front-loading washer. I watched it work, and it seems to me that it can't possibly clean as well as a top-loader because the clothes are never fully immersed in the water.

It went like this: the clothes spun around while a meager amount of water spurted on them in periodic bursts. The clothes became damp, but never appeared to be fully soaked and were never fully immersed in water.

In a top-loader, the clothes are fully submerged in water and agitated briskly, which I would think would clean a lot more deeply.

So what's the straight dope on front-loaders?? Can they clean as well as top-loaders without fully submerging the clothes?

Last edited by Green Cymbeline; 08-01-2008 at 05:52 PM..
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  #2  
Old 08-01-2008, 05:56 PM
DudleyGarrett DudleyGarrett is offline
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We just got a pair of the Whirlpool Duets (washer and dryer), and the washer does better than our top loader, believe it or not. It's pretty weird though that your clothes will come out of it just damp due to small amount of water it uses.
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Old 08-01-2008, 05:59 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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Every report I read says they clean better while using less water and as they use less water and come out dryer, they also dry quicker and thus save you energy overall as the dryer is a big energy hog.

If you know anyone that gets Consumer Reports, see if you can get them to find the article that Consumer Reports did on front loaders.

Correction: I just found out that this year's report from February found some top loaders that were almost as good at washing as the $1500 top loaders.

Last edited by What Exit?; 08-01-2008 at 06:02 PM..
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Old 08-01-2008, 06:11 PM
Green Cymbeline Green Cymbeline is offline
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So, how does that work? How do they get clothes as clean by just spurting a meager amount of water on the clothes as opposed to submerging the clothes completely and agitating them?

Even though Consumer Reports is saying they clean even better... something in me likes to see my dirty clothes fully submerged in water, being agitated briskly.
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Old 08-01-2008, 06:14 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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Until an expert shows up on how they work, try here in wikipedia.
Quote:
Originally Posted by wikipedia
The front loading design, most popular in Europe and the Middle East, mounts the inner basket and outer tub horizontally, and loading is through a door at the front of the machine. The door often but not always contains a window. Agitation is supplied by the back-and-forth rotation of the cylinder and by gravity. The clothes are lifted up by paddles on the inside wall of the drum and then dropped. This motion flexes the weave of the fabric and forces water and detergent solution through the clothes load. Because the wash action does not require the clothing be freely suspended in water, only enough water is needed to moisten the fabric. Because less water is required, front-loaders typically use less soap, and the aggressive dropping and folding action of the tumbling can easily produce large amounts of foam.

Front-loaders control water usage through the surface tension of water, and the capillary wicking action this creates in the fabric weave. A front-loader washer always fills to the same low water level, but a large pile of dry clothing standing in water will soak up the moisture, causing the water level to drop. The washer then refills to maintain the original water level. Because it takes time for this water absorption to occur with a motionless pile of fabric, nearly all front-loaders begin the washing process by slowly tumbling the clothing under the stream of water entering and filling the drum, to rapidly saturate the dry clothes with water.
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Old 08-01-2008, 06:21 PM
Green Cymbeline Green Cymbeline is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by What Exit?
Until an expert shows up on how they work, try here in wikipedia.
Thanks for that info. That explains it well.

Although I am still a bit skeptical... I want my clothes to be fully submerged and immersed in water!
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  #7  
Old 08-01-2008, 06:27 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyctea scandiaca
Thanks for that info. That explains it well.

Although I am still a bit skeptical... I want my clothes to be fully submerged and immersed in water!
Personally I plan to wait until either my washer breaks or about 4 years as the improvements in washers seem to be moving fast these days and both Presidential candidates support but higher efficiencies in appliances. I have an mediocre Kenmore "Heavy Duty Super Capacity Plus"* top loader.


* I kid you not, that is really what Kenmore calls it.
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Old 08-01-2008, 08:21 PM
Napier Napier is offline
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>I want my clothes to be fully submerged and immersed in water!

What for? The water above them isn't even touching them.

You need water to provide attractive forces in all directions for particles, to dissolve the water soluble contaminants like salt from sweat, and as a vehicle for surfactant and other cleaning agents. You need surfactant to create rollup on the greases, and to act as a sequestrant. Sequestration might work better if you diluted the contaminants more, but because sequestrants are surfactants you really need more surface area, and the foam and all the surfaces of the water broken by fabric would provide that.

Everything I ever heard said that tumbling on a horizontal axis works way better than trying to achieve similar motions using a vertical axis. If you want to think of it this way, consider that the interface between air and water, which is a somewhat strong surface that you could actually move through your laundry, sits unused above the wash liquor in a top loader.
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  #9  
Old 08-02-2008, 12:46 AM
miamouse miamouse is offline
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I got a front loader a few years ago. The paddles described in the wiki article have jets that force water into the loads. My water bill went down drastically, about $1,000 in the first year, and my clothes look better: the color stays better, they look newer longer. I have three boys under the age of 13, and there is no problem getting their clothes clean, unless you overload, which you shouldn't do in a top loader either.

When you think about it, less water would cause more friction as the clothes rub/roll against each other.

Last edited by miamouse; 08-02-2008 at 12:47 AM..
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  #10  
Old 08-02-2008, 01:57 PM
Anaptyxis Anaptyxis is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by DudleyGarrett
We just got a pair of the Whirlpool Duets (washer and dryer), and the washer does better than our top loader, believe it or not. It's pretty weird though that your clothes will come out of it just damp due to small amount of water it uses.
I'm not a washing machine expert of any kind, but one of the reasons why clothes come out of a front-loader merely damp is because the spin cycle is far more vigorous. This is another way in which they save energy, because you then don't have to run the dryer for as long. Or, if you're me, you can just hang stuff up and it's dry within a few hours without expending any additional energy.
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  #11  
Old 08-02-2008, 02:46 PM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyctea scandiaca
Thanks for that info. That explains it well.

Although I am still a bit skeptical... I want my clothes to be fully submerged and immersed in water!
The way you've described front-loaders isn't really accurate - they may not fully immerse the clothing at all times, but they do more than just spraying them and getting them a bit damp.

The drum partially fills with water and the drum rotates - this means the clothes tumble in and out of the water - the tumbling and dropping motion of the clothes inside the drum is analogous to the kind of repeated soaking, draining and kneading that might occur during vigorous hand washing. - In a top loader where the clothes are fully immersed, the paddle can only really stir the contents all together - there isn't any time (apart from when the tub is emptied) when the clothes are lifted out of the cleaning solution for water and dirt to drain out of them - in a front loader, it happens on each rotation.
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  #12  
Old 08-02-2008, 02:50 PM
Desert Nomad Desert Nomad is offline
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One other benefit is that the front loaders are much less stressful on your clothes and the fabric will last longer.
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  #13  
Old 08-02-2008, 05:01 PM
amarone amarone is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by miamouse
I got a front loader a few years ago. The paddles described in the wiki article have jets that force water into the loads. My water bill went down drastically, about $1,000
Wow - how do you get a water bill high enough to be able to reduce it by $1,000? We have two boys, a top-loader and a dishwasher and our combined water/sewage bill was less than $600 for the last 12 months (and yes, we do shower every day).
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  #14  
Old 08-02-2008, 05:17 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarone
Wow - how do you get a water bill high enough to be able to reduce it by $1,000? We have two boys, a top-loader and a dishwasher and our combined water/sewage bill was less than $600 for the last 12 months (and yes, we do shower every day).
Water bills vary by area a lot. In the town I use to live in we had well water and septic and I was overjoyed. Friends down the road from us paid $2500 for city water and sewer on average. This was 8 years already. A $1000 sounds high, but I am sure my old town was nowhere near the worst in the country. By current water bills are so low that I barely worry about the cost, though I use low flow shower heads and I am somewhat careful with water use anyway. My water bills work out to only about $360 per year for a family of four.
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  #15  
Old 08-02-2008, 07:03 PM
miamouse miamouse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by amarone
Wow - how do you get a water bill high enough to be able to reduce it by $1,000? We have two boys, a top-loader and a dishwasher and our combined water/sewage bill was less than $600 for the last 12 months (and yes, we do shower every day).
Living here three years ago were me, my husband (who makes big messes), our three boys, my MIL and a foster child. The youngest was of an age where bed wetting was an issue.

One year's worth of water with just me husband and three boys last year was about $1,150.

Last edited by miamouse; 08-02-2008 at 07:04 PM.. Reason: clarification
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  #16  
Old 08-04-2008, 12:25 PM
Tastes of Chocolate Tastes of Chocolate is offline
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I've been using front load washers for about 14 years now. I've installed them in the last 4 houses/condos I've owned. I find that my cloths are at least as clean as the top loader. In addition the front loaders seem to do a better job of rinsing out the soap at the end of the run. Have you ever pulled a load of towels out of the washer and heard the soap still crinkling in the towels? I don't get that any more.

The only downsides I've found to front loaders are: You can't add that last sock, once you've started the load. If the washer isn't on the lowest level, you can get rattling when they start spinning. They are more expensive, but the difference is getting smaller.
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  #17  
Old 08-04-2008, 01:42 PM
Joey P Joey P is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyctea scandiaca
Thanks for that info. That explains it well.

Although I am still a bit skeptical... I want my clothes to be fully submerged and immersed in water!
But the question is...do they need to be agitated briskly?

Last edited by Joey P; 08-04-2008 at 01:42 PM..
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  #18  
Old 08-04-2008, 01:44 PM
seosamh seosamh is offline
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Funny, you very rarely see a top-loader in Britain - the vast majority of washing machines these days are front-loaders.
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  #19  
Old 08-04-2008, 01:46 PM
BaneSidhe BaneSidhe is offline
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We don't have a front-loading washer at home, but the next one we get will be.

I'll tell you all something, NOTHING gets horse clothing [blankets, sheets and so on] cleaner without using a ton of soap which takes forever to rinse out.
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  #20  
Old 08-04-2008, 10:10 PM
MaceMan MaceMan is offline
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I read the review of washers and dryers in Consumer Reports awhile ago, and remember reading that even the more expensive newer-style, water-saving washers do not outperform some of the cheapest top-loaders available for purchase only a few years ago, before government regulations requiring reduced energy (= less agitation) and water usage crippled their washing capability. Because of these new energy regulations, the front-loaders work better now than many of the newer top loaders.

However, repair history isn't necessarily great for the front-loaders, and the time required to wash a load is a LOT longer. I recall seeing 45-60 minutes for a front-loaded wash cycle being compared to only 15 or less with a top-loader.

Last edited by MaceMan; 08-04-2008 at 10:12 PM..
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  #21  
Old 08-05-2008, 08:19 AM
Max Torque Max Torque is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tastes of Chocolate
The only downsides I've found to front loaders are: You can't add that last sock, once you've started the load. If the washer isn't on the lowest level, you can get rattling when they start spinning. They are more expensive, but the difference is getting smaller.
Here's one solution to the "vibrating washer" problem, which my father tried with great success: put the washer on a "stall mat". A stall mat is a heavy-duty rubber pad that is usually put in horse stalls for added comfort, and they're made to withstand a full-grown horse standing on them all day without sliding around. I believe my dad got his on sale for around $30. The thick rubber padding pretty much eliminates any vibration noise, and his Whirlpool Duet on a ceramic tile floor used to make a pretty good racket. I've even heard it eliminates the noise you can get when your washer's installed on an upper story of the house.

I'll tell y'all this: if you're looking to upgrade your washer and dryer, keep your eyes peeled for good sales. My parents and I got ours at a Best Buy appliance sale where they were giving 10% off if you bought two appliances, 15% for three, and 20% for four. So, we pitched in together and bought a washer and dryer for each of us on the same ticket, and with 20% off, it was just about like getting one for free.
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  #22  
Old 08-05-2008, 09:04 AM
Mr. Moto Mr. Moto is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Torque
I'll tell y'all this: if you're looking to upgrade your washer and dryer, keep your eyes peeled for good sales. My parents and I got ours at a Best Buy appliance sale where they were giving 10% off if you bought two appliances, 15% for three, and 20% for four. So, we pitched in together and bought a washer and dryer for each of us on the same ticket, and with 20% off, it was just about like getting one for free.
We bought ours at the Sears scratch 'n dent. Who cares if your washer is scratched? And in our case, the defects were barely noticeable anyway.

We bought a front loading washer and matching dryer, and paid about what the washer would have cost new - plus we claimed the tax credit that year on our return.
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  #23  
Old 08-05-2008, 11:27 AM
Patty O'Furniture Patty O'Furniture is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Napier
>I want my clothes to be fully submerged and immersed in water!

What for? The water above them isn't even touching them.
I suspect it's the satisfied feeling that the clothes are "taking a bath" when they are submerged, instead of just being tossed around with a few cups of water.

But we don't clean dishes that way, why should we do it with clothes?

Makes me wonder, was there ever a time when the very first dishwashers filled a drum with water and then agitated to jostle the submerged dishes around?

My LG front loader does both wash and dry in the same drum and I've noticed less laundry related wear & tear on my clothes. It just seems like the front loading machine treats them better.
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  #24  
Old 08-05-2008, 07:16 PM
elelle elelle is offline
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I've had a front-loader for about 6 months, when the old top loader broke down, and it would have cost more to fix than replace. It gets the clothes just as clean, and uses way less water. One thing, though, I notice; Using a liquid fabric softener doesn't quite do the job like an agitating machine. The clothes aren't as light and fluffy, which I miss. Anyone know the reason for that???? Perhaps a liquid fabric softener innovation will come in due course.

An additional reason in saving energy is that less, or perhaps just more concentrated, detergent is used. Those bottles on the soap aisle at the store have now shrunk down, so, less plastic packaging, and space used in shipping.
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Old 08-05-2008, 07:50 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by elelle
... One thing, though, I notice; Using a liquid fabric softener doesn't quite do the job like an agitating machine. The clothes aren't as light and fluffy, which I miss. Anyone know the reason for that???? Perhaps a liquid fabric softener innovation will come in due course.
You could try switching to dryer sheets. I found they work almost as well as the softener in the top loader, so they might prove more effective in your case. They soften and cut down on static as a bonus.
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  #26  
Old 08-05-2008, 08:55 PM
gaffa gaffa is offline
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One additional fact: virtually all washers in commercial coin laundries are front loading. They have to wash clothes thoroughly and well (to ensure repeat customers) yet use as little energy as possible (to remain profitable). Most of the laundromats I've been in have a few top loaders, but the majority will be various sizes of front loader.

I use a Whirlpool Duet, and it is very effective in spite of my habit of shoving all my clothes - no matter what color, material or degree of soil - in and washing it all on warm. My clothes get no coddling!
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  #27  
Old 08-05-2008, 09:05 PM
Green Cymbeline Green Cymbeline is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Patty O'Furniture
I suspect it's the satisfied feeling that the clothes are "taking a bath" when they are submerged, instead of just being tossed around with a few cups of water.
Yes, this describes my feelings perfectly.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patty O'Furniture
But we don't clean dishes that way, why should we do it with clothes?
I don't have a dishwasher, so I wash my dishes in a filled sink. Same idea - they get to soak fully submerged in water. I like it.

I'm still not sold on the front-loaders, despite all the raves in this thread. One reason is that the wash cycle seems to take much longer. Why is that? Is it because it takes longer for the clothes to soak up the meager amount of water used?
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  #28  
Old 08-05-2008, 09:06 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MaceMan
...the time required to wash a load is a LOT longer. I recall seeing 45-60 minutes for a front-loaded wash cycle being compared to only 15 or less with a top-loader.
This was my biggest complaint using my mother-in-law's super duper new HE washer. A regular "normal wash, warm/cold" cycle is 51 minutes! An "extra dirty" cycle was an hour twenty!!! And my teenager's socks were still vaguely grey, just like at home with the 20 minute wash cycle of the 10 year old top loaders we have downstairs in our apartment building.

The dryer cycle was the same, no shorter than mine, about 45 minutes. Hers said 41 minutes, but it had that "Approx." in front of it, and the last 15 minutes took more like 25.

Last edited by WhyNot; 08-05-2008 at 09:07 PM..
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  #29  
Old 08-05-2008, 09:19 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot
This was my biggest complaint using my mother-in-law's super duper new HE washer. A regular "normal wash, warm/cold" cycle is 51 minutes! An "extra dirty" cycle was an hour twenty!!! And my teenager's socks were still vaguely grey, just like at home with the 20 minute wash cycle of the 10 year old top loaders we have downstairs in our apartment building.

The dryer cycle was the same, no shorter than mine, about 45 minutes. Hers said 41 minutes, but it had that "Approx." in front of it, and the last 15 minutes took more like 25.
That's odd, the front load washers clearly take longer, but the dryer should be faster. She might have a problem with her dryer. If the exhaust hose is partially blocked it can add a lot of time to the drying. I clean my hose out about once a year as it is a long one and with two kids we use the dryer a lot. My drying time is usually around 60+ minutes with my top loader.

I am surprised you can dry a load in 45 minutes. What dryer do you have, it sounds like a good model.

Another thought, is yours gas and your MIL's electric?

Jim
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Old 08-05-2008, 09:41 PM
WhyNot WhyNot is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by What Exit?
That's odd, the front load washers clearly take longer, but the dryer should be faster. She might have a problem with her dryer. If the exhaust hose is partially blocked it can add a lot of time to the drying. I clean my hose out about once a year as it is a long one and with two kids we use the dryer a lot. My drying time is usually around 60+ minutes with my top loader.

I am surprised you can dry a load in 45 minutes. What dryer do you have, it sounds like a good model.

Another thought, is yours gas and your MIL's electric?

Jim
Y'know, I'm not sure if ours is gas or not. Hers is gas. Hers is (was, at the time of washing) 8 days old, so if there's something wrong with the exhaust hose, there's An Issue.

Our dryer at home is a Speed Queen Commercial Dryer (to match the Speed Queen Commercial Washer). They're not mine, they belong to the landlord, of course. My only real complaint about them is that they're coin operated. Oh, to have my very own washer and dryer someday! They're the same brand of machines that have been in my last three buildings. They're not really "Commercial" any more than a Kenmore range is a "Commercial grade stovetop!" They're just your generic "large" capacity machines. (Not really large at all - about 6 pairs of jeans, tops.)

Looks like this although I have no idea if it's the same model or not. I know I've been here 3 years and it's not newer than that.
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  #31  
Old 08-05-2008, 09:46 PM
What Exit? What Exit? is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WhyNot
Y'know, I'm not sure if ours is gas or not. Hers is gas. Hers is (was, at the time of washing) 8 days old, so if there's something wrong with the exhaust hose, there's An Issue.
...
Thank you.

I wonder if they cleaned out the exhaust before hooking up the new dryer. That could be a problem. If the dryer is new, maybe it is some sort of new lower heat model to save energy.

When I buy my next dryer, I need to shop more carefully. We got the current Washer & Dryer without shopping around as we were too busy with everything else needed for the move.
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  #32  
Old 08-05-2008, 09:50 PM
Cillasi Cillasi is offline
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I've been researching washers and dryers for the past year while formulating remodeling plans, and American front loaders typically have a problem with mold. Front loaders should remain open after use to allow the insides to dry out. This is important for me because I don't have much room and where I'm planning to put the washer, it would be imprudent to leave the door hanging open.

It's not advisable to use liquid fabric softeners in front loaders because they can coat the outside of the drum creating a nice medium for mold to grow. You should use the high efficiency detergents if indicated because again, the soap scum may provide a medium for molds to grow.

Front loaders also seem to be more expensive to fix. The rubber seals on some brands seem to deteriorate rather quickly and they are quite expensive to replace. One company even allowed dissatisfied customers to trade in their front loaders for a top loader (I think it was Sears, but I'm not certain).

So, even though a front loader would allow me to stack and save space, unless I read something that seriously tips the scales in favor of front loaders, I think I'll be getting a top loader.


Quote:
Originally Posted by What Exit?
That's odd, the front load washers clearly take longer, but the dryer should be faster. She might have a problem with her dryer. If the exhaust hose is partially blocked it can add a lot of time to the drying. I clean my hose out about once a year as it is a long one and with two kids we use the dryer a lot. My drying time is usually around 60+ minutes with my top loader.

I am surprised you can dry a load in 45 minutes. What dryer do you have, it sounds like a good model.

Another thought, is yours gas and your MIL's electric?

Jim
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  #33  
Old 08-05-2008, 10:05 PM
elelle elelle is offline
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Originally Posted by What Exit?
You could try switching to dryer sheets. I found they work almost as well as the softener in the top loader, so they might prove more effective in your case. They soften and cut down on static as a bonus.
Using dryer sheets with a top loader was less than satisfying for me. I think that liquid fabric softener does a better job. And, I hafta say, it appears that LFS is better when saturated in solution, as in an agitating machine. And, I am pretty sad and picky when it comes to fabric softeners, will open up and smell every damn bottle, and only a scant few pass my nose test. It's a luxury I like...

Cillasi sez not to use liquid fabric softeners, but my machine has a dispenser for them. Gonna have to look into the absolute physics of fabric softeners, then.

And. WhyNot, my experience is that the longer wash time is well made up by the quicker drying time. Mine's an electric.
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  #34  
Old 08-06-2008, 02:58 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyctea scandiaca
I'm still not sold on the front-loaders, despite all the raves in this thread. One reason is that the wash cycle seems to take much longer. Why is that? Is it because it takes longer for the clothes to soak up the meager amount of water used?
The wash cycle typically consists of a few different actions, often repeated more than once (i.e. fill-agitate-soak-agitate-drain-rinse fill-agitate... etc. I don't think it takes longer for the water to soak through clothing just because the drum is on its side (this seems to indicate you're still under the impression that the clothes only get damp).

They're automatic washing machines - you can leave them unattended and do something else while they wash the laundry - does the cycle time matter all that much?
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  #35  
Old 08-06-2008, 03:45 AM
Omniscient Omniscient is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyctea scandiaca
I'm still not sold on the front-loaders, despite all the raves in this thread. One reason is that the wash cycle seems to take much longer. Why is that? Is it because it takes longer for the clothes to soak up the meager amount of water used?
I think the point is that effective cleaning isn't really about the amount of water, it's about the amount of agitation. Front loaders agitate much more efficiently, top loaders compensate for less agitation with more water. You just need to have enough water to dissolve anything, once you get to that critical point adding more water doesn't have any benefit chemically.
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  #36  
Old 08-06-2008, 03:52 AM
Green Cymbeline Green Cymbeline is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mangetout
They're automatic washing machines - you can leave them unattended and do something else while they wash the laundry - does the cycle time matter all that much?
Definitely. It's much more convenient to have a load of laundry washed and dried in 1.25 hours (what my current top-loading w&d does) as opposed to 3 hours. A lot of times, I will wash an outfit that I want to wear that same day, so it needs to be done quickly.
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  #37  
Old 08-06-2008, 05:20 AM
miamouse miamouse is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyctea scandiaca
Definitely. It's much more convenient to have a load of laundry washed and dried in 1.25 hours (what my current top-loading w&d does) as opposed to 3 hours. A lot of times, I will wash an outfit that I want to wear that same day, so it needs to be done quickly.
I noticed this too when I first got the machine, now I always use the quick cycle button, and the time is 28 minutes. Little boy clothes still come out clean. Every once in a while I have to wash the whites on a normal cycle which is 51 minutes. I did this too when I had a top loader, but it was in the form of letting it soak with the lid open.
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  #38  
Old 08-06-2008, 06:22 AM
Mangetout Mangetout is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nyctea scandiaca
Definitely. It's much more convenient to have a load of laundry washed and dried in 1.25 hours (what my current top-loading w&d does) as opposed to 3 hours. A lot of times, I will wash an outfit that I want to wear that same day, so it needs to be done quickly.
Are you talking about a garment you've only just taken off? In that case, I guess you'd need a faster turnaround time. <shrug> I can't say I've ever found myself in that situation - my clothes get washed and dried after I've worn them, then they're stored in the wardrobe and I take them from there to wear them.

Quick wash cycle on my automatic washing machine takes a little over half an hour, including the spin - this is with a reduced load, but I can't imagine a situation where I'd want more than a couple of garments washed straight away.
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  #39  
Old 08-06-2008, 08:57 AM
Max Torque Max Torque is online now
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cillasi
I've been researching washers and dryers for the past year while formulating remodeling plans, and American front loaders typically have a problem with mold. Front loaders should remain open after use to allow the insides to dry out. This is important for me because I don't have much room and where I'm planning to put the washer, it would be imprudent to leave the door hanging open.

It's not advisable to use liquid fabric softeners in front loaders because they can coat the outside of the drum creating a nice medium for mold to grow. You should use the high efficiency detergents if indicated because again, the soap scum may provide a medium for molds to grow.
The Whirlpool Duet I have (which seems like a popular model, based on this thread) has a "Clean Washer" cycle on the dial. About once a month, when you're not using the washer for anything else, you run that cycle with about 2/3 of a cup of bleach in the dispenser, with no other detergents or clothes in the machine. The machine runs a special cycle with hot water and bleach to clean out the drum thoroughly. They say that'll keep any nasties from invading. And of course leaving the door open to allow the innards to dry between laundry sessions is a big help, as well.

As for the fabric softener, I've never heard of a problem with it, and there's a special compartment in the detergent dispenser drawer just for liquid fabric softener (there are three separate compartments, for detergent, bleach, and softener), so it seems odd that they'd advise against it while providing a convenient means to use it. One thing that people apparently have to adjust to is that front loaders are very efficient, and therefore they use less of everything. If you use as much detergent, bleach, and softener as you used to use in your top-loading machine, you'll be using too much, and that, I would imagine, could indeed cause a problem.

As far as the speed issue goes, I think that the ability to wash larger loads makes up for the slower wash cycles. The instructions for my washer say you can fill the drum completely full, as long as you don't "pack" it. Top-loaders need extra room to work, so even the larger tubs need some overhead.
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  #40  
Old 08-06-2008, 09:33 AM
Nava Nava is offline
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I do hope they clean as well, given that front-loaders are the most popular choice in a lot of Europe...

Moving to the US, one of the tricky parts was figuring out how to dose the soap etc etc in a top-loaders.

The mold thing can happen in any machine that gets wet; you do leave the top-loader open after use, don't you? So do the same with your front-loader!
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  #41  
Old 08-06-2008, 10:19 AM
Tastes of Chocolate Tastes of Chocolate is offline
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Another money saving idea.
If you aren't going to stack them, don't buy the driers that go with a front-loading washer.
We recently bought a new washer and drier at a scratch-n-dent store.
We found the washer we wanted and were looking at the driers. The salesperson mentioned that the drier that matched the front-load washer was about $150 more then the same drier that goes with a top-load washer. The only only difference is the placement of the controls. Frontloader gets controls on the front, toploader gets the controls on the top. But because frontloader washers are more expensive, manufacturers have priced the driers to match.
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  #42  
Old 08-06-2011, 03:34 PM
islandmom islandmom is offline
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same question

Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Cymbeline View Post
I'm used to using a top-loading washing machine, but yesterday I did my laundry at my brother's house, where he recently got a new front-loading washer. I watched it work, and it seems to me that it can't possibly clean as well as a top-loader because the clothes are never fully immersed in the water.

It went like this: the clothes spun around while a meager amount of water spurted on them in periodic bursts. The clothes became damp, but never appeared to be fully soaked and were never fully immersed in water.

In a top-loader, the clothes are fully submerged in water and agitated briskly, which I would think would clean a lot more deeply.

So what's the straight dope on front-loaders?? Can they clean as well as top-loaders without fully submerging the clothes?
I've recently purchased a front loading set and have had the same question, although, I can attest to my laundry smelling and appearing cleaner since using the front loading machine.
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  #43  
Old 08-06-2011, 03:38 PM
islandmom islandmom is offline
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New front loader

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Originally Posted by Omniscient View Post
I think the point is that effective cleaning isn't really about the amount of water, it's about the amount of agitation. Front loaders agitate much more efficiently, top loaders compensate for less agitation with more water. You just need to have enough water to dissolve anything, once you get to that critical point adding more water doesn't have any benefit chemically.
I've recently purchased a set of front loading machines, and I agree that the longer wash cycle is annoying! Of course, I have no choice but to live with that now. In defense of the frontloader, my clothes definitely smell and look cleaner since using it, and my water and electric bill (?shorter drying time?) have decreased dramatically.
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  #44  
Old 08-06-2011, 03:44 PM
islandmom islandmom is offline
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"add a garment/pause" feature

Quote:
Originally Posted by Tastes of Chocolate View Post
I've been using front load washers for about 14 years now. I've installed them in the last 4 houses/condos I've owned. I find that my cloths are at least as clean as the top loader. In addition the front loaders seem to do a better job of rinsing out the soap at the end of the run. Have you ever pulled a load of towels out of the washer and heard the soap still crinkling in the towels? I don't get that any more.

The only downsides I've found to front loaders are: You can't add that last sock, once you've started the load. If the washer isn't on the lowest level, you can get rattling when they start spinning. They are more expensive, but the difference is getting smaller.
My Whirlpool Duet frontloader allows me to pause it to add clothes, as long as it is near the beginnng of the cycle when the "add a garment" light is illuminated. Not sure of the time frame that I have to add something, but I frequently hit the pause button at the beginning of the cycle to add that "last sock". Not sure if other models have this feature.
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  #45  
Old 08-06-2011, 03:55 PM
islandmom islandmom is offline
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Fabric Softener

Quote:
Originally Posted by Max Torque View Post
The Whirlpool Duet I have (which seems like a popular model, based on this thread) has a "Clean Washer" cycle on the dial. About once a month, when you're not using the washer for anything else, you run that cycle with about 2/3 of a cup of bleach in the dispenser, with no other detergents or clothes in the machine. The machine runs a special cycle with hot water and bleach to clean out the drum thoroughly. They say that'll keep any nasties from invading. And of course leaving the door open to allow the innards to dry between laundry sessions is a big help, as well.

As for the fabric softener, I've never heard of a problem with it, and there's a special compartment in the detergent dispenser drawer just for liquid fabric softener (there are three separate compartments, for detergent, bleach, and softener), so it seems odd that they'd advise against it while providing a convenient means to use it. One thing that people apparently have to adjust to is that front loaders are very efficient, and therefore they use less of everything. If you use as much detergent, bleach, and softener as you used to use in your top-loading machine, you'll be using too much, and that, I would imagine, could indeed cause a problem.

As far as the speed issue goes, I think that the ability to wash larger loads makes up for the slower wash cycles. The instructions for my washer say you can fill the drum completely full, as long as you don't "pack" it. Top-loaders need extra room to work, so even the larger tubs need some overhead.
I have the bad odor problem with my front loading machine. I find I need to use the Whirlpool Duet "Clean Washer" feature twice a month, at least. The stores sell a special cleaner (Affresh or Tide are two brands I've seen) that seems to work better than the bleach, I've found. Of course, the special cleaners are another expense. I always leave my washer door open when not in use; wide open until it's dry, then just ajar a couple of inches after that. I use liquid fabric softener, per the instructions on the machine. I might try using less as suggested to avoid the odor build up, but I dont really like the idea of using less softener because I like the way it makes the clothes smell. The long length of the wash cycle and the odor issues are the two things I do not like about the front loaders. In their defense, however, my clothes are cleaner, I can wash very large loads, and my water and electric bills are significantly reduced.
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  #46  
Old 08-06-2011, 04:03 PM
islandmom islandmom is offline
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Water bill

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Originally Posted by miamouse View Post
Living here three years ago were me, my husband (who makes big messes), our three boys, my MIL and a foster child. The youngest was of an age where bed wetting was an issue.

One year's worth of water with just me husband and three boys last year was about $1,150.
We are a family of 6 who average 6 showers and 2 loads of laundry/day, have a dishwasher run twice daily, a swimming pool which needs partial filling in the spring, I water outdoor flowers in the summer months, and we occasionally(couple times a month) run the sprinkler system in the months of July/Aug. Previously our yearly water bill approached $2000, and have noticed it reduced by about a third since weve had the front loading washer.
Also, perhaps water costs vary depending on the part of the country you reside in?
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  #47  
Old 08-06-2011, 04:48 PM
boozilu boozilu is offline
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I can't use a front-loader due to space constraints -- do the HE top-loaders work as well? Or are they a marketing gimmick?
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  #48  
Old 08-06-2011, 05:28 PM
gotpasswords gotpasswords is offline
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Which is better at washing braaaiiinnnnnnnss?

I thought most zombies did their laundry at the all-night laundromat, rather than buying their own washer and dryer.
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  #49  
Old 08-06-2011, 05:42 PM
Mijin Mijin is offline
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I think the image some have of a front loader just spraying the clothes with water or using "just a couple of cups" is misleading.

If, for whatever reason, you ever need to interrupt a wash cycle, you'll find the clothes are dripping wet; as if they were completely immersed.
Because they were, just not all of the time.
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  #50  
Old 08-06-2011, 07:44 PM
Broomstick Broomstick is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Green Cymbeline View Post
I'm used to using a top-loading washing machine, but yesterday I did my laundry at my brother's house, where he recently got a new front-loading washer. I watched it work, and it seems to me that it can't possibly clean as well as a top-loader because the clothes are never fully immersed in the water.

It went like this: the clothes spun around while a meager amount of water spurted on them in periodic bursts. The clothes became damp, but never appeared to be fully soaked and were never fully immersed in water.
I have been using front-loaders for years, and on two occasions had to have my clothes "rescued" mid-cycle from a malfunctioning washer. They're wetter than you think they are. The spin cycles really do remove a lot of the water.

Quote:
So what's the straight dope on front-loaders?? Can they clean as well as top-loaders without fully submerging the clothes?
My perception is that front-loaders actually clean better, and are less likely to damage my dedicates.
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