Simple Saturday ~ Washing Machine User Review

The title of today’s post may have you thinking that I am going to give you some user reviews on washing machines but in fact it is your opinions that I am seeking. I would really appreciate your assistance in this matter to help my mother chose between a front or a top loading washing machine. What she is really trying to decide, at her age of 73 years young, is which machine would be easier for her to load and unload.

We understand that one can acquire a platform to mount a front loader on bringing it high off the ground. The one opinion we have on this is not encouraging though due to it becoming unstable during fast spin cycles.

I would be happy for you to give use your entire experience with the models you use right now.  Feel free to include the brand name and model of your machine but it isn’t necessary. Include information such as how well powder detergents dissolve in your machine, whether you can access the machine during the cycle, what sort of cycles options it has and how long the cycles are in general. Any other information that comes to mind would also be helpful.

I suppose when it all boils down to it what I really want to know  is how difficult do you all find loading and unloading either style of machine. I feel the top loader would probably be the easiest for her but both machines require some sort of bending, leaning or possibly squatting in the case of the front loader. My laundry has a toilet that directly faces my front loader so I can actually shut the lid on the toilet and sit on it to load and unload my machine. A short stool could suffice to perform the same function making a front loader easier to work with.

Anyway enough information from me now please let me know your opinion.

The Weekend’s Mini Missions

Saturday – Declutter something that you are keeping “just in case” you finally might get around to reading it.

Sunday – Declutter something that you are keeping “just in case” you fall on hard times and can’t afford to replace it. There is no end of items that you really won’t actually ever NEED ~ find a use for yes, but need NO!

 


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About Colleen Madsen

Colleen is the founder of 365 Less Things and lives in Newcastle, Australia.

Comments

  1. Hi Colleen. Have you had your mother run a few loads through your machine (without benefit of sitting on the toilet)? That would give her the opportunity to see how it works for her.
    It seems to me that it’s easier to pull wet laundry DOWN into a basket on the floor, than it is to lift wet laundry UP out of a top-loader. My washer and dryer are side by side, with the doors facing one another. Flipping clothes between them is therefore quite easy – a sideways motion from one machine to the other. Then again, if I’m drying clothes on the line, I have to lift the basket of wet laundry UP off the floor instead of DOWN from a higher platform.
    The larger capacity of a front-loader means fewer loads of laundry, so less work overall. And I always use liquid detergent designed for front-loading machines. And if you get reallyreallyreally bored, you can sit in front of your washing machine and watch your clothes go round and round (can you tell we don’t have a TV?!) W

    • Ian’s two cents’ worth (he has severe back problems): “It’s a bit uncomfortable bending over to empty it, but it’s easier. I can lean on the top with one arm and just pull the laundry out into the basket on the floor. And I don’t get my tummy wet!”

      • Thanks Ian, that may be the most useful information so far. I wouldn’t want my mum to be getting a wet tummy leaning into a top loader, she might be dressed and in a hurry to get to bingo. Hee hee!

    • Thanks Wendy,
      no my mum lives over 1000km away from me and doesn’t visit often. She does not have a dryer though because she lives in sunny Queensland so there is no issue with moving things between machines. When I go to visit her next time I’ll take her to the electronics store an have her do washing aerobics, that is make her squat and raise for the front loader a few times and bend and pull for the top loader and see what feels better to her.

      When we are on vacation I kind of like the times when it is laundry day and I just sit and watch the machine go around while do the odd sudoku puzzle. It is quite relaxing.

      • When we first got our front loader, I watched the wash go ’round. Then, at a certain period in the children’s lives, they thought it was quite entertaining. Lastly, we got cats, and they investigated the washer as well. Good entertainment value for the money!

  2. Hi colleen, just in time here as our trusted machine broke (well the spinning mechaninsm did due to it having been on an unstable ,not level, floor in our former appartment.) We had an Indesit without much mechanical fancy stuff, just two turning knobs. Never had any problems with washingpowder not dissolving, although it’s a front loader. The exterior is quite rusty, but it lived in our bathroom for the first 7 years, so I think that caused the rust.
    It is a front loading washing machine, and we have it on a pedestal thingy. It’s like a metal frame with four legs on which you just place you machine. We had some problems with the high spin cycle making it wobble first, but that is just due to poor design and can easyly be fixed. If anybody is interested I can take some photo’s of how we fixed it.

    • I think we have the same washing machine. Mine was rather cheap (no setting timers or anything, just one knob to adjust the temperature and another for the program) – it’s with me for 7 years and 2 moves now.

    • Thank you for your input hunter-xs. You are the second person to say the the riser cause instability problems with the high spin cycle, interesting. My dad is quite the handyman so I am sure he would come up with a solution to this problem.

      • Hi Colleen, I don’t know what kind of pedestals you can get over there but the one we bought came appart during spin cycles due to poor design. It is the only type available over here, but how someone could have designed something with so silly mistakes is a mystery to me. The bolts on ours came loose the second time we used the washingmachine on it, but then we discovered there were no nuts behind the bolts to keep these in place. Really weird huh. We just replaced the bolt with longer ones and added locking nuts to it and nothing has moved since then, even though I like to run the spincycle twice to get out as much water as I can. We bought a second pedestal for our dryer and it too came with really short bolts and not nuts to keep em in place.
        I do recommend the pedestal thingy though, especially now I’m pregnant and I don’t have to bend so far with my big belly. Just check for good/bad design.

        • I have never bought a pedestal so it isn’t something I have had an issue with. Would troubles me about products like you describe is why manufactures are continuously allowed to launch such rubbish into the market place. There ought to be some sort of law against it.

          • I’ve not seen a platform-like pedestal. The ones I see are a metal cabinet with a useful drawer.

  3. For ease of loading and unloading I vote for the front loader. Also they generally don’t have an agitator so things don’t get caught and have to be pulled free. I agree with Wendy, just put the basket in front of the door and slide the clothes out into it.
    I bought a top loader. You can’t felt in without an agitator. Ironically it has an energy feature that doesn’t allow enough hot water and I still can’t use it for felting. If she is a knitter who felts this could be an issue 🙂

    • I know for sure that my cousin has felted in a front loader machine without an agitator.

    • Thank you Delores, she is a knitter but she doesn’t felt so that shouldn’t be a problem. She does like to preserve water and electricity, although they now have a 16 panel solar setup so they make plenty of free electricity so that isn’t a problem any more.

  4. I like Wendy’s suggestion of having your mom try out a front loader somewhere to see how it does for her. My Mom has three things she doesn’t like about our front loader: 1. having to bend over to put things in and get them out. Sitting on a stool is not an option as she would not be able to get up from it easily. 2. You can’t soak something in it if you want to bleach it or something. 3. Ours has this rubber insert that caught things and has to be dried out with every load or gets moldy. I’m told it is not something all front loaders have so this is something to look out for. We have a Frigidaire Afinity.

    • Hi Deb J – yes you are right about the rubber insert thingee going mouldy, the one we had (briefly) went mouldy too, I’d forgotten that. There was no such thing as drying it out between loads for us as it had already happened before we were aware, and also because of the number of loads I do with my household. Some days I feel like I spend more time in the laundry than in the kitchen!

      • Hi Deb J,
        I like Wendy’s suggestion too. I also did think the the stool idea would be no solution because as she got older that would be hard to get up from. She is pretty spritely for a 73 year old but she is only going to get older. And were she to go first my dad has all sorts of leg/pelvis issues which would make it very difficult for him. He and my mother-in-law have a problem getting out of the bed in our spare room when they come to visit because it is so low.

        Soaking things isn’t an issue because most Australian laundries have at least one large wash tub.

        • Depending on the construction of your guest bed, blocks under the legs can raise it enough to make a great difference to elderly folks. We did this for my mother’s bed after she broke a hip and she’s kept it this way ever since and loves it.

          • I have already thought of that Wendy B but it is a bit of an odd design ~ just one big long plank at head and foot. I have been to the hardware store though to see what the possibilities are. I will give it more thought if the rellies ever plan another visit.

  5. Debbie in Alberta :

    I have had front load LG machines for awhile and really like them. They are side by side so I just have to move side to side moving laundry from washer to dryer. It’s not always easy; but when I used to have a top load washer I still had to bend over and back up to move clothes to the dryer.

    I also have the delicates cycle for delicates and a hand wash/wool cycle that I use for washing sweaters – I then lay flat these items to dry – never any issues with this. The cycle I most like is the Bulky cycle which I use to wash our comforters and sleeping bags with great success. Haven’t used a dry cleaner in years.

    My mother is in her 70s and bought the LG machines as well with the matching base units with drawers to raise the units up. She hasn’t had any issues with shifting, probably because they were made for the machines? This puts them at a good level for her.

    I leave my washer door open when done and haven’t had any issues with mold or smell as some have.

    • Interesting Debbie in Alberta. My LG machine is a washer dryer all in one so I don’t have to move anything but it makes for a very long cycle if I use the dryer. That is ok though because I rarely use the dryer her in Australia and if the weather is bad I dry the clothes on an airer on the back patio or in the spare bedroom. I only wash when I have a full load so I might do a load one day and another the next and another a couple of days later.

      Like you, my machine has a Bulky Cycle or Duvet Cycle as it is called on my machine but I find sometimes that the items, if really big, don’t wash well in the centre when bundled up in there, so I take them to the laundromat and use a big machine there.

      I will make sure I ask at the store how well their platform perform because I real a front loader on a platform would work better than anything.

  6. My elderly Mom (almost 80) had a front loader. Notice I said had. She ended up trading it with one of my siblings for their old top loader.
    The front loader proved to be a bit too awkward for her to bend over & reach into the drum (even on the matching riser base) & the constant weird wet smell from the remaining water that gets left behind was enough to weird her out too.
    Now my Momhas both hips & both knees replaced w/artificial joints as well as rheumatoid arthritis so she’s not very limber or agile. She finds with the top loader she can lean against the front of the machine & pick out a few items at a time & has even been known to use long-handled grill tongs to reach an errant sock if need be.
    We thought for sure the front loader would be a better solution but it turned out to be a bit too awkward for her in the the stooping down is what unsettles her touchy balance more than leaning over reaching does.
    Hope that helps!

  7. I just had to go through this decision about 5 months ago. I went with a Whirlpool frontloader without the pedestal. I am short, 4’11”, and didn’t feel I needed the extra height enough to spend an extra $200. I have carpal tunnel and actually find the front loader so much easier to remove clothes from. They are more fully spun out and less tangled than with my old machine. I only use powder and it dissolves fully. I believe this machine cost $200 to $300 more than the top loader I was looking at, but I know I am saving on water, electricity and detergent expense for this machine and on electricity for the dryer because clothes dry so much faster. However, the wash cycle does take a long time and you can only put extra items in during the very beginning of the cycle. I thought that would be a bigger deal than it is.

    • Hi Cindi and welcome to 365 Less Things. Thank you for your input. I have never had a problem with powder not dissolving in my machine either. There is one thing I am curious about though. When I first bought my machine BioZet didn’t have a front loader powder and the instruction on the box said to use half the amount powder for the front loader (which was half a scoop) and this worked perfectly. Then they bought out the front loading powder whose instruction was to use a whole scoop. I can’t help but think I was a whole lot better off financially using the top loader powder. I think I will go back to it because why pay twice as much for the same result.

      Adding things after the wash load has started really isn’t a problem for me. Sometimes I do it but it wouldn’t be the end of the world if I didn’t. If it is something you can’t do then you soon learn to be more careful.

      • I do this with liquid detergent as well. I use far less than the bottle calls for, maybe a tbsp or two, slightly more for my boyfriend’s really dirty work clothes, and the clothes get just as clean. A bottle of detergent lasts me ages now and there is less buildup in my machine (top loader).

        I’d recommend everyone do this. Start by putting a little less detergent in, maybe 10-20% less and keep decreasing it until you notice clothes not getting clean or smelling fresh, then go back to the last amount that worked well.

  8. Calico ginger :

    My mum was 83 when we bought her a new machine and she is 4 foot 9 inches in the old money and weighed about 4o kilos. She only ever line dried – didn’t like tumble dryers. We got her a small capacity Fisher and Paykel top loader and she was very happy with it. The drive action on the F&Ps does not tangle clothes so they are easy to pull out of the drum. Colleen, this is probably not a factor with your mum, but mine is not confident with new technology and now takes a long time to adjust to new controls etc and the F&P was good in that department too – easy to work out what to do. My mum always mixed her powder with hot water before adding it – completely unneccesssary, but her last machine lasted 25 years so who am I to argue!

    • Hi Calico ginger that was very helpful. My mum has been using a twin tub for… well forever so any capacity modern washer would wash a bigger load than that I guarantee you so your choice would probably be good for her. As for the technology side, I think she would be OK although she did buy an iPad recently and would like me to come to visit so I can teach her how to use it to its full capacity. She knows how to send me emails and she plays Angry Birds on it but I think that is the extend of her computer knowledge. I think I will avoid showing her anything about Facebook or ebay for fear I will create a monster. 😉 😆

  9. I would say it would depend on her height and which is physically easier for her. If she is tall, a top loader would generally be easier because a short person would have to stretch much more to reach that last sock in the bottom. But see which is easier for her physically, to squat down (or sit on a short stool and get up) or to bend and stretch to reach the bottom of a top loader. I could see it going either way depending on which muscles are stronger and joints are sorer.

    I think the best advice is to have her try both, either at your place, or go to a store and have her mimic taking laundry in and out of both types.

    • I agree Jenny trying each style out physically is a good idea . She is 170cm or 5′ 6″ so she is plenty tall enough for a top loader. She does get a dodgy back at times and she has lymphodema in one of her arms, both could cause issues no matter which machine she used were they to flair up on her.

  10. When I was living at my mums place years ago we had a toploader.It was really awfull compared to my own washing machine now,which is a front loader.
    The toploader was difficult to close,you had to put the drum in a certain position first and then close the very heavy cover.The detergent container was at the back so we had to bend over the whole machine to reach it.It was also annoying to get all small items out of it,like single socks,because they have been so deep down in the drum and we couldn’t reach them.
    But i guess it depends ,maybe we just had a bad toploader.

    • Hi Christina and welcome to 365 Less Things, that does sound like a bad top loader. I had a top loader before buying my current front loader and I like my front loader better. My top loader used to get unbalance when spin drying at times (often actually as it got older) and would do a dance across the laundry floor. It also used to get a scum build up from fabric softener, luckily it came off in flakes and was able to be shaken off the clothes but was annoying nonetheless. Cleaning it out by adding vinegar to and empty load usually took care of that. My current front loader does sometime refuse to spin dry the bath mats I put in there because they are so heavy when wet but are too small to spread themselves evenly throughout the bowl but that is the only problem with spinning that I have.

  11. Another very very important point for ”us oldies” and probably some younger ones too…. you can always open the lid on a top loading machine and put in that odd sox or Tshirt you just found inthe bedroom.

    • Thanks Narelle and welcome to 365 Less Things. Yes this point has been mentioned many times. I can actually do this with my front loader but I have to wait a couple of minutes for the water to settle before the door lock will disengage. In my impatience I walk away and forget and that causes other issues. Some front loaders will open immediately but top loaders always do which is definitely an advantage.

  12. Hi Colleen – We recently had to get a new washing machine and thought about a lot of those issues that you and your Mum are considering .We decided not to get a front loader solely from the point of view of wanting to avoid unnecessary bending as we get older . My daughter has a front loader and loves it but as a young mother she is bending and reaching all day and “falls” and “balance issues” and “knee problems” are not in her vocabulary .I have recently been right through my mum’s unit (at her request) and with the help of my sisters in law decluttered all her kitchen cooking stuff (and her dining room side board)and moved what was left to waist level height .Because we had decluttered so much this was fairly easy .I’ve emptied the two bottom drawers completely and generally made everything “reachable ” to avoid the need for her to bend down .Even if your Mum has to bend over the top loader she has the machine to lean against to steady herself for support .By the way we chose Fisher and Paykel again – very easy press buttons to use ,hardly ever had any problems AND their service dept (anyone with a Fisher and Paykel can ring them) was brilliant – real people who trouble shoot with you and save you money – we were getting brown sludge marks and she told us exactly what to do to clean the machine – iw was from using fabric softener – anyway it worked and saved us a costly visit ). We chose a smaller one – the only slightly annoying thing is that the top is not completely flat and I’m used to resting things on top of the machine when its not in use. So I would definitely vote for top loader . Oh and one more thing -any stool becomes a potential trip hazard.

    • Good helpful information thanks Jez. I will keep in mind the issue with a slanted lid when I go shopping with her. I might do some ground work here where I live first so I am armed with as much information as possible before we go out together. I will especially get information on service, repairs, technical backup and spare parts availability for the different brands.

      And well done making your mum’s home more user friendly for her.

      • It’s been a pleasure making her unit user friendly but she has been the instigator of all the decluttering. I think she is wonderful because her motivation is “to save you children from too much work when I’m gone”. Its very unselfish of her ! I think she enjoyed the process though – we went through everything, over two afternoons, and each of us took it in turns to take things and then what was left was taken to the thrift shop .She sorted out some big items herself by talking to people around her and found good homes for two lounge chairs and an old freezer that were in her garage .She has a condition that means that one day she wont be able to walk. I guess it gives her control over her life to be able to sort all her stuff now .The items that are still in her unit have been allocated to each of us and she keeps that list .Anway I told her about the current topic of washing machines and she says “she must get a top loading machine”. My sister in law regrets hers but mainly because she can’t open it once its started. Mum leans against hers (but she doesn’t get her tummy wet!). Colleen, this topic could last all week – you could probably skip Mon Tue and Wed at least!

        • I wish all older folks were like your mum. You tell her for me that I think she is a champion. I have more than once told both my parents and my in-laws about this attitude with mixed results.
          And thank your mum also for the washing machine advice, I will take it on board.

  13. Hi Colleen – I’m short and I use a top load. I have had a front load but wasn’t keen on the bending down for everything and also wasn’t keen on the not being able to open the door to add last things (which should have been obvious, I know).

    I had to replace my F&P topload that we bought before my son was born (he is 17 years) (the front load was a temporary thing due to a house we were in) had to replace it last year. Unfortunately I still need something that can wash family size loads, but they had these really small models for apartments and retired folks.

    They also had this model which had no agitator in the centre but I wasn’t very keen on it.

    If your mum is really keen on front loads, can it be put on top of a dryer and built into cupboard so that it doesn’t fall off?

    • Hi Moni, thanks for your input. My mum is keener on the top load model but asked me to look up information about them before making a final choice. That is why I am asking my readers as I know they will be helpful and honest.

  14. I loved how my front loaders did not leak water, unless I was cleaning out the filters.I even had one set up in the kitchen when the kids were young because the laundry was downstairs and it was so easy to wash the school clothes and hang them in front of the heater to dry ovenight. The only downside of frontloaders, I found, was their small capacity. How often does your Mum wash? I wash every day, and my new Fisher Paykel top loader can do it all in one load.
    I had an Asko brand front loader and so did my sister. One day her machine was not draining like it should and she cleaned out the filter and found $35 in coin!
    Cheers

    • Hi Wendy F, I like the idea of the washing machine in the kitchen because sometimes laundries are such a waste of space in a small home. All the machines are then located in a central position. I suppose the only drawback is the noise factor, I sometimes do a load in the evening and I have to make sure I close the laundry door so the noise doesn’t interrupt television viewing.

      I had to laugh about your sister finding $35 in coin in her filter. She really needs to teach her family to empty their pockets. I just tell mine that any money found by the washer women belongs to the washer women, that seems to work.

      • That always worked for me when my son was still home. I collected a nice chunk of change. My husband is more careful….he hardly ever leaves me anything..

        • Sadly for me both my son and my husband don’t leave any change for me but that is OK because that little plastic card works just as well if not better.

  15. I love my front loader washing machine. It tends to use less water and spins most of the water out of the clothes, so you do not need to dry them as long in the dryer. I would like to invest in pedestals in the future for mine because I am short and sometimes feel that my washer is too close to the floor when I am unloading it. I have only used liquid detergent in mine, but I do know that you can use powder. I think that most of my cycles run about 45 minutes (estimating) but there is a speed cycle option that is quicker, but I have not used it yet. I have an LG brand washer. Only dissapointing thing about this type of washer, and I hear it happens no matter the brand, is that it tends to eventually develop a smell. There are special tub cleaners/detergents that you can buy to use in the washer to clean the tub (running it through a cycle without clothes in it to clean the tub). Hope this helps.

    • Hi Jen and welcome to 365 Less Things. Do you leave the door open when you aren’t using your washer, that will help it to stay fresher smelling. My LG machine has a tub cleaning cycle which I use occasionally to keep it fresh. A friend of mine uses spa bath cleaner to clean out her machine. I used vinegar now instead of fabric softener which not only avoids buildup but helps keep mould away. I have only ever used powder detergent in mine and have never had a problem with it leaving residue on clothes.

      • Thanks for the tips. At my last house, I was able to leave the door open and it helped tremendously. At the house I am in now, it is not as easy, but I will definitely use your suggestions. I love your website!

        • Thanks Jen, I hope you will pop in and chat with us more often.

          • Mine’s a Frigidaire, I’ve had it 6 or 7 years, don’t leave the door open or dry the rubber door gasket and have never had the smell problem others here have mentioned. With only two of us, laundry happens about once a week and the machine can sit for a month or two while we travel. Never a problem. Lucky?? or good design. Don’t know.

  16. Colleen – I was thinking about the house that I grew up in, which would be considered small by modern standards and had very little storage built in. But despite this it had an entire room dedicated to the laundry. Granted not a big room but would have been as big as the kitchen. And that was very normal for that era (oh great, I am old enough to belong to an “era”) I wonder why so much space was allowed for the laundry room back then? I live in a modern brick & tile house now and the laundry is tucked in a corner of the garage. Mum had a whole room. I know people who have bought/renovated houses from that era and been able to turn the wash-houses (which is what they were called in our area) into extra bedrooms or offices.

    I was also thinking about this dryer she had, it wasn’t a tumble dryer it was like this big cupboard and things were hung in it and came out kinda crisp. And she had a wringer washing machine that my brother managed to put his arm thru once. When I started school mum got part time work to buy herself a new washing machine and tumble dryer and thought she was just the bees knees. I think she still has that washing machine.

    • Moni I love reminiscing. My grandmother had a washhouse laundry. It was a separate structure detached from the actual house. It was as you say quite a large space with room enough for machine and tubs and all cleaning tools as well, mop bucket brooms and the like. She probably could have done the ironing down there two but as I remember she always did the ironing on some folded blankets and sheets at the end of the kitchen table. How awkward that must have been. She also put her hand through the wringer on her washer once. I dare say the washroom was large and out of the way because that generation often washed in a copper. Considering some of the old coppers had combustion heaters this could probably be dangerous to incorporate in the house. At home when I was growing up we had a typical Queensland house of the times raised on timber pole with all the rooms upstairs and the bottom only clad in gapped slats. The laundry area was underneath which consisted of a couple of concrete wash tubs and powerpoint for the machine. The machine was initially a wringer then we got the first twin tub and sadly my mother stuck with what she new after that and still has a twin tub. I started washing for her at a very early age in order to earn pocket money especially around Christmas time so we could afford to buy everyone a gift, have money left over for the summer vacation and then afford to buy gifts for all the birthdays that closely followed Christmas 28th Jan 1st, 5th and 12th of February.

      • Hi Colleen – I am so glad I live in age of F&P Smart Drive. My mum ironed just about everything. I actively avoid ironing, it was one of my chores as a child and I feel I did my allotment for a lifetime. 🙂 I remember being in town and mum wanted to buy a new table cloth (for the record I have ONE table cloth for good occaisions) and I tried so hard to talk her into this one that must have been a poly mix which didn’t require ironing, but no, she had to go for the cotton one.

  17. Front loader on platform with stool. That’s my vote.

  18. I can’t offer any useful advice Colleen as I’ve not really heard of toploading washing machines: I think they can’t be very common in the uk.
    It is not so usual in the uk to have a separate room for the washing mchine, though some modern larger houses have utility rooms for washers and dryers and freezers. Most people I know including myself have our washing machine in the kitchen. They need to be front loaders as size wise, they are designed to fit under the kitchen worktop.

    Not relevant to your search, but ou of interest,my front loader is 20 yrs old and any repairmen who have had to work on it tell me never to get rid of it as newer ones truely aren’t made so well these days.

  19. Miscellaneous :

    I bought a Frigidaire front loader 5 years ago and have been very happy with how it washes, how quiet it is and how little water it uses. OTOH, now that I’m 63, bending down to get in there and pull stuff out is harder and I can’t see into it very well. Mine is not on a riser and they don’t look all that stable to me.
    Friend of mine just bought a new design toploader which has no agitator in the middle. Huge capacity. Hasn’t been delivered yet but we have high hopes that it will do well. I assume it still uses more water than mine, so if water conservation is an issue in your dry land, stick with the front loader.

  20. Miscellaneous :

    My son has a front loader on stand which I used for weeks at a time when we visited doing bookkeeping updates for him. I only use liquid clear non-allergic detergent (All brand) since we have sensitive skin. Although I felt it did a good job, I didn’t particularly like it. I am in my 70’s and no longer hang out clothes. The dryer was also a front loader on a stand. When it came time to replace my own washer, we bought a top loader, which I feel is a lot easier to load. The new energy types have lower tubs, but use less water. I haven’t found the lower tub to be a problem, though it took a little while to get used to. We did not replace our dryer since it is large capacity and still works fine. I do insist on a dryer with the door opening down to form a shelf so that clothes may be placed there and then kind of shoved on into the dryer after a pile forms. Otherwise I seem to drop some of the wash on the floor. Unless your mother is very short, probably either type machine will be okay, though as I said I personally prefer the toploader.

  21. I’ve helped several friends purchase new washing machines and this is what I’ve learned.

    For one, I wouldn’t bother with an energy efficient model. After much research, ending up with a technician at the main Sears repair center, I found that energy efficient machines are just like the non-energy-efficient ones except for a piece that limits how much hot water you can put in. That extra piece is what causes the energy efficient model to be more expensive. If you and/or your mother choose to use cool water anyway (as I do), you are doing the same thing as the extra piece does … for a lower price and while still preserving the ability to use hot water for that rare time when you need it. This research is from about six years ago, but I don’t think the story is different today.

    One friend decided she just didn’t like not being able to “play” in the washing machine. After she said that, I realized I do the same thing … toss one more piece in after the load starts, add a bit more detergent if needed (I always start low), stuff like that. She was disappointed that she was no longer able to do that with her front loader. Also, this woman has very dirty clothes (her husband is a diesel mechanic) and she found that her loads had to be substantially smaller (with the front loader) in order for them to get clean (which made her wonder if she is really saving that much water if she needs to do so many more loads). One final comment from her … she likes to wash the thin comforters on her beds regularly and finds they can’t be washed in her front loader well … the “inside” of the comforter doesn’t even get damp; as far as I know, she never solved that problem.

    I read recently that there is general agreement that more recent washers are less good at cleaning than earlier ones … here is one of the many articles I saw: http://dailyreckoning.com/the-attack-on-the-washing-machine/ Me, I want good cleaning and am pretty much fine with skipping the extra features.

    My mom, who is 89, uses a top loader. I think the big deal is that you can lean on the front of the top loader as you are unloading it (she, like me, uses the top of the adjacent dryer for the unloading station). That might trump the whole bending/squatting thing with the front loader.

    I have a Sears (Kenmore, meaning I’m not sure who the original manufacturer is) top loader and matching dryer purchased new in 2000. They work wonderfully and I hope to keep them for decades. Previously, I had a pair I purchased new from J.C. Penney in 1982 and which are still running perfectly in the now-rented-out apartment I used to live in (in another state). I wash large loads, including full-size, heavy comforters and all the various wool blankets and throws we use around the house … all get wonderfully clean.

    Good luck to your mom.

    • Thank you, Barbara, for this information. It was very useful to learn about energy-efficient washers. I also like to “play” in my washing machine. I let clothes soak, add more items or detergent or detergent booster if I forgot the first time. I’m 4’9″ and I like my top-loader, I don’t think I would ever purchase a front loader after considering all the negatives and talking with my sister about hers.

      • Thanks for your opinion Barbara especially since you have had so much experience with this. I must admit that with washers I think the economy is in the water saving rather than the power. My mum will certainly be buying a water efficient machine no matter which model she goes with.

  22. i have a top of the line neptune maytag washer dryer front loader. I hate it within 1 wk. of purchase it wouldnt spin. The store would not take it back.The Maytag man was not lonely he was living at my house.After many many visits to my house it is still limbing along.For 1200$ I expected more. It now spins when it feels like it. Has to have the door opened and shut again to turn it off sometimes the door opens in midcycle and the rubber is full of mold.I disgusted as far as actual cleaning Im considering taking my Grannys old washboard down to the creek . If anyone trys to sell you a maytag run.

  23. There are way too many comments, and I’ve yet to catch up, but things I have thought of are
    – a timer (so it can run overnight – often means cheaper electricity, but depends on her meter etc; or you can run it so it finishes when you get home from something, whatever works)

    I prefer the front loader (the second I’ve bought in my short life!), despite longer cycles. In the past there were rebates in Aust, cause they were water saving. I like having ‘clear’ space on top of the machine, for my jar of homemade washing powder, and a fan (to help de-mistify the bathroom). I can stop it any time (with patience). And it seems to clean my clothes – even the delicate stuff on a special delicate cycle. I recommence LG only because they have a 10 year warranty on the motor.

    • Our fire services generally advise not to run a washer or tumble drier over night due to risk of fire. My tumble drier went up in 6 ft flames last year. Thankfully I was in the kitchen at the time so could take action.

  24. Hi Colleen! I hope I’m not too late with my comment. My internet has been off and I notice you already have LOTS of comments. However, I wanted to throw in my 2cents worth.

    I’m 60 years old. I’ve been fortunate to have had only 2 top loaders and 1 front loader in my adult life. I definitely vote for a simple, knob turning top loader!!!! Although my front loader did seem to wrinkle clothes less, to me it was much more trouble. It was much harder for me to get clothes in and out. It was not on a pedestal. My current dryer has a door that pulls down from the top. I get my clothes out of the washer on to the top of the dryer and then just slide them off down to the dryer. If my arms don’t hold them all, the dryer door catches them. With the front loader, I was constantly dropping things in the floor. But here was one of my main complaints with the front loader:
    THERE IS NO GOING BACK WITH A FORGOTTEN PIECE OF LAUNDRY ONCE IT IS STARTED!!!!! Although my laundry is presorted into separate hampers from the moment of use (fortunate to have that much space and I have hampers for darks, white, jeans, and towels), I am forever forgetting to get the dishcloth from the kitchen, etc, when I start a load. Also, I hang up some clothes after wearing in case I need to slip them on again before washing. It is easy to forget to include this in the basket. With the top loader, I can easily add it after the machine is filling. To me, this is worth a lot, because I may not want to wait another week to wash the item I forgot!!!!

    But this is my REAL reason for submitting my opinion, and it is my very own money saving tip for all your dear readers! I had read on the internet how with a front loading washer you could use just one tablespoon of detergent. Well, I decided I would try it for my top loader.
    The only difference is the amount of water used, right? I tried it and can tell NO DIFFERENCE in the cleanliness of my clothes. I didn’t want a mess every time I measured it out, so I poured some of my liquid detergent into an easy to fill pump bottle (and my septic tank person said liquid is better than powder). I measured how many squirts it took to make a tablespoon, and it was twelve. So, when I start filling my top loader, I just squirt in the 12 pumps. No mess. Honestly, the water looks dirtier when washing than when I used the full amount, so I think it is cleaning as well or better. I use even less if washing dress clothing or maybe a couple squirts more if my husband has some super dirty clothes. Detergent will last a very long time this way!!!!

    Then, to save water, I usually move the knob to a notch less water for the rinse cycle. The clothes are really fluffed up when you start to wash them. If you notice, after the wash, there’s plenty of room for them to rinse in less water.

    I hope this tip helps someone to save a bit of money on detergent.

    I also use only 1/2 tablespoon of powder in my dishwasher and it works fine in my model.

    Yours is my favorite of all the decluttering emails I get, Colleen. Keep up the good work!

  25. P.S. I forgot to add, Colleen, that my front loader always dribbled water into the floor when I opened the door after the wash. I don’t know if they all do that or if it was just mine. I hated that, though!!!

  26. We have now had 3 front loaders, and have had issues with them walking across the floor in the 800 rpm spin cycle. Although our current machine has a 1300 rpm spin cycle, I am not game to use it because of the “walking” issue. Also, ours stated you can do a 30 minute cycle (which was one of the features I wanted), but when you check out the manual, it turns out that you can only put in 2-3 kg of washing when using this cycle – not the full capacity of the machine which is 7.5 kg. With the front loader I miss not being able to open the door and add something I have missed. I have had one on a raised platform, and two others I have had on the floor and used a chair to sit down to pull things out. Definitely couldn’t use a platform with the current machine because we cannot get it to stop “walking” – even with levelling and a rubber mat under it. We also had the drum of one front loader fail within the warranty period and had to get another machine. Front loaders are good for saving water, but I still think that next time round I might go back to a top loader. I am a family of five, and think top loaders are better for towels and sheets.

    • Hi KBaker and welcome to 365 Less Things. Thank you for your input on this subject. You certainly have had some issues with your front loaders. It makes me think I made a very good choice when I bought mine ~ that was probably more good luck than good management. 😉 I have to admit I have never read the weight capacity of the different cycles for my machine. I did that after reading your comment and have discovered that only one cycle can be used at capacity ~ the cotton cycle. The instructions also say (I did know this) not to cram the machine too full. I was just saying to my husband the other day that the clothes would have to be made of lead to reach that 8 kg dry weight limit without being cramming the machine too full. And I dare say the wash results would be very low in standard. More marketing mumbo jumbo to make unsuspecting consumers make poor purchase decisions I guess.

  27. I hope you are still interested in info on washers. I have a top loading machine at home and we got an extra large one (Kenmore) so I could do larger loads when the kids were home. This Kenmore is about 12 years old now and the one we had before lasted for 24 years. Anyway, the only problem I have with the large capacity is that it is very deep and I really have to stretch to reach to the bottom. However, after reading some of the responses here, I realized that a short stool would be the perfect thing for me to use. I love this machine, I use liquid detergent and put it in on the bottom, then partially fill with water and then add my clothes. I mostly use this with cold water wash and rinse. This is a great machine.
    Now, I used a front loader at the beach last week and I hated that I had to almost climb inside it to reach items at the back. I also did not like the long cycle while the machine weighed and measured my clothes and took forever for the water to fill in the machine. It was very quiet when washing but tried to walk out of the closet when it was on the spin cycle. I have some issues with my shoulder and had a difficult time unloading this washer. If I were to get another washer, I would get a regular capacity machine (would not be so deep) since it is only my husband and I home now. If I have large bedspreads or comforters, I usually take them to a commercial laundry to wash in their extra large washers. Hope this helps.

  28. Oh yes, I would get a top loading, regular capacity washer. Forgot to state that in my previous note.