Thread Number: 71039  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
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Post# 940433   5/26/2017 at 21:27 by cuffs054 (GA)        

Read an on line article from Consumer Reports titled "ARE WE USING TOO MUCH WATER". Buried in the article was the statement that using too much water is not what is needed to get clean clothes because it let the clothes move through the water without "rubbing" against each other for a "scrubbing" action. Umm, not sure I agree with that.  I'm seeing what looks like wear caused by rubbing on my T-shirts since I got the TAG and lemme tell ya,  it sure as hell is not a water hog.

Post# 940436 , Reply# 1   5/26/2017 at 21:49 by washman (Butler, PA)        

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I don't agree with their statement whatsoever.  If this were really true, then we'd have 4 gallon water use washers on the market years ago.

Again, more nonsensical pseudo science designed to "scare" us all into thinking we're running out of water (we're not).

Methinks Algore must be a $$$ contributor or donor to their cause. All the more reason I quit this rag years ago.

Post# 940437 , Reply# 2   5/26/2017 at 21:53 by wayupnorth (On a lake between Bangor and Bar Harbor)        

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I can pump out of a 14 mile lake, so I will never run out of water. Its pumping drains and septic up and out of here is the bigger issue. I never want to pollute this lake.

Post# 940444 , Reply# 3   5/26/2017 at 22:11 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

CU reported some time ago that new HE machines were rougher on fabrics than vintage front loaders because they use so much less water.  CU is drinking deeply of the KoolAid, itself made with too little water and it makes me more than suspicious of everything they publish.

Post# 940457 , Reply# 4   5/26/2017 at 23:26 by speedqueen (Harrison Twp, Michigan)        

I personally believe that CU is wrong and I think that all this water saving is more nonsense than not. Clothes rubbing has almost nothing to do with cleaning, the action of the detergent(enzymes and surfactants), and forcing water through the clothes is what gets clothes clean. FL machines get higher marks because of the fact that today's detergents are more like solvents than the ones of old because of the addition of enzymes. You could get the same effect by setting clothes in a wash tub for 2 hours because the long cycle time is only for the enzymes to work. If SQ were to take their TL machine and have a 30 min wash period consisting of 1 min agitation and a two minute soak alternating as to prevent clothes wear the performance would be far better in my estimate than any front loader and at a total cycle time of around 45 minutes it would beat or be on par with most FL machines quick cycle.

The action of an agitator is far more efficient at forcing water through clothes than tumbling which is why the 1950s FL machines which had comparable cycle times to TL machines, were considered by CU as poor in washing.

Post# 940462 , Reply# 5   5/26/2017 at 23:43 by chetlaham (United States)        
I said it before

CU is a propaganda machine. The powers that be have deiced that 40 gallons of water per cycle is no longer going to happen, so they have to get everyone on board using what ever means possible.

Do I agree with that statement? No, because the fins at the bottom do the rubbing (and agitator itself). Even then, washers that touted water movement over rubbing against some part of the agitator like Maytag still got clothes very clean.

Post# 940463 , Reply# 6   5/26/2017 at 23:44 by chetlaham (United States)        

I somehow have to agree- I mean it just makes sense.

Post# 940475 , Reply# 7   5/27/2017 at 01:36 by tolivac (greenville nc)        

Iam also here on NOT believing the BS CU constantly prints in their rag-yes dropped my subscription to them years ago.CU is absolute NONESENSE!!!!And again they seem to want to take away your freedom of choice-many folks don't want water mizer machines rammed down their throats!

Post# 940496 , Reply# 8   5/27/2017 at 09:28 by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        
Wear & Tear

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I have to agree that the latest water saving machines do exacerbate wear and tear on the clothes.

Old front loaders cushioned the load as they swirled it through the wash water. Same with rinses.

The new machines appear to be behaving more like the old ribbed washboards! Hence the reason for wear and tear.

A further factor, is the amount of time it takes to do a wash. Old machines could do a decent wash in about an hour/75 mins/90mins, depending on the model. New ones have increasingly insanely long cycles. I'm sorry, but anything over 2 hours will not wash with me - It's utter madness!

I would prefer a front loader machine to be able to wash a decently full, NORMALLY soiled load in about an hour - give or take five minutes. Heavy soil option could reasonably extend the cycle by an extra fifteen minutes.

I wonder if the manufacturers could improve wash times, not simply by reducing the time and thus the cleaning, but by incorporating several technologies? Such as a decently powerful recirculation pump - one which was capable of remaining on for the entire length of wash phase (say, 30 mins), and also during the rinsing process (say, 20 mins). Not those lacklustre things they currently use. The load would be better saturated, detergent would get properly mixed, and rinsing would improve. Add a spin phase of about 10 to 12 mins, and Bingo!

Post# 940504 , Reply# 9   5/27/2017 at 10:04 by ryanm (New York)        

I agree with all here, and wonder with new 2018 regulations limiting water even further what are manufacturers going to be coming out with in the new year, and how awful their performance will be. Some of the machines I have used like the front load LG in my parents apartment building you can't even see a splash of water when the wash is tumbling, and if you happen to do a large load, some of the clothes appear to stay dry when looking through the front of the machine. My Mom is constantly complaining that her clothes don't clean no matter what laundry detergent is used, and I have seen this first hand, and they are elderly so I cant imagine if you had kids with dirty socks and stained clothes how they would look. My brother in law has a Whirlpool front load, and he has the same complaint. It must be the lack of water is all I can think. When my Mom had a traditional top loader her clothes were always sparkling clean, and same with me and my family. I still have a traditional top loader and feel it's cleaning is far superior to any HE machine I have used. You need WATER to clean clothes. I spent some time reading transcripts from the manufacturers that argued this point with the government, and also argued that machines would become 'ineffective' if they adhere to the regulations put forth for 2018, but it seems to have fallen on deaf ears. CONSUMER REPORTS has ALWAYS been BOGUS, in the past when 2 washers made exactly the same by a manufacturer but put 2 different names on them you would see one on the top rating and the exact same model under another name was rated poorly.... same thing with vacuum cleaners, rating a cheap plastic vacuum better than some of the best because it has a 'cheap price' and performance was 'acceptable'..... which is why I do not subscribe but unfortunately many people do refer to them for buying..

Post# 940509 , Reply# 10   5/27/2017 at 10:15 by Logixx (Germany)        

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I guess you'd like one of the Swiss machines. Looking at the Schulthess manual, a regular Cotton cycle takes between 61 to 85 minutes for a 40 to 90C wash.

Post# 940513 , Reply# 11   5/27/2017 at 10:40 by chetlaham (United States)        
Wear and tear

Modern WP top loads agitate as they fill. Wear and tear is an absolute given, and for the record I believe that is intentional to get people to switch to front load or impeller.

Post# 940514 , Reply# 12   5/27/2017 at 10:47 by kenwashesmonday (Haledon, NJ)        

"...using too much water is not what is needed to get clean clothes because it let the clothes move through the water without "rubbing" against each other for a "scrubbing" action."

I believe there is a somewhat valid point here. When I fill my old Maytag A606 nice and full I believe the clothes get washed cleaner.

Post# 940534 , Reply# 13   5/27/2017 at 15:17 by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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Schulthess... Yes! That's more like it! Sensible times, for sensibly sized loads.

It'll be the usual EU claptrap, mandating that domestic machines HAVE to be dumbed down, but professional/commercial machines are allowed to operate normally.

Pretty much what the EU has already done to detergents, paints, vacuum cleaners, etc.

Post# 940540 , Reply# 14   5/27/2017 at 16:51 by logixx (Germany)        

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Oh, I was talking about their domestic washers. Their capacity is also over-rated at 8 kilos, yet they still get the job done fairly quickly.


Post# 940561 , Reply# 15   5/27/2017 at 19:34 by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
A LOONG time ago

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around 2005 when I got my Duet FL washer - there was a discussion on this. We were are talking about different things we noticed with our "then new" FL washers compared to the TL washers we were used to - one of the things being dryer lint.. We pretty much all agreed that there was less lint on the dryer screen. I'd say maybe 30 to 40 % less than when I was using my Whirlpool TL washer from around 2002. I'm just scratching my head at this - because if these new low water machines are causing clothes to wear out more quickly, I'd assume there would be a crap load more lint on the dryer screen - NO?

Post# 940571 , Reply# 16   5/27/2017 at 20:38 by petek (Ontari ari ari O )        

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Im cornfused, how long are the new front loaders taking to do a normal load..   That Duet I just got takes 40 minutes, 50 some minutes if you go for the more more dirty setting. No longer really than it took my filter flo 

Post# 940610 , Reply# 17   5/28/2017 at 04:59 by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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Wow! Two heating elements! For the "Short Swiss Programmes"! And dirt sensor, although the instructions for that machine, say not to use liquids in the drum, I presume because undissolved detergent blocks the turbidity sensor. At least with my Panasonic there is a flow through the sump by the recirculation pump, thus helping to mix the detergent and keeping the sensor clean.

@Petek: Typically for EU machines, over two hours for a full load. The quick-wash programmes are usually meant for half-loads/lightly soiled. And if the stupid machine cannot balance, add an extra 20 minutes.

The way things are going, everyone will soon be going back to the old twintub machines.

Post# 940622 , Reply# 18   5/28/2017 at 07:07 by logixx (Germany)        

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Yes, brands like Schulthess or V Zug don't f**k around with cycle times. Their washers and, in the case of V Zug, dishwashers get the job done quickly. Along with 400V heating, you can even connect them to hot water to get the laundry done even faster. Needless to say, they are expensive!

Post# 940641 , Reply# 19   5/28/2017 at 11:15 by washerdude (Canada )        
@ mark_wpduet

I still feel this way, which also makes me strongly believe that CR means the impeller washers and possibly not FL.

When we did a load of towels in our old Inglis TL, they would be washed on hot on the normal cycle. When they came out of the dryer, the lint screen would have a nice thick coating of lint (Using our WP Built top mount lint screen dryer).

Now with our new WP duet, majority of the time we wash towels on heavy duty with hot water. When they came out of our old WP 29 inch dryer, the lint screen would have a very thin coating of lint. The same thing happens in our new Kenmore dryer.

Post# 940647 , Reply# 20   5/28/2017 at 11:52 by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        
@ washerdude

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I think so too - I've never had an impeller top load machine, only the traditional TL of the past and newer FL washers - and there is definitely less lint on the dryer screen than with the traditional TL washer. I will say that over the going on 13 yrs of owning this FL machine, I have ended up with a few random mystery holes in T shirts (not many) But if I'm doing a small colored load, I've been known to throw a pair of jeans in there with them so the zipper could have done it. It's pretty rare overall for me too see a hole in any clothing so I've not given it much thought.

Post# 940653 , Reply# 21   5/28/2017 at 12:55 by jerrod6 (Center City Philadelphia Pennsylvania, U.S.A)        

I wish Consumers Reports  or some organization would concentrate more on rinsing.  My washer drains into a laundry sink and the sink is connected to an inclosed below floor sump pump which then pumps the water up and over to the sewer line.  My sewer line is suspended from the basement ceiling so that's why this i necessary.


When I replaced the sump pump it came out covered and dripping in thick black oily grease.   I mentioned this to the plumber and he said that when detergent degrades it turns to thick petroleum goo because some of it's components are derived from petroleum products.


After seeing this, I don't want any of this stuff remaining on my clothes or skin.   So I don't mind low water levels for washing but do want adequate water levels for rinsing.  I don't believe current washers are providing enough water to adequately remove detergent. 

Post# 940654 , Reply# 22   5/28/2017 at 13:06 by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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Are you using liquid detergents?

Post# 940773 , Reply# 23   5/29/2017 at 08:46 by jerrod6 (Center City Philadelphia Pennsylvania, U.S.A)        


I was using Persil Megaperls for whites and Megaperls for colors and once in a while alternating those with Miele for whites and Miele for colors. All of these are powders.

All of the Miele powders except the one for sensitive skin have been removed from the USA web site so maybe I won't be using them anymore.

Post# 940784 , Reply# 24   5/29/2017 at 11:24 by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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The only time that I've ever seen black gunge, is when a machine has gotten mouldy.

Most of the time, the deposits in the sump of the machine and drain hose, tend to be more of a grey clay. I presume this is the undissolved residue from zeolites in the powders.

Do you use fabric conditioners?

Post# 940787 , Reply# 25   5/29/2017 at 11:39 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

What is even more galling is that with this limited water use, they are still advocating cold water washing.

Post# 940799 , Reply# 26   5/29/2017 at 14:11 by jerrod6 (Center City Philadelphia Pennsylvania, U.S.A)        

My oily gunk is not in the washer. It is in the sump pump attached to the laundry sink and the water drains in the basement floor.

Post# 940809 , Reply# 27   5/29/2017 at 15:22 by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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Yes, but could the oily gunk be derived of fabric conditioners?

Post# 940830 , Reply# 28   5/29/2017 at 17:59 by jerrod6 (Center City Philadelphia Pennsylvania, U.S.A)        

That could be. I don't know the exact ingredient origin of any detergents or fabric softener. Softeners used to contain animal fat but I don't know what replaced that unless it is silicone.

If it is due to softeners I need to find out what is in Comfort,Vernel,and Miele softeners because that's what I was using at that time.

Post# 940895 , Reply# 29   5/29/2017 at 22:58 by earthling177 (Boston, MA)        


I would like to draw your attention to a few things: usually, most fabric softeners are cationic detergents; usually, most laundry detergents are anionic and/or non-ionic; there are some zwitterionic surfactants too, but those tend to be more expensive.

Some surfactants (soap, some old-style fabric softeners) can be made with tallow or even vegetable fats -- that does not mean that they *contain* the original fats anymore, only that the fats were reacted with other ingredients to make the product. The use of vegetable fats and/or tallow as a "fabric softener" per se has been abandoned, as far as I can tell, since the time synthetic detergents were introduced to the public.

Currently, most fabric softeners are made of quaternary ammonium compounds which are cationic surfactants. They work mostly because they neutralize the anionic surfactants in laundry detergents. When dosed appropriately, there'll be little leftover on the garments. When people overdose, you have the classic "towels fail to absorb water". That can also happen when either the detergent or the softener leaves excess silicone (particularly the brands that advertise easier ironing).

The problem you are describing with your pump may come from several places, but I think the chances it came from your laundry products are small. It's more probable it came from fuel oil that seeped, say, from the soil near your basement into the sump, usually from leaking tanks (yours or neighbors'), or even from failing ball bearings in the pump itself which leaked their lubricant (although that would be a much smaller deposit).

In your shoes, I'd first start checking the soil around the sump for fuel oil leaks.

-- Paulo.

Post# 940914 , Reply# 30   5/29/2017 at 23:38 by warmsecondrinse (Fort Lee, NJ)        
"Are we using too much water?"

I recall seeing some articles from the UK a few years ago in which it was stated that conventional urinals use far more water per person per year than washers do.

Yes, I know there're many factors involved with calculating water usage by a urinal so numbers vary greatly. However, all were a good bit higher than even the highest washer use estimate. Perhaps one of our UK members has read something about this.

My point is that if the interest in water conservation were genuine, washers and dishwashers would not be such major targets.

Post# 940947 , Reply# 31   5/30/2017 at 03:59 by Rolls_rapide (Scotland, UK)        

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I've not read anything in particular, but I know from experience.

As most blokes will know, conventional urinals had an overhead cistern, either visible or hidden behind panelling. The cistern usually trickle-filled, and emptied by syphoning, pretty much the same way that fabric conditioner compartments flush in front loading automatics. The problem was that with urinals, gallons of water were wasted throughout the day.

Different organisations and businesses have reached different solutions. Some pubs, hotels and council offices seem to have "Water-Mizer" type valves fitted to the fill pipe of the urinal - I presume operated either by infrared sensor detection, or more usually by a timer.

Government departments have a different policy: switch off the water completely, and call them "waterless"! I kid you not. Periodically the cleaners would pop-in and pour buckets of water with disinfectant solution down the urinals. Chlorine bleaches were banned by the department - only approved detergents could be used.

Post# 941070 , Reply# 32   5/30/2017 at 21:26 by cuffs054 (GA)        

Wow Warm, I must be heading for a real problem. Not only does the Tag use no water, but I'm approaching the age when I'll be peeing in my BVD's!  Oh, the humanity!

Post# 941720 , Reply# 33   6/4/2017 at 10:39 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I read several years ago about this super eco-efficient building with a green roof and the urinals were waterless; they just drained down. Well, with no water to dilute the pee, it ate through the pipes and the bathrooms smelled like something out of the third world. They had had to tear into the walls to redo the plumbing.

Post# 941843 , Reply# 34   6/5/2017 at 04:49 by mrboilwash (Munich,Germany)        

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I think CU`s statment is as usual way too general, lacking the details. There have been water hogs out there which gave excellent results and others that didn`t. Same is true for the frugal washers with more "rubbing action".
But even if it was only propaganda it is still a given fact that some parts of the USA have been facing serious water shortages for a long time. I guess some here just don`t give a s**t whether there`s a single drop left in Colorado River for the Mexicans or not.

Jerrod, my parents have a similar setup in the basement, a chamber with a pump where the washer is connected to because the sewer line is located above.
My Mom is rather frugal with detergent but she loves her fabric softener in abundance. We need to clean out the chamber about once in a year because a lot of lint accumulates which the pump fails to pump out but there is no such thing as black oily slime. I believe your plumber didn`t know what he`s talking about. The phenomenon you describe sounds like you`re having a severe build up of a bio film from a mixture of bacteria, sebum and soil from clothes, detergents, lint and so on. This has in my opinion nothing to to whether the detergents are derived from petrochemicals or from natural fats and oils. I suspect the reason my Mom is not facing a similar problem is because she is doing boilwashes on a regular basis. I wonder if an occasional use of chlorine might solve your problem.

Earthling, I think you are spot on when you say just because detergents and fabric softeners are made from fats and oils does not mean they *contain* the original fats anymore only that the fats were reacted with other chemicals to make the product. One thing I don`t agree with is that the cationic surfactants used as the main "active substance" in FS (those ester quats) are still derived from tallow, palm oil, coconut oil. However mineral oil as a raw material for FS and the resulting cationic surfactant DSDMAC has been fallen out of favour in the early 90s because of poor biodegradability and besides it had a much more pronounced negative effect on absorbance of fibers, but all kinds of natural oils are still used to produce the surfactants.

Post# 942687 , Reply# 35   6/9/2017 at 15:45 by UncleDave (California)        

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Wether one is" running out of water" or not is wholly dependent on where you live.

We pay an awful lot for water in Southern California.

We nearly depleted the Sierra system last year and were lucky to have the first wet season in a decade fill everything up. The water municipalities switched us over to the Colorado systems much harder water and its been a relief to go back to the softer water.


Post# 942896 , Reply# 36   6/10/2017 at 16:24 by jerrod6 (Center City Philadelphia Pennsylvania, U.S.A)        

The manual for my machine says not to use chlorine bleach so I don't in the loads,but I do pour It down the sink once a week just so it will go into the pump.

I am no longer going to worry about what's in the sump, it will be what it is. Thank you all for suggestions

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