Thread Number: 73538  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Is the permanent press cycle a gimmick?
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Post# 971125   12/2/2017 at 10:57 by chetlaham (United States)        

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In response to this video posted by Laundress:








I have seen plenty of vintage and modern machines which have a questionable permanent press cycles- yet have never known someone to complain. For example, GE Filter flos would never do a half tub drain, but rather spin with a continuous spin spray. My Speed Queen for example simply does the first spin on low. No special spray rinse, cool down or slow final spin. In fact outside of most older Maytag and Whirlpools I would say that all of them violate the rules in the above video one way or another.


Second- outside of line drying- wouldn't heat from the dryer relax the wrinkles in fabric while the cool down "re hardens" the relaxed fibers?





Post# 971129 , Reply# 1   12/2/2017 at 11:26 by DaveAMKrayoGuy (Oak Park, MI)        

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Washing machine manufacturers are in the habit of including them or something similar to them to this day!

Think of this: If the day should come that a washer, no matter how fully-featured it is, or even a low-line basic model, were to suddenly and forever lack this option that is still standard, although a notorious water-waster, and equally seldom-used, Wouldn't You Miss It????!!!!



-- Dave


Post# 971132 , Reply# 2   12/2/2017 at 11:30 by appnut (TX)        

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When this feature was introduced by Whirlpool, new "miracle fabrics" were being sold.  Many people still did not have clothes dryers.  As Tomturbomatic has stated in the past, wash'n'wear cycle pioneered by Whirlpool were most effective with these new fabrics particularly for folk who still ine dried.  Maytag's 900 (all-button) models did have a W'n'W cycle with a partial drain and fill with cold water cool down.  When they finally did come out with the function on ordinary timer dials in the very late 1960s, it did partial drain and refill with cold, at least once, if not twice.  the commercial FabricMatics did one of those that took the place of the portion of the post wash spin that led up to the spray rinse.  the spin that followed was the period that followed the spray rinse also.  So Maytag didn't agitate after refilling just like initial Kenmores and Whirlpools.  Just partial drain and refill about 4 or 5 times.  My 1977/1978 GE did actually have a true partial drain and refill with cold and agitate before spinning.  but the agitation period following that cold fill was 6 to 8 minutes long (I timed it, it seemed excessive to me).  But that was short lived with GE, a friend from work got basically the same model I had the following year and had reverted on the timer dial back to the old begin extended spray rinse as soon as pressure switch was reset as water drained out of the washer and sprayed until the time for the rinse fill.   I think it was still pretty effective because it began spraying long before spin speed ramped up.  I THINK the Frigidaire 1/18s also had a cooldown, but on their PP cycle (as well as Knit), it did an extended spray rinse and with that Jet Circle Spray system, clothes got saturated with cold water pretty quickly once it started spraying.  Also, the spin speed on those cycles were hardwired to be slow. 


Post# 971135 , Reply# 3   12/2/2017 at 12:00 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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A highly-respected local WP dealer back in the day had the position that the Perm Press washer cycle with all the extra water for the cool down isn't needed unless the items are line-dried.

Direct-drive WP/KM did a single half-drain cool down, until at some point it was eliminated.  The 2003 WP "Gold" I have has a "Cool Down" tag after the wash period in the Casual/Permanent Press cycle but it's nothing more than a couple spin-sprays, the first of which starts immediately with the spin.  The Regular cycle has no sprays in the first spin.

My 1999 F&P GWL08 and 2004 IWL12 both do a full drain and refill/agitation after the wash, before the first spin on the Perm Press (GWL08) and Creasables option (IWL12) ... essentially two rinses.


Post# 971137 , Reply# 4   12/2/2017 at 12:21 by chetlaham (United States)        

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I think that Whirlpool dealer is correct. I can't see it being needed for a tumble dry. Much like a lint filter in the washer in most cases. Whats more interesting is that at one point Whirlpool even changed from slow to high speed spin in the last minutes of the press care cycle- saying you got the extra water out without the wrinkles.


My parents and grandparents always used the press care cycle- even on cold- thinking it was somehow better- in between normal and delicate (semi delicate). Took them a while to to figure out (from me) that it used more water and left the clothes a lot wetter. Let alone the need on cold water wash. Fast/slow is just dumb. I somehow think it was not only them that had that view.



Post# 971138 , Reply# 5   12/2/2017 at 12:23 by chetlaham (United States)        
And oh-

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Lets not forget the Kenmore washers that had "Normal" on the press care cycle. Talk about the water waste. I think an extended spray rinse would have been better. And ditch it at the end (after the rinse)- I never understood the need.

Post# 971155 , Reply# 6   12/2/2017 at 15:22 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
Man Made Fibers

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For the most part are thermoplastic. That is heat sets in wrinkles, creases, pleats, etc....

As Mr. Wynn spells out so clearly in the video such fabrics need to be washed in warm (or even hot water), then gradually cooled before spin drying. If not you'll get creases set in that no amount of ironing can remove.

Consider also again because of thermoplastic properties ideally many man made fibers either shouldn't be tumble dried and or at least done with reduced heat.

Fact that these are big old American top loading washing machines that need vast amounts of water is just part and parcel of doing the job.

Nearly all European H-Axis washing machines have some sort of "Permanent Press/Easy Cares" cycle that pretty much does what Whirlpool pioneered. Warm (or in some cases hot water), with or without gentle drum movements, then a cooling down rinse. My Miele does "cyclic" rinsing where machine does a series of cold water fills, empties, fills again to gradually bring down the wash water temperature.

Modern electronically controlled h-axis washing machines have built upon "PP" programs to make "no iron" cycles. Such things claim that easy care fabrics and or even some natural fiber garments will emerge at end without requiring ironing.







Post# 971163 , Reply# 7   12/2/2017 at 16:28 by chetlaham (United States)        

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But can we say PP is no longer a much needed cycle?

Post# 971165 , Reply# 8   12/2/2017 at 16:47 by appnut (TX)        

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I still use the equivalent on my WP Duet.  It particularly comes in handy when I use steam option for heavy soiled poly-cotton dress shirts as well ass my white dress shirts (hot water then).  It does a 2 minute water mill at the end of the wash or steam part of the cycle to cool down the load.  If I don't use steam or hot, just warm, I have another cycle that's very "European", how it approaches it task, for said type of garments with warm water.  It doesn't do any spins after the wash and does 3 rinses.  My old Frigidaire did something very similar for its colors/wrinkle free cycle. 


Post# 971166 , Reply# 9   12/2/2017 at 16:48 by Yogitunes (New Jersey)        

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well Permanent Press wasn't a gimmick in "it's" day.....it was just what was needed for those particular fibers created, that could be washed at home, without dry cleaning...

today you will more or less find cycles to correlate with todays fabrics.....DurablePress , Casual, Colors, Wrinkle-Free, etc...


while working in a laundry, we washed mainly hotel linens, towels, sheets and tablecloths...I was in the middle of a changeover from standard cotton used for years, and of course the dedicated PermPress cycle, into VISA cloth, and you would see the easier handling of washing on a Normal cycle, hot/warm wash and cold rinse....the fabric would puff back up after a high speed spin, most times not requiring ironing from the washer or dryer...this newer fabric was great at releasing stains...


Post# 971171 , Reply# 10   12/2/2017 at 18:16 by toploader55 (Massachusetts Sand Bar, Cape Cod)        

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VISA... Thanks Martin.

Blast from the past. I hate that fabric especially in a napkin.

Just moves food soil from one side to another. Never absorbed a thing. you had to pinch the food off your face, lips, lap, or where ever it landed.


Post# 971179 , Reply# 11   12/2/2017 at 18:46 by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Oh hell, I have probably used a PP cycle twice in my life. I'd rather waste water in an over-flow rinse in a Unimatic. I have never had bad results.


Post# 971181 , Reply# 12   12/2/2017 at 19:04 by appnut (TX)        

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Well Steve, if you were using a WCI58 or WI57 and a cold rinse, that's the same thing with the wash overflow rinse.  Why I would consider a WCI58 pretty much an all-fabric washer because of the water temperature options. 


Post# 971196 , Reply# 13   12/2/2017 at 21:22 by Gyrafoam (Roanoke, VA)        

Bob, I do and I have. WI-58.

Post# 971209 , Reply# 14   12/3/2017 at 00:26 by panthera (Rocky Mountains)        
Whilst I personally detest

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Synthetic fabrics, I washed a lot of my family's clothes in the late '60s and through the '70s, much of which was, yech - 'permanent press'. As I was also responsible for pressing the clothes, I had a very high motivation to figure out the best way to launder the nasty stuff clean and as wrinkle-free as possible.

Here's what I learned. I don't see why it would have changed today:

1) Thermal shock is not good for polyesters, acrylics aren't as bad.

2) The cool-down cycle followed by a warm tumble dry (but not too dry) and with half the dryer's capacity, actually did leave things nearly wrinkle free.

3) The nonsense about dry ironing was stupid. A steam iron got things pressed faster and better than did a dry iron. I don't give a flying fig about all the hydrogen bonds not being there, etc. Whether it be the heat of the steam or the moisture or whatever, shirts came out much better and faster with steam than without.

Perhaps the most useful thing I learned, though, is still useful today - my dad's shirt collars were never cursed with 'ring around the collar'. I asked our home-ec teacher why this might be. She answered me with a question: How often does your father bathe? Twice a day, unless he's been working in the garden I responded - then more often. Ah, she replied - there's your answer. Ring around the collar is the result of dirty necks, not any particular fabric.


Post# 971217 , Reply# 15   12/3/2017 at 01:22 by neptunebob (Pittsburgh, PA)        
Another cause for ring around the collar...

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I found I would get it when I worked in an office where I did a lot of Xeroxing. The toner must be in the air and I guess when I sweated it went right onto the collar. Yes, I did wash my neck every day before work, and the stain was the same gray as the print.




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