Thread Number: 91168  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Kenmore Permanent Press I &II
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Post# 1156762   8/12/2022 at 18:29 by BlockEight88 (Hobart, IN)        

Can someone please share what exactly these cycles do to your laundry? What is the preferred wash temp/water level/ and spin? I have tried both the Perm Press I and II on my Kenmore's and don't seem to be noticing less wrinkles. Am I missing something?

From the manual:


Includes a load cooling spray rinse that reduces wrinkling compared to other cycles. You can select up to 10 minutes
of wash time.

The PERMANENT PRESS II Cycle includes a load cooling process that reduces wrinkling compared to other cycles.

You can select up to 10 minutes of wash time.
NOTE: When the timer reaches PAUSE, the washer will drain and pause for no more than two minutes while some of the wash water is drained and replaced with rinse water.

Post# 1156769 , Reply# 1   8/12/2022 at 19:49 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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True permanent press garments are treated with a process that sets-in tailored creases and a smooth finish.  Such items should be washed in warm or hot water to relax the finish and shed wear-wrinkles.  Spin immediately after a heated wash can set-in compression wrinkles ... so the fabric is ideally cooled before spin, spun at low speed, and of course rinsed in cold water.  Synthetic fabrics that aren't formally perm-press treated may also catch set-in spin wrinkles when warm.

Really, a cool down treatment in the washer doesn't have an appreciable effect unless the clothes are line-dried.  Dryer temperatures get plenty high enough to shed spin wrinkles, followed by another cool down at end of the drying cycle.

Post# 1156833 , Reply# 2   8/13/2022 at 14:37 by BlockEight88 (Hobart, IN)        

Well the Permanent Press I feature doesn't seem like it does much. A cold spray after the main wash cycle? Compare this to a partial neutral drain and I don't think it's very effective. Why the difference?

Post# 1156836 , Reply# 3   8/13/2022 at 15:04 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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A route to upsell the customer to a more deluxe model that provides better fabric care.

There were several variations of the Wash-n-Wear / Permanent Press cool down across Whirlpool and Kenmore toploaders since its introduction circa 1958.

Post# 1156837 , Reply# 4   8/13/2022 at 15:44 by BlockEight88 (Hobart, IN)        

Oh ok. Is the partial neutral drain more effective then? Would an ideal setting be, warm/cold, low spin?

Post# 1156847 , Reply# 5   8/13/2022 at 18:39 by qsd-dan (West)        

qsd-dan's profile picture
I find the dryer has a much bigger impact on wrinkles rather than the washer. What make/model dryer are you using?

If your dryer has a permanent press cycle, use that. They generally have a longer cool down which helps smooth out wrinkles. The clothes need to be immediately removed and hung/folded once the drum stops, don't let them sit even one minute.

Post# 1156850 , Reply# 6   8/13/2022 at 18:48 by BlockEight88 (Hobart, IN)        

I am using a Kenmore 80 series set. The washer has the Perm Press I setting. The dryer does have a specific setting for Perm Press, but I wasn't sure if it's a medium heat, or just intermittent high heat.

  Photos...       <              >      Photo 1 of 2         View Full Size
Post# 1156851 , Reply# 7   8/13/2022 at 18:53 by qsd-dan (West)        

qsd-dan's profile picture
Sorry, can't give you any tips on how to use that dryer. It's radically different than the Kenmore's I've used in the past. Someone here should be able to help you out though.

Post# 1156852 , Reply# 8   8/13/2022 at 19:04 by appnut (TX)        

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All Whirlpool & Kenmore dryers of that vintage have the 10 mnute cool down phase at the end of each dry cyce--timed or auto moisture sensing. Looks like there might be a finish guard or wrinkle guard at the end of the auto cyce once it finishes the coo down. Use the medium heat for wrinkle free/perm press.

Post# 1156853 , Reply# 9   8/13/2022 at 19:06 by coldspot66 (Plymouth, Mass)        

Use the auto moisture sensing cycle with the extended wrinkle guard (which is an extended air only cycle (no heat). That washer and dryer is the best there ever was for the $$$$.

Post# 1156859 , Reply# 10   8/13/2022 at 19:32 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture

All dryers moderate the heat throughout the drying cycle, whether timed or auto-dry, to specific target temperatures per the selection. All temperature points swing a bit above the target per residual heat dissipating from the electric element when it turns off upon reaching the target (and probably a bit less-so from a gas burner, I’ve never used or serviced a gas dryer). Then the heat source turns back on at approx 25°F to 35°F below the target. The target temps vary but High typically is 155°F. Medium 145°F. Low 135°F. Ex Low on models that have it may be 125°. Dryers with electronic thermistors instead of bi-metal thermostats usually can hold a tighter temperature swing.

Post# 1156907 , Reply# 11   8/14/2022 at 11:30 by BlockEight88 (Hobart, IN)        

Would the dryer pictured below do a better job with wrinkles compared to mine? I am thinking the ultra low setting may be more gentle on the fabrics.

  View Full Size
Post# 1156919 , Reply# 12   8/14/2022 at 14:03 by qsd-dan (West)        

qsd-dan's profile picture
Nobody here has explained exactly how this generation dryer works using the "Permanent Press" selection. I'm guessing it's just a lower temperature setting rather than a longer cool down period. If that's the case, this higher end model probably doesn't work any different than your current dryer. I'm also guessing the "Ultra Delicate" selection is just a lower temperature setting.

On my old 1981 Kenmore dryer, there were 2 separate moisture sensing cycle selections. A "Regular" and "Permanent Press" selection. The "Permanent Press" selection had a longer timed cooldown period vs the "Regular" cycle. It was a single thermostat machine so the temperature never changed regardless of any selection. The higher end dryer you posted looks like it has multiple thermostat temperature selections but a 10 minute cool down period regardless of the selection. Maybe it shifts into a lower temperature towards the end of the cycle, not sure though. Someone correct me if I'm wrong here.

From 1963-about 1969, Kenmore dryers had a unique system that throttled down the flame (gas)/heating element (electric) during the cool down phase marketed as "Soft Heat" (not sure if Whirlpool dryers had the same design under a different name). I always wondered if those machines actually ironed out wrinkles better than the non throttling model's used thereafter which were still marketed as "Soft Heat" (answers welcomed from a non biased perspective). Actually, what WAS the difference between Soft Heat and non Soft Heat models after 1970? A lower thermostat temp shift towards the end of the cycle?

Post# 1156924 , Reply# 13   8/14/2022 at 15:04 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        
Reply #12

maytag85's profile picture
From what I’ve read in the archives on the Kenmore Soft Heat dryers made after 1970, all it was, was a timer that had a lower temperature already programmed in that would switch to a lower temperature right before the cool down so it basically would only have to cool down warm clothes as opposed to medium-hot clothes.

The Kenmore Soft Heat dryers built before 1970 had the variable gas valve along with dual heating elements which provided for very quick drying temperatures since the heat never shut off which helped it hold a steady drying temperature. Not sure if it helped iron things out better but definitely provided quick drying temperatures/times.

Post# 1156927 , Reply# 14   8/14/2022 at 15:17 by qsd-dan (West)        

qsd-dan's profile picture
Thanks Sean, that helps me understand both designs.

Post# 1156931 , Reply# 15   8/14/2022 at 16:00 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        
Reply #14

maytag85's profile picture
You are very welcome. I would like to own a Kenmore Soft Heat gas or electric dryer out of curiosity one day, but not being able to select the temperatures I want wouldn’t work very well with my shirts with vinyl decals on them since they would dry and crack up at higher temperatures but definitely would be fun to see how a Kenmore Soft Heat gas dryer with the 37,000 btu burner would do with bedding and towels since those items tend to hold a lot of moisture compared to regular clothes such as t-shirts etc.

Post# 1156933 , Reply# 16   8/14/2022 at 16:22 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

launderess's profile picture
This this answer your questions?


Post# 1156940 , Reply# 17   8/14/2022 at 17:50 by qsd-dan (West)        

qsd-dan's profile picture
"but not being able to select the temperatures I want wouldn’t work very well with my shirts with vinyl decals."

Well, you probably could easily adapt a single multi temp thermostat and install a hidden switch to change the temps. That would be a fun experimental project.

Post# 1156954 , Reply# 18   8/14/2022 at 20:45 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        
Reply #17

maytag85's profile picture
That’s basically the whole reason why I am putting together a customized Maytag dryer together so I will have the options between low and high heat. Have a adjustable cycling thermostat that can be set from 135F all the way to 175F which might allow me to get things dried in 26 to 30 minutes time which might debunk the 26 minutes drying time on Maytag HOH dryers.

Post# 1156958 , Reply# 19   8/14/2022 at 21:17 by qsd-dan (West)        

qsd-dan's profile picture
I can't wait until you get that setup operational. I'm really curious about the results of using 175F cycle temps, just have a fire extinguisher handy and don't let the dryer out of your sight while it's running. I know it's only a 15F-ish difference front stock temps but that heating element is very close to the drum grates and front seal.

The only problem using an HOH with the auto dry feature is that you can't customize the cool down period, which is possible with the 606/806/906 electronic controlled HOH models. A 7-10 minute cool down period is crucial to de-wrinkling the load in that small drum. I use an adjustable cool down thermo in my electronic controlled HOH's (except the DE701), just crank them down to 90F which provides on average 10 minutes of cool down time.

Post# 1156968 , Reply# 20   8/14/2022 at 22:14 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        
Reply #19

maytag85's profile picture
I can’t wait to get it operational but the most difficult part will be trying to find a Maytag 808 console. I am willing to bet it will dry fairly quickly with a 175F temperature for the high heat setting and will for sure keep a close eye on it but the high limit thermostat which is a Supco L180-40 more than likely will kick the heating element off before it has a chance to get too hot. A 180F high limit thermostat is 10F more than the stock 170F they originally came with but will still kick the heating element off before it even has a chance to overheat. Even if the heating element is too close to for comfort to the drum for some people, I’d trust a Maytag HOH more than any Westinghouse slant front dryer, GE dryers from the mid 60’s and on, and last but not least WCI dryers since they have heating elements that tend to sag which can either cause it to short out or will have a grounding heating which will never shut off causing the dryer to overheat and GE dryers have a tendency to do that as well. Another thing too is GE and WCI dryers have a 5600 watt heating element which definitely is too close for comfort to the drum, the Westinghouse slant front dryers have the heating element located a little further from the drum but got well over 200F in operation, some of the Westinghouse slant front dryers had an automatic dry which was simple but would literally run until it reached a outrageously hot temperature then wham! No cool down and you’d probably would burn or scorch your hands trying to remove the hot clothing not to mention items would either get wrinkled or would slowly get cooked with whatever heat was left over. My new acronym for Westinghouse dryers is the slant front HOH dryers which is short for ‘Heat Of Hell’, not to get confused with Halo Of Heat :)

Post# 1156970 , Reply# 21   8/14/2022 at 22:48 by qsd-dan (West)        

qsd-dan's profile picture
Well, if you have the adjustable thermo and 180F hi limit thermo already on hand, you can install them and give it try. Might be better to do some testing with the old console than the TOL 808, just in case.

I've read on here about old Westinghouse dryers being blow torches but never used one, so I can't form an opinion. Dryers were, on average, pretty crude and archaic in the 40's through the early/mid 50's.

I did play a bit with an early 80's BOL GE dryer and it seemed fine. My buddy got it in 2004 for free, along with a low end Filter Flo washer. I do remember him saying that the original owner cautioned about the dryer being prone to fires. Maybe the heating element was the reason. That was 18 years ago now (wow, time fly's). I thought it was pretty cool that GE was still coating their drums with porcelain. They had to be the last manufacture on the planet doing it by then. I certainly give them the appreciable nod for carrying that tradition.

Never played with a WCI dryer, I'll have to take your word on that one.

Post# 1156977 , Reply# 22   8/14/2022 at 23:35 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        
Reply #21

maytag85's profile picture
I already have the the 180F high limit thermostat installed along with the 120F and adjustable thermostats installed at the moment. I might test it out with the old console just to be sure but will have to wire it up and re-spade some of the wires since I might as well while it’s all apart.

Yeah, a lot of dryers from the 40’s to about mid 50’s were crude with the set up they had since Whirlpool used the same design from 1948 to 1960. Maytag used the same design I believe from 1950 to the very early 60’s in the water condensing models and the vented gas and electric vented models where the lint screen slid out like a drawer. GE changed their dryer designs a few times throughout the 50’s, in the late 50’s they west to a design similar to what they are using now but had a v-belt the went to one of the rollers which turned the drum and Norge used a similar drum drive to what GE was using in the late 50’s. Maytag of course used the HOH design from 1957/1958 all the way to 1975 and early 1976. It simply amazes me how they used to overbuild dryers back then, I was simply amazed on the 1956 Whirlpool Imperial dryer RickR got back sometime in 2004 when he removed the rear panel along with the cabinet revealing the chassis/base and seeing what one of those older Whirlpool dryers looked like inside. 17 year old me back in February of 2017 was like “Wow! how does it sound and look like when in operation?”. I already saw redcarpetdrew’s videos on the 1970 Maytag DE906 a few years prior back in 2015 so I had somewhat of a understanding to how the HOH dryers running gear looked like when in operation but hadn’t seen any videos of the older Whirlpool dryers in operation since there weren’t any on YouTube at the time. Another thing that surprised me is how the older Whirlpool and Kenmore gas dryers came with the 37,000 btu burner which much make a load roar when it fires up.

The only dryers I have experience with the Maytag HOH dryers gas and electric (technically have more experience with the gas versions), the older pre 1966 Whirlpool 29” dryers (my 1963 Whirlpool dryer is my first 29” dryer I’ve owned so far), Kenmore compact 24” dryer, and Maytag SOH dryers and those are all the dryers I have experience with in my 5 years of collecting.

Post# 1157077 , Reply# 23   8/16/2022 at 11:19 by rpms (ontario canada)        

rpms's profile picture
Wonder how the perma press was handled when you still just had a wringer?

Post# 1157098 , Reply# 24   8/16/2022 at 14:37 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        
Reply #23

maytag85's profile picture
Not sure, probably only washed Permanent Press items for 5 to 6 minutes.

Post# 1157119 , Reply# 25   8/16/2022 at 20:10 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

launderess's profile picture
Owners manual for my Maytag wringer (printed in 1960's) covers "Wash and Wear".

Advice is launder lightly soiled synthetics in cold water, and moderately to heavy in warm water. This to avoid creases being set when things were put through wringer. Suggested wash time was five (5) minutes.

Obviously one wasn't going to be using soap but detergent at those temps.

Going by information in Reply #16 film from Whirlpool, it is possible to do synthetics in a semi-automatic in hot or very water wash. You'd just have to stand there and partially drain washer of hot water, fill with cold, agitate, partially drain, fill, etc.. several times to gradually bring down fabric temperature.

This would use incredible amounts of water not to mention take time.

Post# 1157123 , Reply# 26   8/16/2022 at 20:34 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture
Early WP/KM Perm Press instructions advised hot water for white and heavy-soil items, warm for colors, normal/light soil.  KM alphabet and WP/LK pushbutton timers were programmed as such.

Post# 1157124 , Reply# 27   8/16/2022 at 20:37 by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture
Some earlier WP/LK Pushbutton models was hot for whites/heavy soil and medium for colors.

Post# 1157127 , Reply# 28   8/16/2022 at 21:01 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

dadoes's profile picture
With medium being a warmer-than-warm mix of tap-hot + warm.

Post# 1157133 , Reply# 29   8/16/2022 at 21:24 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

launderess's profile picture
As that Whirlpool film makes clear you want hot water (120 to 140 degrees F) for best possible cleaning and to release any wear wrinkles.

Even today makers of 100% poly or various poly/cotton blends recommend commercial laundry wash formulas with at said temps. Long as temperature is gradually brought down before extraction no thermal creasing will occur.

It does help that most industrial/commercial wash programs do not extract between wash and rinses baths.

Things to remember about most man made fibers is they are hydrophobic (resist water), but love or at least will hold onto oils and fats. High water temperatures and good detergency (with perhaps solvents) are best way to get oil out of such fibers.

If not laundered properly white items made from synethic fabrics begin to take on a dull tattle-tale grey cast. This and marks aren't totally removed (shadow stains), and whiff (body odor) isn't removed.

Post# 1157139 , Reply# 30   8/16/2022 at 22:14 by appnut (TX)        

appnut's profile picture
Medium temp on 33" LK Combo filled with warm water and then onboard heater heated to 120 degrees. Medium for LK top loader was also supposed to be 120F.

Post# 1157146 , Reply# 31   8/16/2022 at 22:52 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

launderess's profile picture
Find it comical that years ago 110 to 120 degrees F was considered "moderately warm". Hot water was 140 to 160 degrees F.

Post# 1157148 , Reply# 32   8/16/2022 at 23:14 by qsd-dan (West)        
Find it comical that years ago 110 to 120 degrees F was cons

qsd-dan's profile picture
Well, get ready to laugh your ass off, some manufactures consider 100F and under as "hot" today, including some dishwashers. On top of that, we have the "cold" wash only, I don't care what side of the isle you're on about the environmental movement, just say "no" to that. Pretty please? Then everybody's scratching their heads why stinky washers and nasty buildup is the norm and we run "clean" cycles using "clean" detergent products on a regular basis now. God forbid you live in a humid environment. Un-freakin-believable.

I've said it many times here, my temper valve is set at 85F for cold and the water heater is at 160F. 120F warm is smack dead in the middle, rock solid, every time. No need for fancy detergents, most pretreatments, clean cycles, or internal heaters with loooooong cycles.....that contain products with motherboards that like to die.

Post# 1157219 , Reply# 33   8/17/2022 at 19:35 by BlockEight88 (Hobart, IN)        
Cold Wash

I agree entirely with your post about cold washes. Every time I see those Tide commercials promoting cold washes I cringe. I don't care what they say, cold water doesn't clean your clothes. I feel like it just makes them smell good by covering up the bacteria. The average front loader washer must stink of mildew. A lot of people I know wash exclusively in cold water.

I will gladly continue to use warm and hot for washes and warm water to rinse.

Post# 1158826 , Reply# 34   9/5/2022 at 23:00 by chetlaham (United States)        

chetlaham's profile picture
Has anyone ever been able to tell the difference in outcomes between PP, PP-I and P-II?

I could be wrong, but personally I think fancy permanent press cycles are merely a gimmick as nothing is gained or achieved through fancy cool downs and low speed spins. I see it as just wasting water and energy without consumers being aware unless they read up on what the cycle does- and often user guide descriptions don't go into the full details.

As mentioned dryers are what relax and prevent wrinkles.

All dryers should have a long cool down period as this saves energy (residual heat still gives off water vapor) while assuring clothes do not come out hot enough to burn people. I've had people tell me stories of being burned by metal buttons.

It is for these reason I think the words "permanent press" should have been dropped from all washers and dryers with manufacturers focusing on just 3 to 5 cycle categories based on cloth wear alone:

1) Heavy Duty (fast/fast) with long wash time and extra rinse option.

2) Normal (fast/fast)

3) Casuals (slow/fast)

4) Gentle (slow/slow)

5) Handwash (extra slow/slow)

For drying:

1) Heavy Duty- High Heat
2) Normal- Medium High Heat
3) Casuals- Medium Low Heat
4) Delicate- Low Heat
5) Fine Delicate- Ex Low heat
6) Fluff

Intermittent tumble and buzzer if needed to get the clothes out of the dryer once the cycle is done.

Kenmore used this concept on their MOL and TOL models and I think it was the basis to their success.

Kenmore offered one main "catch all" cycle like Ultra Clean or Auto Dry. Everything else remained the same in the cycle except speeds or temps were altered by the user. Extra rinse or wrinkle guard were on/off if needed.

Brilliantly intuitive, and I think it reflected the reality of clothing care much better than the dogma established prior.

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