Thread Number: 92966  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Suggested wash times for Maytag
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Post# 1175417   3/21/2023 at 12:06 (397 days old) by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

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I recently stumbled across a video showing a instruction manual for a 1963 Maytag wringer washer on YouTube, one one of the photos that showed the suggested wash times which were 3 to 5 minutes for whites on hot, 3 to 5 minutes for colors on warm, and heavily soiled denim/work clothes for 5 to 10 minutes. Would this have applied to Maytag’s automatics around this time in the early to mid 60’s or not? I’d assume it would be the same or similar since Maytag was still using the older type of gyrator agitator in their automatics with the lint filter up until 1965 before switching over to the Powerfin in 1966.

Suggested wash times at the 0:27 minute mark.


Post# 1175434 , Reply# 1   3/21/2023 at 15:17 (397 days old) by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

I can tell you from personal experience, both my own and that of relatives, that unless the person doing the laundry had helpers like kids or a maid, the wash time was determined by how long it took to get the previous load through the wringer and rinse tubs or how long it took to hang the previous load on the lines, adding the time it took to bundle up to go outside and the time it took to get out of your cold weather gear once you got back inside. A human being can only do so many things at once. The hanging outside could not take a back seat to the other operations because there were only so many hours of daylight. All of that having been said, the times given seem short.

Post# 1175468 , Reply# 2   3/21/2023 at 17:53 (397 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Those are indeed recommended wash times for Maytag wringer washers as per manual. However as posted noted above what many actually did in real life situations often varied.

Thing about top loading washers with central beaters is because that wash action often is rather strong long times aren't required. It comes down to what it always has and still does; famous "wash pie"


Water Temperature

Mechanical Action


Any increase in one factor allows others to decrease and vice-versa.

This is why H-Axis washers on average take longer to do load of wash than top loading with central beaters. Latter however is still faster than merely or mostly soaking which as minimal mechanical action.

Toss in using hot to very water temps and you can see where things were going.

Keep in mind at least for using semi-automatic washers such as wringers laundry would have been pre-soaked first. Well at least anything that was white or colorfast since going directly into hot water sets stains and proteinous substances.

Despite what Maytag and other makers of wringer washers claimed their power mangles did not leave things "damp dry". Best of wringers only had extraction comparable to about 250-300 rpm spin speed in a washer or spin drier.

Longer you allowed washing to sit after final rinse/wringing all that water begins to settle out of wash. Thus as noted in previous post getting things hung up to dry quickly seems prudent. Otherwise one is carrying a basket or whatever container that is filling with water draining off laundry.

Some wringer washers added a timer that would shut off agitator after certain period which was a boon to wash day. But as wont to happen such things were usually found only on TOL models that cost more.

Laundry manuals and other media doling out advice to housewives continually advised against long wash times with wringer washers. But again most had a routine and that is how they went regardless.

Post# 1175470 , Reply# 3   3/21/2023 at 18:16 (397 days old) by luxflairguy (Wilmington NC)        
Wringer washer times

My Grandparents only washer was an Easy wringer with 3 suction cups. We added clothes, water to the correct fill line and started the machine. Soap was added a minute or two later. Cover was put on and we went upstairs and turned the kitchen timer to 12 minutes. Ding! Then back down we went.
Never washed a load and used wringer at the same time. I must admit that even though I used it for several years during college and beyond, I was always a little scared of the wringers! It was a huge beast! Greg

Post# 1175474 , Reply# 4   3/21/2023 at 18:26 (397 days old) by qsd-dan (West)        

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The EJN line of Maytag wringers have some brutal agitation which is why their wash times are on the low side. I only wash my junk clothes in them, they're too vigorous for todays cheaply made 3rd world threads. If there's stains that need to be addressed, I agitate them for 4 minutes, let them soak, then continue on for another 3-4 minutes. Come to think about it, I don't believe I ever washed one of my button up flannel shirts in these without the agitator carving out at least one of them off the shirt or even the pants. And no, it's not the wringer, they are gone before that process begins. That's never a problem in their autos.

Post# 1175487 , Reply# 5   3/21/2023 at 19:24 (397 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Only things washed in our Maytag wringer are sturdy vintage linens or bedding or modern bed linens of good quality.

Even with well made modern things such as linens or apparel yes, the Maytag will go at hems, fasteners and other bits.

Despite extra bother find old ways are still best; presoaking things as required means less time spent in washer which saves on potential wear.

Post# 1175502 , Reply# 6   3/21/2023 at 20:19 (397 days old) by gansky1 (Omaha, The Home of the TV Dinner!)        

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Growing up, I knew several families that had wringer washers and swore up and down that they cleaned so much better than the newfangled ones.   Greasy and dirty coveralls, overalls, etc. could wash until they were clean.  When my grandmother washed those things in her Highlander, she'd reset the timer two or three times back to the start of wash. 


A friend rented a house in the late 70's that had a Maytag E in the kitchen, no other hookups or provision for laundry were available.  She said she could let her kids' clothes and diapers wash for an hour, everything was always soooo clean.   


There are still a surprising number of people that still use wringers for a variety of reasons.  I sold a '66 Maytag "N" to a "sturdy" and rather gruff farm wife (and husband) a few years ago and when I asked if she was going to use it she replied, "It's a washer, I'm going to wash clothes in it. That's why I'm buying it."  I'll bet she wasn't washing for 3-5 minutes either.  



Post# 1198939 , Reply# 7   2/10/2024 at 00:03 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

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Decided to revisit this thread, washed a large load of shirts in my Maytag A606. Ended up resetting the timer 5 times, four 10 minute cycles + an additional 8 minute cycle for a total of 48 minutes. Holy crap! Stains I thought would have been set in basically came out, everything essentially was spotless and cleaner than ever before.

Post# 1198947 , Reply# 8   2/10/2024 at 07:40 by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Reply number seven

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Hi Sean, that seems like a lot of washing for your shirts. It is true that Maytag maximum wash time on their automatics was always a little too short for really dirty loads. We used to get lots of complaints about that in the 70s when people complained that their new Maytag didn’t clean clothing as well as their old Kenmore’s whirlpool, Norge GE, etc. whatever they had before.

It would be interesting. Next time you do this to weigh the clothing before and after and see how much clothing gets washed away, were these cotton T-shirts or synthetic dress shirts, how much lint was in the dryer filter from this load, if they were cotton T-shirts?

When I used to go stay with my grandmother for a week in Pennsylvania she had the E model, Maytag wringer washer, and when she would wash my shirts and pants, the ringer would always crush the little metal catch on the pants and often shattered the buttons on my shirts so then she would try to wrap something around it as she put it through the ringer.

She kept that wringer washer. It wasn’t that old it was a 1962 until my granddad died. She sold his 62 falcon and in 1968 bought a Kenmore 800 automatic washer, gave the wringer washer to her neighbor, and then made fun of her for using such an antiquated machine machine, lol


Post# 1198955 , Reply# 9   2/10/2024 at 09:57 by Helicaldrive (St. Louis)        
3-5 minutes is not enough time

When I was in college all of us would notice that the dorm washers only washed for about 5 minutes, and our clothes would get noticeably cleaner on breaks when we’d go home and wash our clothes in home machines that washed for 10-15 minutes.

I was born in 1962, and looking back it is fascinating to think how many relatives still had wringer washers through the mid 1970s — especially those who were less well off and lived in apartments with basement laundry facilities. And through this club I’ve learned that some of those WWs were only a few years old at the time, not holdover relics from decades prior. The bottom line is that we take automatic washers for granted today, but back in the 1950s and 1960s, they were a very big deal — very expensive in the economy of the day, and cost-prohibitive for most lower middle class people.

It’s really fascinating to me that Maytag and SQ were still making WWs in the 1980s.

Here on this site we see ads for matching dryers made in the 40-50s but none of my relatives could afford dryers until the mid to late 60s.

The WWs up through the 1950s probably did get clothes cleaner for two reasons. First the tubs were small and shallow so all the clothes were in motion the entire time — unlike the larger tub automatics where it was a process of floating at the top with little wash action until getting drawn down to the agitator base again. And second, like someone said above, washing went on longer, until the prior load was rinsed twice, wrung three times and hung out.

Regardless, I still say an HE FL gets clothes much cleaner than any TL, new or old, because the constant squishing action forces much more water through the fabrics rather than just dragging them around in a tub full of water. I love the vintage TLs for nostalgia but I’ll never go back.

Post# 1198989 , Reply# 10   2/10/2024 at 13:45 by qsd-dan (West)        

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A lot of factors involved here..

Water hardness, detergent (quality), detergent dosage, water temperatures, loading, cycle times, machine in proper working order (a biggie for vintage washers).

I have excellent results but I have a water softener installed, a tempering valve with water heating settings that are on the hottest scale for each temperature (85F/120F/160F), use Tide Ultra Oxi powder detergent (high rated), probably overdose slightly if not a bit more, slightly underload for good rollover, use 10-12 minutes for each cycle, and machine meticulously restored in great working order with a few mods that further improve performance.

Not sure what detergent you're using, but Tide powder works very well for dirt. Some of their liquids work better for grease. Consider installing a tempering valve. For really stained items, load the washer using the "large" (16 gallon fill) load that's on par with standard capacity models for a more aggressive rollover, and slightly underload.

I also encourage you to swap the timer motor from your 810 into the 806. This will give you up to 18 minutes of agitation for those really, really dirty loads. Also, a 1.5 minute spray rinse if you decide to overdose slightly on detergent for excellent rinsing and an addition 1 minute in the deep rinse cycle.

Post# 1198990 , Reply# 11   2/10/2024 at 13:48 by qsd-dan (West)        
18 minutes of agitation

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Scratch that, make it 15 minutes of agitation for the 806. I had 810/712 on the brain.

Post# 1198995 , Reply# 12   2/10/2024 at 16:12 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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After over 40 minutes of wash time am not surprised things were immaculate. By whatever sort of machine, top loading with central beater, H-axis, impeller... that's one heck of long wash cycle.

To each his or her own, live and let live that's my motto.

Long as you're happy with results that's all that matters.

Post# 1199049 , Reply# 13   2/11/2024 at 14:53 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        
Reply #8

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Surprisingly, there wasn’t much lint, if any at all. Then again, I don’t jam the machine full so that may explain it. Even with my Whirlpool, there wasn’t much lint on the filter. Probably a combination of loading the machine properly along with having enough shirts to get me through 2 weeks, same with shorts.

Post# 1199099 , Reply# 14   2/12/2024 at 00:03 by chetlaham (United States)        

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Honestly, I think Maytag should have offered up to 30 minutes of wash time. I think using a more gentle agitation while letting detergent work longer does a better job overall.

Why Maytag never offered more wash time is beyond me- GE easily offered 20-22 minutes of wash time even with their more aggressive agitation.

Post# 1199102 , Reply# 15   2/12/2024 at 01:00 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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I think using a more gentle agitation while letting detergent work longer does a better job overall.
That's true nowadays with enzymes common in detergents.

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