Thread Number: 95078  /  Tag: Vintage Automatic Washers
Warm Rinses
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Post# 1197285   1/17/2024 at 03:57 by chetlaham (United States)        

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Call me ignorant, but why did old washers offer a warm rinse? What advantage if any did a warm rinse provide? I've always assumed cold water worked just as well and helped to prevent wrinkles. I see a lot of MOL and TOL vintage machines with hot/warm and warm/warm on the temp knob. Why is this?

Post# 1197290 , Reply# 1   1/17/2024 at 05:44 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Warm water was needed (if not hot) when using soap for wash day.

Even when detergents came along warm water does give better rinsing than cold. This would depend upon how cold tap water was. If at or near 86F to 90F that's one thing, lower down scale as found in colder climates or time of year is a different story.

Next there is a savings in energy when using clothes dryers starting with laundry rinsed in warm water versus cold. How much of an energy saving would depend on a few factors including cost to heat water versus whatever was used in dryer.

FWIW commercial or industrial laundries rarely rinse in water below "warm" (100 degrees F).

With energy crisis of 1970's appliance manufacturers in USA were pressured or otherwise got shot of warm water rinses. Consumer Reports and similar sorts noted while yes warm water gave better rinsing and less wear on dryer in bringing cold wash up to temp, overall energy savings from not heating water won out overall.

With cottons and linens any creases created by rinsing in warm water either largely came out in dryer or were ironed out. When man made fibers came along cold water rinsing was necessary to bring down temp before spinning, otherwise creases would result.

Properties of heat and cold are same across wide variety of things. Heat causes expansion, and cold constriction. Thus it stands to reason flushing out suds and dirt will be easier while textiles are still warm or even hot versus cold.

Post# 1197293 , Reply# 2   1/17/2024 at 07:23 by chetlaham (United States)        

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Agree, but I can't see the amount of energy even coming close to heat 5-10 gallons of water being the same as the amount of energy needed to heat about 1 cup of water in a spun out load of towels in a dryer assuming both the dryer and water heater are of the same fuel source.

I guess it comes down to people using soap as a detergent?

Post# 1197295 , Reply# 3   1/17/2024 at 08:11 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Contrasted with:


So there's quite a range....

As always it pays to wander through the archives.

Post# 1197299 , Reply# 4   1/17/2024 at 09:00 by appnut (TX)        

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My grandmother moved into a very nice high-rise apartment building in 1964 that was built in the late 1950s--woodtown brown GE appliances, pull out dishwashers, ... The laundry room that was right next to her apartment, I remember we did a load of whites in the late 1950s SQ washer. The rinse was hot. My partner told me his mom sometimes rinsed loads in hot for a final time. And he told me sometimes he'll rinse a load of towels in hot before puttijng them in the dryer to make sure all detergent is rinsed out.

Post# 1197303 , Reply# 5   1/17/2024 at 09:34 by chetlaham (United States)        

chetlaham's profile picture
Thank you! These were the links I was looking for.

I wonder what the first link is basing their assumptions on... How do they know that cold water extracts the same amount of detergent or soil in the rinse? They also use an 80*F rise for the water heater, so that would mean 140*F-80*F= 60*F. That is not cold in my book, but cool. In many parts of the country tap cold water does drop below 60*F... so I'm inclined to think Speed Queen and others are right. Warm water does provide any advantage.

Post# 1197304 , Reply# 6   1/17/2024 at 09:56 by Gyrafoam (Wytheville, VA)        

When laundering white cotton fabrics or kitchen cloths and towels, I always use a hot wash and rinse.

Post# 1197305 , Reply# 7   1/17/2024 at 10:02 by bajaespuma (Connecticut)        
I'm a WARM person

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IMHO it's just plain science. Solubility increases with temperature ( I'm talking about the 35o-110o zone). Given the current state of non-phosphate detergents you would have to show me hard data to convince me that cold rinses work as well as warm rinses in removing laundry additive residues.


Is it worth the extra cost of heating the water? Maybe not for many vintage top-loaders, but with a modern front-loader with an internal water heater (so the heat of transmission isn't added to the cost) I would guess it's worth it.


I always want to see the WARM/WARM option on my machines, and, as much as I love Mieles, I wish you could select a temperature higher than faucet cold for at least one rinse.

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Post# 1197316 , Reply# 8   1/17/2024 at 11:25 by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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I mainly use Hot/Warm or Warm/Warm for wash/rinse temps. The only time I will use a cold rinse is for dark colored clothing during the summer months when our tap cold is above 70F. Of course many of my vintage machines don't offer a cold rinse such as the two AW6 GE's, early Frigidaire Unimatics and my Pulsamatic, Apex, Westinghouse, ABC-O-Matic, Hortons, Maytag AMP, Norge Timeline, Bendix, Speed Queen, etc. I like taking warm clothes out of the machines and the warmer temp helps to dry out the inside of the machine faster if you keep the lid open for 24 hours like I always do on every machine.

The cost difference between a cold and warm rinse in my opinion is too minimal to worry about over the course of a year. Even if it costs $30 a year more to rinse in warm (and I doubt it is that high) that's only $2.50 per month, well worth it!

This post was last edited 01/17/2024 at 11:43
Post# 1197330 , Reply# 9   1/17/2024 at 16:47 by Tomturbomatic (Beltsville, MD)        

My cold water comes out of the tempering valve at 75 to 80F so the machines like the modern SQ, the Mieles and the Creda that rinse on cold now rinse with cool water. Thank you John Lefever for finding the valve at the thrift store.

Post# 1197338 , Reply# 10   1/17/2024 at 19:32 by qsd-dan (West)        

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Warm rinse button is always selected on the daily driver 806 when washing warm and hot loads, love the warm spray rinse too. All at 120F.

Everything comes out noticeably softer with a warm deep and spray rinse. I don't notice a difference in wrinkling between warm and cold spray/deep rinses.

Post# 1197345 , Reply# 11   1/17/2024 at 21:32 by RyneR1988 (Indianapolis)        

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I don't care very much about warm rinses in spring and summer when ground water temperatures are temperate. However, right now here in Indiana tap water is ice cold, and so are my laundry rinses. My washer has a cool setting in which warm water is added to maintain a minimum temperature, but that doesn't apply to rinses unfortunately.

Post# 1197464 , Reply# 12   1/20/2024 at 12:30 by chetlaham (United States)        

chetlaham's profile picture
Robert, thank you for answering my question. That is so nice that older machines filled for a warm rinse by default.

I am a lot like other here. In the summer I'll use a cold rinse, but in the winter water is stone cold so I sometimes set the machine back on wash for a warm rinse. Clothes come out feeling much nicer.

Also had things been different a warm wash warm rinse only Galaxy at 60/40 or 70/30 would have been a neat thing- just two wires down to the mixing valves- but energy regs killed a sweet luxury that could have been the standard.

Post# 1197516 , Reply# 13   1/20/2024 at 18:51 by jons1077 (Vancouver, Washington, USA)        
Warm rinses

jons1077's profile picture
One feature I really miss was the auto-temp control on my direct drive Kenmore 90 series washer I bought new back around 1999 or so when I was in college. It was perfect for winter months when the tap was really cold. I think it would adjust to bring cold water to about 70 degrees and warm to 100 degrees, I think. Hot was just whatever the heater was set to. It wouldn’t reduce the hot water’s temperature.

Post# 1197559 , Reply# 14   1/21/2024 at 00:29 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

maytag85's profile picture
One of the advantages of a warm rinse from my experience is the machine fills up faster, takes a few minutes off of the cycle time. Miss the Maytag A806 (still have it, set off to the side until I figure out how to disassemble the brake assembly, plan on attempting to re-paint the cabinet) since it could do a warm wash, warm spray rinse, warm rinse. The Maytag A606 does however do a warm spray rinse on hot followed by a deep rinse. The Whirlpool only has hot and warm, no cold temperatures available except on the cool down and rinse portion on the wash n wear cycle.

Post# 1197573 , Reply# 15   1/21/2024 at 09:10 by chetlaham (United States)        

chetlaham's profile picture
This thread has me wishing that all modern washer did a warm rinse, lol.

Kenmore got it right. They offered ATC cycles that offered something like a 100*F warm wash and a 75*F warm rinse. Also offered a 70*F cold wash.

Post# 1197587 , Reply# 16   1/21/2024 at 12:18 by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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Kenmore got it right. They offered ATC cycles that offered something like a 100*F warm wash and a 75*F warm rinse. Also offered a 70*F cold wash.

Both Frigidaire and Bendix started doing that right off the bat in 1947, Kenmore and Maytag started doing that for sure in '57 but possibly earlier as well. They all used thermostatic valves for full tap hot for wash and 100F for rinse. So what Kenmore did with their ATC was nothing new, just brought back what use to be common place.

Post# 1197591 , Reply# 17   1/21/2024 at 13:06 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

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There’s the saying: “what is old is new again”. It’s interesting when people think a ATC is new but the early incarnation of that concept was the thermostatic inlet valve. Same thing applies to moisture sensors on dryers, may seem recent but Maytag introduced that all the way back in 1960/1961.

Post# 1197598 , Reply# 18   1/21/2024 at 14:59 by chetlaham (United States)        

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@Robert- I never knew this, thats so nice! Was it an actual bimetal or was it a 3 coil valve? I know GE on the 2000s had a 3 coil valve with 2 cold solenoids and one hot solenoid that let the machine do a cool version of warm.

@Sean: Because they knew what they were doing back then. After that its been a race down hill. Easy to claim "energy" and cheat customers out of good wash results in cold climates.

Post# 1197618 , Reply# 19   1/21/2024 at 16:38 by qsd-dan (West)        

qsd-dan's profile picture
Maytag had a thermostatic water valve (part# 204436) for '06-First gen LAT models that would increase cold water temps to...if I remember correctly...75F. As far as I'm concerned, this should have been standard equipment in all washers by the late 1950's. It would be the end of poor cleaning results due to cold water and would provide solid warm temps as well. In todays realm of cold water washing, it would greatly help prevent buildup in the outer tub and keep the machine much cleaner and reduce unnecessary repair calls. I would personally increase those temps to 85F but 75F is still a big improvement over frigid water temps during the winter in most places.

Post# 1197621 , Reply# 20   1/21/2024 at 16:47 by chetlaham (United States)        

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When did thermostatic valves come to an end? What was the exact date default warm rinses began being phased out? I've never taken a washer apart older than 1970, I remember the valve both in the Maytag center dial and 70s Hotpoint rim-flo was a 2 coil- the HP had a restricter in the outgoing stream and that was it.

I agree Dan, I think more new machines should fill with warm water. 35* is just too cold.

Post# 1197625 , Reply# 21   1/21/2024 at 17:10 by qsd-dan (West)        

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"When did thermostatic valves come to an end?"

For Maytag as standard equipment, I think it was late 60's. Some of the early 906's came from the factory with them.

Warm deep rinses seemed to end by the late 2000's on top loaders and generally available only on upper or TOL models. Most washers by this time were dumbing down temps using a restrictor on the hot side of the water valve.

Post# 1197638 , Reply# 22   1/21/2024 at 20:58 by chetlaham (United States)        

chetlaham's profile picture
I remember the 2000s machines. Hot/warm had become none existent. Warm/warm was only on select MOL and TOL models. Whirlpool did this thing where setting the machine to warm/warm resulted in a cold deep rinse with only the final spray rinse being warm. When I first encountered it in an Estate washer I was very upset- it felt so deceptive.

Hot restricters were in existence since the late 90s- I remember my first model T had a restrictor.

Any idea when the default ended for older machines- ie those where you could not select a cold rinse on the warm or hot settings?

Post# 1197639 , Reply# 23   1/21/2024 at 21:37 by MattL (Flushing, MI)        

My Duets have Warm/warm, use it often.  The duets use a thermister to control the temp. On one of them I added some resistors to raise the warm and hot temps.  Been 11 years don't recall if it was in series or parallel, I'd wager it was parallel. I had thought about adding a variable resistor to make adjustment easier but never got that far.

Post# 1197888 , Reply# 24   1/25/2024 at 13:23 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
From Collection Of Our Fearless Leader

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1957 Kenmore washer - thermostatic valves were alive and well!

Count them, choice of five (5) wash temps and two (2) for rinse.

Post# 1197929 , Reply# 25   1/26/2024 at 00:58 by chetlaham (United States)        
Sending Love, Thank You!

chetlaham's profile picture
That is so cool and luxurious! I wish my Speed Queen had that level of temp control. Any idea on the flow rate of each valve, and what coils were energized for the warm rinse setting? The cool setting would be perfect here in the winter time for when I want to wash things in "cold" water. Plus can someone select cool/cold wash with a warm rinse?

Robert has a lucky find, and well deserved.

Post# 1197944 , Reply# 26   1/26/2024 at 06:57 by lakewebsterkid (Dayton, Ohio)        
warm rinse

This is a feature I miss quite a bit from my Duet. Loads of towels and whites were very soft and well rinsed. The fabric softener dispenser was always spotless and it would spread through the towels far more evenly compared to a cold rinse. 

Post# 1197946 , Reply# 27   1/26/2024 at 07:33 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Think reason at least SQ laundromat washers one has seen and used send hot water through FS dispenser. Cold water flows through other paths so overall water temperature isn't likely raised by much, however it does seem to make a difference in dispensing FS.

Mind you some of the stuff people use still leaves a gloppy mess regardless of water temperature. You want to look inside dispenser carefully when choosing a washer. Doing otherwise one can end up with laundry scented by whatever FS slop remains in dispenser.

Post# 1197947 , Reply# 28   1/26/2024 at 07:39 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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See pages 30-31 and 43-44

Post# 1197949 , Reply# 29   1/26/2024 at 08:27 by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Water flow rate on older belt, drive whirlpool washers

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Older belt drive washer basically did not have a flow washer in the inlet valves. It was one of the only machines I saw that did not have a flow washer as a result especially on the warm setting they filled at a rate of almost 20 gallons a minute. This is why the spray rinsing whirlpool used was so effective, even though it didn’t stay on continuously, they had to pulse it because it would quickly over the pump out capacity of the pump.


Post# 1197974 , Reply# 30   1/26/2024 at 11:59 by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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One of the reasons my '58 Frigidaire Unimatic is my all time favorite washer is it offers Hot-Warm-Cool and Cold temperatures, although it is rare I ever select a cold rinse on this machine.

The way it works is it has a 3 solenoid valve. Hot solenoid, warm solenoid and cold solenoid. The warm solenoid has the thermostatic element embedded within the flow.

Hot = Hot Solenoid energized only (water heater tap temp)
Warm = Warm Solenoid energized only for temp regulated warm (100-105F temp)
Cool = Warm Solenoid and Cold solenoid energized for about 75-80F.
Cold = Cold Solenoid energized only for tap water cold. In Minneapolis this can range from 37F in January to 75F in June-September.

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Post# 1198017 , Reply# 31   1/26/2024 at 20:42 by qsd-dan (West)        

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Install and tempering valve, set your desired temperature and it'll turn anything old, new, BOL MOL, TOL into a beast. Best money I spent 16-17 years ago, not one single problem with it either.

Post# 1198020 , Reply# 32   1/26/2024 at 20:59 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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I have three machines connected to a bath tub tap, can set any temp within range of the supplies/mix for wash and rinse.  Two of the machine may fuss about it but can be ignored/overridden.

Post# 1198021 , Reply# 33   1/26/2024 at 21:05 by chetlaham (United States)        

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Oh wow, thank you again! That is really well thought out and perfect for washing fabrics of all types in all inlet temps.

Last question- how does one solenoid open both valves? Is it a single diaphragm sealing off two ports (hot and cold)? And where does the mixing take place for the thermostatic element?

I hope that in the future more washers are built with 3 coils and offer 5 wash temps and 3 rinse temps.

Post# 1198050 , Reply# 34   1/27/2024 at 09:22 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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All of one's automatic (and semi-automatic for that matter) washers are used with quick connect hoses. Thus water temps for wash or rinse are what one chooses from taps.

My older Miele doesn't seem to mind filling with warm or even hot water. One doesn't do "hot" out of fears for and or otherwise protecting triple "cold" inlet valve. That solenoid is long out of stock and quite rare. Don't know what one will do once it goes.

IIRC one can program newer Miele washers for "cold fill" and thus use whatever water comes from taps.

My AEG washers are another matter.

Because they are all cold fill and don't like it when incoming water is hotter than whatever programmed parameters say for wash, pre-wash or soak.

According my our AEG tech machine then becomes "confused" and takes measures to sort itself out. One of them being time is deducted from cycle (heating phase), but may shorten cycle in other ways by leaving bits out.

Sincerely hope those doing warm rinses with h-axis washers are leaving doors open after wash day to machine can air out. This is as it should be but is more important if water left in machine is warm.

Post# 1198051 , Reply# 35   1/27/2024 at 09:32 by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Using a warm rinse

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Will definitely contribute to mold and mildew problems in top load and front load washers alike unless the load was bleached, bacteria, etc. goes crazy in the clothing and the machine.

And of course the warmer, the water, the greater deterioration of hoses, water pumps and other parts of the machine although it’s probably slight, it’s always better to leave things in a cool or cold state they will last longer and there’s less corrosion of metal parts the colder you get them.


Post# 1198057 , Reply# 36   1/27/2024 at 10:11 by Unimatic1140 (Minneapolis)        

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Using a warm rinse will definitely contribute to mold and mildew problems in top load and front load washers

In vintage top loaders I have never found any evidence what so ever of that being true. Several of my machines 70+ year old machines still have their original aluminum pumps and they are in fine condition and work perfectly such as the ABC-o-Matic, Kelvinator, Maytag AMP, Hotpoint, Horton, Wards, etc.

The machines dry out much faster and more thoroughly with a warm rinse. My machines also have zero mold and mildew in them, if they did you would be able to smell it and my machines all have nothing but a clean scent from inside the tub. I not convinced in any way that a cold rinse is preferable over a warm rinse in a vintage machine.

This very well may be the case in modern front loaders but nothing that a sanitary cycle once a week with bleach can't prevent.

Post# 1198059 , Reply# 37   1/27/2024 at 10:33 by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        

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Don't believe it's a fair race to lump top loading washers with H-axis vis-a-vis possible mold or other fungus growth.

By nature most H-axis washers must have some sort of rubber seal (boot) that forms water tight seal when door is closed. If door is closed after wash day with a front loader (regardless of final rinse temperature) and left that way for long periods, you're asking for trouble.

Top loading washers don't have such seals and thus air can still circulate. Indeed main gripe from Americans about front loaders going back to early days of Bendix and others is being told to leave door open after wash day. That is totally alien concept to those who have used top loaders and they will let anyone know themselves, their mothers or anyone else they know has never left lid on washer up.

One of the many nails in coffin of Maytag Neptune washers (which ultimately killed that company as well), was fact Maytag did *NOT* prepare owners that door must be left open after wash day. Even when told to do so Americans largely did not and rest was history.

Post# 1198064 , Reply# 38   1/27/2024 at 11:46 by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Sorry, top load washers do have big mold problems

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Including vintage machines, my 52 unimatic I could never get the moldy smell out of even with many hot washes and lots of bleach, until I finally tore the machine apart and scrubbed it all out from under the top, the outside of the inner basket and the entire inside of the outer tub cabinet assembly.

GE top load Filter Flow washers were very known for mold and stinky smells, one of the worst ones I ever saw the customer used warm, wash, warm, rinse all the time the thing was pink and moldy and black.

With new machines, we see horrible problems with it. Everybody has seen whirlpool, direct Drive washers that are all sketchy in the outer tub and black and moldy especially some of the energy star machines that use such cool water and people use Eco detergents we see top load washers all the time where the holes in the basket start to fill with black moldy gunk.

Both Jason and I and my brother have all seen hundreds of top load washers with mold problems.

As I said it’s not a very big factor but it’s just plain engineering sense that the colder you keep anything the longer it will last that’s why we keep food in the refrigerator and freezer. Everything deteriorates faster the warmer it is including the cotton clothing.


Post# 1198076 , Reply# 39   1/27/2024 at 15:17 by BlockEight88 (Hobart, IN)        
Warm Rinses

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I was very curious about warm rinses, like you. In my experience using the Kenmore Direct Drives, they work great in the winter months when the incoming water temperature is around 45 degrees here in the midwest. In the summer months, it's kind of pointless.

My 2002 Kenmore has warm rinse regulated to 75. My 1994 Ultra Fabric Care does straight warm for the rinse.

It's very ideal for washing towels and rinsing in vinegar... I don't care what anyone says it's very effective.

Post# 1198084 , Reply# 40   1/27/2024 at 17:36 by reactor (Oak Ridge, Tennessee-- )        
warm rinse

reactor's profile picture
Warm rinses have always been the standard operating procedure for me. Warm rinsing is far superior to a cold rinse. Not only is detergent solubility increased with warmer temperatures, but fabric weaves tend to open up slightly due to thermal expansion. Of course, this is not new knowledge and others have alluded to this above. That is why automatic washers have historically offered warm rinses, and in some cases had warm rinse as the default mode.

Due to my detergent sensitivity I always follow with a hot rinse, after the normal cycle with wla warm rinse, for bedding and towels. Try it sometime and see the suds come out with a hot rinse. For regular clothing loads I only use warm rinse, and put about 3/4 a cup of lemon juice in the rinse water. It makes the clothes smell clean and fresh and helps to prevent the build-up of detergent scum on the clothes. This is my first house without a water softener, and since using the lemon juice the whites are realing looking great. Matthew mentions he used vinegar. Works by the same principle...acid dissolves the calcium carbonate in the hard water. I have tried vinegar, and it works but I prefer the scent of lemon juice.

Never had a mold growth in any washer I have owned, ever.

Robert mentioned the four temps offered by Frigidaire. My mom's Whirlpool Imperial Mark XII (1961 model, I think). It had at least four water temps, as I recall. Hot, warm, lukewarm, cold. It had no individual temperature control, but provided temperature selection through programmed button controls. On the underside of the lid it showed the temps provided for wash/rinse per program cycle. It seems someone mentioned this model on this site a few years back, and indicated Whirlpool used three solenoids as well. I was too young to have taken the washer apart to find this out for myself, lol

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