Washing Machine Reviews and Testing
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Samsung High Efficiency Top Loader (no agitator)
I had a high efficiency Samsung top loader, and I hated it. There is no way to manually increase the volume of water used. I've never felt that it used enough water or agitated the laundry enough. Here is a video of my washing machine "washing" my son's sheets and comforter. It is hard to see because the lid is dark, and I had to shine a flashlight in and hold my phone. As you can see, the laundry is not covered in water and is not agitating at all. Here is the video. So, if you are shopping for a HE top loader, this is probably what you are going to get. I would recommend an HE front loader or an old fashioned agitator top loader that uses more water.
In addition to not using enough water or agitating enough, when I do a "normal" load on HOT, the water temperature in the tank after it fills up is only 90 degrees F. That is not really even warm. I suspect this "high efficiency" machine just refuses to let me "waste" hot water. Yes, we have checked the water coming out of the tap directly into the machine and it is 140 degrees F. In addition, you have to put the chlorine bleach in the bleach dispenser. You cannot easily add the bleach to the water as it fills up because the machine won't fill up until the clothes are in it. Also, I have tested my tap water numerous times for bacteria and nothing ever grows on the agar plate. So, my tap water is very clean and is not contributing any bacteria to these experiments.
When I do a hot load on the normal wash setting and put chlorine bleach in the dispenser, these are the results that I get. The bleach hardly does anything! I repeated this in disbelief numerous times. This is how I've been doing my white underwear/sock load for a year! No wonder my husband always has athletes foot! My only explanation is that the bleach did not get enough TIME with the laundry when it was added to the dispenser.
However, when I add bleach directly to the wash water or put the bleach in the soap dispenser, I get very clean results. I really think that the bleach just needs more time with the laundry and does not get that time when it is added to the dispenser. These options are not ideal, though. When I add the bleach to the soap dispenser, it immediately leaks directly onto the clothes. I've gotten holes in most of my towels because the bleach fell directly on them from the soap dispenser. I can pause the machine after it has filled up and add bleach to the water, but it is too easy to forget to do that. Also, sometimes my machine just refuses to pause, and I can't add the bleach. So, I really, really wish I had a different washing machine.
Whirlpool Duet High Efficiency Front Loader
My new Whirlpool duet front loader washer
Great news! My washer that I hated (Samsung HE top loader) broke, and I got a new one! I looked at every washer in town and had so much trouble deciding what to buy. Should I get an old fashioned top loading Speed Queen that uses lots of water but is relatively small? Or try a HE front loader which would be big enough to fit all of my little Michael's bedding (since he wakes up soaked every morning)? Which would kill germs the best? I wished I could test them all first but I couldn't. Eventually, my husband just went out and bought one without me since I couldn't decide. Luckily, I like it! I got a Whirlpool Duet HE front loader. It has a sanitize cycle and a steam cycle. I've had since December 2015, and I still like it. There could be a better washer out there, I just don't know which one. It does not use much water. Just the normal cycle doesn't use enough water to displace all the pee in my son's pajamas. I have to use the extra heavy soil sanitize cycle with extra rinse for really dirty stuff.
Tide Free and Clear
My last washer made it nearly impossible to generate clean underwear because adding chlorine bleach to the dispenser did not result in clean laundry for some reason. So, the first thing I tested with my new washer was whether or not I could get the white towel/sock/underwear load bacteria-free by using 1/2 cup chlorine bleach in the dispenser, Tide Free and Clear detergent, and the sanitize cycle (set to normal soil). I also used the extra rinse because I want to make sure all the bleach is removed. The cycle is 1 hour and 45 minutes. I blotted several pieces of laundry from the load onto the agar plate straight out of the washer. I did not dry the laundry before testing it.
As you can see, I have achieved a clean white load!!!! Of course, I hope you remember that I am only testing for the presence of bacteria on these agar plates. I can't grow viruses at home. There are also some types of bacteria that won't grow on this type of agar plate. So, even if a plate looks clean, that does not mean that absolutely no microorganisms were present. However, the washing method that generates a clean looking plate most likely has less microorganisms total present than a washing method that generates a plate with lots of bacteria. So, I am very happy with these results!
Here is my dirty dish towel load which STUNK they were so dirty. Again, I used the sanitize cycle set on "normal soil", extra rinse, 1/2 cup bleach in the dispenser with Tide Free and Clear detergent. It did great!
I also tested the dirty dish towel load washed on COLD with 1/2 cup of bleach. It did great, too. So, you can use cold water with chlorine bleach. Cold water helps keep the bleach fumes down to a minimum.