Washing machines that conserve water

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I need first hand info on what brand 120v washing machines really do conserve water and also clean clothes well.

-- Richard Armstrong (rickarmpit.@yahoo.com), November 06, 2001


All of the front loaders conserve water, and do a very good job of cleaning. (We recently got one, and had one years ago.) The down side of course is that they cost more than the top loading version does. When our machine is washing it appears, through the front window, that there is not enough water in there to do anything, but the clothes always come out clean and fresh. Ours is a Gibson (GE) but they all seem to work the same.

Hope this helps you out.

Talk to you later.

-- Bob in WI (bjwick@hotmail.com), November 06, 2001.

Hello Richard, We have a old wringer washer. I think they are very economical because Meli, (my wife) will use the water a couple of times before dumping it. They also seem to clean better because you control the amount of time you want them to agitate. Sincerely, Ernest

-- http://communities.msn.com/livingoffthelandintheozarks (espresso42@hotmail.com), November 06, 2001.

We have a frigidaire gallery--you will also save on detergent use with front loaders. A few bad things:

1: Do not stack them, even though you can--if the washer needs repair, they will have to send an extra person to lift the dryer off, unless you do it, and it will cost you.

2: If you are the type who needs to soak clothes in bleach or whatever for a while, you're going to have to soak elsewhere, like in a bucket or deep sink. You also cannot just pour diapers and soaking water in a front loader to spin the water out before washing. Hard to pour sideways!

3: There will be a learning curve every time you use a new detergent so that you use the right amount--not too much and not too little. It is very easy to oversoap, and can take a while to rinse out--remember, you not working with that much water.

4: I'm not sure that they clean better, especially in cold water loads. I think it is especially important to take the soap and apply it to any stains that need it, then pour the remaining amount in the dispenser.

They are expensive, but you might want to look at the Asko--they heat their own water, so it doesn't matter how far from the water heater they are. Since front loaders use so little water in general, you might have to run your hot tap a bit just to get enough water for it to be hot. For example, in the far bathroom, it is about 5 gallons before the shower gets hot, just from traveling through the pipes.

Just a thought to add to #4: I always wondered if you were better off getting tankless water heaters (they're supposed to last like 20-30 years) for sinks and bathrooms, and washers and dishwashers that heat their own water and then you don't have the expense of leaving the large tank on all the time, and the sediment problems, etc.

Hope this helps.

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), November 06, 2001.

Yes, and speaking of sediment problems-do try to drain your water heater and clean out the sediment (once a year?). I have had the unfortunate experience of having the bottom a 20 year old water heater completely rot out because we didn't know to drain the water heater and remove sediment.

It's not just about buying smart, but also taking care of appliances. I wish I'd been better about things like changing filter in heating and air conditioner and insulating the water heater and pipes.

That is an interesting point about heating large water heaters. Do any of you turn off your water heater when you are on vacation?

It made me wonder about setting the washer for cold water small load and adding some water that heated from the sun? Maybe rainwater in some container. It might not heat the whole load but qualify as "warm".

I cannot justify the cost of the front loading washer to my DH, but I am looking at other ways to save around it.

-- Ann Markson (tngreenacres@hotmail.com), November 06, 2001.

Ok, now Im thinkin'--how about painting those big construction type buckets with the lids black and collecting rainwater. Place in the sun for some "free" heated water?

I've read about people useing black-painted metal drums in their greenhouses to heat them in a passive solar way and also be a shelf for their plants. But Im digressing.....Have I made someone mad? Sorry.

-- Ann Markson (tngreenacres@hotmail.com), November 06, 2001.

Ann, With rebates you can easily justify the cost, and if you live in an area where water costs are high (like California), you will realize a payback that much more quickly. The Asko is the top of the line, but there is a wide range of prices. I also read somewhere that there was some movement to require all new washers to be front loading, and it that is true, it will also bring prices down.

You might also want to look at some of the newer, more water conservative top loaders, especially if you will be using lightly filtered roof water, for cold washloads.

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), November 06, 2001.

I have a Maytag Neptune front loader. It does conserve water (and is supposed to be more energy efficieny in its electricity use). It gets clothes clean. It was expensive. The tub has a LARGE rubber gasket (for lack of a better word) around it, and water will collect and remain in the low spot it the gasket, and then it gets stinky and mildewy. I now use a large sponge to absorb the remaining water after the last load of the day, but it's kind of a pain to remember to do.

A friend just bought a Whirlpool Calypso. She says it is water conserving but top loading. It has some sort of motion that agitates the clothes without the agitator post in the center as in most conventional top loading washers. This means less wear than conventional top loaders, which is also true of my front loading Maytag Neptune. They both have such good spin cycles (when set on Max Extract) that the clothes come out much drier. Oh, and her machine was about as expensive as mine (we both waited for them to be on sale, but they were still expensive).

-- Joy F [in So. Wisconsin] (CatFlunky@excite.com), November 06, 2001.


I've never had that problem with the gasket, except occasionally a baby sock would sneak in (solved that problem by using one of those mesh lingerie bags for the small things). Usually that is where some soap suds collects.

You might want to try a sprinkle of baking soda in between times, or leave the door slightly ajar.

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), November 06, 2001.

Richard: Check out a "Staber" washer. They are American made and pretty darn amazing. Several places on the net sell them (inc. Lehmans). Good luck.

-- Tim Price (thprice60@hotmail.com), November 06, 2001.

Just had to step in on this one. We bought a Staber washer this year at an auction, for a mere 350.00 less then a year old. [unbelievable I know!] 1/2 to 1 ounce of soap is all it uses and alot less water. We wondered ourselves about the cleaning ability. It does a great job, but because it spins much faster the clothes dry much sooner. I have to iron acouple items I didn't have to before because they dry so fast. But in the winter thats a big advantage. Otherwise, I would of went with a nice old wringer washer!

-- Suzanne (weir@frontiernet.net), November 06, 2001.

joy f, check with your maytaqg dealer. I believe they came out with a retrofit kit to cure your problem. the newer machines have drain holes in the gasket I believe.

-- jz (oz49us@yahoo.com), November 06, 2001.

We bought a front loader about two years ago and are very happy with it. Yes, it was more of an expense up front, but watch for sales and rebates which can help. But we also save in the long run since running the well and heating water are expensive. The clothes are clean and as mentioned, are drier when they come out. So, I have an added saving on dryer time since I can't hang clothes out to dry because of pollen allergies. Also found our clothes and sheets and towels do last longer when dried in a dryer instead of in the sun. Do like the smell of drying outside (when someone isn't burning), but the Florida sun is hard on material. Front loaders cause less wear and tear on the clothes. Also, another added benefit if you are on a septic system is less water from the washer if you live where gray water is not allowed. So, if you add up all of the ways you save, in the long run, I think they are a good buy. Oh, yeah, mine seems to run quieter than a top loader, too.

-- Sherry S, N.Fl (natmatters@mail.istal.com), November 07, 2001.

Thanks for the suggestion, jz. I'll have to follow-up on that. Perhaps GT has a later version what has the drainage -- that would explain why s/he hasn't had that problem. You would think, though, since I sent in my registration for the warranty, they would NOTIFY me, wouldn't you? >:-(

-- Joy F [in So. Wisconsin] (CatFlunky@excite.com), November 07, 2001.

I have the Frigidaire Gallery--I think all front loaders have rubber gaskets. Mine is not very deep and doesn't have drain holes that I could see, although I'm sure they're somewhere. I would say it only collects about a tablespoon of water, tops.

I looked at the Neptune when we were buying--isn't that the one where the tub kind of slants down towards the back? The salesperson told me that because of that feature, if you were washing sandy clothes (say after going to the beach) that sand collects there at times, so that was one reason we didn't buy it. The other reason was that I preferred being able to see the wash (especially useful as it oversoaped in the beginning:o)

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), November 07, 2001.

I agree with Earnest - there ought to be a

national NATIONAL Maytag wringer Washer dAY.

-- Elizabeth Quintana (rockshelter@webtv.com), November 07, 2001.

Agree with Earnest. There ought to be a national Maytag Wringer Washer day.

-- Elizabeth Quintana (rockshelter@webtv.com), November 07, 2001.

Check out the kenmore tumble action. They come Stackable or not. It is not the HT3. This is alot cheaper in price. It holds up to a king size comforter. The opening is very deceiving. Neptune has 3.3 cubic ft drum and kenmore has 3.1. The Neptune is $999.00 for the LED model and the LCD with the computer is $1500. Who needs all those gadgets. It is only a washing machine. It took me 2 months to pick out my new washer and dryer. I really wanted the Neptune but couldn't afford it. This washes great. I have a farm and 5 children under 12 years. I do ALOT of laundry. I was worried about saving water because we are on a septic tank. I was literally waiting for it to blow up with my old washer. The Kenmore uses half the water and soap. I can wash a load on hot and still have enough hot water to take two showers. I couldn't do that with my old one. It also has the Max-spin so you don't wait on you dryer. I can fit more in it than in my Super plus capacity washer. It uses alot let energy too. The set costed me $1100.00 Three months ago. That is cheaper than the neptune alone. If you have questions write me. Good Luck

-- Toni in Utah (tmevans66@hot mail.com), November 08, 2001.

Great web/list here. Just wanted to add a few links for people's perusal. I just came across a sailing website and one person posted had all sorts of great ways to do laundry on the fly on boating trips, and wanted further tips, but there was no way to reach him. If only I could tell him about WonderWash. (there are other names for this product). It is GREAT!

I came across the Wonder Wash 6 yrs ago and then again last year, so finally got my own. It is GREAT! But see for yourself. They also carry the Staber someone was mentioning.


Another useful site:


Plus for soap, I love Sal's Suds by Dr. Bronner's. It is an effective and highly concentrated all-purpose soap, including laundry and works great on stains, including grease, blood, etc as prewash.

Here's a link that talks about it, so you know I'm not promoting the actual company and their site: http://www.mamaknowsbest.com/Magicsoap.htm


-- L (521b1bf79f27bc24a83b2a30d4ca61f2@orangatango.com), November 17, 2001.

I thought about getting one of those "wonder wash" things when I saw them in the Real Goods Catalogue (I don't remember what they were called). Later on I happened to be visiting in Berkeley, and saw several (4-5) returns in the Real Goods store clearance section, which made me kind of wonder why they were returned....

Might be okay for boaters and RVer's or for 1-2 person households, but can't see them for family use on a daily basis. If I see one used, I might buy it just to see how it works.

-- GT (nospam@nospam.com), November 17, 2001.

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