The Washing Machine Man

Appliance Specialist.

I have heard many people say that they do not like their washer.

Why would this be so?

Possibly because they don't fully understand the way the machine works, and also because the machine was never really installed properly in the first palce. A trip to the washing machine shop, delivering the machine to your laundry and having a novice install it, is the first recipe for disaster. Even some places that  advertise installation don't fully understand the intricacies involved.  I have seen foot bolts left loose dozens of times and water pressure unchecked that will lead to valve failure. When I say professional installation, thats what I mean. PROFESSIONAL INSTALLATION.  Failure to do this properly often leads to the consumer disliking the machine and having to pay the manufacturers agent for corrections, that are NOT covered by warranty.  Proper installation with detailed settings will stop the consumers frustrations regarding the consequences of poor installation practices. 

User guides sometimes do not give that bit of extra assistance regarding machine maintenance cycles. For a full description check out my tips on front load washers or top load washers.

Here are some tips that may be part of the reason for you disliking the machine you have purchased.

Perhaps your machine wobbles around the floor. Installation requires a few tricks. Firstly you need to set your machine level. The instructions about how to setup your machine are in most user guides, so that means it is a task that the maker suggests that you can carry out yourself. Should you follow any instruction from this site you must realise that you do so at your own risk. A professional person is a much better option for you as there is little risk that anything will go wrong. The following is meant to clarify what is in the setup instructions shown in most manufacturers instruction books that are supplied with the machine.Go to the DOCUMENTS section to download a copy of how to setup your washer. Remember that anything you attempt is done at your own risk. Ask Tony if you do not want to accept responsibility for any consequences that might occur.

Adjust each leg by turning it . Keep the leg where the floor is the highest screwed right into the base. Then work across to the opposite leg and level the machine with a spirit level. Now you have two legs set. Work to the next leg and finally trim the level with the last leg. So now you have the machine level. OK what about ensuring that the legs don't come loose and after a few cycles the machine starts to wobble. Each leg has a locking nut. As each leg is adjusted tighten the locking nut. Tighten it up against the base of the machine.The lock nut in the picture is loose, it needs to be tightened up against the base of the machine before use.When all four legs are set , all of the four locking nuts should be tight. If you laundry floor slopes away more that the leg adjustment allows you will have to get a longer leg to do this job. Some makers don't provide very long leg thread lengths. Just chocking the space with a wood block is not advisable. A proper leg with a longer thread is the way to go. If you need this Ask Tony

Maybe the rubber door seal has develpoed black spots or is dirty.This is mostly  caused by cold water washing. Always use fourty  degrees, with a sixty degree cycle at least fortnightly. Ninety degrees once every so often with old rags is important. Use enzyme active detergent with phosphates. Although environmentalists don't like phosphates, my duty here is to describe how to get the best result for your washing and the longevity of your machine. Remember cold breeds mould. The cost of heating the water to fourty degrees is insignificant. The energy sticker on your machine will display just how inexpensive this is. Anyway, it's either do this or your machine may not be worth using in a short time.

Fabric softeners can react with detergent that remains in your clothing after the rinse. This will cause black spots like grease on your garments and deposits on your door seal. To be safe, avoid using fabric softeners. A short fluff up in the dryer will loosen up your garments and soften towels. Softener residue can also deposit in your dryer and cause the requirement for frequent service. The residue can coat the NTC sensors, get into the heater box , and generally cause problems. Some people use white vinegar as a softener. 

Perhaps your clothes have a 'musty' smell. This is most likely  because your detergent has not been dissolving greases and body fats. I'm certainly no chemist, but a very experienced industrial chemist has briefed me on this subject. He says the two chemicals in washing machine detergent that are necessary for proper results are enzymes and phosphates

( Enzymes need a temperature of about 40 degrees for about 15 minutes to be activated, so cold water washing is definitely not recommended.)

Under-dosing of detergent should be considered.

Make sure the washer has a clear evacuation to the drain. Clean out the pump trap and if connected to a spigot, make sure there is no blockage at that connection. Watch the drain hose pumping out into the waste pipe by lifting it to view the flow output. Leaving the door open won't make any difference and in fact may lead to someone breaking the door. Keep the door closed but wipe out the seal and keep it clean.

Environmentalists do not like phosphates, and we are moving away from the use of phosphates completely. They are banned in some countries. The manufacturers of detergents claim that there is no disadvantage in the wash quality by removing phosphates. 

From a practical point of view, I do remain sceptical about this.

  ( http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/latest-news/laundry-powders-to-go-phosphate-free/story-fn3dxity-1226040409874) 

I can say for sure that I have used a machine with detergent minus phosphates  for about six months and, yes, my washing began to smell. I cleaned it out with two cycles of epsom salts and a hot 90 degree wash, then a load of old towels with Omo detergent. 

If you choose  a commercial brand of descaled / cleaner, check the recommenced temperature for use. Some descaler / cleaners  will discolour the stainless steel wash bowl if used over seventy degrees.

People who perspire a lot in their job, like a labourer may have the problem accentuated as compared to a person who doesn't perspire.

With regard to cleaning uses, phosphates are used in automatic dishwasher detergents and laundry detergents to help soften water and remove soil, oil, and grease. ( grease mostly in the form of skin flakes and body fats )  They also help prevent spotting and film build-up in automatic dishwasher detergents.  In the U.S. phosphates have been banned since the 1990s and may soon be banned in Europe too. 

To overcome the smelly problem I am trying Canesten Hygiene Laundry Rinse in a white bottle with a yellow top from your supermarket. I get it from Coles in the laundry detergent department. It is placed in the fabric softener compartment of your washer. Follow the dosage recommendation on the bottle.Remember a top loader may use over 100 litres of water per cycle. A front loader may use half of that, so dosing with a hygiene rinse should be adjusted accordingly. I am watching to see if there are any effects like coloureds running etc. If you try it watch this too.I take no responsibility for any adverse effect. If you are concerned there is a 1800 number available to call Bayer the maker of this product.

Another tip.....remove the washing from the machine when it is finished. If you are a busy worker the time delay on some makes will assist in engineering this.

Purchase a quality detergent and don't change you brand just because it is not the cheapest. Stick to a quality brand unless you have a good reason to change. I use Omo for front loaders.

The above is the best work around I have discovered since phosphates have been removed or lowered to small levels. On the packet of detergents in the supermarket you will see NP labelled. No phosphates ? Or in some cases no added phosphates over a prescribed level? 

Perhaps you machine doesn't spin properly. The washing may be too wet. This could be a result of too much soap.Suds lock can occur, which prevents proper evaccuation of the water and stops the spinner gaining full speed. It also places too much load on the motor. Click here to  find out about  suds lock. There may be a partial pump blockage. Clean out the pump trap located low down near the foot of the machine. Make sure there are no items stuck right up inside. Clean this out about once a month to ensure proper maintenance. Mixing heavy and light garments can sometimes form an unbalanced load which causes spin problems.To eliminate this just do a large load with just towels and see what the result is.

Greasy stains may appear on your garments. Most likely you have been using fabric conditioner. I do not reccomend this product for use in any washer. Experience has shown me how greasy marks appear on the wash after persistent use. Fabric conditioner can react with detergent to form a greasy substance that not only stains your garments, but builds up in the machine to form a greasy jelly. Not every rinse is perfect so some detergent can remain in your machine. When the fabric softener is applied  the remaining detergent can react with the softener chemical and there you have the recipe to make grease. Drying your clothes on the line is practical, but just tumbling them for about ten minutes in a dryer cancels the need for the use of fabric softeners.

The rubber door seal keeps tearing and so creates a leak. When removing heavy wet clothing from the machine be careful that you don't rip zippers across the rubber seal lips. Zippers will damage the rubber seal and cause the machine to drip water. Unload the machine carefully a bit at a time. Don't be careless. Take a bit more time and save some money by having to replace expensive door boot seals. They can cost about $80 plus the fitting fee. A bit of patience and care can prevent this. Manufacturers do not warrant torn door seals.

Does the control panel look untidy because the writing has partially dissapeared.This is possibly due to prewash stain release spray misting onto the control panel. Stain releasing spray will cause some decal panels to dissolve the letters and so leave the panel difficult to set the cycles. The trick is to spray the stain release spray away from the washing machine. Don't get any of the mist on the machine.

 

My front load washing machine takes too long For an explanation about why front load washers take longer, read my front load washer tips here

I have had socks jammed in my pump a few times Smalls like socks and handkerchiefs can get into the outer tank area if too much is loaded into the bowl. Just being able to fit your hand between the top of the dry load and the top of the drum and moving it up and down slightly is the correct way to gauge a full load. Any more may cause the loaded garments to be forced between the rubber door seal and the spin bowl. The rotating motion of the bowl can then draw items into the outer tank and then find their way into the pump. Machines without a rubber door seal do have the same problem. If the concentric drums are no longer concentric because of a mechanical problem with the machine, then this will cause items to enter the outer tank too. You will need to call for service to have this looked at. You can check this by turning the spin bowl by hand and watching that it turns concentrically within the outer tank.

Coins and foreign items keep getting jammed in my pump. Clean out your pockets first. Be diligent with this. I have seen a coin stand up in between the two bowls while the spinner is going at full speed and split the stainless steel drum, so rendering the machine only fit for the tip.Mostly coins, paper clips and hair clips etc find their way into the drain pump chamber and can be removed easily. However, don't push your luck. Always check your pockets. Remember what you put into the machine will determine what you get out of it.

My skin is itchy. Some detergents can cause skin irritations. Low allergy detergents are available if you have an allergy problem. Firstly identify that you are not using fabric softerer. Softener that remains in the fabric may cause skin irritation problems. Elsewhere in this website I have recommended  that you do not use fabric softener for a different reason. Click here. Many machines have an extra rinse feature too. Extra rinses use more water but are designed to ensure that all of the detergent is washed away and so prevent irritations. 

Water runs out of the dispenser drawer.  Possibly because the drawer, the outlet from the drawer, the fill box that the drawer fits into or the convoluted hose that fits between the fill box and the outer water tank is blocked, causing a restriction of water flowing into the machine and so the water runs back out of the dispenser drawer as it overflows. Too much detergent can build up in these areas and restrict the flow into the machine. Also fabric softener can cause a build up of jelly like grease and cause this blockage. The fix is to clean out these areas. Try running hot water through the drawer and into the fill box. It may be necessary to search the user guide to discover how to remove the dispenser drawer to carry out this cleaning process. Look at how much detergent you use and how tidy you are when placing detergent into the compartment of the drawer. Also check that the machine is level and not leaning forward.Tilting the machine ever so slightly to cause water to run back is a good idea. Careful treatment of your valuable machine is a prudent way to increase its life and to get the best out of it. Alkaline detergents can get into the joins of the metal cabinet and cause rust to start. Just be tidy and modest about using the products that go into the filler box.

The garments from my front load washer come out too stiff and creased. Front load washers 'can' produce slightly stiffer results than top load washers. Top load washers immerse the load in a bowl of water. Called water immersion. This is more likely to rinse out any latent detergent remaining in the fabric. Front load washers, on the other hand only use little water. The garments are just sloppy wet. So, not oversudsing is critical where the rinse cycle uses just a small amount of water. Stiffness in the garments is likely to be due to detergent remaining in the fabric. You can soon test this by placing the load back in the machine on another rinse cycle and see if you get a soapy solution. Ideally, of course you should not. Furthermore try this.....rub your thumb and first finger together and feel the smooth skin. Then rub the garment with the same action. Now rub the thumb and first finger again. If you feel a gritty feel there is detergent between your fingers and so that is why the garments are stiff. So, what should I do about this? Well, of course use less detergent. Very little may be required. Some makes of machine have a selection to do more rinses. This you could try too. Also a high spin speed can cause garments to become stiff too. So as well as the amount of detergent and the number of rinses, if you have that facility, you can cut the spin speed back. At 900 RPM , towels should come out without any wringing water left. 1200 RPM is a favoured speed of mine all year round as it seems to provide the best balance for ideal results. Click here

 

 

Tell me why you don't love your appliance and I will post a reason why this might be so.

Tell Tony why....

 ┬ęCopyright Tony Pike 1/1/2011

 

 

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