Doing the Laundry

  • Posted on August 21, 2010 at 10:44 AM

The washing machine. An essential appliance in any home! Closely followed by the dishwasher but that is another post…

A timely post as Julia has just had to book a service call for her washing machine.

The first decision that must be made when in the market for a new washing machine is front loader versus top loader.

Rowena has a front loader (with matching dryer) which she loves.

Whilst Rowena generally uses cold water to wash, on occasion she likes to do a warm or hot wash. The machine heats its own water which is handy as she lives in a unit and only has a small hot water tank so does not want to use this hot water in the washing machine.

A consideration with front loaders is that some of them have a very long wash cycle time – up to 3 hours! In that case one would need to plan ahead so as to not be caught short with no clean clothes…

As a general rule, front loaders do use a lot less water although there are some top loaders available now which claim to use a similar amount of water to front loaders.

Julia has a top loader. It is a large family size washing machine. Washing for a family of 5 is very different to washing for a couple. Julia will do at least one load of washing nearly every day. The fact that Julia has 3 children is the main reason why she decided to heed advice from the washing machine technician when it came time to buy a new washing machine. The technician told her that whilst front loader machines are very water efficient, in his opinion they do not do as good a job at keeping children’s dirty clothes clean. For this reason, he would only recommend a front loader for a couple without children.

Washing powder or liquid is a personal choice. Some are too heavily fragranced for the Sisters’ tastes and they will not use them. These are a common culprit in allergies as well. Fabric softener is not recommended by most washing machine manufacturers as it tends to form a build-up of scum in the machine.

The dryer is a handy appliance to have as well. They do use a lot of electricity but in case of a spate of bad weather, it is reassuring to be able to keep on top of the washing without having clothes drying all over the inside of the home.

The good old fashioned Hills Hoist cannot be beaten as a clothes line if you have the space in your backyard. If not, then there are other more compact styles of line which fold flat against the wall or other longer, narrow style lines which pull out from the wall. Obviously if you live in a unit your drying options are limited. In this case it is handy to have a drying rack attached to the wall that can be folded flat against the wall when not in use.

School uniforms and work clothes need special care in the laundry. Julia prefers to wash these items on a gentle cycle with reduced spin. The items are then hung straight on hangers to dry, minimising the need for ironing. Business shirts will still need to be ironed but if hung on a hanger they are much easier to iron.

What sort of washing basket to use? Julia does not like cane washing baskets. Whilst they look attractive, they tend to snag and catch on the clothes. Currently, Julia prefers the ‘hip hugger’ type baskets that are easy to carry when full.

Finally as with many household chores the key seems to be to do a little bit of washing often. Whilst it is always recommended in the interest of electricity consumption to only wash full loads, the Sisters both agree that they would rather do a small load more often rather than only waiting until a full load is ready to be washed. It does not take much for a huge pile to build up otherwise!

Update re service call for Julia’s washing machine: $136 later including replacement part, call-out fee and labour charge, Julia’s washing machine is back in good working order. Only 3 years old, Julia was ruing the fact that she had not taken out an extended warranty at the time of purchase. However, this proved to not matter given that the cost of an extended warranty would have exceeded the $136 that was paid in this instance. So at this time she is still in front…fingers crossed that it is at least another 3 years until the next service call is required!

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