Sustainable is Unsupportable

a sad story wherein I Got Caught by Teh Noo.

Came the day a while ago that the old washing machine and screaming dryer were on their way out. Fifteen years, they had served us well.

We did the research and visited our Local seller of household machines where rows and rows of gleaming new machines waited to match our needs. Excitement and trepidation filled our hearts but, as usual, our pal the co-owner directed our attention. “Ignore all those others — they make us stock them. Here’s your choice.” as he pointed us to two [2] machines.

One was the traditional top load; the other one of the new-fangled, “Sustainable” “efficient” front-loaders.

The decision point was ‘will it take a sleeping bag?’ I believe in buying an over-powered machine and under using it. It increases life and gets the job done. That’s all I really seek: getting the job done.

The newfangled one — which our trusted salesman swore would work well — would take large loads. [remember, he tells us things like “Don’t even consider this one or that one. They’re crap. They make us carry them.” So I trusted him.]

I read all the Books, I follow all the directions [rly? a tablespoon of soap? hm…] It takes an hour [one full hour] to wash a load [cuz it’s “efficient, see?]

The New Thing™ this machine does is dump a gallon or so of water in the tub and slosh the clothes through the water repeatedly. Spending great amounts of time doing absolutely nothing — “soaking”? or something.

He told us it would Be A Change. I re-vow to Learn How to Make This Work. Time, and laundry loads pass. The Mister goes out into the world with spots on his clothes. He cares not. I remind him to use the Shout. [it really does work on hydraulic fluid and actual dirt! not to mention soup spots.] I re-wash and re-wash cuz Spots ain’t my thing. And I hate the stink of Shout. And soap — yes, even the “unscented” ones.

Suffice to say, having done my *one [1] load* of laundry *four* f’n times* [the last three sans soap] on Sunday with Spots still in and the Stink of Soap still upon them…. Not to mention waking to find my Ladies Delicates *stiff with soap* on the drying hanger and re-washing them *in the f’n kitchen sink* …well, that fone call wasn’t too hard to make.

Not to mention an itching I *cannot*stop* with antihistamines…. [yes, I am a delicate creature.] [no, I think it was not something pollenating.] Don’t mention it.

Yeah. this “waterless washing” thing Does Not Work, thankyewveddymuch.

The fella at the store said that they have “a process” in these matters wherein they send out a service fella to “teach you how to do your wash” [*eyeroll*] and, incidentally, check the machine to see if it is working properly, then they will ‘work with us’ to make it all ok.

Which is why we go to Locally Owned Store. They hate to lose a customer.

So ok. They’ll call tomorrow to schedule an appointment and I’ll play the game standing there, smiling nicely, while a short-pant wearing young man teaches his grandma to suck eggs instructs me in the finer points of doing laundry and I’ll get a new —> Water Using !!! < — machine.

I am greatly relieved.

Now I just gotta hold out for a week or so…..

Then I’ll re-wash everyfuggin thing I’ve washed in that damned “Sustainable” machine.


  1. Fat Baxter
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 7:25 am |

    Yep, these new-fangled machines use less water, but because they continually tumble the clothes, the clothes are abraded much more, and wear out faster.

    Also, if one of these new front-load machine craps out, you have no way to bail out the water to fix the machine, other than opening the front door. Have a mop handy.

    We also have a large-load requirement (king-size bed quilts). We got a Whirlpool Cabrio top-loader (top loaders do exist). It re-sprays the water through the clothes as they tumble. And yes, it too abrades clothes faster.

  2. jlw
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 7:30 am |

    i also replaced my washer and dryer this summer. the surprise to me was that the sales people told me the new machines were not as good and would not last as long. the owners manuals told me to be prepared for strange noises.

    i bought units as close to my old ones as possible. the computerized washing machine locked me out on the first day. (unplug and plug back in. it’s an f’ing computer)

    i’m getting used to the new ones, but i don’t like them.

  3. Chris in NC
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 7:33 am |

    I got a new fangled one years ago (2000). It was a Maytag Neptune front loader. The first loads were not clean and we called the store. It wasn’t set up right and when they fixed it, everything worked just fine. So that may be the issue. Hope you get a good washer soon Claire!

  4. dick, not quite dead white guy
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 7:34 am |

    Claire, been there done that for about a year now. Our old reliable tank of a washer and dryer served us for ~25 years, until rust claimed them.
    The environazis made the soap makers take the phosphates out of soap, so none of them will remove any kind of oily spots – not motor oil, not mayonaise or soup.
    What we’ve learned:
    1. Separate our oil spotted stuff and put a little trisodium phosphate in with the load after the thing fills.
    2. Our “smart” eco washer meters water via weighing the wash load. That’s the tentative spins it does at the beginning of the cycle. To fool it into adding more water, we pour a two or three two quart pitchers full of water from our laundry sink on the laundry before starting the “smart” (ha ha) econazi machine.
    Or I guess you could throw the clothes in wet.
    A little extra work , but so far so good. I hate the soapy smell too, and so far we’re doing OK with unscented Woolite.

    If this fails, put a big rock in your laundry tub and beat the wash on it. Good luck in your Brave New World of laundry.

  5. dick, not quite dead white guy
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 7:39 am |

    BTW, our washer is a top load Samsung, I think 5 cu. ft., the dryer is the matching front load dryer, and both are big enough to handle a king quilt, horse blankets, pillows. To prevent mold growth, leave the lid up on the washer and door ajar on the dryer after using them to let them dry thoroughly.

  6. Fawkes News (#FearTheVotingDead)
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 8:08 am |

    I used those things in Europe, as well as in one “new” apartment complex I lived in a few years. The trick to them is to use MUCH less soap, and or the special “H.E.” detergent. Still, they have about half the capacity as a traditional washing machine, and each load takes 3 -4 times longer. And yes, the clothes wear out much faster.

    In summary, they suck.

  7. logdogsmith
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 8:13 am |

    TSP huh?

    I was adding a little color safe liquid bleach with mine, but recently started putting about 1/4 cup of borax on the clothes.

    Have had a front loader (WP Duet Sport). It does incredible on whites, and haven’t noticed any spots that I wouldn’t attribute to getting really nasty stuff on TShirts.

  8. JimB
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 8:22 am |

    Just what brand of washer/dryer did you buy Claire?? It would help to know just what to stay away from…

  9. dick, not quite dead white guy
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 8:29 am |

    ^logdogdsmith – TSP huh?
    Only for oily spots. Color safe oxygen bleach for taking whites from gray to white again.

  10. Posted September 9, 2015 at 9:14 am |

    When my English friends come visit, they insist on doing the wash.

    So quick!

    So clean!

    So DRY!!!

  11. Posted September 9, 2015 at 9:22 am |

    If it’s not top-loading with lots of water, I’m not buying it – Period!

  12. PeggyU
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 9:35 am |

    You can adjust those front loaders to use more water. They come set to be “efficient”, but there is a way to tweak them.

    I don’t know if this is your model, but I am sure others operate similarly and can also be adjusted.

  13. rickn8or
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 9:40 am |

    I’m on a well and septic tank. I’ll use all the water I please. And I’ll soldier on with my 25+ year old machines, rattles, squeaks and all. When it breaks to the point I can’t get the parts to fix it, I’ll hit the want ads for a used machine.

    Thanks for the info, y’all.

  14. Leonard Jones
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 10:06 am |

    As a longtime industrial mechanic and electrician, I can state with certainty that no matter the subject, nothing the government mandates is either more efficient or superior to the item being replaced. This goes for toilets, light bulbs, transformer coolants, asbestos,CFC’s, cleaning solvents, etc. I have been forced to flush a turd down the drain multiple times, and dishwashers are next to worthless without the phosphate based soap powders. The ban on safety solvents was the worst. It cut oil and grease with ease. The warm soapy water was so worthless, I complained I would be better off pissing on a part to clean it!

  15. Claire: rebellious pink pig with car keys - and a *cause*
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 10:28 am |

    Since ya ask, it’s a Frigidare.

    The appliance fella said they’re all pretty much made in the same plant and sold to different brands…

    TSP, huh? hm….

    I still use old fashioned cholrox [lemon scented] for my towels n such. works!

    And the tree onto which the exiting water flows loves it. so there ya have it.

  16. DougM (quiet, keeps to himself, kind of a loner, nobody thought he’d do anything like this)
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 10:44 am |

    Ah, the good ol’ days.

  17. PeggyU
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 11:39 am |

    Claire: This?

  18. Lucius Severus Pertinax
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 1:00 pm |

    I can RELATE!!
    The Maytag dishwasher i bought back in November of ’93 finally crapped out-
    the pump was siezed and the racks were rusted to hell.
    I bought a new Whirlpool and it BLOWS CHUNKS!!!

    It takes FOR EV ER to do a load, Half the time it does not clean, nor does it dry.
    It is great for STERILIZING the dishes AFTER I have washed them by hand, but not much else
    I wish now I had put the money into fixing the old unit, but it is, alas, gone now.

    I wonder if there is a way to tweak it to make it use more water, and damn the warranty.

  19. Lord of the Fleas
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 2:50 pm |

    Stream. Rocks. No assembly required.

  20. geezerette
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 3:02 pm |

    I would love to have my old wringer washer—- or maybe go down to the over flowing creek because the ice melting in the North Pole and bang the clothes on a rock— than lay them out on nice hot rocks warmed by global warming to dry —
    Geez Claire how’d a smart girl like you ever get caught up in that fancy clothes washing save the water BS???
    I still hang mine out to dry — I know— but they smell so good — instead of the perfoooomy drier sheet smell—

  21. Paul Moore
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 3:54 pm |

    Tri sodium phosphate not only gets the crud out, It’s one of the ingredients in Cheerios!

  22. PeggyU
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 5:32 pm |

    ^ AND it will kill the moss on your roof.

  23. ZZMike
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 9:19 pm |

    May I direct your attention to this new state-of-the-art washing device.

  24. gsc1039
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 9:55 pm |

    Apparently, Speed Queen still makes at least one model in the image of the tried-and-true “old-time” machines:

  25. Posted September 9, 2015 at 11:06 pm |

    I like our front loader. It’s one of the earlier front loaders, so maybe it wasn’t set up to be so niggardly with the water. But with the HE detergent, it cleans quite well. I think it’s silly, all this water “saving”. As if we can “save” water. Water doesn’t go away. It just moves around. It might not always be where we want it, and it might not always be as pure as we’d like. But it isn’t going away.

    And I correctly used “niggardly” in a sentence.

  26. ZZMike
    Posted September 10, 2015 at 1:25 pm |

    KarlU: “Water doesn’t go away” This is a well-known face of science. It’s known as the Conservation of Water.

    You used ‘niggardly’ twice, in two sentences.

  27. mech
    Posted September 10, 2015 at 3:10 pm |

    Sounds like some of you have really hard water to get such abrasion on the fabrics. Try smaller loads so they don’t get bricked up and rub on whatever is near the spinning load.

    My old top loader sanded the tops and tips of my collars if I put more than four shirts in at a time. Now I have a WP Duet front loader that works well though I haven’t done much fine testing on it. I use the extra rinse with every load and have been trimming the amount of soap. Fragrance free is my preference for everything and I add at least a bit of bleach in case I leave the clothes a day or so before pulling them out for the dryer so they don’t get musty, hate that. Oxy powder is good and I’ve tried borax and washing soda with decent results–again I wasn’t very systematic about it but no bad effects and the oxy stuff tends to keep clothes fresher. Oh and when I’m out of softener, plain vinegar works well, too.

  28. geezerettesbrother
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 5:22 am |

    When buying TSP watch the label carefully as some containers have labeling in large letters say, TSP and then in small lettering you get the “substitute” and / or “phosphate free”.

  29. dick, not quite dead white guy
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 10:56 pm |

    When buying TSP watch the label carefully
    Sneaky aren’t they?
    Your EPA…
    Taking the joy out of life every day
    in sneaky ways.

  30. Hopefulone
    Posted September 11, 2015 at 11:10 pm |

    I like the trick to add water with the load. That makes a lot of sense.