We bought a new clothes washer

We decided it was time to get a new clothes washer because we couldn’t get the mustiness out of the old one (and did not want to spend a weekend taking it apart and putting it back together).  Instead, we spent a weekend reading online reviews, subscribing to consumer reports, etc. etc. etc.

Consumer reports had a different viewpoint than most of the other review sites, and that difference seemed to be entirely driven by brand reliability ratings.  Many of the for-profit sites preferred a fancy front-loading Electrolux model, but they got low points for long-term reliability with Consumer Reports.  Consumer Reports preferred LG as a brand.  After some comparison of pros and cons across different sites, we decided to get the LG #WM3700HWA (not an affiliate link) from Home Depot for a total cost including installation and parts of $913.93.

This is a pretty fancy clothes washer.

The thing that lots of people don’t like about it is that the panel display needs a lot of light in order to be read, so it isn’t great for basement laundry rooms.  Our utility room is bright and cheery with a window, so we don’t have that problem.

The second problem is that while this machine did really well on cleanliness in the tests, the regular cycle was not the most gentle of the washers that various places tested.  We have found that to be true in our case as well.  Our clothing gets clean without pre-soaking or a second wash (even DC1’s stinky pits), but it isn’t incredibly gentle on clothes.  For most of our clothing this doesn’t matter, but DC2 has had a couple of older shirts lose their printing in the washer.  My clothing that I’ve been washing on delicate doesn’t seem to have any problems, so maybe if this is something you’re worried about, stick to the delicate cycle.

Finally, there were complaints about the blue-tooth … but we are never going to want to use an app to run our laundry in our house.  Maybe if we had basement laundry or a more busy active lifestyle we might use the keep tumbling feature… but… I just don’t think we are going to be in a situation in which this would be a useful feature.

One nice thing about the washer, which may be also related to it being harder on clothing, is that it does a really good job of getting the water out of clothing, which has cut down on our dryer time considerably.  Most of our loads get dry in 50-60 minutes rather than 90+.  Of course, there’s also more time spent in the washer than before, so we haven’t actually cut down on total time.  But if dryers are bigger energy hogs than washers, this may not be a bad thing.

I also had some fun playing with the steam cycle that supposedly gets rid of allergens.  I did a load of itchy shirts and towels on that cycle and they came out not itchy at all and just as clean as the regular cycle.  So I’m not really sure if there’s a benefit to either cycle, except the allergen steam cycle takes twice as long as the regular cycle.

Supposedly this washer has a self-clean cycle.  We haven’t tried it yet.

The washer is also a lot bigger in capacity than our previous one.  Our dryer hasn’t gotten any bigger, so that’s not particularly helpful.

The thing we like best about this washer (other than the not giving me hives part) is that when it’s done washing, instead of strident beeping, it sings a happy little song that sounds reminiscent of an ice cream truck.  (Our Hondas also sing little songs when they’re going slowly– our household is getting pleasantly musical.  With a pleasantness exception of the way that the kids have been singing Christmas songs on the top of their lungs since June.)

So we’re pretty happy and I’m again wishing we’d just gotten a new washer back this summer when the door handle broke instead of after the leak and permanent spreading mustiness and hives.  But if it weren’t for the hives, we’d probably be happily continuing to use this washer and to fix smaller parts as they broke.

Are there any other updates you’re interested in reading about?

Is it time to buy a new clothes washer?

We have had our fancy front-loading Frigidaire clothes washer for almost as long as we’ve been in this house, well over a decade.  (It took a couple months to save up to buy nice appliances, so we spent some time going to the laundromat after moving here rather than buying the cheapest models right away.)

Throughout this time, DH has replaced the electronic board, the motor, the door handle, and I’m probably forgetting what else.

Most recently the washer developed an internal leak which we discovered this summer after getting back from a week long conference/vacation and finding the drum partly full of water.  DH replaced the internal part that the leak likely sprung from, but the occasional load of laundry still smells musty.*  Worse than that, I appear to be heavily allergic to whatever is causing the must smell– I develop instant hives, particularly on my stomach area, and lately have been fearful of putting on clothing.  Our first step was to follow online instructions for cleaning and we did a hot vinegar load.  Then we did a hot bleach load.  Then DH did a deep clean of every part of the washer that didn’t involve taking it apart (likely the problem is something yucky still underneath the drum).  Most loads now are fine, especially when I also add vinegar in the fabric softener/bleach inputs.  But there are enough occasional loads that are somewhat off that I currently have ugly looking red marks where my pants hit my stomach.

DH’s final attempt was to do a load with an industrial solvent called CLR (for Calcium, Lime, and Rust).  Since then I’ve been able to wear clothing that’s been washed, but I’m (understandably, I think) still worried.  Plus the clothes washer itself still doesn’t smell great all the time.  (I wonder if we should suspect another leak…)

Now, DH could take apart the entire clothes washer and give it a thorough internal scrub… but it would eat up a weekend and who knows what the next thing to break will be.  (We could also pay someone to clean it, but I suspect a repair person would just tell us to get a new machine.)

I am really tempted to just get a new machine.  DH had decided if the CLR load didn’t result in wearable shirts for me that he would buy a new one over the weekend while I was gone at a conference.  But then I was fine with the next load.  So now we’re undecided.  Figuring out what front-loading washer to buy next is going to be a pain.  None of the “best of” lists seem to agree with each other, and I think we probably *don’t* want a smart model because I am willing to be that will be the part that breaks first while being non-trivial to repair.  But who knows, maybe we do?

We still have our ancient refrigerator.

How do you decide to get new appliances like washing machines?  If you can afford it, is removing potential emotional distress a viable reason?  (But what about the potential distress from potentially buying an expensive new lemon?)

*Between loads we leave all the doors open to air out, and always have.  We’ve been using best practices to avoid must problems.  DH reads the manual to whatever new appliance we get and follows it.