Wednesday, March 24, 2010


We’ve been thinking (a lot) about a new washing machine. Our 1990 model has been repaired many times and is acting up again. It’s not an Energy Star model. In fact, it predates the formation of Energy Star by two years. It’s a top load model. Now, of course, the front load style are all the rage. They’re supposed to be more energy efficient and use less water. They even come in snazzy colors like sports cars. Which makes someone of my years wonder if they still call appliances “white goods”.

In addition to thinking about washing machines, we are also researching them. Yes, that means Consumer Reports and The Googles. We were humming along, narrowing the field until we read that the front loading machines require special laundry detergent, something called HE for High Efficiency. Screeeech! I am extremely particular about laundry detergent. I only use Tide Free Powder. The Free stands for absolutely no fragrance whatsoever. I can’t handle smells - that includes the supposedly good ones like “country fresh” and “spring breeze” and “summer rain” and “why yes I do need a cloud of perfume encircling me like the dust swirls around Peanuts’ Pig-Pen”.

I headed to the Tide website. There’s no Tide Free HE Powder for front loading machines. They do have a Tide Free HE Liquid for front loading machines. But as I read through the reviews of the other Tide HE Liquid laundry detergents, I was not impressed with some of the evaluations. Folks complained about the overpowering smell. But worse than that, they mentioned the clothes aren’t getting clean enough. One reviewer also mentioned a residue on the inside of the machine which smelled bad and stained the clothes. Eeeeeek!

Dear Readers,

My questions are: Do any of you have a front loading washing machine? Are you happy with it? Have you found any problems with it? How about the HE laundry detergents - what works for you?

Thank you in advance,


dancingmorganmouse said...

The Brown Mice do, his name is Sven, he's an Asko and we love him. We use Omo Front Loader & High Efficiency liquid and didn't mind the smell but recently moved to an "earth friendly", can't remember what it's called but it's phosphorus free. It has a much lighter smell, but a smell nonetheless. I always add a couple of drops of tea-tree oil anyway, that covers any smell with its own, and which dissipates while outside drying.
I don't like powders as I've always found they can leave a dusting on the clothes.
I should warn you, front loaders take a lot longer than top loaders, but that just means you can read more book between loads :)

Jeff Barnard said...

Kathy, like you, will not tolerate a laundry detergent with any smell, and like you, only buys that one variety of Tide. Considered buying a front loader for the same "low water consumption" reason, but ran into the very same problem with the detergent. We replaced our washer 15 years ago with a maytag top loader. I had to replace the water supply hoses a few weeks ago, but no breakdowns or repairs have been needed in all this time.

Kate said...

Not sure about which washer to get- but I can tell you to make sure and check for rebates with your local utility. Most via their web sites offer rebates when purchasing higher-efficiency appliances such as ENERGY STAR rated ones.

Go to as a start, but some are seasonal so check your utility site too.

Pink Granite said...

Hi DMM -
For just a moment I pictured a tall Nordic fellow doing your laundry...

Thanks for all the information. I have seen ratings of Asko and they are well reviewed.
I've never had a problem with the powder leaving any sort of dust or residue.
As for the length of cycle, I guess I will need to learn more patience - reading being an excellent path to that!

Hi Jeff -
I'm glad to know I am not alone when it comes to the smell of the detergent. I appreciate the recommendation of the Maytag brand. At this point it is quite tempting to stick with a top loader - and stock up on Tide Free!

Hi Kate -
You'll be pleased to know we did check MassSave! But we were disappointed that washing machines are not currently included in any rebates.
Following your advice, I checked National Grid, but no dice.
We will keep checking both sites though until we make the purchase. And whether we go with a front loader or a top loader, it will definitely be Energy Star.
- A.L.

dancingmorganmouse said...

Lee, when we first got Sven Mr Brown used to ring me at work from time to time, putting on a Swedish accent and offering to "do my laundry" :)