Laundry Lament, Or Why I Hate My HE Washer

I knew the day would come.

It was to be expected.

When you open the lid of the washer and find a tub of clothes swimming in soapy water; when you fiddle with the knob and it makes horrible noises; when your prayers for a miracle healing go unanswered; you must face the fact that your old faithful has rinsed and spun for its last time and you must venture into the world of new appliances.

Such was my situation a few years ago. So off I went to the big box store in search of a new washer. And that was when I found that the washing machine industry had made changes akin to going from a washboard to an electric wringer. Everywhere were these shiny, front-loading machines, some with special stands, as if their little toes were too good to touch the garage floor. After wandering the aisles, I finally found the top loaders. Now, I wasn’t looking for a fancy machine with all the bells and whistles. I just wanted a basic one to replace my faithful old Whirlpool.

I made a decision and was now faced with learning how to operate a HE (or high-efficiency) washer. I’m sure the engineers who came up with these new-fangled machines worked long and hard to come up with all the labor-saving features, but after using this new machine for a few years, I’ve come to hate it. And here’s why:

  1. Washing the Washer:  OK, when I put the dirty laundry and soap in, shouldn’t that “wash” the inside of the machine?  Why do I need to run it through a washer cleaning cycle?  Seems to not be very efficient to me.
  2. Houston, we have liftoff.  Know what happens when a cotton blanket get saturated with water and lands on one side of the drum?  Many a time I have had to race out to the garage, throw my body on the washer and hang on until I could get the blasted thing to unlock.  I swear I could see the drum poking through the front wall!  Couldn’t they have put an “unbalanced” load sensor in with all the other high tech features?  It could just stop spinning and sound an alarm.
  3. The Black Hole.  My washer hates my dark colored pants and shorts.  Really it does.  Why else would it take the time to gather every microscopic speck of lint in the wash and then plaster it onto my black pants?  And I do mean PLASTER!  I can’t shake, wipe, or brush off the lint.  I even tried turning them inside out so the lint would be stuck to the inside.  But no, the sneaky washer managed to send its special agents inside my clothes to glue down the lint. So now I have to put the dark pants and shorts in for a special, all-by-themselves rinse and spin cycle.  My super-efficient machine requires me to wash some clothes twice.
  4. Felt No More.  One of my favorite hobbies is knitting bags and purses and felting them in the washer.  But not in this washer.  Oh, no.  We can’t let the hot water cycle actually dispense HOT water, we must mix it with some cold.  I guess the manufacturers don’t want us consumers to get burned with too hot water.  Oh, wait.  I couldn’t get burned because I can’t get the lid open! That’s OK.  I just let the dryer take over.  It’s my favorite appliance now.
  5. New Meaning to Permanent Press.  This behemoth spins so fast that it gets almost all the water out of the clothes.  This is supposed to decrease your drying time.  What it really does is fling your clothes to the outer walls of the drum where they get pressed beyond belief.  And when they finally escape, they have the wrinkles to prove it.  And the wrinkles don’t come out in the dryer.  So now I have to iron everything.  Where’s the energy savings, mine and the electric bill?

About the only thing I like about this appliance is the little detergent pods. No spills or granules all over the place. But if the washer is supposed to be sensing the weight of my clothes to dispense the appropriate amount of water, shouldn’t I be cutting back on the amount of detergent in the pod? And where does that plastic wrapper go? Hmmm?

Bring back the simpler days of a water level knob, a lid I can open anytime to redistribute a load, and water temperature that is really what I select. Maybe I should just look for a stream and a rock.


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