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Front loader or regular wash machine?

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
We just recently moved into a house that came with a front load wash machine. It has been my dream to have one of these. I heard there are a lot of positives to having one, including they get the clothes cleaner. But after two months of using it, and I may be the only one on the planet that feels this way, I don't like it as well as my regular wash machine. For one, I don't feel like my clothes are getting as clean. They don't come out smelling and looking as clean. And for two, the rubber ring around the opening smells horrible. I have to spray it and clean it out with vinegar after every wash. I was thinking about going back to a regular machine but am worried that I might be crazy because the front loaders are so much better.

Any other thoughts or experiences or front loaders?
post #2 of 40
One thought is: are you shutting the door between washes? A front loading washing machine seals tight, for obvious reasons. A top-loader does not need to, so there's air circulation.

If the machine is always shut up, it can get very nasty in there.

I am in the habit of keeping the door wide open after running a load in my front-loader, for a while, then I can shut it most of the way - but my policy is, unless it's actually running, the door has to be open at least a crack.

On a rare occasion when the door has been shut too long (I got overwhelmed and left a load to rot in there, or the door just accidentally got shut for a long time) it does get stinky. A few washes usually fixes it. If you have a worse problem, I'm not sure what to suggest except maybe running a bleach load (and I hate bleach, this is just for an emergency). Then keep the door open between loads! At least a crack.

Another thought, and I don't think this is the issue, but are you using the correct type and amount of detergent/soap? You need a lot less than for a top-loader, and the build-up can cause problems. I actually mix up my own mixture from Pure Ivory soap flakes, borax and washing soda. I put in a heaping tablespoon per load. It's also very cheap - I last made up a bunch in mid-December, and I am only 2/3 of the way through it. I think I went through about $10 worth of material. So I'm spending, what, $15 a year on laundry soap? And it does get very clean, and I also wash pee-only family cloth and there's never any smell when it comes out.
post #3 of 40
Everything that laohaire said, plus you might consider trying to replace that rubber gasket around the door before you invest in a whole new washing machine. That might take care of the perma-nast smell.

Also- the front loader I have has a trap that needs to be cleaned out once in a while. It interferes with the drainage of the machine when it gets stuff stuck in it (found a silver necklace I had lost in there once!) and that could contribute to the less-than-clean problem you notice. Since you inherited the machine from previous people, who knows what could be in there.

I do like my front loader- it uses considerably less water and I do notice that the clothes are MUCH cleaner than in my old top loader. Downside is that it takes longer to wash and it does get super funk odor if I forget to leave the door open. If I'm desperate I'll wash a bleach load- or if it's not too bad I"ll throw in a scoop of Oxyclean.
post #4 of 40
I agree with the suggestion to leave the door open a bit, unless it's easily accessible by any curious little people, then just leave it open at night.

Is it possible that you're over loading your machine? We just got a (fabulous!) new LG set and the manual basically says that if you can close the door, your load is fine. After just a wash or two, I found that that wasn't the case, so I stopped trying to put so much in one load. Also, does yours have a water plus/extra water option? You may want to give that a go as well.

We've had quite a few sets over the last few years with moving and/or inheriting ones that were near death, and the two front loaders have been my favorite, but I think there is a bit of a learning curve with them to figure out a routine that works for you.
post #5 of 40
I've never had a front-loading machine, so I have no personal experience there. But when we had to buy a washer/dryer set, I wanted a regular top-loader because I'd heard the front-loaders could be tricky, especially with cloth diapers.
I like the idea of using less water and all that, but I also don't want to complicate my life
post #6 of 40
I've got the same problem. Mine is a near new LG and I leave the door wide open all the time, except for when its operating. It smells yucky, musty and the clothes when they come out do also quite often. I've tried using oxy soaker stuff in it with the wash, and fabric softeners, but these don't really seem to help much.

I'm beginning to regret buying a front loader... after everyone telling me they were the way to go. Sigh...
post #7 of 40
After much, much research I bought a top load washer when my old washer died. It uses a lot less water then the old one, too. THere is no way that I could justify paying twice as much for an appliance that had half the life of a regular top loader. Add in all the horrible reviews about this very issue and it's a no-brainer for me.
post #8 of 40
Personally, I hate front loaders. I hate not being able to chuck that extra sock in there after you've started a wash and I really hate that they don't have an agitator (I know if wears clothes out faster, but it gets them clean). I also think TLers work better with cloth diapers.

The cycles on FLers also seem to be very long, thereby using more power.
post #9 of 40
What exact brand, model and make do you have? Have you looked it up on the internet to see if it's a lemon or a recall or just very poorly rated?

We made the mistake a few years ago of buying a Maytag Neptune front loading set, spent over $2000, with the intent of saving money on water and electricity, being good for the environment, doing less loads, etc., etc., and though I love, love, loved the set for the first 6-12 months or so, then it all went downhill. The washer stopped working, the dryer started taking FOREVER to dry... and in the end, the washer was broken more often than it worked, I would often have to wash each load 3 times for it to even finish, and then to repair it they said it would cost $450 and there was no guarantee the part wouldn't break again within a year. It was the most frustrating, horrendous expensive and so depressing, because we couldn't afford another set, and ending up finally buying a $250 cheap upright and lo and behold, I loved it far more.

That said, I have tons of friends who loved their front loaders and who did not make the mistake of buying the crappy Neptunes that died for almost everyone.

Would I ever buy a front loader ever again?

No, probably not. Just not worth the risk.
post #10 of 40
Oh, wow, looks like I got lucky. I only did a little research and got the floor model with a discount. I think $250? Maybe less.

We've had it for maybe 4 years now, no problems at all. Other than an initial learning curve on leaving the door open.

I'd state the model but honestly I forgot. Will notice next time I look at it.
post #11 of 40
It's all front-loaders here in Ireland, so I have very little experience with top loaders, but the first thing that springs to mind is what temperature are you washing at?

If you are regularly doing low temp (40degC or 30degC) as is common now then it is often recommended to do one 90degC wash every so often to clear out all soap and gunk residue that might be lurking in the machine's innards.

I second the leave the door open suggestions, we never close ours between washes, it gets stale-smelling. And finding and cleaning the yucky trap thing is a great suggestion (although have a bucket or towel ready, if it is backed up there can be stale water sitting in there and that is shockingly stinky!!). On all of our machines it has been near the bottom of the machine, a little flip panel with a screwy-out bit that holds all the gross stuff
post #12 of 40
I hate front loaders must admit...we have a high efficiency top loader, so it gives the same benefits as front loaders; we have had it for ten years and it is still going strong!
post #13 of 40
It's almost all front loaders here too - my grandfather has an ancient top loader (at least 30 years old, probably 40+) and I hate having to lean over it to reach stuff. Leaving the door open as much as possible, and doing the occasional hot wash helps with the "musty smell" - I've luckily never had a problem with the clothes smelling though.
post #14 of 40
We have a front loader and when we were using cloth diapers I had to sit in front of the machine for a good 20 minutes + with the garden hose going into the detergent drawer so it would fill up with water. Apparently, they use less water and PUSH the water/soap through the fabric to clean them. Obviously with CD's, they were waterproof and I needed more water to get them clean. It was awful.

I agree with a PP who says it's irritating when you have that random sock that didn't make it and you can't open it up. Uggghh....

I will never own another front loader. However, we have no problem with our clothes not being cleaned. And again, I agree with everybody who says to leave the door open when you're not using it.
post #15 of 40
Originally Posted by hteb83 View Post
Leaving the door open as much as possible, and doing the occasional hot wash helps with the "musty smell" - I've luckily never had a problem with the clothes smelling though.
I agree. However it sort of defeats the purpose of a front-loader. We got ours to save water.

We also run a blank hot load after washing CDs because otherwise the water in the next load will smell sewage-y. Yuck!
post #16 of 40
i love my front loader. I always do a extra rinse when it came to needing extra water. I dont know I just did some from babysitting so i didnt have that many I am sure it is different when you have two days worth of diapers or so. I didnt get the front loader till this year for xmas. I dont like that you have to buy specific laundry detergent that is so frustrating. I agree keep the door open a friend of mine had a front loader and hers actually mildewed and she had to get the rubber ring replaced.
post #17 of 40
Originally Posted by redvlagrl View Post
Personally, I hate front loaders. I hate not being able to chuck that extra sock in there after you've started a wash
I can stop my front-loader and throw in something else. Guess it depends on the model.

Originally Posted by clothdipemomof2boy View Post
I dont like that you have to buy specific laundry detergent that is so frustrating.
I just use a lot less of the regular.
post #18 of 40
When we bought our house I just HAD to have a front loader. I ended up hating it and 2yrs later selling it and buying a tl. I have been happy ever since. I will never get a fl again. I agree that I didn't think my clothes were as clean, diapers were a total PITB and cycles took forever.

When stuff comes out smelling as it did when it went in you know there is a problem. I am very glad I sold it because the friend that bought it has had it repaired 2 times since I sold it off less than 2 yrs ago. Each time it cost the the same as a new tl would have to have it repaired.
post #19 of 40
I LOVED my FL until I started doing diapers....then it was ok...then I hated it....never thought my diapers got as clean as they needed to be. If we ever have another baby I am selling my FL and getting a TL. There are times my clothes come out a bit stinky so I have to wash out the machine and rewash the clothes. I mean yeah I love using less water, and I love having my machines stacked so I have more room but when I need a new washer I am gonna have to think about what kind I want long and hard.

post #20 of 40
Wow, I surprised and disappointed to see how many people hate their front loaders.

I can't comment on diaper washing because I was very lousy at CDing. If DD wore three cloth diapers a week I was doing good. (I do wash family cloth though). Though it does sound strange to have to force water through the diapers since - sure, once side is waterproof, but that's not the side that needs the serious cleaning. It's the rubbing of clothes/diapers against each other that is the primary factor in getting them clean.

To be clear, the reference to running a hot wash every now and then is not to run an EMPTY hot wash; I agree, that would be crazy. Just make sure every, say, 10th (or 5th or whatever) load you run is hot. (But don't choose the load you wash your moon rags in - those go in cold water). It just helps break down the soap buildup.

I don't think I get much soap buildup anyway. I don't use commercial laundry detergent, so that might be it. I don't think detergents are very good in general, soap is probably better overall.

I get it about the last sock, but there's always more laundry, so I don't see it as anywhere near worth buying a top loader just for the wayward sock. It's not like laundry's ever "done" for more than a few hours anyway.

I'm not arguing with anyone, you all have a right to your experiences and opinions and ways of doing things - just would hate for someone to read this thread and think "wow, a front loader is a really bad choice, EVERYONE agrees!"
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