Top or front loader (small home)? Please help me decide... :) - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 17 Old 10-12-2011, 10:06 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi mamas!

 

So I've had our routine down for many months. Got over rough, stinky, crunchy diapers, dealt with build up, bacteria, various detergents and the amount used, gave a chance to Ecover....thanks to all of you and your posts and comments that I learned from I love cloth diapering and wouldn't have it any other way! Because we live in an apartment I had to purchase the portable washer [Haier] which is awesome, even though it takes some space of our already small bathroom. I wash all of our clothes and dd's diapers in this little thing.

 

Anyway, we may be moving shortly to a very small house with no laundry room. There is a space in the bathroom for a stackable W/D but I'm not too crazy about their usual size. I suppose a stackable top loader combo would fit there as well. So here is my question....or questions...

 

--- Would you buy a FL and wash diapers in there? I'm reading conflicting opinions about the difficulty with adding extra water, detergent, the length of cycles, etc. Would you go through the hassle of figuring out the whole routine again, this time in a FL vs. a TL?

--- Would you get a stackable FL W/D combo, use it for clothes and keep Haier for diapers?

--- Would you get a stackable [small size] TL W/D combo and deal with washing less clothes than in a regular TL and bringing some to a laundromat if needed (I'm grossed out by those). Haier is small but you can probably fit the same amount of clothes in as you could in a regular size stackable TL washer (just judging by using them on our trips).

--- Would you be tempted to redesign an already small space and move/add some walls (the home would be ours) to create a very tiny laundry room so you could have a regular size TL (regular size) washer and dryer?

 

The reason I'm asking is DP thinks I'm completely crazy considering these options and obviously thinks I'm overthinking this because washing diapers in a front loader will be the same. Am I really crazy to be honestly afraid of a front loader? Am I overthinking this? How do you like your FL if you have one? Are some brands/models better for diapers than other? I'm clueless.

 

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#2 of 17 Old 10-13-2011, 06:38 AM
 
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We have a front loader, and while I miss the soak option, it's really not that bad.  I just do a rinse cycle (which is technically the spin cycle with an added rinse), then a heavy duty wash, then another rinse.  I don't think it's super tricky or anything. :)


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#3 of 17 Old 10-13-2011, 06:44 AM
 
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If you truly want to soak your diapers, you can do so in a bucket before they go in the front loader. Just put on some rubber gloves, and carry  the bucket right up to the machine, and there shouldn't be much issue with the dripping/filling the machine. Then just wash. :)

 

Since you have a rather small bathroom, I would consider putting the washer and dryer in the kitchen instead. Our neighbour has this absolutely wonderful kitchen laundry that also works as her mudroom. On one wall, she has the actual kitchen with stove and sink. Then there's a kitchen island in the middle in ordinary table height. Plenty of extra storage for everything from the onion basket to the sewing machine. The other wall houses a long bench, under which the washer and dryer stands and more storage.

 

The best thing is the fact that the kitchen is almost always heated, because she has an Aga stove. So clothes (and diapers, since she cloth diapers) can be hung dry from retractable lines.

 

I really do love that kitchen. It is always so homely, when I come over. Always something cooking. Always a load of laundry drying amongst bunches of garden herbs and flowers. It is like stepping into quite a different time. I just expect some chickens to come flapping in...but alas, she's a vegan so no chickens. :)

 

So do consider where would really be the most practical to have the machines. A kitchen must be waterproofed, and have a floor well (so any water accidents can be easily taken care off) to work as a laundry room. Also, a proper exhaust fan is a must because otherwise the drying clothes can start smelling like your food.

 

As for which machine to choose...afraid I can't help you there. Front loaders is all I know. :)

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#4 of 17 Old 10-13-2011, 08:51 AM
 
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I do like how fl seem gentler on clothes.
I think diapers are more of a hassle, but still doable.
Also, do you plan on more kids?
You might want to check if stackable fl will work in the space.

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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#5 of 17 Old 10-13-2011, 09:19 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for your opinions and ideas! rocks.jpg

 

We do not soak diapers. I keep them in a bucket until wash time. Yes, we do plan to have more children in the future. What concerns me in a FL is that if I go too heavy on detergent I feel like I'll be rinsing forever. Even now with the little bit of detergent I use in Haier I rinse them about 4 times., sometimes more. If I use less detergent they're not clean. What scares me is the lack of control over the cycle in a FL - water amount (would have to be added manually), opening up the lid and looking for suds, just sprinkling a little bit more detergent if needed. I do think they are more gentle on clothes. How long is your usual diaper cycle? (pre-rinse - if you use one, wash, rinse and extra rinse if that applies)? Does it take a lot longer than in a TL?


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#6 of 17 Old 10-13-2011, 09:24 AM
 
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On our "heavy duty" cycle I added in the extra rinse.  With that it is 1 hour and 2 minutes.  With the before rinse and after rinse, its another 30 minutes.  So about 1.5 hours total.  Although it's usually longer because the washer keeps spinning forever, even when it says 1 minute left.  I often stop the spin cycle though, on both the first rinse and the actual wash. 

 

I use about 1 TBL of tide powder when I do diapers. 


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#7 of 17 Old 10-13-2011, 10:50 AM
 
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In a front loader you don't necessarily need the control you are worrying about loosing. With modern machines, there are several different programs available depending on what you are washing from the very energy/water efficient everyday programs to the heavy duty programs designed to wash heavily soiled items (like towels that's been used to wrap around the Sunday roast). My machine even has a nice program for washing feather items like pillows, that rinses absolutely clean.

 

As for opening the hatch and looking for suds...usually you do have a clear glass hatch on a front loader. So you can see if there are any suds left at a glance. If there is, put the laundry through an extra rinse cycle. Problem solved.

 

As for needing to add more detergent...hard with a front loader, considering the lid is usually locked while it is still running and it needs to drain before you can open the lid. The best way to avoid such problems is to buy a set of plastic measuring cups for your washing powder. Measure the smallest amount you think you will need. See how the diapers turn out. If they are still soiled, you have to bite the sour apple and re-wash them. This time with a bit more detergent. Sooner or later, you will happen upon the right amount. When you do, write it down. Then put the paper in a plastic sleeve and adhere it to the wall as a reminder for all who wash (and yourself).

 

Front loaders might not be as adjustable as top loaders, but really...once you learn to work the programs properly I don't think that is a problem since really, there is a program for each type of laundry almost nowadays. I wouldn't be surprised if there will soon be front loaders with a specific "cloth diaper" program. :)

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#8 of 17 Old 10-13-2011, 07:51 PM
 
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I just got a virtual front loader, it is a top loader but has no agitator and is just like a front loader flipped on it's side..just spares u the bending. Honestly, i preferred my old top loader better for diapers but have gotten used to it prwtty quickly. I def like ithe new one better for everyday laundry though!
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#9 of 17 Old 10-14-2011, 01:19 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Hm, thanks to you guys I actually feel like I could tackle the front loader!!!

 

If I need to put more detergent in, is it possible to just put it in the right dispenser and pour some water in there? Will it get to the tub?

 

Nicole730: How many diapers do you usually wash with that 1TBL of detergent? I wash daily (or they get stinky)  - about 5-6 (small) yellow edge GMD prefolds, plus some wipes (Gerber washclothes) and some fleece liners.

 


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#10 of 17 Old 10-17-2011, 03:13 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boomer78 View Post

Hm, thanks to you guys I actually feel like I could tackle the front loader!!!

 

If I need to put more detergent in, is it possible to just put it in the right dispenser and pour some water in there? Will it get to the tub?

 

Nicole730: How many diapers do you usually wash with that 1TBL of detergent? I wash daily (or they get stinky)  - about 5-6 (small) yellow edge GMD prefolds, plus some wipes (Gerber washclothes) and some fleece liners.

 



I add extra water through the detergent drawer, so it shouldn't be an issue to add extra soup, you would just need to wash it down with water

mom to 14yr dd and 4yr dd
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#11 of 17 Old 11-28-2011, 02:21 PM
 
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I have a top-loading HE machine, and I like it.  I recently spent a couple weeks at my parents' house, and I have to say, I LOVE their front-loading HE machine.  I think it even got the diapers cleaner than normal!  In fact, I was so convinced by this washer that I stopped using the biodegradable liners in the diapers and started throwing the (exclusively breastfed-poo) dirty diapers in there!  I liked that I was able to see into the washer, and I realized that I could do without the liners because I saw everything wash away! lol.  And it was great for seeing that the suds were getting out totally.  On the first wash, I realized that my washer at home wasn't cleaning them as much as I thought, because I saw suds in the first rinse!  And then none after that.  :)

 

My routine was: warm rinse (and then I discovered that I could do that cycle without the final spin, and it decreased the time from 20 mins to 9 mins, then the diapers were wetter/heavier and therefore it added a bit more water to the next cycle!) without detergent, then the Whitest Whites cycle (hot wash, two rinse, high spin) with detergent.  I used three different detergents while I was there: Tide HE, Nellie's, and EcoNuts.  All three detergents worked very well.  I think that cycle was 1 hour and 20 minutes.

 

All in all, I was very impressed with the front loader! 

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#12 of 17 Old 11-29-2011, 01:01 PM
 
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Well I'll be the only one who says front loaders suck at washing diapers, imo.  I actually have an old top loader just for diapers and really grimey laundry.  I just feel like they come out cleaner.  :)


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#13 of 17 Old 11-29-2011, 03:07 PM
 
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Ive had both, and I think they are pretty similar. I do miss the soak option, but oh well. Honestly, every couple of months I take ALL my prefolds to the laundromat and wash them in their machine and then dry them in their super hot dryer to fluff them back up really well. Works great.

If you are having to rinse your diapers FOUR times to get the soap out, I would honestly think about switching something up or just using disposables. That is a ton of wasted water (well, about 50 gallons of water).

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#14 of 17 Old 11-30-2011, 09:40 AM
 
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I think exploring the options on a FL would be a good idea, but then I wouldn't like being relegated to the tiny stackable TL machine.  Our (FL) machine has an "Auto Soak" feature that you can add to a cycle.  It dumps the water in, then agitates every few minutes while soaking for about 20.  We also have an "Extra Rinse" button, that does just what it sounds like, and an "Extended Spin" button, that means the dipes come out just damp.

 

I will warn though that I have not found our FL to be easier on the clothes.  In fact, it's really rough on the dipes - Most of my fitteds have holes in them from the washer.  But, you can definitely do more than 6 PFs at once.  We have the large capacity machines, and I run a small load with dipes, and that's about a dozen pockets or so (so maybe 18 pfs).  If I want to do more dipes than that, I really have to add water (I use a bucket, pause the cycle, open the door and fill the tub until right before it'll spill out the door). 

 

You do have to figure out what your machine will be capable of, whether you buy a FL or a TL, since every brand and line has it's own features and quirks. 


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#15 of 17 Old 12-14-2011, 08:43 PM
 
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We rent, and when dd was born, we had a top loader, and I had no idea how lucky we were! Now we have a front loader, and I HATE it with a passion. There just isn't enough water. You can't soak the diapers. You ALWAYS have to run an extra rinse. If your house is like mine and the water takes a minute or two to run hot, you will never be able to wash your diapers in hot water (by the time it's hot, the washer is "full". I have, on occasion, lugged upwards of seven huge buckets of water, which I then had to slowly pour in through the soap dispenser, so that I could soak my needing to be stripped diapers in Rockin' Green. This only strengthened my vow to never, ever own a front loader. I have to rinse and spin, wash with an extra rinse, and then short cycle wash without the extra rinse to wash my diapers. It takes forever, and I think completely counteracts the whole energy savings of the he machine in the first place. Yeah, I am NOT a fan of the front loaders. 


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#16 of 17 Old 12-15-2011, 05:40 AM
 
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We had a top loader for the first 8 1/2 years of our marriage. Didn't realize how great we had it when washing diapers esp. My sweet husband bought me a Bosch FL washing machine and dryer 2 years ago. The washing machine ended up having a couple issues that were made worse by a crummy repair man. We ended up getting a check from extended warranty to go buy a new machine. We went with a top-loading SpeedQueen and I am in LOVE!!!!! I'm going on 11 years (straight!) of washing diapers and this is the best washing machine! (it's not HE though....but I'm ok with that)

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#17 of 17 Old 01-08-2012, 11:08 AM
 
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Cortney you sound like me!  I have a bosch front loader (have had 3years)  that is broken at the moment; wish I could afford to just go buy a new top loader.  However for others with fl issues; things I have found to make it work well with cloth diapers:

throw a super soaked bath towel in with your diapers; this tricks the machine into adding more water.  Otherwise they just don't dump enough water in to really clean your diapers well.  If you have a pause button; you have a soak cycle.  You usually can't soak overnight - most of them will dump the water after it has been paused for so long but you can usually soak up to an hour.

Doing that, to this point I have never had a problem with my diapers  (knock on wood) and I have had 2 in cd at the same time; about to have another newborn in them in a couple of months!

 

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We had a top loader for the first 8 1/2 years of our marriage. Didn't realize how great we had it when washing diapers esp. My sweet husband bought me a Bosch FL washing machine and dryer 2 years ago. The washing machine ended up having a couple issues that were made worse by a crummy repair man. We ended up getting a check from extended warranty to go buy a new machine. We went with a top-loading SpeedQueen and I am in LOVE!!!!! I'm going on 11 years (straight!) of washing diapers and this is the best washing machine! (it's not HE though....but I'm ok with that)



 


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