September 2, 2014

Does Size Really Matter?

Is bigger always better? Maybe not, when you are talking about washing machines.

Just how many clothes can effectively be washed and rinsed in a single load is covered by new U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) guidelines—and the answer may surprise you.

“Due to new Department of Energy regulations regarding clothes washer capacity, consumers may hear a lot of conflicting information about whether size really matters when it comes to laundry,” said J.B. Hoyt, director of regulatory affairs for Whirlpool Corporation. “The common belief is that bigger is better, but that is only true if your clothes still get clean.”

The Imperial Valley News writes that as part of the guidelines, manufacturers including Whirlpool, Maytag and Amana will voluntarily report new capacity measurements based on DOE test procedures in order to provide accurate measurement of all clothes washers across all brands.

For those in the market for new laundry appliances, Hoyt shares the dirt on capacity, cleaning and, most importantly, what to look for when shopping for a new washer.

• When making a new purchase, ask about capacity as it relates to cleaning versus just how much the machine will hold. What is the largest maximum capacity that will get your clothes clean?

• No matter how big the machine is, do not overload. Clothes will get cleaner when given room to move freely.

• Thanks to high-efficiency washing machines, you don’t have to stuff everything into one load just to save energy and water. Today’s high-efficiency washing machines use only enough energy and water to properly clean your clothes, which means you can do small loads when you have time, rather than waiting for the basket to fill up.

You Can Use Less Laundry Detergent

Over the next few weeks, Procter & Gamble plans to introduce easier-to-read plastic measuring caps for its liquid detergent brands, including Tide, Gain, Era and Cheer. The new caps will have more-defined measurement lines inside and bigger numbers that are staggered, not stacked, says Dawn French, P&G’s head of laundry research and development for North America.

Why?  Because, according to the Wall Street Journal, Americans use too much detergent per load.  They have come to think that more soap equals cleaner clothes, which is not the case – rather it causes build-up and dingy colors.  Additionally,  more consumers are buying high-efficiency washers which need even less of today’s concentrated detergents.

Packaging, in most cases, hasn’t helped. The molded lines and numbers inside detergent caps are hard to read, especially in a dimly lit laundry room. And even though concentrated detergents have been on the market since at least 2007, many caps still hold more than is needed for an average load.

Method Products Inc. this month launched an ad blitz for a new detergent with a pump dispenser, designed to help curb overdosing. Method found that 53% of people don’t use the recommended amount of detergent per washload, preferring instead to guess or, worse, to simply fill the cap up to the top—a practice that wastes more than half the loads a detergent bottle could wash, Method executives say.

Through much of Europe, detergent premeasured in tablets and sachets has been popular for years. But in the U.S., pre-dosed products have been largely unsuccessful. Consumers usually pick up their laundry habits during adolescence from their mothers, and changing them is hard, says Bob Deutsch, founder of Brain Sells, a marketing consulting firm.

American consumers, it seems, also want more control. Many people have their own laundry “recipe,” and each one believes her unique method leads to superior results, industry executives say. P&G, the world’s leading detergent maker, calls such involved laundry doers “master chemists.”

General Electric Co.’s top-of-the-line Profile frontload washer offers to take on all dosing decisions itself. The SmartDispense feature, adding $600 to the cost of the machine, holds up to six months’ worth of detergent and allocates the right amount for each load, taking the detergent concentration level and the amount of clothes into account.

Proper dosing is the biggest laundry concern among callers to Seventh Generation Inc.’s help line, says Sue Holden, head of the consumer-insights team at the Burlington, Vt., household-product maker. Two years ago, the company started making its detergent bottle cap with translucent plastic partly to make it easier to read. “We’re trying to train people to do something that doesn’t come naturally,” says Ms. Holden. “Growing up, a lot of us just poured it in.”

Seventh Generation’s co-founder, Jeffrey Hollender, wonders why more people haven’t stumbled upon laundry’s big, dirty secret: “You don’t even need soap to wash most loads,” he says.  The agitation of washing machines often does the job on its own.

Avoiding the 10 Most Common Laundry Problems – From the Thor Appliance Company

1. Detergent Overuse

As highlighted in a recent Wall Street Journal article, Americans continue to overuse laundry detergent. Detergent overuse not only shortens of the life of clothing, it can damage or even ruin a perfectly fine washing machine.

High levels of detergent can get trapped in fabric, making clothing appear dingy and faded. Inside your laundry machine, detergent residue gums up the inner workings of your washer, including the door gasket and drain system. In a washer dryer combo, suds from too much soap can accumulate in the condensing chamber, causing longer dry times.

The reason for detergent overuse is twofold. High efficiency washers of today use significantly less water (and therefore need less detergent) than the top loaders of an earlier era. While Americans are still getting used to new frontload machines, they continue to measure detergent based on top load washers. Making matters worse, modern detergents are much more concentrated, which means that a little goes a long way.

Today, accurately measuring out laundry detergent is more important than ever. Be sure to read the detergent box to determine the correct amount of soap for your load size and water temperature.

2. Overloading

Even with the expanded capacity of modern washers and dryers, overloading continues to be a common problem. Unlike old tub-style topload washers which use an agitator to stir clothing clean, new frontload machines clean by tumbling laundry. In order for frontload washers to work properly, there must be room for the laundry to tumble. These washers should be loaded to about 3/4 of full capacity to allow the clothing to fall away from the drum during the wash cycle. An overfilled washer will result in poor cleaning results and wrinkled laundry.

3. Forgetting to Empty the Lint Filter

Forgetting to empty the lint screen not only creates longer dry times, it can be a potential fire hazard. When emptied after each cycle, lint filters eliminate the collection of gooey lint in vent line ducting. However, screens that are not cleaned regularly can cause potentially hazardous lint accumulation within the dryer housing.

A perfect kindling for a fire, lint that comes in contact with a dryer’s heating element has the potential to ignite. While newer dryers are designed to be less susceptible to fires, no dry system is completely immune from years of lint built up.

Take the time to empty the lint screen after each cycle and be sure to inspect old dryers for lint accumulation behind the filter and where the vent line exits the back of the machine.

4. Forgetting to Remove Packing Bolts

Frontload washers use packing bolts to secure the machine’s suspension system during transportation. If the packing bolts are not removed before the washer is operated, the suspension system will not function and the machine will jump and vibrate. Be sure to refer to your user manual for directions on how to remove packing bolts. Also, remember to replace packing bolts if your washer is moved to a new location.

5. Not Using Fabric Softener

When most of us think of fabric softener, we think of soft fluffy towels or that snuggly little teddy bear. And while fabric softener can make your towels fluffy and your sweater softer, it also plays an important role in frontload washer operation.

As mentioned earlier, frontload washers tumble clothing during the wash cycle. In addition, they extract water by spinning laundry between rinses. The high speed spin of a frontload washer can cause clothing to stick to the side of the drum, keeping them from tumbling freely during the rinse cycle. A small dose of fabric softener will help laundry fall away from the drum and ensure that clothing is rinsed properly.

If you are averse to using a scented fabric softener, there are many mild and unscented softeners on the market today.

6. Mixing Fabrics and Colors

As life gets more hectic, we’re all more apt to cut corners when it comes to laundry. This often results in tossing every color and fabric type in the washer and selecting a warm water wash. Mixing colors and fabrics can not only discolor clothing (e.g. the pink sock that used to be white), it can break down delicate fabrics.

Be sure to read the washing instructions on each garment and take a few extra minutes to sort laundry into white, colors and delicates. Not only will your clothes last longer, you won’t have to be seen with that embarrassing pink sock.

7. Shrinkage

In a push for record breaking dry times, many appliance manufactures have turbo charged dry cycles with scorching heat and too often poor results. Excessive heat can ruin delicate clothing and significantly shrink cotton fabric. Hang drying garments in the spring and summer is a good way to save energy and avoid cotton shrinkage – and a quick five minute fluff in the dryer will release any wrinkles that may have developed while hang drying. In the cooler months, selecting a more moderate dry cycle will extend the life of clothing and keep shrinkage to a minimum.

8. Out of Balance Loads

Unless you live adjacent to a pile driving project, the sound of an out of balance washer is hard to mistake. While most modern washers have an automatic shut-off trigger that eliminates damage to the machine, the few seconds of earth shattering pounding is not something that can (or should) be ignored.

While reshuffling clothing will usually do the trick, larger blankets and bedding can be hard to balance, particularly if they’re too bulky to fit comfortably in your washing machine. The best way to avoid out of balance loads is to use an extra large washer at your neighborhood laundromat or have those bulky items professionally laundered.

9. Pens and Other Pocket Hazards

Long hailed as a nerdy fashion accessory, the pocket protector just might be the best defense against this next laundry mistake. That’s because one unsuspecting ballpoint pen left is a pocket can ruin an entire load of clothing.

If a single ink stain is tough to remove, image dozens on ink streaks scattered over an entire load of shirts and pants. The best way to avoid this disaster (other than the pocket protector idea) is to take the extra time to check each pocket for pens, gum, rocks or any other unfriendly item that may cause harm to your clothing or washer and dryer.

10. Leaky Hoses

A leaky or bursting washer hose can cause major water damage in a matter of minutes. Like any material, the rubber used in laundry hoses breaks down after years of use, particularly under high pressure. Thankfully there are a number of products on the market that can eliminate leaks before they become disasters.

There are many aftermarket multi-layered hoses that offer additional flood protection. One word of caution about aftermarket hoses; many European washing machines have custom hoses with a metric sized connection for the washer and a standard sized connection for the water input. In this case, you may need to stick with the stock hoses or search for a more customized hose option that blends metric and standard sizing.

Laundering Without Water – Almost

Is this really the environmentally correct alternative?  This idea was found at popsci.com:

Clean Your Clothes with Plastic: Nylon beads sit in the outer of two nested drums. When both drums rotate, the absorbent beads fall through the mesh of the inner drum to tumble with your laundry, where they dislodge and trap dirt. After the wash cycle finishes, the outer drum stops moving and centripetal force pushes the beads back through the mesh into the outer drum, where they await your next mess.

Xeros’s prototype washing machine uses 90 percent less water than ordinary models, which also eliminates energy-intensive spin cycles and dryer blasts.

The machine replaces all but one tenth of the usual water and about one third of the usual detergent with 0.1-inch plastic beads, reusable for hundreds of washes. The beads are made of the same nylon as many carpets, because the properties that make nylon easy to stain also make it a great scrubber: Its polarized molecules attract soil, and in the humidity created by a little water, the polymer chains separate slightly to absorb grime and lock it into the beads’ cores.

Xeros aims to put machines in commercial laundries next year, where they will use eight gallons of water instead of 80 for each 45-pound load. They may be cleaning your favorite T-shirts at home within several years.

Consumers Seeking High Efficiency Laundry

Green is the new black when it comes to the laundry room, yet many consumers do not realize they have a choice when it comes to high-efficiency (HE), eco-friendly laundry appliances. A recent survey commissioned by Whirlpool Corporation revealed that while nearly 60 percent understand what HE means in regards to laundry appliances, almost 40 percent believe that top-load washers use more energy than front-loading machines – a common misconception in today’s marketplace.
Traditionally, consumers seeking high efficiency laundry turn to front-loading machines, yet according to previous Whirlpool research nearly three quarters of American households still own top-load washing machines. In fact, 44 percent of consumers in the most recent survey said they did not know if top-load washers use more energy than front-loaders and 38 percent believe that they do, indicating a need for clarity when it comes to communicating the benefits of HE machines to appliance shoppers.
“Historically, front-load laundry pairs have led the industry in capacity and efficiency,” said Mary Zeitler, home economist, Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science, “but manufacturers like Whirlpool Corporation are working to offer superior energy and water savings in models to suit consumers’ needs and preferences. As more families look to save on energy, water and utility costs, it is important to understand that HE washers, whether in a top-load or front-load configuration, can deliver unmatched efficiency, saving time and money in the laundry room.”
And while overall consumer demand for eco-friendly products is generally high, understanding HE in terms of laundry and the configurations in which it is available varies. For example, consumers aged 18-44 said an HE washer would be a “must have” in their dream laundry room, while consumers aged 45+ said their “must have” would be a washer and dryer that are more ergonomically friendly.
Additionally, consumers who are married or were married appear to understand eco-efficient products, more so than their single/never married counterparts. In fact, 61 percent of married and 64 percent of previously married consumers said they understand what HE means in terms of laundry appliances – while only 51 percent of single/never married consumers said the same.

Laundry is Moving Up

The next generation of laundry has arrived and the status quo is getting a much-needed makeover. New washer and dryer technologies and innovations in detergents and clothing care save time and energy, making laundry feel like less of a chore.

Everything in its place

Laundry rooms used to be relegated to the basement, but more people are finding space for washers and dryers in convenient areas of the house like upstairs near bedrooms. Experts say installing a “laundry nook” is not only a good investment and can raise the value of your home, but it can make hauling baskets of clothing up and down flights of stairs a thing of the past.

The closer the washer and dryer are to living spaces the more important it is for them to be quiet. “Look for machines with new technologies that reduce vibration for nearly noiseless laundry sessions,” says home design expert Doug Wilson. “If your washer and dryer are out in the open, look for colorful and sleek models that can stand out stylishly on their own. New models are available in a variety of designer finishes such as wild cherry red, Riviera blue and even colors that give the look of stainless steel without the stainless steel price tag.”

Near the laundry area or on the go, make sure to keep the latest stain removal products handy. Treating a stain as soon as it happens can help to ensure your clothing won’t be ruined and prevent the need for multiple washings to remove the stain. Oxygen-based stain removers are gentle, nontoxic and effective on nearly every stain and most types of fabrics. And portable stain-erasing pens and wipes are handy for treating stains no matter where you are.

Get the most out of your wash and save energy

Until now, washers only used one washing motion — tumbling — to clean clothes. Select washers from LG now feature technology that provides a new way to care for your clothes with four new washing motions — rolling, stepping, swinging and scrubbing.Cold care, heavy duty and enhanced hand-wash cycles use a combination of these motions to gently and effectively clean clothes. For example, the cold care cycle uses cold water in combination with these motions to clean clothes as effectively as the normal cycle that uses hot water, but with an energy savings of more than 60 percent.

Look for the ENERGY STAR label on washing machines, and you can cut your water costs by up to 50 percent, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. There are also machines that automatically adjust the water temperature and the amount of water used for each load to prevent excess and waste. Detergent designed for use in cold water helps to save energy by effectively cleaning clothes without hot water.

Another trend in laundry is the use of steam for greater energy and water efficiency. Steam washers and dryers also offer enhanced clothing care options such as short, steam-only cycles that help to reduce wrinkles and remove odors from clothing with using water and detergent (and can help cut down on trips to the dry cleaner in the process, helping to save money in addition to energy).

Stay healthy

With 70 percent of U.S. households affected by asthma or allergies, LG’s SteamWasher with Allergiene cycle gently and effectively reduces allergens, including common triggers — like dust mites and pet dander — on fabrics by more than 95 percent, according to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

“Now there’s a washing machine that is so effective at reducing common household allergens, the LG SteamWasher, that we are able to certify it ‘asthma and allergy friendly,’” says Mike Tringale, director of external affairs for the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America.

LG Electronics Newest Laundry Collection for 2009

It seems there are always changes to be made to our washers and dryers. Sometimes it’s just the color as with LG’s vibrant Riviera Blue and a Graphite Steel finish that offers the look of stainless steel. Other times it might be shapes – the square-door design across its washer/dryer line.

LG’s 2009 performance enhancements include the LG MotionCare(TM) Technology, which uses new cleansing motions to care for clothes and save time and energy; the unique LG TrueBalance(TM) system, to significantly reduce vibration; and an expansion of the company’s pioneering TrueSteam(TM) technology, which offers advanced functionality including the ability to reduce allergens and wrinkles from fabrics.

PERFORMANCE AND DESIGN INNOVATIONS

MotionCare Technology – LG’s advanced MotionCare technologies offer consumers something better in clothing care in addition to a way to save time, water and energy. Until now, washers only used one cleansing motion – tumbling – to clean clothes. LG developed a method to care for clothes with four new washing motions – rolling, stepping, swinging and scrubbing – using LG’s Direct Drive motor to increase efficiency and reduce noise and vibration.

Using various combinations of these washing motions, three MotionCare wash cycles improve clothing care performance and are gentler on fabrics:

* Cold Care cycle uses cold water to clean clothes as effectively as a normal cycle with hot water. Using a combination of tumbling, rolling, scrubbing and stepping motions, cold water in the laundry equals energy savings, gentler care of fabrics and enhanced washing performance.
* Heavy Duty cycle uses a combination of tumbling and stepping to remove the toughest stains in less time, saving both water and energy.
* Enhanced Hand Wash/Wool cycle uses the swinging motion saving consumers time, water and energy while being gentler on delicates.

MotionCare Technology will be available in two models beginning in the third quarter of 2009. The steam technology version has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,499 for the washer (Model: WM2901HVA), $1,399 for the electric dryer (Model: DLEX2901) and $1,469 for the gas dryer (Model: DLGX2902). The non-steam model has a manufacturer’s suggested retail price of $1,199 for the washer (Model: WM2701HV), $1,199 for the electric dryer (Model: DLE2701) and $1269 for the gas dryer (Model: DLG2702).

TrueSteam Expansion – As the first company to introduce steam in residential laundry products, LG will extend this popular technology to additional laundry models in 2009, including an all-new washer/dryer pair with an LED display panel. This LED display takes the guesswork out of cycle selection. The laundry pair also incorporates the unique and high-performance features consumers have come to expect from LG’s TrueSteam technology, including the exclusive Allergiene(TM) cycle, designed to reduce common allergens such as dust mites and pet dander on fabrics. With an ultra large 4.5 cubic-foot capacity (IEC), the SteamWasher(TM) saves consumers a significant amount of time and energy. Like all LG laundry systems, the new models are Energy-Star rated.

The models are available at a manufacturer’s suggested retail price ranging from $1,399 to $1,499 for the washer (Model: WM2801) and $1,299 to $1,399 for the dryer (Model: DLEX2801/DLGX2802).

Anti-Vibration Technology – LG extends its TrueBalance Anti-Vibration system to all premium laundry models in 2009. The TrueBalance system helps to offset unbalanced loads in the washer drum, which may produce vibration and noise. The system is designed to minimize overall washer vibration – even in unbalanced loads – allowing for a quieter operation, making LG laundry pairs ideal for placement anywhere in the home, including the second floor.

DryerMiser Promises to Cut Dryer Energy Use in Half

Here’s an interesting new twist on the clothes dryer:

A device that says it can cut dryer energy use and reduce drying time has passed safety tests and will be available this year.

The DryerMiser, developed by Hydromatic Technologies Corporation, changes the way the air inside dryers gets heated up. By using heated fluid instead of a gas flame or electric heating elements, the DryerMiser halves how much energy a dryer needs and can dry loads in 41 percent less time that typical dryers.

The device has recently passed tests by product safety certification organization Underwriters Laboratory (UL). Although the Underwriters Laboratory mark is not required for equipment put on the market, it shows consumers and companies that a product has met certain standards.

The DryerMiser will first be available as a $300 conversion kit that takes about an hour for a trained service provider to install, and the company says it is in talks with appliance makers to integrate it into new dryers.

Hydromatic Technologies also hopes its device will help put in place Energy Star standards for dryers. Although clothes washers can carry the Energy Star label, Energy Star does not label clothes dryers, it says, “because most dryers use similar amounts of energy, which means there is little difference in the energy use between models.”

This comes from GreenBiz,com if you want to visit them, click here.