When we traveled with cloth diapers, I felt like my mother-in-law’s 25+ year old top loader did a better job washing cloth diapers than my expensive HE machine. I thought it would be nice to have a top loader to wash diapers in…well be careful what you wish for.
Long story short, the pump on my (less than 3-year old), $1000 HE washing machine went bad. We ordered the part, but it would be a while before we received the part and my hubby was able to fix it (not fixed yet.) We have had issues with the washer & debated getting rid of it all together. We decided to shop for the cheapest washer we could find, with the plan of moving it to the basement when our short-term need was over. That way I could use it for things that don’t seem to come clean in the HE machine, like diapers, dish cloths and greasy or heavily soiled items.
As we shopped, I found myself thinking about cloth diapers as I compared washing machine features. We ended up with a machine that was $20 more than the cheapest one (after sale and 2 rebates) but had all the features I was looking for, and I thought I’d share what those features were.
First, what I like about my HE washing machine:
HUGE capacity means I can wash a whole basket of laundry at once
Top loading HE machine doesn’t lock, allowing me to add items after the cycle begins
Washer spins items so well, my dry time is dramatically cut down
Has a warm rinse option
What I don’t like:
Simply does not use enough water. For things like my dish cloths, I end up having to wash/rinse them 4 or more times to get them clean. I find myself “babysitting” the laundry to add water manually, check the rinse cycle for bubbles/residue and sniffing supposedly clean laundry. I have to be careful not to add too much water either, since no center agitator means items need to rub against each other to get clean.
Interestingly enough, the washer we bought is extremely similar to the machine we bought in 2002, moved to a new house in 2004, then left when we moved here in 2008.
Features I liked about the GE 5250 washer we bought:
It is a standard top loader
Has a fairly large capacity
Has 4 load sizes, including Super, and also has a precise-fill option
Auto soak option
Drain & spin option means you can soak, then remove items without rinsing
2nd rinse option
Power rinse option
Spins more quickly than some other washers, to get items more dry
Extended spin option
If you open the lid, closing it continues the cycle (you have to then press start on my HE)
3 signal volumes
I was amazed at how clean my diapers were the first time I used the new machine. I would like it a little better if it wasn’t white, and if my dryer matched. 😉 The machine doesn’t have a separate rinse temp selection, but the cycle options do a great job. It even has towel and jeans cycles, but I’ve only used the whites, colors, speed wash & rinse & spin cycles so far. I keep forgetting that I need to put detergent in first (my HE has a dispenser) and that it will begin to fill with the lid up!
Since we have well water, we don’t have a water bill, and having to do multiple washes means we’re not saving anything on electricity for hot water with an HE.
If you were shopping for a new washing machine, would you do it with cloth in mind?