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Need new washing machine - what to buy that will clean muddy clothes?

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  • Need new washing machine - what to buy that will clean muddy clothes?

    After 7 years, our Sears washer died and needs to be replaced. Problem is, most of the washers I've seen do not have agitators, don't use much water (washer brain determines how much to use), and have auto sensors for water temperature. How can they possibly clean my muddy jeans in one cycle? My sister-in-law says she needs to run a bleach & water cycle once a week to keep the water & clothes from smelling bad. Who with horses has time for that? For the last month, I've been washing our clothes in the washer in our barn but that's getting to be a hassle.

    Has anybody here bought a washer in the past year? What did you buy and are you satisfied with it? Thanks.

  • #2
    We bought our front loader several years ago and have been putting it to the test ever since. We wash horse blankets in it, barn clothes, lots and lots of dog bedding, work-in-the-city clothes, you name it. Ours is some sort of GE model with a million options for cycles. The answer to the minimal water question is that the clothes wash each other, sort of, by agitating more with less water and soap - like scrubbing them against a washboard compared to soaking them in a bucket. Ours has a cycle for 'extra dirty" and we use that for barn clothes and horse blankets. We use the minimum amount of HE (high efficiency) detergent made for front loaders. We make sure the water is softened (important around here). We only use hot or warm water when absolutely necessary. And, key to the musty smell issue - we leave the door open, and soap door open, whenever it's not in use. We occasionally use a little bleach with a wash load, but never need to specifically bleach it to kill a musty smell, because it never gets musty as long as we leave the door open. We find we need to clean the drain filter for the laundry sink after every load, which is different from our old washer, but get a lot less lint in the dryer, and stuff dries really fast because it's spun so much dryer by the washer. The cycle is longer but you get used to it - the net time per load is probably the same because the dryer takes less time. So yes, we love ours and it uses a LOT less soap and a LOT less water.


    • #3
      Depending on how much you have to invest, what about looking into an industrial or commercial grade washer like what they have at laundromats?


      • #4
        I also 2nd the keep the front-loader's wash door cracked open to keep it from getting stinky. It works.
        Love my front load washer! But I do NOT wash horse blankets in it.


        • #5
          Speed Queen= the front loader if you can afford it.

          I just got their mid-line top loader and I LOVE it. It's an old school, real deal washer.


          • #6
            Glad you posted this. I have an old Maytag front loader that has served me will for about 12 years, but now leaks beyond reasonable repair.

            I am trying to decide between another front loader and top loader without agitator.
            Rest in peace Claudius, we will miss you.


            • #7
              I have a HE Samsung top loader without the agitator and it is great, but not for washing horse blankets. I assume this, based on how it left soap on my comforter (using the comforter cycle). I think the issue I run into is if I really fill the load full (like my queen sized comforter). If I am not overloading the washer, it does great and I am very happy. I was worried because my aunt and uncle have a different model and absolutely loathe their top loader.

              I do not have the biggest or most expensive one either. That could make a difference.

              I don't think my mom's front load Samsung (which is the typical floor model one at the big box stores) would do a great job with a horse blanket either, but again, that's because it isn't big enough.

              The Speed Queen at the laundry mat is a front loader and does great, but it is also huge! I just sneak my blankets in there and then clean it really well and haven't been forbidden from using it yet.

              Washers jumped in price in 2012, unfortunately. I had looked the year before and was a bit sticker shocked to see the jump in price a year later.
              DIY Journey of Remodeling the Farmette: http://weownblackacre.blogspot.com/


              • #8
                Your sister in law should start leaving the door to the washer open. That nasty smell happens when it's moist and warm. You won't get it if you leave the washer open when not in use. Easier on a top load than a front load of course.

                Honestly, you probably want to go with the less expensive/automated washers for the stuff you're worried about. That gives you more control.

                But regardless, you may want to let your muddy clothing dry and then try to shake/brush off as much mud as possible before washing to avoid clogging your drain and such.
                A good horseman doesn't have to tell anyone...the horse already knows.

                Might be a reason, never an excuse...


                • #9
                  We have a top loader without agitator and it sucks! As soon as this dies, and it can't come soon enough, we are going to a front loader.
                  A person is smart. People are dumb, panicky dangerous animals and you know it.


                  • #10
                    We have a kenmore top loader, with agitator. After our last died I researched on consumer reports and got one with manual dials. Turns out the circuit board on the fancy digital models fails, as our old one did. This model works nicely.


                    • #11
                      I love my front load. It's a miele so can't compare to other brands but I wash everything in it. Muddy clothes, camping gear, winter blankets (except the heaviest are too big), wool coolers, saddle pads, dog beds, fancy work clothes, silk blouses.....It gets everything very clean. I have to be careful not to use too much detergent on the big blankets since they are harder to rinse.

                      I play around with the settings. For horse blankets I wash on delicate with extra rinse, or on the heavy soil which gives them a pre-wash. Delicate adds more water than regular cycles. I will never go back to top load of any kind.
                      I just bought the biggest LG front load for my barn. I am concerned since I've never been a fan of LG but it was the biggest capacity I could find. Haven't used it yet though!
                      I looked into a commercial washer but they were 10x the cost of domestic.


                      • #12
                        we have a miele front loader. It is quite small but can be stuffed with clothes that always come out clean,we use very little detergent, but a brand that goes with the machine (Persil). I

                        never wash horse blankets in it but it does all my muddy barn clothes very, very well. The only downside is the initial cost, as it is from Germany it is quite expensive. I also know that they last forever, my grandmother had hers for over 20 years with no problems and when she passed my cousin got it and is still using it.


                        • #13
                          This is the one that came with my apartment: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Bj5vGG3Jex4

                          It's worked really well for me. Ditto the other information about leaving the door open to dry. You can also run a bleach or white vinegar cycle once in a while.


                          • Original Poster

                            Thanks for all the information which is extremely helpful. The front loaders sound best but are a problem for me with my low back issues -- although a LG combo front load washer-dryer is tempting except for $1600 price tag. I have a washer in the barn so won't do horsey things in the house machine. It's just that my clothes can get filthy very quickly and I don't want to get stuck doing multiple cycles. I may just get another with an agitator . . . . Going this morning to check out some more machines. Feeling that I need to make the decision and get on with it.


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by BuddyRoo View Post
                              Your sister in law should start leaving the door to the washer open. That nasty smell happens when it's moist and warm. You won't get it if you leave the washer open when not in use. Easier on a top load than a front load of course.

                              Honestly, you probably want to go with the less expensive/automated washers for the stuff you're worried about. That gives you more control.

                              But regardless, you may want to let your muddy clothing dry and then try to shake/brush off as much mud as possible before washing to avoid clogging your drain and such.
                              Real muddy stuff gets dumped into a dedicated muck bucket in the driveway and prewashed before bringing it into the house. I also got a used washer from Habitat for Humanity that sits outside my barm for horse stuff. I don't want mud and horsehair in my pipes
                              I wasn't always a Smurf
                              Penmerryl Sophie RIDSH
                              "I ain't as good as I once was but I'm as good once as I ever was"
                              The ignore list is my friend. It takes 2 to argue.


                              • #16
                                Someone invented a mini fan specifically for getting rid of front load washer smells, https://washerfan.com/


                                • #17
                                  most brands of front load washers & dryers have risers or lifts to bring them up higher so you won't have to bend so far down.


                                  • #18
                                    I bought a GE frontloader about a year ago on sale for about $650. I love it. I wash everything in it, from mud-covered barn clothing to horse blankets to towels we cleaned the dog off with after she's gone for a dip in the swamp. Everything comes out smelling and looking wonderful and the spin cycle is incredible. There is so little water in the clothing after it's washed that the time needed to dry it is about half of what I'm used to with the old washer we had (that spewed boiling hot water all over our basement).

                                    I always leave the door open when the washer is not in use and in the year that I've had it, I've only had to run a bleach/cleaning cycle once and that was after I washed all of my horses RANK blankets last spring.

                                    Another tip is to be careful of how much detergent you're using. These low-water front loaders need very little detergent. With my old washer, I was using about 3/4 cups of detergent per load. With the new washer, I only need about 1/8-1/4 cup because it uses such little water.

                                    It has been great for our electricity bill (less time in the electric dryer), I go through one bottle of detergent about every two months now since I use so much less of it per load, and I am thrilled with how well it cleans my heavy duty stuff like the horse blankets.

                                    I have a lot of back problems and don't have issues with taking the clothes out of this washer because they have such little water left in them that they're remarkably light to pick up, not like some sopping wet heap of material. But if you are worried about bending over, then get one of the risers like another poster mentioned. I've seen them available for most brands.

                                    Custom Painted Saddle Pads and Ornaments


                                    • #19
                                      When we built our house, we thought we were so clever in putting our front load washer and dryer under the counter, so it looked built in. Loved it, until it quit (Kenmore, made by Frigidaire then...I think LG and Maytag make the current Kenmores). Hard to find replacements that fit, so had to go Frigidaire again to fit the spot and now that one is on its last legs, so I'm shopping replacements. I wish now I had designed the laundry room to fit washer/dryer on pedestals as that would help my back...when we originally went front loader, that wasn't a common option like it is now.

                                      I will still go front loader as I think it does a great job cleaning. I just won't go with Frigidaire. Ours is literally falling apart. Within the first couple of years (beyond warranty, of course), the door handle broke off, the soap dispenser shattered, and the main body of the machine behind the soap drawer has cracked! I mean, mechanical issues are one thing, and we've had plenty of those as well, but I can't believe how the plastic has just disintegrated.

                                      So now I'm deciding whether to buy something that goes under counter or redo the room to make one on a pedestal fit. In the meantime, I duct tape the soap dispenser closed and use a screwdriver to open the handle less door, and keep on washing until it fails completely!


                                      • Original Poster

                                        Just got back from Sears where I bought a top load washer with agitator and no brain so I get to make all of the decisions which I like. I appreciate all of your posts especially those about the front loads and low back issues and horse poor's comments which took into account the laundry room configuration which also played a huge part in my decision.

                                        I liked the front loads w matching dryer when placed on pedestals and could see how these would be easy for me plus everyone here is saying they do a better job cleaning. The problem I run into there tho is that our laundry room is small and the room you go through when parking in the garage. Darling granddaughter comes every weekend and all holidays and throws all her gear on top the dryer. Barn jackets, hats & ariats get tossed on the washer. There really is no other place. The drawer in the pedestals for the front loads didn't look like they could stand up to the abuse from kids.

                                        What we got is pretty much what I was satisfied with the past seven years. Once it's installed I have 60 days to change my mind.

                                        Thanks again And horse poor, I don't envy your predicament. Dealing with contractors is even worse than selecting a new washer and you have both!