Thursday, November 3, 2011

Question - Front Loading Washing Machine

Yesterday my washing machine died. I know great-grandma did, but I didn't think I could survive long without a washing machine.

Thankfully my husband agreed.

Tonight Ed brought home a barely used Whirlpool front loading washing machine.  We tried it out tonight. The children were fascinated. Can you tell we don't have TV?


According to the manual you MUST use HE high efficiency detergent, because it is has low suds.

My question: Can I use my homemade detergent? It is low sudsing. (Is that a word?) I love my homemade detergent and hate to go back to buying it.

Anyone have experience with front loading washers?

44 comments :

  1. Love the picture of the kids watching the wash machine -- too funny! I have a front load machine but have no idea what to tell you concerning homemade soap...sorry :-)

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  2. milehimama.com has a recipe for HE homemade detergent. She's a homeschooler in Houston.

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  3. I stared at mine a lot at first too! Anyway, I don't use homemade but I have heard of plenty who do with no problems. You might just need to cut the amount a little.

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  4. I have a front loader and have tried the homemade kind in my machine. First we have hard water so my clothes never became clean and all took on a grey tinge. Second I was starting to get a buildup of residue inside the dispenser and in some other areas. This is what they caution against when using homemade soap. I know many people use it with no problems but I wasn't going to risk it when I found the buildup and the soap didn't work as well as my tide. So I gave it away and haven't looked back. To save money on detergent I bought a small ladle and a glass jar. One ladle full washes even a full load nicely and my detergent lasts between 4 and 6 months depending how much we get dirty, much longer than when I was using the dispenser that came with the detergent. I love my front load machine!!

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  5. I love the picture of the children! Mine do that too, there is something about watching laundry go around, especially when it is their favorite blanket!

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  6. I have used homemade detergent in mine for 4 years now with no problems. I had to tweak the amount to make sure it was low suds which was about 1/2 of what I usually used in my regular washer... I LOVE my front load...

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  7. I also wondered about home made detergent in a front loader. While talking to a friend, the topic came up. She has a front loader and has used soap for years and has had no problems. I now make my own washing detergent and use it in my front loader, and have done so for a year now. I sometimes use vinegar in the rinse also. So far I have not come across any problems. I am thinking that I may run an empty load with just vinegar, just incase there is a build up. Thank you for your blog. I enjoy reading it daily and am inspired.

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  8. I have a front loading washer and love it! :) And yes, you can use your homemade detergent. I make my own to and it works just fine. ~ Esther Gingerich

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  9. I have a front loader that I used homemade laundry soap in without a problem. I don't know if it makes any difference but I am using the dry kind of grated Fels Naptha, borax, and washing soda.

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  10. definitely!! look up"front loading washer"+ homemade laundry detergent and you'll find that it is even better for front loading ones as there is very less lather.

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  11. We're on our fourth washing machine (in 17 years). #1 was a top-loader. It lasted for 8 years - in fact, it worked just fine when we traded it for my grandma's newer Kenmore top loader. (She was giving away her furniture and moving in with my parents).

    That top loader died of motor failure about two years later. SO we bought another one - Whirlpool, I think. We had to replace the motor after two years. It began to go bad AGAIN... and when we talked to the repair guys, they said that top loaders were some of the most temperatmental, easiest breaking appliances they worked on. They also tend to mildew if you don't leave the door open so that the seal can dry... and even then, they collect water and yuck in the door seal that has to be periodically cleaned out.

    We gave up and went back to a top loader. It's done fine - although we had to replace the pump when it ate a fabric softener sheet. But it's been so much better than our two experiences with top-loaders. Unless we eventually invest in a commercial machine, I doubt we'll buy another top-loader.

    I hate to rain on your parade! But there it is. I would recommend talking to an appliance repair-type to ask about the homemade soap. When we asked about our soap - not homemade; Charlie's - we were told that it's pretty crucial that the machine be given soaps it can handle, otherwise it messes up the machine or wears it out faster. I forget the details...

    Sorry to be a wet blanket!

    -Mrz Carmen-

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  12. I have a front loader and have always used my home made washing powder (borax, soap flaxes, washing soda ) with no trouble. I even use a bit of vinegar as a rinse occasionally. As that's the same ingredients for home made laundry liquid I say it's fine as they are all low sudsing (if it's not a word it should be :-) )

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  13. I have a front loader and have used homemade soap in it since the beginning. I don't know what is in your recipe, but mine is washing soda, borax and Fels Naptha soap. I also add a bit of Amway enzyme cleaner. It is the same thing as Oxy clean just to boost getting stains out. (That is the joy of 3 boys and a tom boy girl on a farm).
    Anyway, I think that you will be just fine using you homemade soap. It is also better for your septic system if you have one.
    Blessings,

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  14. When my eldest was a tot, she just loved watching the washing go round too. The others just were not interested.

    We only seem to have front loaders here in England. Your top loaders are a mystery to me : )

    Please ask if there is anything you would like to know that I can answer.

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  15. I use homemade detergent in my HE washer. It requires 1 tbsp for normal wash and 2 tbsp for extra soiled.My detergent is the powder recipe with borax,washing soda, and a bar of soap.The powder detergent keeps the washer from having a mildew type smell.For the past three weeks, I have tried the pump soap (liquid soap nuts)from Natroli.If it wasn't for my daughters eczema, I would probably not even have tried the liquid soap nuts.

    sheila

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  16. I have an opinion on front loading machines, but it's not good. That's probably why you found a barely used one..........

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  17. Yes!!! I have a top loading high efficiency machine, and I have used it. Just use a little less. I think for the liquid/gel type of homemade detergent I used about 1/4 cup per load. I've never made the powdered variety, but would assume you just use a little less. Enjoy your new washer!

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  18. If I remember right, I think Rhonda over at Down To Earth talks about using her homemade laundry soap in a front loading machine, and says it works just fine. It doesn't make suds at all, which is why it works so well.
    Glad you got a replacement washer so quick!

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  19. You can absolutely use homemade detergent, provided you make the liquid variety. You may not need as much, or if yours gels like mine, you can add a little water with it in the dispenser. Enjoy your new machine! Love your blog. Lisa

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  20. Hi there Gina,
    We've always had a front loader (popular in the UK and becoming more so in Australia now) and we have to make sure we pick the 'front loader' washing powder because of the low suds.
    If you're unsure if your home made detergent is low/high just use half the amount and see how you go.
    I've not known home made stuff to be very soapy, more salty which is fine.

    A tip for you: when it's not on or between loads leave the door ajar to prevent mould in the rubber seal. Our laundry room is lockable to prevent the kids from getting into mischief/danger.

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  21. i have had a front loading washer for 8 years. i've been using homemade detergent for about 2 years, and it works great. i've never had any problems with it.

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  22. Hi Gina
    I use the homemade soap in my front loader and love it! It works great..sometimes I use oxi-clean along with the wash for extra stain lifter.

    JoAnn

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  23. Yes, You can use your homemade soap. I have had a front loader for years and have always used homemade soap. It works great!!!!

    Amber KY

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  24. Thanks for all your input! I'm glad that the majority appear to like your front loading machines and successfully use homemade detergent! Like any question, there is always differences in opinion! But that is part of what makes us human!

    Gina

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  25. Oh, my ... when I first read your post, I thought your reference to "I know my grandma did" was referring to her dying, not to going without a washer. I kept thinking, "Well, isn't that a bit callous coming from my sensitive Home Joys blogger?" Duh me! Had to re-read it to understand plain English. But had a good laugh at myself! And I've used my homemade detergent in my front loader for a long time. True about the mildew and the buildup in the seal, unfortunately. And I don't think the short useful life is due to it being a front loader, sadly. I think it is planned obsolescence on the part of the manufacturers.

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  26. I have front loader and have been using homemade laundry soap for years with no problems. My mom bought me some soap nuts that I'm using right now and those are working just fine as well.

    Enjoy your new toy!

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  27. I use homemade laundry detergent all the time with NO problem what so ever.
    Love the pictures of the kiddos! Hugs, Bobbi Jo

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  28. I laughed out loud when I seen that picture! When my sister got her front loader machine she found her 4 yr. old daughter and her friend watching the laundry to which they announced, "We're watching T.V.!" :)

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  29. I don't use homemade laundry soap, but I'll tell you what I did find with my HE washer. I don't have a front loader because my washer & dryer are in a hall closet - so I got the top loading HE. The "set" was enormously expensive! And I really WANTED it badly because #1 is was HE #2 no agitator #3 saving on water. They do everything I want them to! I use one of those "washer cleaners" once per month & I don't have any odor or residue. My 1 and ONLY complaint? These HE washers are not for a "working man's" clothing. We work at a landifills. My husband manages 4 of them. And in TN? The mud is red. When he gets dirty with that red mud or hydraulic fluid or worse..LEACHATE...I have to wash "his" clothes twice on the "whites" setting. They get clean, but without an agitator, it doesn't BEAT the dirt out of the clothes. But since he's in management, that happens less than it used to. I still LOVE this set. It's very quiet. And the capacity is awesome. I can put 3 quilts in it, and I mean BIG bed sized quilts (and with NO agitator, my quilts don't get all tangled up around it.)

    I'm no help about the soap question, just thought I'd tell you about my issues with mine.

    Sam

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  30. I don't have a front loading washing machine, but it is HE and I use homemade soap. It actually works better than the store bought stuff.

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  31. Here's another tip to use in any washing machine where build-up from soap or liquid fabric softeners may happen.
    A cup of white vinegar added to your rinse cycle really makes a difference. Not only does it kill germs but it also cuts any remaining soap left in your clothes, it's a natural fabric softener, and it dissolves build-up keeping your washer and drain hoses clean. There may be a slight odor of vinegar when you pull the clothes from the washer, but once they're dry it's gone.
    Best of all, white vinegar is cheap and doesn't pollute the environment.

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  32. I'm always late for commenting since I get your updates through email on the West coast, but thought I'd put in my two cents:

    We've had our front loader (the cheapest brand) for about 10 years. I have NEVER bought special HE detergent, just used a lot less of normal. But I have been using homemade for the past couple of years with no problem. I do use a vinegar rinse occasionally and add oxi-clean when I need extra cleaning. I leave the door ajar in between uses as well.

    It's still going strong and despite the drawbacks (can't soak, so you need to have a laundry sink to soak first), we will always have a front loader!

    Hugs, Jami

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  33. We love our front loaders.Ours was second hand too but will buy one just like it again when the time comes.We only use homemade soap too and it has never been an issue.

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  34. I was told you should not use granule soap in that type, but should always use liquid soap. I wouldn't see why you couldn't if it's not real sudsy soap. I have used regular soap in my HE washer, it worked sometimes, other times it would stop and beep at me b/c it knew there was too much suds. oops. :) Hope that helps.

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  35. I'm so glad you asked this question! I'm on my last bit of detergent and have bought all the ingredients to make homemade. But then it dawned on me that it might not work in my front loader.

    Your post was perfect timing. Thanks for everyone's comments! I'm confident I can use my homemade detergent and continue using vinegar as well.

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  36. Hi Gina, I didn't real ALL the comments and don't know if anyone was able to answer your question. My sister and I started making our own washing soap a few years back and she got a front loader and she used it in hers and it's been fine. She's now divorced but she used it for like a year or more and it did fine.

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  37. Even later than Jami... but thought I could tell you we have a Whirlpool front-load bought new after my hubby felt nickled/dimed with the old top load set of Kenmore. After four years of heavy use, we had to replace the pump motor... followed soon after by the heat element in the dryer. But that's all so far in six years. {And my hubby can do the work himself, so we just pay for parts purchased online or at the local appliance parts store} And we've always used them with hard well water {first house was heavy on rust too} ~ with six kids and a farmer hubby, so they have been well-used!

    Hope it turns out to be a happy purchase for you!

    Such a cute pic of your children!

    {I think you got your answer to the soap question : )}

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  38. I hope you don't mind my question - it's in regards to homemade detergent which I've been using in my top-loading machine for the past 2 months. When I was using store-bought detergent I bought the cold-water variety since I preferred to do most of my laundry in cold water. (My appliance repair person advised that the regular detergent did not activate properly in cold water.) I was wondering whether most homemade detergent users are doing laundry in hot water or in cold? Also, does laundering with homemade detergent in cold water cause soap build-up sooner than if I used warm water. Does anyone have any advice?

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  39. Oh, you'll love your frontloader! I have the exact same Whirlpool washer, and I love how gentle it is on the clothes. Plus, it uses gallon and gallons and *gallons* less water than a top loader!

    I've never used anything other than the HE detergent, sorry. I'm pretty attached to Tide! I've tried other, cheaper brands, and nothing gets my clothes clean like Tide.

    (We have had electrical problems, just to let you know. I take the top off and bang underneath the panel in the back when it acts up. Percussive maintenance really works! If you ever run into this problem, let me know, and I'd be glad to come over and show you how to punch it.) =)

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  40. Been using our front loader for about 5 years, never used any special type of detergent, never had any problems, it does our wash just fine.

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  41. I have a front load washer and I use homemade soap and have had no problems with it.

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  42. Wow, after reading all these posts, I really want a front loader! But, will have to wait until my top loader dies. Also, although I've wanted to try making homemade laundry soap, I've yet to go for it. My concern is for my kids' skin. Both have excema issues...so I was wondering how the homemade soaps would react with their skin? Does anyone have any experience with excema and homemade laundry soap? Thanks!

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  43. This is nice information blog. Thanks for Sharing.

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  44. I know this post is very old, but here is my answer anyway: you should try and use the HM type of detergent, especially if you have a front load washer purchased after 2009; this will extend the life of your washer and make it far less likely for both the tub and the dispenser to attract mold.

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