Eco-friendly — also known as “high efficiency” or “HE”– washing machines have many obvious benefits. They use much less electricity and water than traditional top-loading machines, which has a positive impact on your utility bills as well as the environment. They also have a more powerful spin, leaving clothes drier and shortening drying time and energy. However, HE washers are not without their drawbacks. It’s up to the consumer to decide whether the positives of owning an eco-friendly washing machine outweigh the negatives.
By far, the most common problem people report with front-loading HE washers is mold and mildew. The small amount of water these machines use does not always rinse away all detergent and soil. The residue left behind can cause smelly mildew to form. Consistently using low-temperature wash settings can compound this problem. The rubber seal on the doors of front-loading washers is also a likely place for mold to grow.
There are steps you can take to alleviate a mold problem. Many washers have a maintenance cycle that can help keep mold and mildew at bay. If your washer doesn’t, run an empty hot wash with 1 cup of vinegar or bleach about once a month. Regularly clean around the rubber gasket on your washer’s door as well, and leave the door open between washes so the machine can air out.
The super-fast spin that both front-loading and top-loading HE machines have is both a blessing and a curse. While it’s great at getting water out, it can sometimes cause clothing to tangle and wrinkle. It also makes some machines vibrate violently. This can be quite loud and it can even cause damage to certain types of floors. There are pads available you can place under washers to minimize noise, and some models vibrate less than others. Read reviews of different machines before you head to the store.
Longer Wash Times
Because HE machines use so little water, they take much longer than normal top-loaders to wash a load of laundry. Some machines take nearly two hours to complete a cycle. This can be frustrating when you have limited time to get an article of clothing clean, but it’s the price you pay for getting the best results with less water and energy. Fortunately, clothes usually come out of an HE washer much drier, so your dry cycle will likely be shorter. Top-loading HE washing machines are also a good option if you’re concerned about time, as they generally have shorter cycles than front-loaders.
HE washers generally do not do well with very small loads. If you try to wash only two or three items, the machine will become unbalanced and will not extract the water out of the clothing as well. If you have a very small load, you may need to add extra items to balance it.
Some people also have trouble with the awkwardness of loading and unloading a front-loading washer as this involves bending over and reaching into the machine. This may be especially difficult for people with mobility issues. Top-loading HE washers are a good choice if this is an issue, and some front-loading models have angled openings to make loading easier.
About the Author
Amy Wilde has worked as a grant developer, copy editor, writing tutor and writer. Based in Portland, Ore., she covers topics related to society, religion and culture. Wilde holds a Bachelor of Arts in English literature and classical civilization from the University of Toronto.
- Jupiterimages/Comstock/Getty Images
icon for annotation tool
Cite this Article
This is is a syndicated post. Read the original at homeguides.sfgate.com