slogan3561

front loading washer doesn't get clothes clean

slogan3561
7 years ago

8 years ago I bought a GE profile front loading washing machine based on it's rating from Consumer Reports. It has never gotten clothes as clean as my old, cheap top loader. It is great for gentle washing, but I garden and get actual dirt on my clothes and all my white stuff comes out just as dirty as it went it (socks, etc.). I use the correct HE detergent and have started using those Oxyclean pods, too. Should I just give up and buy another washing machine? Consumer's still states that front loaders get clothes cleaner. I think 8 years is still pretty young for a washing machine, but I come from a time when appliances lasted 20 yeares or so. Should I buy a new one, and if so, what brand?

Comments (40)

  • dadoes
    7 years ago

    Are you running those garden-work clothes and socks in cold water on a short cycle? Or are you using more appropriate warm water (hot for the whites) on a heavy-duty cycle?

  • erinsean
    7 years ago

    For work clothes I would run the normal cycle, warm wash, heavy dirt. I have never had work clothes come through the wash dirty. Now for whites work clothes, I use cloryx...same normal cycle, warm wash, heavy dirt. Some people use Oxiclean instead of cloryx and that is good also.

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  • dualref
    7 years ago

    Some stains will require the use of a stain pretreatment to get rid of the stains in FL machines. What are you pretreating with?
    What kind of stains are you dealing with?

  • twebbz
    7 years ago

    You may have to use more detergent for a heavily soiled load. I add a 1/4 cup of baking soda to every load with an Oxy product too. For whites, I "pause" the machine for ten minutes as a mid wash soak.

  • twebbz
    7 years ago

    Oh, I should say that after eight years of trying different detergents, switching to Charlies Soap, Seventh Generation Natural Oxy and Baking Soda plus eliminating fabric softener was the best thing I ever did! (I mix it up in a cup of hot water to make sure it's all dissolved, pour it directly into the drum before I load the laundry.)

    To add a bit of scent (Charlie's is scent-free), the first thing I do is add one teaspoon of Purex scent crystals directly to the drum.

    This post was edited by twebbz on Sun, Sep 29, 13 at 17:36

  • kmeyrowitz
    7 years ago

    Those top-loaders that fill up with water and actually agitate -- they really do get dirty clothes clean. I suggest you investigate to find out what it would cost you to buy one now. Also, look on craigslist to see what you could sell your front-loader for. Or maybe there's someone you can give it to, instead of sending it to the landfill.

    If it's too expensive or it doesn't feel right to get another washer, then you're going to have do the extra things to get things cleaner. Is the wash cycle really hot or very warm? When I need a hot wash, I have to run the water at the nearest sink to let the hot water arrive on the scene. Would you be willing to soak the clothes in detergent and water before washing?

    It's one thing not to waste money, but seriously -- what a waste of time, water, and products if the clothes come out dirty!

  • lcubed
    7 years ago

    we need details on how you're doing the wash.

    what cycle, water temperature, amount of detergent, etc

    fwiw, my old danby with a minimal amount of detergent, oxyclean, and white vinegar, heating water to 200 F removes dirt, grease, stains, etc far better than our former top loader (notorious for wrapping stuff around the agitator)

    This post was edited by lcubed on Mon, Sep 30, 13 at 19:57

  • lascatx
    7 years ago

    I have an LG front loader and my clothes get cleaner than with my old top loader. I usually use about half the amount of detergent suggested, except when washing extra dirty loads. I do pretreat known spots andsometimes use oxyclean.

    Whites can require hot water and a prewash cycle can help with stains (as well as pretreating and/or using oxyclean).

    If you have tried everything, I would give myself permission to go find a new washer. Yes, they are a significant expense and yes, eight years does seem young, but they now say appliances are made with a 7-10 year life expectancy. You are there and you haven't been happy. Clothing is expensive too, and repeat washing, water, electricity and laundry products add up too. Your washer should be working to make your life easier, not more difficult.

    You have the advantage of a machine that hasn't died and left you with a tub of smelly, soapy water. Take the time to shop and get a good sale price. You've got Columbus Day, Veteran's Day, Black Friday and other big sale dates coming up. Go pick out a present.

  • rpsinfoman
    6 years ago

    Your on the right track. There is much more to cleaning clothes than the actual machine. Proper cleaning begins with properly conditioned water. This is critical if your using a well. You mentioned you have a softner so a chemical analysis should be performed yearly. Once that's complete your softner service personnel should be able to recommend a fix. All wash chemistry begins with the water quality! From that point proper additives and detergents can be selected to obtain adaquate results. Next is proper water temp. Whites demand HOT water at least 120 degrees or greater, and time. Bleach or Sodium per-carbonate is great for whiter whites providing there is not a high iron content in the water supply, otherwise you end up with that grey dingy wash. White vinegar in the rinse is also a great consumer sour, which rinses residue from the fabric. Unfortunately without a water quality test, it's anyone's guess. Properly conditioned water and adjusted wash chemistry will always get great results regardless of the machine.

  • djtx
    6 years ago

    I did have my water tested when I moved to this house and they said I needed a water softener. My previous home was in the same area and the water is the same. I may not have mentioned that I used the washing machine in question at both addresses with pretty much the same results. There was a slight difference, but I attribute it to the fact that the old house had soft water throughout the entire house where the new place is only hooked up to the incoming hot water. To change it now would require digging up the driveway or foundation and I'm on a very tight budget. If I was twenty years younger I'd do it myself.

    The easy answer would be to find a washing machine that actually uses WATER to get the clothes clean, but everyone knows that government imposed water restrictions will only get worse and it would be a temporary fix at best.

    I like what you wrote about finding the right combination to get my clothes clean and although I don't really know my neighbors, it might be smart to ask them what they did that works. By now most families use the front loading or water restrictive machines so I can't be the only one with this problem.

    As for water testing, can you suggest a company that won't simply try to sell me their products? The house was six years old when I moved in and I never signed up with a service to go with the water softener. Are there legitimate water testing services out there that will give me unbiased results so I can be sure to get what I need and not what they would like to sell me?

    Thank you for your thoughtful reply and I agree that I need to get more information before I do anything else. Time to do more research - and I'll post anything I find that seems to work.


  • rpsinfoman
    6 years ago

    What laundry products, detergents, bleaches, additives are you currently using?

  • dadoes
    6 years ago

    Frontloaders use sufficient water to wash and rinse. Where/how do you believe your machine is saving and reusing wash water for rinsing? Do you not hear the water draining after the wash period, during spins, and after each of however many rinses the machine runs?

    I've been using a Whirlpool Calypso for 7+ years, which may on some loads take less water than a frontloader on individual fills throughout the cycle. My whites are dazzling due to proper laundry techniques -- hot water (125°F or higher), sufficient dose of good detergent, adding either chlorine bleach or oxygen bleach (not both at the same time), and I've been adding STPP for some years.

    Non-softened water rinses better than fully-softened water in terms of killing suds ... but of course it is non-softened water so can cause some mineral residue in the clothes and machine. I'm on a private well and do not have a water softener but still get fine results.

  • recordaras
    6 years ago

    I too would like to know how you wash whites and what detergents/additives you use. I think there might be something there that's giving you poor results, and it should be pretty easy to change. Any chance you are using something like Charlie's Soap or a non-HE specific detergent? The lack (or insufficient amount) of anti-redeposition agents could have something to do with it, based on your description of stains coming out but dinginess remaining.

  • rpsinfoman
    6 years ago

    All good points. Softened water cleans and whitens better than hard water generally speaking. In her specific instance the water may be too soft, and she could be using laundry products that are counter productive. Many of the consumer detergent products HE or not, are formulated to correct and condition the water, add surfacants, ionic dispersion agents, builders, and enzymes. Wash water PH could be another issue and simply not high enough to yield effective cleaning. Using conditioned water WITHOUT the correct wash chemistry and correct detergents could be the problem. Since the water is softened try using a straight SOAP only product. In all instances the poster hasn't commented on use of chlorine bleach or OxyClean or other Sodium Percarbonate product. Both which have excellent whitening capability, with of course bleach offering the most mirobacterial action and raising alkalinity to a PH of around 10. That alone in conjuction with HOT water and soap should provide more than adaquate cleaning results.

    You also stated before moving your results were similar. Have you trIed another washing machine (coin op, neighbor, relative) and test your laundry formula in another machine or using a different water supply? Are you using a municipal water supply or is it well?

  • djtx
    6 years ago

    Thanks everyone. I can't say what detergent or additives I have been using because I've changed so many times. I started out with the usual Tide powder and when that seemed to give me only mediocre results I tried different things. I think the only time I noticed a real difference is when bleach is added but the results weren't great and eventually with constant bleach use, whites tended to yellow. For the last couple of weeks I have developed an itchy rash on my skin in small patches so I'm not able to try anything new or drastic until it passes. I don't really know what's causing it and I tend to be allergic to things so I'm not blaming the water or the soaps yet.

    A few times I brought my laundry to wash at a friend's house and there was a difference but less about how clean the whites were... they were a little bit whiter but they were much softer than mine ever are. I used whatever detergent they had at the time but I'm thinking it was the Costco brand liquid detergent. The friend has a water softener and a top loading washer. I used hot water and no fabric softener on the whites. That's really all I can remember. I might try that again after this rash clears up. I'll be more careful to write down what I did. I do plan to drain and clean the water heater again soon. I'll also see about using a washing machine cleaner but I don't know which is best. I'll have to do some research and get back here with results. Thanks again!

  • recordaras
    6 years ago
    last modified: 6 years ago

    In my experience liquids leave clothes much softer than powders, so I prefer liquids for sheets and towels.

    Sorry to hear about your skin issues! I haven't personally tried it yet, but thesweethome blog gave good reviews to the Ecover Zero powder - it did well on removing stains and does not have any fragrance that could cause allergies. Maybe that could be an option for you to keep any skin issues from coming up again?

  • HU-600674527
    6 days ago

    I have a brand new LG front load washer - it does NOT get my clothes clean (not overloaded) unless I add 2 or 3 gallons of piping hot water in FIRST like with a bucket - the thing uses so little water that it sucks - I miss my old top load washer and sure have buyers remorse over this AI controlled super modern wonder machine - gag

  • MiMi
    6 days ago

    What cycles are you using? Also what detergent? I have a front load LG and it does a fantastic job of cleaning. Which model do you have?

  • Kate
    6 days ago

    I worked in the laundry soap business and found through products research that many people do not use enough detergent, particularly if it’s a full load. Use more detergent and don’t pack your washer.

  • georgect
    6 days ago

    Kate...WOW...I find that hard to believe since the recommendations in detergent directions are way too high and cause overdosing.

  • HU-600674527
    6 days ago
    last modified: 6 days ago

    brand new model WM3400cw - standard cycle - hot water - machine not overloaded - specific soap for machine. I've recently seen how you can alter the water setting with a control behind the top (Youtube), that should take care of it. sometimes I would wash 2 times (2nd time no soap) unless I dumped a bucket of water in. maybe I'm fussy about clean clothes . . . my clothes get real dirty from garden/boats etc though

  • HU-600674527
    6 days ago

    need more water and less soap!

  • littlegreeny
    6 days ago

    The normal cycle uses the least amount of water of all the cycles. Try using the towels or permanent press cycles. You can also change the soil level. For really dirty loads, try adding a prewash cycle and extra rinse.

  • armjim
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    I don't think your washer has an on-board heater. That may be one of the reasons; littlegreeney, george or dadoes probably know whether or not you are getting tap hot or blended hot as the maximum temperature in your machine.

  • georgect
    5 days ago

    HU600...if you have really dirty clothes then may I suggest a Pre-Wash with some detergent to help loosen and flush away excess dirt.

    Use a more intensive cycle like Heavy Duty with HOT water, heavy soil level with multiple extra rinses.

  • MiMi
    5 days ago

    Standard cycle?.... specific soap for machine?.....

  • MiMi
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    According to Lowe’s website this model does not have an internal heater Can you by any chance return the machine? There’s other LG models that work great

  • dadoes
    5 days ago
    last modified: 5 days ago

    Dirty clothes need detergent. I use plenty and never have anything come out less than nicely clean. Recent load of 6 pairs of jeans, two worn for mowing had grass/clover stains and blown dirt. Used 8 tablespoons (that's 4 oz or 1/2 cup) of Cheer powder with 2 tablespoons of STPP added ... in an HE toploader without a heater.

  • vinmarks
    5 days ago

    I think the amount of detergent used depends on the machine. I couldn't use more than 2 tablespoons detergent with my Electrolux front loader or else it was a sudsy mess. The clothes built up a funk. With my LG front loader I can use 4 tablespoons with no issue and no more smelly clothes. Machines with no internal heater can only get water as hot as what comes out of the tap and even then it cools some before it reaches the machine. So water temperature will depend on what type of water heater it is and what its set at. We have a tankless water heater that is set at 120 so I wanted a machine with an on board heater to make sure I could get truly hot water in the machine.

  • dadoes
    5 days ago

    vinmarks, I have a tankless water heater. It's in the broom closet in my laundry room so is easily accessible for changing the temperature as needed. It has a temporary override feature that reverts back to the normal setpoint after a programmable delay. My normal setpoint is 104°F, the maximum is 140°F. Some units have a remote control panel that can be installed for adjustment at a bathroom or kitchen.

    There typically is an 8°F to 12°F effective drop in water temperature in a washer after filling vs. the incoming temp due to the cooler clothes and mass of the machine absorbing heat. One of my deep-fill toploaders (without a water heater but with ATC) mixes the incoming flow to 115°F for a Warm fill. The engineers who designed it may have done that purposesly, the resultant temperature in the tub is ~105°F which is reasonable for warm.

  • vinmarks
    5 days ago

    Thanks for that info Dadoes. Even though I have a tankless I don't know much about them to be honest. I thought there was something with tankless that it can only heat the water up so many degrees. We have well water. For instance if the water comes out of the ground at 55 degrees the tankless can only heat it up to a certain temperature regardless of what it is set for. I've never actually changed the temperature setting on ours. So are you saying that when you want hotter water at your washer you increase the temperature on your tankless?

  • HU-600674527
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    I upped the amount of water used by turning the adjuster screw under the top panel and now it works fine - raised the water level about 2 inches higher in the tank/drum. the dumb engineers should put that control on the front. note to self - next time buy a top loader!

  • MiMi
    4 days ago

    Oh good for you!

  • dadoes
    4 days ago

    vinmarks, tankless water heaters are most efficient when set at (or not much above) the temperature needed for a given hot water task, with only the hot water tap running instead of tempering with cold. They do throttle the heating capacity based on the water flow rate but overheating the water and tempering it with cold at the point of use is akin to driving by a car by floorboarding the accelerator and using the brake to control the speed. Traditional tank heaters are set at a higher temperature to garner capacity. They take time to heat (and recover) the 40 to 50 gals of water in the tank so need hotter water (than required for the task) to compensate for the slower recovery. Tankless can produce water at the set temperature forever without running out unless there's a malfunction or the energy source (gas or electric) fails.

    Other factors that affect the output temperature can come into play ... such as if the incoming water supply is very cold (in northern areas and/or winter season). Tankless units have a specific maximum temperature rise per the BTU rating (or wattage for electric) against the flow rate of the water running through. X °F of temperature rise per Y gallons-per-minute of flow rate. The heated water won't reach the target temperature if the heating capacity isn't enough to handle the combination of incoming water supply temperature and flow-rate of it. A workaround is turn the faucet slower.

    There's also the angle that turning down the hot flow too much can cause a tankless unit to turn off ... a specific minimum flow rate is required to keep them engaged. For example, at a high set-temp such as 135°F, turning down the hot flow and adding a higher flow of cold at the faucet to attain a comfortable shower temperature can reduce the water flow through the unit to the point that it shuts off and the shower runs cold.

    Yes, for laundry I select Hot on the washer and adjust the temperature at the tankless, or I know what target temperature the machines with ATC want for the chosen setting and set that on the tankless. My dishwasher has assured onboard water heating so it doesn't need a high incoming temperature.

  • HU-600674527
    4 days ago

    here's a link to the info to raise the water level - works so much better now https://www.queenbeeofhoneydos.com/how-to-adjust-washing-machine-water-levels/

  • armjim
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    I looked at that article about adjusting the water level. I would be interested in reading comments from anyone who has done that. One side note from the article was the author advising people not to overload their machines. She said a full load should be no more than 6-7 standard bath towels. You mean to tell me that technology has not advanced to sufficiently launder a load of more items than that? The fact that a FL can't clean a load of more items and then balance that load for the final high speed spin is unacceptable. Like in cars, there is so much technology and modules and computer boards and yet they work scarcely better than machines without all that technology from the early days of this century.

  • Steve S
    4 days ago
    last modified: 4 days ago

    It’s important not to put too much soap in a front load washing machine. More soap is not better.

    Very simplest explanation of why this is is the way these machines clean. Very different from a Toploader these front load washing machines clean your clothes the equivalent of the old way of dipping your clothes is a wash pool and the slapping it against a rock.

    The rotations of the drum mimic this type of ancient hand washing style repeatedly. It’s likeIt’s like beating your jeans against a rock 1000 times.

    That affect is mimicked by using the paddles in washer drum to push your clothes in and out of the small wash pool at the bottom. Then raising it to the top of the laundry machine and then letting it fall back down so it does a two or 3 foot drop right into the pool below or against the side of the drum.

    Now if you put too much soap in your washing machine or use the wrong kind and you get too much froth. You wind up creating a micro cushioning effect. More soap means you’re clothes will be washed less vigorously than optimal. This is also why the wash pool is so shallow in a front load washing machine so that you’re clothes will bang against the side of that drum and not splash into a mini swim pool.

  • dadoes
    4 days ago

    Some washers nowadays have gone to an electronic water level sensor that is part/parcel of the control board and is non-adjustable.

    Other factors that may also come into play when adjusting mechanical sensor switches that can lead to problems. Some of them have more than one set of pressure contacts, one which is for overfill protection. Adjusting the "normal" fill contacts for a higher level can cause the overfill to trip and make the machine drain out all the water. Some frontloaders are designed to fill higher on specific cycles (Delicate and Bulky for example) and may do so via a flow meter that monitors how much water comes in to trip the normal fill level, then the control board calculates how much more water to add based on the flow sensor data, which can lead to overfilling on those cycles. Rinses may also fill higher based on flow meter readings.

  • dadoes
    4 days ago

    Regards to Steve S's post above about suds impairing wash action ... too much water does the same thing. A lot of the "slapping on a rock" aspect of frontloader wash action is from the clothes falling against the surface of the drum as they tumble. Too much water cushions that slapping/fall which reduces cleaning action. The clothes float in the water instead of falling/slapping against the drum. That's the reason Delicate cycles typically fill higher for gentler action.

    I helped my neighbor clean up one of his rental properties between tenants a few years ago. The exiting tenant left some sheer curtains on some windows in the kitchen, living room, dining area, and a sliding glass door. I took them down to wash in the frontloader he provides to the tenants, a 2006 Whirlpool Duet. Ran them on the Delicate cycle first, which fills higher. The lightweight fabric floated in the water, didn't tumble at all and had undissolved detergent remaining in the folds even after the rinses and spin. I ran them again on Normal which fills lower and they turned out great.