March 14, 2010


Appliance Love

Every once in awhile, I bring you some useful information.

Today is one of those days.

Here's a great piece from the NYT that will save you money. You're probably using too much soap in your dishwasher and washing machine. And the information is coming from the people who repair those machines - not the companies who want you to use 8 times too much stuff so you buy more.

It makes a ton of sense as you read it. When I bought frontloaders a few years back, I was shocked at how little soap they needed to do a great job. A third of the water and half the soap to wash 3 times the load. But detergent manufacturers are giddy with excitement that we are old dogs, and will not read the labels and make the adjustments. They know we've been conditioned that more is better; they bank on it.

They tell you to do a test with some clean towels. I might do this, just to see if I could be saving soap. I do a lot of laundry. A lot. And detergent is a major expense.

Taking care of your clothes dryer will do more than make it more efficient: it could save your life. If you're not hauling the back off and unscrewing the front panel to vacuum it out every once in a while, you're creating a fire hazard. And everyone knows they should empty the lint tray; but there is way more lint then you can reach, and not only does it cause the machine to work harder, it can catch fire. Do this: vacuum it all out. It's not hard - just take out the screws and save them in the same spot. Driers aren't that complicated. You'll instantly notice that you don't need to run the cycle as long to dry your clothes.

Oh, and you want to know about a cool site? This one. Samurai Appliance Repairman. This is a great way to diagnose what's wrong with any of your appliances before you call a repairman. You might even be able to fix it yourself. A friend of mine, who had never, ever done anything remotely fix-it-ish, fixed her own washing machine with advice from this site. I love it.

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