I hate my front-loading washer. Here’s how I “hack” it.

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We have a 6-year-old front-loading Kenmore washing machine (actually manufactured by Whirlpool) that I despise.  I’ve written at length about my misadventures in laundry with this machine before:

  • It’s got expensive parts that need to be replaced more often than they should — its $94 water level sensor went bad a few months after its one-year warranty was up, and it’s now on its third. 
  • It’s hard on clothes — once or twice a month, something comes out of the machine torn or ripped. I believe this is due to the high spin speeds at the end of the cycle. If I remember to wash stretchy and knit things alone in a load (without other items that have snaps, buttons or zippers) I have better luck. 

I have another item to add to the list. It also doesn’t always get the clothes clean! Everyday laundry is fine, but if something’s really dirty, it often comes out of the washer nearly as dirty as it went in. When the washer was new, it performed better than it does today. I don’t know what the exact problem may be now, but just don’t think our washer uses enough water to get the laundry clean. (Based on past experience, I wouldn’t doubt that the water sensor is on its way out again.)

I know the big selling point of front-loading high efficiency washing machines is that they save water, but if the clothes aren’t getting clean, what’s the point? So, for the past year or so, this is how I’ve “hacked” my front-loading washer.

pail

I keep a 1 1/2 gallon bucket near the laundry tub, and before I put our laundry in, I add three or four buckets of water to the machine. It’s kind of a pain, and it’s a little time-consuming, but it definitely helps the clothes get cleaner. I usually fill the machine with water up to the level of the door, put the clothes in, then dump another bucket of water on top.

pail

Front-loading washers decide how much water to add based on the weight of the load inside. The clothing, plus the extra water, seems to “trick” it into adding enough additional water that the load gets cleaner. The first time I tried this, I hung out and watched the machine to make sure it wouldn’t leak water..! Our washing machine is located in an unfinished basement laundry room with a floor drain, so I figured even if it did, it wouldn’t be a big deal. However, the extra water doesn’t seem to cause a problem, and our clothes definitely get cleaner.

water level

I almost always remember to take the time to add extra buckets of water to our machine. Last night, though, I forgot — and today I was reminded of why my bucket ritual has become a necessity with this machine.

Our dog came in last night with dirty paws. Before I could clean him up, the dog ran down the hall and hopped onto my son’s bed, which is his favorite place to sleep. 

Whoops. The quilt on my son’s bed was dotted with dirt — not a lot, but enough to warrant being washed. I stripped it from the bed, shook the loose dirt off, and put it in the washing machine. We went to bed.

This morning, I took the quilt out of the machine. This is “clean” — after the heavy-duty two-hour wash cycle:

quilt

quilt

quilt

Oh, how I hate this washing machine. The quilt is back in the washer, this time with four buckets of water. I’m almost looking forward to the day this thing finally dies and isn’t worth repairing, so I can justify replacing it with something better. 


 

I’ve been researching what I would replace my junky Kenmore with at some point, and I’ve many reviews from people who were fed up with front-loaders, as I am and went with a Speed Queen. Speed Queen traditional top-loaders have very good reviews. Speed Queen builds commercial-grade top-loading machines with agitators and high-gallon water capacities, and at this point, that’s exactly what I want. I don’t want electronic sensors to decide when the machine “thinks” clothes are clean, or when it thinks it’s added sufficient water to wash. I also miss having loads done within 35-40 minutes instead of the long wash cycles of my top-loader, which takes two hours per load on the heavy duty cycle.

I continue to be extremely disappointed that our Kenmore is six years old and performing so miserably too. I’ve blogged before about my first washer-and-dryer set — a bare-bones, no-frills White-Westinghouse pair I bought in college. That pair is now 21 years old and still going strong at my father-in-law’s place, as we gave them to him when we bought this Kenmore set. The only reason we got rid of the pair was that the tubs were low capacity. I bought them before we had any children, and they were not the best suited to washing large laundry loads for a family of five… but that simple washer did one thing, and it did it well: it washed clothes and got them clean

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Comments

  1. wolverine70 says

    Jill, Speed Queen’s are the best. Joe Gagnon, like you, someone who looks out for consumers, hosts a radio program every Saturday from 8-10 AM on WAAM-AM in Ann Arbor, MI. This can be heard via the Tune In computer site. He extols Speed Queen’s. General Electric also seems to realize the shortcomings of efficiency driven washers and has recently introduced ‘The Great American Washer’, which is much like the models Speed Queen produces.

    Front loaders simply aren’t very good. Sorry you’ve had so much trouble with yours.

    • says

      Thanks for the info on the Great American Washer — I hadn’t heard of that..! I really just want to get back to something basic, strong, and reliable. I appreciate the comments on Joe Gagnon’s show — I will have to check that out too :)

    • Veronica says

      I HATE MY KENMORE FRONT LOADER!!!!!!!! I have to do a load two or three times before it gets clean. Clothes that are really soiled or smell badly have to be put in on the Sanitize Wash in order to get clean. (Which takes like 2.5hrs) The dispenser for the fabric softener/detergent is constantly moldy. The door of the front loader has to be left open because when i go back in a few days it smells sour inside. I wash my machine at least once a week with bleach! Never had this problem with my top loader. Had to change the hot water (rubber) hose because it cracked from the heat and spewed water all over the basement.
      This is the worst investment that I ever made… I will never again buy a front loader!

      • Col s says

        If you mschine has options button (like LG fromtloader), turn off eco setting and select higher water level button (picture). Use affresh once Every two mos

      • says

        I am very tired right now. My front load washer is not working — less than 1 year old—–.
        This time the problem is no water will go through the “hi tech”hoses after our main water was shut off for awhile. (Lost a tree which during the uprooting snapped a water line in the yard hence turn off of main valve) Now the hoses wont pull the water from the hot/cold tap.

        Will probably sacrifice the money and purchase an ol’ top loader again.
        I hate this front loader- should have the manufactures reading this blog, or maybe they just took the money from us poor slobs and ran with it…..

        • Stefan Hanke says

          I had front loaders in Germany from Bosch and bought a Miele here in the US. They are smaller then the LG and Kenmore, but they got my laundry clean every time.
          The difference between the European and American front loader is, you can see the water coming up too the door window in the European wash machine. Not so in the LG or Kenmore.
          I am using the extra water button when I wash the solid Doggy blankets. They always come out clean on my LG front loader. Maybe Jill’s water level sensor is bad again, or the hose to the level sensor is plugged up with laundry detergent. This was the problem on my machine. HEW powder soap or liquid laundry detergent may also help.

    • Pav says

      Lmfao um first of all front load washer are the best okay .. especially lg ones okay yes they may take a bit long but seriously have you seen the cycles they have now afays they have a jet sprayer so the load gets washed faster and they have steam cycles so um shush. Maybe your one was bad cuz it’s six years old but now afays front loaders are awesome lol

      • Dusk says

        Maybe you should learn to spell and stop saying “um okay” so much. What are you 12? I have a whirlpool front loader and I think it’s waisting the laundry soap and oxyclean. I am like you thinking there isn’t enough water to wash. And it always uses the fabric softner as soon as I put it in. My washer has a button where I can lengthen the time it washes or shorten the time.. the only setting I like is whitest whites. I’ve had alot of compliments about how white my laundry is, but I know there’s not enough water in it. And when it’s washing and putting the soap in, I see the soap water going in the drain? Is it draining all the soap out or does it recycle persay? I feel like I’m using more laundry soap then normal. Oh and the pods, don’t work at all in my front loader. I love the pods, but they don’t get dissolved in my washer..

        I’m going to get am old school washer. I seem to have better luck with “older” things.

    • Sally JOnes says

      Have you noticed that Speed Queen is never mentioned in all of the washing machine surveys? This is because none of the better known household brands can begin to compare with the reliability and effectiveness of their mechanical washers. The mechanical machine you buy for your house is the same machine used in coin operated laundries. It has a 3 year parts and labor warranty and a 15 year transmission warranty. It is built to be a 25 year washer. The controls can be set any way the operator wants them to be set. The wash cycle is about 28 minutes. Just do a search for Speed Queen, you will be amazed .

      • Dx says

        Will this Speed Queen wash a king comforter?
        Will it do a warm wash/warm rinse and hot wash/warm rinse?
        I have been wanting to get it but haven’t found this information yet.

      • Sam35 says

        I have an LG HE that I am ditching once and for all. It is the worst machine I’ve ever owned. I spend more time cleaning it than it’s worth because it doesn’t wash clothes…it tosses them & spins them but even when I use the extra water level it’s not enough to actually clean clothes. I may as well put clothes in a bucket & swirl them around by hand because I’d get the SAME result!
        Tomorrow my speed queen top loader with agitator comes! After 8 years I’ll finally have clean clothes again. Bonus; I won’t have to clean out the gasket or drain the trap or deal with the moldy interior where the dispenser drawer goes(already replaced that after doing my darndest to keep it clean! Who the heck can reach way inside that opening to clean that mold?! I have!! This after I pull the dispenser out at night to try to let it dry out inside ugh! I’m done! We wasted over 1k on this smelly piece of junk! Enough.

        • says

          THANK YOU for your honesty. I’ve always had top loaders, and as a conscientiously conserving person have been looking at front loaders. In the past 4 years since my divorce, all my rentals have front loaders and my clothes either stink, or still have junk on them! I’m looking to buy a new set on my next move-in, and I just can’t stomach dropping several hundred dollars on something that just “mists” and tosses the stinky dirty clothes. I wonder sometimes if folks don’t know how dirty their laundry really is. I always have to run an extra rinse cycle to keep my bedding something I can sleep on. I always wonder, how do people with front loaders justify the stink, stains, and soap left on their clothing and bedding to say it’s wonderful?!

          • says

            The smells are an issue I really didn’t even touch on in this post, but you’re absolutely right! I just don’t think there is enough water or water action to truly clean anything.

            Our daughter brought her comforter home from college to wash because it smells. Her apartment building is older and just has a scent of its own — it’s not offensive, but I would call it “old building. :) I ran the comforter through on the sanitize cycle, which takes nearly three hours (!) to complete. I used Tide Sport detergent, which is specifically designed to fight fabric odors.

            Guess what — three hours later, the comforter is “clean” — and it still smells like her apartment building.

            Of course, just this week, Consumerist has an article on why you shouldn’t add water to your frontloader like I do…

            https://consumerist.com/2017/03/10/please-dont-add-extra-water-to-your-high-efficiency-washer/

            I truly wish my front loader would DIE already so I can justify buying a new toploader..! I’m still dreaming of a Speed Queen.

    • Spin Me says

      I wouldn’t recommend a front loading speed queen. I recently purchased one and I HATE HAYE HATE it with all my guts. It doesn’t spin fast enough to dry the laundry. Out of an 11 minute cycle, it only spins moderately fast for 30 seconds. The rest of the cycle is spent either at a complete stand-still or leisurely flip flopping the laundry. Every load requires two extra spin cycles at minimum, and after 3 spins I can still hand-wring water out of heavy items like towels, sweatshirts, and blankets. Even after four extra spins it takes the dryer nearly two hours to get the items dry. And don’t get me started on the rinse cycle. It just puts water in the machine, sits still for one minute, and drains. You need to use the triple rinse option it provides to even pretend like the sopping wet clothes you pull out aren’t soapy. The warranty is as worthless as the machine because if you don’t live in a major city they charge you hundreds of dollars to come work on it. Buying a made in the USA machine was a major mistake.

      • Washing queen says

        You obviously don’t know how to do laundry and didn’t read a word out of the users guide. Your loads are off balance if they are not spinning out good- my clothes come out just damp because of the high speed spin! If your clothes are still “soapy” you are using non HE detergent or just too much. I just got my front load speed queen a week ago and it’s the best washer I’ve ever used! I don’t know where you live, but I live in an extremely small town in Iowa and the local store I bought mine from will take care of everything! My final words are, if you think buying a made in the USA machine was a mistake, you should move to China and see how that suits you!

    • Susan White says

      I have a Samsung top loader. I hate it. My clothes don’t seem as clean, and everything comes out scratchy even when I use fabric softner. Not only that, and because there is so little water, some of my clothes have white spots from the softner (like bleach spots) which dumps directly on damp clothes and there isn’t enough water for rinsing to rinse it off.
      I have tried adding an extra 1/2 gallon of water but it does no good. I simply hate it!

  2. Val says

    I had a similar experience. I finally convinced my husband to stop throwing good money after bad fixing our HE washer. I went to Home Depot and bought a 4.2 cu foot GE top loader. It’s bare bones, doesn’t have a million different wash cycles and bigger than my old one. We are a family of 5 also. It fills up all the way for big loads and most importantly, gets the clothes clean!

    But the sales clerk told me that the government is going to make manufacturers stop making these soon, so don’t wait to long or these “old-fashioned” washers will go they way of the beloved phosphates!

    • says

      Regarding the government possibly prohibiting (!) top-loader machines, it’s ridiculous — when you have to run the machine 2 or 3 times to get something clean, how much water and detergent are you actually saving? Arrgh.

      I have to say, I wrote this post primarily to vent,and I had no idea so many of you would be venting too. Misery loves company!

    • Donielle says

      The government did not prohibit top loader machines. What they did was prohibit any non HE machines. I just recently bought a new top loader machine from Menards and told me they can no longer sell non HE machines. Sorry to inform everyone, but the HE top loaders are just as shi**ty as the front loaders. I believe it has something to do with the HE machines.

      • says

        Correct – but some, like the Speed Queen, have a manual override to adjust so that you can fill the tub all the way with water. HE mode simply makes the tub fill with less water.

  3. MichelE says

    I just replaced my top loader with front as part of remodel. My appliance guy recommended Electrolux & so glad I took his advice. For 3 months I went to laundromat (fell in love with 30 min front loaders with extra wash & rinse cycle for baseball pants) & used f&f where I learned top loaders can take hours & not have adjustable water level. Typical cycle for the Electrolux about 45 mins & you can set it to full level. The longest is around 1hr 20 for sanitize & long cycle for towels as well – even has a special jeans cycle. Yes the clothes come out clean – & the pretreat cycle adds only a few mins as dies the shrink guard. Sad to say it seems the older ones & esp American brands took the longest. Shop around there is hope! And as mentioned in previous posts, love the Persil detergent for whites & kid clothes!

    • Julie Darnell says

      Can’t thank everyone enough (and Jill C.) for these comments. We are getting ready to replace our washer & dryer and we were planning on the expensive front load washer & dryer (Kenmore to be exact). I am definitely going to share these comments with my husband and re-consider what we will purchase.
      Does anyone have advice on what type of dryer i should look for? I wanted to purchase one with steam for my work/dress clothes. I am very saddened to find out about these issues, yet – extremely grateful to hear these things now before i spend the money on what will only give me headaches from the sound of it.
      Thank you,
      Future Shopper in FL

      • says

        I’m probably not the best person to discuss new dryers, but the Kenmore dryer we got to match our (bad) washer has been fine. It does not have a steam cycle — it’s just high-capacity and does seem to do a good job.

        That said, it too broke before its expected lifespan was up. It showed an F01 error on the screen, and Google told me this is an extremely common problem for our model of Kenmore dryer. The way the dryer is designed, the vibration of the dryer rubs against the main control board and wears away the solder, causing electricity to arc and the board to fail.

        A new controller board is $258! Our dryer was under 5 years old when this happened. Following the detailed instructions someone posted on IFixit, we soldered a piece of wire to the board to replace the worn solder and stop the arcing. The dryer has been working fine for over a year since this repair.

        That said, it’s still a big design flaw when you see how many people reported the same problem on Ifixit & were able to fix it by soldering a wire over the fried part of the board – go look at that link..! Yet, according to the comments over there, Kenmore won’t recall these dryers even though this is a serious design flaw. We won’t buy a Kenmore again.

  4. Lisa Keene says

    I HATE my top loading HE washer too. Its a Maytag Bravos. I fell in love with it being the largest HE capacity washer at the time, top load, stainless steel tub, largest capacity steam dryer available…oh I remember the feeling! I will be able to wash comforters!! Large loads of laundry! All at once!! The washer does the same thing yours does. Always has. I think its not enough water so it can be efficient. LOL! The dryer has never worked correctly. Its been close to 7 years. I am close to putting the amount I paid for the dryer into the repairs for it over the years…and am deciding if I should just start over or put in the next $250 because I can NOT take the NOISE any longer. I need to look into your idea of the old type! Thanks for posting!

  5. kate114 says

    I, too, hate my HE Whirlpool Duet front loader. Actually I despise, loathe, want to take a sledge hammer to it hate it. I can’t believe there can be anything remotely high efficiency about it and still get clothes clean. Their plan may be to save water but when the default setting for a regular cycle takes an hour how can I save electricity?

    I initially loved it, lots of room! The salesman said I could fill it up to the top (as long as I was not pressing down to compact the clothes in order to get more in.) However, after a few months I came across a white towel lost in the bottom of the linen cabinet. When I pulled it out into the light and plopped in on top of the stack of white towels it was immediately obvious how dingy my stack of white towels were that had been washing in the new machine. Gross. They are always washed on the ‘whitest whites’ cycle: by default hot water, heavy soil level, extra rinse, with Tide HE and 1/2 C Clorox bleach (amount recommended). I also noticed our white washcloths were obviously not coming clean. I had to assume the same was true for our colored clothes. I’ve tried adding more/less soap-no help. Would try more bleach but my clothes already smell ‘bleachy’.

    When I have a stain I always use a pre-treatment such as Shout and 95% of the time they are removed. For general washing capability I now do many things on heavy soil level and extra rinse. Since the normal length of time for normal/casual wash is already an hour adding these two changes isn’t that much longer and is worth it. And I never do more than a half full tub except for a quilt, etc., that may take up the whole tub by itself. At this point no way I can be saving water or electricity. Thankfully haven’t had any break downs for which I AM grateful.

    On a side note I LOVE my Whirlpool Duet dryer, best I’ve ever had.

    Thanks for letting me vent! lol

    • kate114 says

      Follow-up: Now, no matter what wash cycle used, I up the ‘soil level’ so it agitates, I means spins around, longer. Add at least 4 gallons, and up to 8, of water. Add a second rinse cycle. Always use ‘fan fresh’ as this fluffs up the clothes so they dry quicker, and I think decreases wrinkles on perma press clothing. Never fill tub more than 1/2 full of clothing.

      My washer does not automatically drain at the beginning unless I add more than 1/2 gallon water to the tub on top of the clothes before starting the machine. Much more than that seems to drain through to the bottom. (Help! my washer says, I sense there’s water in here! That just won’t do!) So the rest I put in through the soap dispenser. But if I add it too early then the machine senses it and adds even less water than usual, making me do all the work.

      I used to enjoy doing laundry, now I hate it. Remind myself it is still easier than bending over a washtub or beating on a rock, but…

      • Fred says

        There is a fix for the to little water on these machines and it costs nothing. All it takes is a screwdriver. Do a search on YouTube. Mine now fills to just to the bottom of the glass window. Clothes come out clean, and there is no more nasty black mold growing inside the door seal.

    • kate114 says

      I have started adding a healthy ‘glug’ (1/2 cup?) of white vinegar to my wash in addition to extra water described above. This seems to eliminate odors that were not being removed from gym clothes. I can’t smell vinegar at the end of the cycle. Also, I always leave the washer door open a couple of inches and have never had a problem with mildew – the ONLY good thing I can say about this machine.

      Also, rereading my instruction manual I learned that the bleach is not added until the first rinse cycle. What??? So now after adding extra water I add the bleach through the detergent cup also.

    • Mixie says

      I am reluctant to say this but if you use a tbs. of TSP in your dingy heavily soiled loads, they come a lot cleaner. TSP is what the EPA removed from laundry soap maybe in the late ’90s. I know I will get a lot of kickback but your clothes do get a lot cleaner. TSP is a type of surfactant and it lets all that water that is being used for rinse actually work. All the dirt the agitation is loosening from the clothes will be rinsed better with TSP. Lowes has it for cheap. Only on the most soiled stuff, K? For the environment, K?

  6. Georgia says

    I have a top loader. I initially thought I wanted a front loader for efficiency, but our salesman friend said you can’t do large loads and recommended LG. It’s been the best. I can do a full hamper and then some of clothes and they come out clean. Each load is less than 55 mins. with a quick wash of about 30 mintes. Here it is: 4.3 cu. ft. Ultra Large Capacity Top Load Washer with Front Control Design and WaveForce™ Technology, WT1201CW. Just be advised, that it measured taller, with the door open, than the specifications said.

    • Sarah says

      I just got an LG he, also. I am loving how much laundry I can wash in just 1 load! Everything is super clean, too. My old washer was about 20 years old.

  7. hwendt12 says

    Jill-

    If I were you, I would approach Sears about your dissatisfaction. I had a similar incident a number of years ago, although I had only owned the machine for a year or so. I was given the FULL price paid, as well as the FULL price of the extended warranty to purchase anything else in the store-no questions asked.

    My husband and I met at Sears, circa 1986, and our training included discussions of the ‘satisfaction guaranteed’ approach to doing business. You would not BELIEVE the things we HAD to take back, without question.
    I’m sure things have changed somewhat, but we are huge Sears fans for the many times they have done good by us.
    Most recently, an almost $1000 repair/replacement on our dryer (11 years old) was covered by a lifetime warranty. Can’t really complain there!!

    • says

      I don’t know that I’m dissatisfied with Sears specifically (we bought this pair new at a Sears Outlet – each one has a minor scratch somewhere on the appliance, which made the prices lower.) I think I’m simply dissatisfied with front-loaders in general — at least the kind that I’ve got.

    • Ann says

      Did you just go back to the store where you bought it or did you have to deal with the corporate office?

      • Mixie says

        If you have a warranty with Sears, they will fix it or replace it. Period. I have good luck with the warranty service. Now getting the dispatch to get it right is another story…

  8. Wendy says

    In 2011 I had a very reputable old school repairman out to fix my then 26 year old fridge and we had got on the subject of how things these days aren’t built to last. He actually said that Speed Queens are the best made washers money can buy and he had one, wish I would have known this cause I had replaced my washer about a year prior with an LG front loader. Knock on wood it hasn’t given me any trouble. I had a Maytag Neptune front loader prior to it. On another note sadly I’m having to replace my now 30 year old fridge and know I’ll never get anywhere near 30 years of use out of it.

  9. Maggie H says

    I hated my Whirlpool Duet washer too! The mold really grossed me out,It shook the whole house so bad I couldn’t wash anything while the kids were napping and my everything in my china cabinet rattled. I also missed being able to start a load of whites with hot water and bleach and let it soak for a few hours. My Duet had a soak cycle but was pretty worthless. We eventually bought a HE top loader that I like a little better. Something surprising I saw when we were shopping was that many new models had large warning stickers on them that you can’t wash shoes. That was a deal killer for me. I have always washed my family’s gym shoes in the wash (then air dry, they come out great!).
    I really wish I had gone back to old school but I felt I was being more environmentally responsible.

    • Anna says

      HE is worthless if you have to wash the clothes 3 times to get them clean! I too, want to help the environment any way I can, but I seriously HATE my LG washer and dryer. Absolute junk and wastes so much water and energy. And what grown up woman should be standing in front of her washing machine cussing at it because it takes 30 minutes to rinse and spin? Ugh.

      • Andres says

        If only the husbands across this great land would listen to my plea and be so gracious as to buy their family a SPEED QUEEN washer as I have done…they would become God’s among men…adorned with praise from a multitude of women!!!

        Seriously….I’m just slightly exaggerating! :)

        • Jim says

          Real Men get the schematic to the washer, take off the lid, and BYPASS all that water and energy saving nonsense! I did! A screwdriver to the water level switch and a jumper wire for the timer mechanism was all it took. I get LOTS of water, a 40 minute wash cycle, and the clothes come out CLEAN.

          • teresa says

            can i hire you to “fix” my KENMORE ELITE front loader.
            i HATE how long the lads take and the clothes AREN”T CLEAN

            it is gross

      • Sam35 says

        I have an LG HE that I am ditching once and for all. It is the worst machine I’ve ever owned. I spend more time cleaning it than it’s worth because it doesn’t wash clothes…it tosses them & spins them but even when I use the extra water level it’s not enough to actually clean clothes. I may as well put clothes in a bucket & swirl them around by hand because I’d get the SAME result!
        Tomorrow my speed queen top loader with agitator comes! After 8 years I’ll finally have clean clothes again. Bonus; I won’t have to clean out the gasket or drain the trap or deal with the moldy interior where the dispenser drawer goes(already replaced that after doing my darndest to keep it clean! Who the heck can reach way inside that opening to clean that mold?! I have!! This after I pull the dispenser out at night to try to let it dry out inside ugh! I’m done! We wasted over 1k on this smelly piece of junk! Enough.

    • Dee says

      Dear Maggie — Maytag front loaders are still able to do a long pre-wash soak even if you don’t have a “Soak” cycle. You just have to outsmart the washer!

      Add items to the tub that need to be soaked, set the cycle for Normal, add bleach to the dispenser, set temperature to hot, and press the Start/Pause button. The machine will tumble and fill with water. When water is no longer being added to the tub, press the Start/Pause button ONCE. The machine will stop tumbling and soak the load indefinitely. (I have done soaks for 30+ minutes.) The bleach water will not drain out until you press the Cancel button. Do that, allow the water to drain out, then start over by selecting Normal, adding detergent (and more bleach if you need it) to the dispenser cups, and press Start. Presto! You have learned how to do a manual soak cycle.

  10. ellen says

    I have a speed queen dryer and it works great. when our washer needs replacement I will get a speed queen too. they aren’t the easiest brand to find but if you go to Harry Miller appliances in Alsip you will find them. a repair man told me a long time ago they are the best and he is right. they have less parts in them and a longer/better warranty.

  11. Calibabydolly says

    You may as well get an old fashioned ringer washer and do the laundry like the Amish women do with all that hauling of buckets you’re doing! I bet your clothes would be cleaner!!! Seriously, I bet Maw Ingalls had an easier time on the Prairie. That is completely ridiculous.

    We have a top loading Kenmore (made by Whirlpool) and I don’t exactly love it. They may tell you it’s a Whirlpool BUT it is actually a washer made by Whirlpool for Sears using their own specs. I know for a fact that my old actual Whirlpool set I got right after we were married 26 yrs. ago was an awesome pair. I bought the one from Sears I have now because they were offering some sort of deal or extra points or rebate at the time. The salesperson convinced me it was a great bargain. They look the same and are the same size BUT my old one spun the clothes out super dry and they were never a wadded up mangled mess when I took them out to put in the dryer like these are now. I hate that! The dryer is OK, but since it was gas compared to electric this time around it is not exactly apples to apples.

    If I were to replace these (or leave them in the house if we ever moved) I’d never get a front loader OR a Kenmore of any style. I would either go back to a true Whirlpool or check out the Speed Queens like you have been checking into. I have heard NOTHING good about front loaders from anyone.

    *except when Kate Gosselin on Jon & Kate Plus 8 raved about how much she loved her Whirlpool Duets on the show one time. Now I think the company was giving them to her if she plugged them on the show! Sure explains why she is the only person who actually liked her set!

  12. Michele says

    On other thing, my last set was fisher paykel tip loader that acts like front that I loved but replaced due to remodel. Unfortunately, they too have had some changes in manufacturing so wouldn’t be the same. In both cases, I purchased what my sales person not just recommended but had & in one case most of the sales people had. Yes they could have gotten a great deal but if they sell you lemons they are going to hear from you & you won’t come back to them & keep your f&f away.

  13. Caroline says

    I HATE our front loader! Not only do I often have to wash baseball pants 2-3 times (thanks for the bucket tip), but. I also HATE having to maintain the front washer-thingee so it doesn’t get all slimy and gross. With my top loader, i was confident running a pack of machine cleaner once a month was doing the trick….now I have to do that, plus scrub, and spray, and wipe, and gag…..can’t wait for this one to die as well. Glad to hear I am not alone!

    • Lynn says

      I am ready to get a hatchet and tear into my worthless frigidaire front loading washer. Even with constant wiping the door is always slimy and the rubber gasket so disgusting it makes me want to vomit. I can’t tell you how many clothes this piece of s**t washer has ruined. It puts brown smudges on my clothes that NEVER come out. A rock and a bucket would be an upgrade.

  14. Theresa says

    Love our Whirlpool top loader that is 8 years old. Had to replace the agitator dogs or some plastic part but fine. Before that a Whirlpool that was about 20 years old and too expensive of a part to replace. Still liked how that agitated better. I like lots of water in my wash machine. If it rips clothes and does not clean–why oh why are you keeping this machine–time for a new one. Ask repair places what one they would recommend or which ones they see service for the most???

  15. Theresa says

    I hate my front loading LG washer. I’ve tried everything to get my clothes to come out clean. I too do the water trick. I can’t just add water to the drum because my washer can tell if there is water in it and will drain before the cycle starts so I have to get the clothes wet instead. This does help a lot. I was so excited when my washer finally broke. In hopes that it would be an expensive repair, I went and picked out an old style washer. I should have married a nerd instead of a mechanic. For $60 he had my my washer up and running again. Thanks dear!

    • says

      That’s a good point that I forgot to include in my article – the bucket trick won’t work if your washer DRAINS at the beginning of the cycle. Mine does not. If yours does, you may want to let the clothes soak up most of the water in the tub before turning the machine on and starting its cycle.

  16. karen b says

    We had to replace our Maytag washer that we had for 23 years last fall. The transmission or something went out & not worth replacing( loved that machine). We did tons of research & asked a bunch of people & decided on a Speed Queen ( now I love this one also:)) . I have added extra water even to it & also did for the maytag some w/ really dirty/greasy clothes. Hubby is a dairy farmer so we have dirty clothes around here:) I hope & pray they never stop making toploaders because I don’t want to ever get a frontloader. You cant go wrong w/ a Speed Queen love mine. hope this helps.

  17. luv2sav says

    I absolutely HATE my Whirlpool Cabrio top loader! We bought it 4 years ago and I hated it almost immediately. I should have looked into returning it but didn’t want to go through the hassle. I am now sorry I didn’t. You definitely need to “trick” this washer too! I’ll never forget the first time I washed a load on delicate and when I pulled out a shirt, it was two-toned so I thought somehow bleach got in the load. Nope, the two-toned was because half was wet and half was dry because it never even got wet! How can you call this a washer when all the clothes don’t even get wet? And it wasn’t even a large load. So frustrating! If you don’t use the fabric softener and bleach dispensers often, they get all moldy very quickly! Ugh! My dryer just broke (didn’t replace it when the washer broke because it was fine) so now I am thinking of just biting the bullet and getting another washer as well. Thanks for all of the info people have given. It shouldn’t be so hard to do a load of laundry!

    • luv2sav says

      So I just looked at Consumer Reports to see what they recommend as far as washers and dryers and they had my Whirlpool Cabrio listed as one of the best! What?!?! They also listed a bunch of Samsung ones but another friend had to wait weeks for parts when hers broke. I guess I am learning that word of mouth is probably the best advice.

  18. Jim says

    FYI, I have a 2008 Wascomat TD-16 front load washer. It is just a stripped-down Electrolux hotel washer without the coin operation but, here’s what makes it so good.

    It has only ONE knob to select Hot, Warm, Cold, or Delicate. It has a single pushbutton that gets it going. THAT’S IT! Stone-Age awesome-ness! *AND*, even better, you can take the top off and find the water level bellows-switch. On it is a nice screw head that lets you crank it down and raise up the water to where it should be. Cranked in, the water comes up a third of the way on the door glass now and the clothes have LOTS of water to slosh around in.

    There are a few things that needed tweaking when I first got it. In the beginning, it would put in just barely enough water to wet the clothes! I downloaded the schematic for the machine, found the water level switch, and figured it out from there. Also, the machine will advance the mechanical timer if it’s taking too long to fill up. There is a jumper wire on the timer board. Disconnecting the jumper wire will stop that advance and give you the full wash cycle.

    Because it was designed to be a small coin-op hotel washer, it has a rather short 1st wash cycle ( about 6 minutes). I discovered that I can PRE-FILL the washer with hot water via a garden hose connected to my utility room sink. THEN I throw the soap and clothes in and start it up. It will continue to fill up above the bottom of the door while it’s washing. This way, the clothes start getting cleaned immediately.

    I don’t know if Wascomat still sells them but, this may be your only chance to get a bare-bones washer that YOU have some control over!

    • Jim says

      I made a slight error. My washer is a Wascomat WE-16. The TD-16 is the dryer that goes with it. Everything else in the comment is still good.

  19. Sara says

    I hate hate hate my Whirlpool Duet front load washer. No matter what amount of detergent added there is always suds left & I have to leave the door open because it’s always a mildew smell. I clean the machine often as the manual states. I agree the clothes don’t appear to be clean. I cannot wait for the day this machine “dies”. Give me the ole faithful top load, the one you can add clothes to as its filling, rinse your near empty detergent bottle with the water as its filling. Several years back when the front loaders were becoming popular I let friends influence me when I was looking to buy. UGH! Big mistake.

  20. Susan says

    I have whilpool front loader. I hate it. The worst purchase ever made. Like you i cant wait for it to die. Im tired of the codes and my sons stinky sweaty soccer and baskeball clothes still stink and smell after washing. My brother and sister both have front loaders and they also cant wait for them to die. A good old fashion top loader with an agitator is the way to go. My dog also like to sleep on my sons bed and havent been able to get their comforters clean enough unless i take them to my mom and wash them with her 25 yr. Old machine.

  21. says

    You’re 100% right. I’ve got a complicated front loader but also an education in electronics so I bypassed its entire “brain and sensor array” with one button, labelled “Wash”. It runs a full whack cycle and fills the drum with water – just like common sense dictates it should.

  22. Dave Dave says

    We also got suckered into buying the front-loader whirlpool duet washer.
    When I saw the “certified to sanitize” sticker on the front of the machine…..I was worried.
    Sure enough, the stickers proclamation is pure bull-pucky.
    Anyhow, after five years I’ve had to replace the pump, the disgusting mold-infested rubber boot,
    and now the “dreaded spider-arm failure” which requires me to disassemble the entire machine down to its core…..to replace the broken parts with the exact same crappola which will break again from corrosion. Oh, and the disgusting mold-infested rubber boot…again.
    Found this site while searching for information on whether better machines are now available.

  23. Nathan Brazil says

    Pretty much all modern HE front loaders are mold/mildew breeding grounds. Read about them at Consumer Reports. They really cannot recommend any brand. The only chance you have of defeating this is starting, from day one, cleaning the washing machine after every load. Wiping down the gasket, using bleach, leaving the door open to dry… etc. And that doesn’t guarantee to work either, just better odds.

    I have a small condo with no room for a laundry room so a washer and dryer goes under the kitchen countertop in a galley kitchen. My older machine died so I had to get a new HE front loader. HATE IT. Leaving the door open leaves no room in the kitchen without banging my leg – and it is a cat trap. The musty odor permeates my place from leaving it open. So basically I downgraded by finding an OLD machine on Craigslist. If it works for even a year or too, that will be great. I may start “stocking up” on these machines in storage. I will never buy a new front loader ever again (Unless the engineers fix the mold breeding feature).

    By the way, some of the choices I wanted were not programmed into the new one, and it would not allow all the combinations of spin speed and temperatures. Worse, it could not handle bulky stuff (even though it had a bulky cycle – which did NOT have hot water as a choice). The old one does. Old tech is the way to go.

  24. says

    Hi Everyone,
    My family an I recently purchased a Speed Queen Top Loader AWNE92SP113TW01 and it has drastically changed our lives for the better!

    We previously owned a High Efficiency LG top loader and at that the time we were researching washers…this LG was highly recommended with raving reviews including an editors choice award at Consumer Reports and various positive reviews around the internet. Needless to say, we were hopeful, and all considering…it perform satisfactory for a few months. We even got an extended warranty just in case. Unfortunately, we soon headed down a path of endless frustration (including the dreaded UNBALANCED error). I could easily sit here a recount our horror stories with this washer, but I would only be repeating similar stories mentioned above….so let’s get to the good part!

    Speed Queen! Allow me to first and foremost point out the most significant advantage (In my mind) of a Speed Queen washer. It is the MANUFACTURERS WARRANTY. Not an extended warranty from a 3rd party! These 3rd party service providers are in business because they profit more from obtaining extended warranty contracts than paying in services rendered. I’m not saying there is anything wrong with this but there is a HUGE difference between an Extended Warranty from a 3rd party provider and a REAL MANUFACTURERS WARRANTY where the company who actually makes the product is putting there money where there mouth is and truly guaranteeing quality and reliability.

    Just the other day, I walked in Home Depot and Loews and I looked closely at every single warranty for every washer on the floor…from the cheapest to the most expensive. Everyone one of those washer had a manufacturers warranty that was no longer than 1 YEAR!!!! Sure, the top end washer had a big sticker on it that said 10 YEAR WARRANTY but then in fine print I discovered that the 10 yrs was for the motor only which they don’t even make! At best, the manufacturers warranties are 1 year parts and labor. So your telling me, that if I spend $1500 on a washer and use it exactly as direct by the operators manual and maintain it in pristine condition, the manufacturer can only promise that it will work for ONE YEAR???? I find this absurd.

    Enter – Speed Queen. Let me get to the point here…. When I found out that the MANUFACTURERS WARRANTY for a Speed Queen washer was 5 YEARS including ALL PARTS and IN-HOUSE LABOR, 15 years on the motor and transmission, and LIFETIME guarantee on the wash bucket (UNDER COMMERCIAL USE CONDITIONS! that’s more than 10,000 wash cycles)……..I WAS SOLD. Not to mention, that it actually works incredibly well! Clothes are clean and cycles are FAST (just under 28 mins). It is built like a tank, probably weighs more than double your average washer, and will remind you of the appliances of days gone by! You know that old saying, “They don’t make them like they use to!” In this case THEY DO!!!! Its called a Speed Queen and the are made right here the USA! It’s a real American home grown company. Now, they’re not cheap but they’re certainly not the most expensive either. I payed $875 for the most recent Top Loader model available today (see above model #) – so not bad. PLEASE don’t be discourage by the tub size at 3.3 cubic feet. Our LG was 5.0 and to be honest we don’t miss it and we have a big family! We have 4 boys and the in-laws under one roof…so that’s 8 of us and the Speed Queen out performs all of our previous washers by LEAPS and BOUND in every category.

    It may be hard to believe, but I am not an employee of Speed Queen, nor do sell them or get a single penny for what I’m saying here today. I’m just a Dad who was at the end of my rope with my family’s disenchantment with the modern day he washers, but those days are thankfully now behind us!

    The SPEED QUEEN love affair…….you just have to own one to understand!

    • says

      WOW. Thank you for your lengthy, in depth review. I want to love my washing machine again..! Yes, we’re still using it, and yes, it’s still terrible. The Speed Queen warranty sounds oustanding!

    • HappyMom88 says

      I LOVE my Speed Queen as well. I recently purchased the old fashioned version after researching online that all top loaders, except a few old fashioned Speed Queens, are the efficient versions which reuse old water over and over again because they don’t drain. VERY happy with this new Speed Queen and its warranties. Only two places in area still sell them and they are moving off shelves quick…Thompson’s – Woodstock & Grand Appliance – Crystal Lake. Good LUCK!

  25. Aliston says

    I will never buy a front end loader again. Had a Maytag that lasted 25 years, no problems. Have front load Samsun that you must milk one a month. Filter on bottom leaks and it smells.
    Also no way to run small loads
    Many friends have gone back to top loaders, I will soon. Front Loaders suck!!!!

  26. Katherine Stojkovic says

    I did NOT WAIT for it to die. It keeps getting worse. The control panel is now messed up giving us error messages that require a new panel- 150 bucks and it does NOT wash well. I went to the store today and bought a top loader. 560.00 bucks with a 1 year free warranty and another 5 years through Home depot. 4.3 and SIMPLE to use. I will gladly pay the 15 bucks they are charging me to haul it away. NEVER AGAIN. I cannot wait for my new washer to come on Friday. It would have cost e 300.00 to have someone come out and fix it so for a few hundred more I am free of the smell and the just plain pain in the butt it has been.

  27. Mary Schaeffer says

    I hate my whirlpool duet set. It has been my biggest purchase failure. I have had several repairs done, and done several myself. My 6 year old washer has cost me as much as a new machine in repairs. My Dryer had to be replaced after only 4 years. The washer is filthy. I spend as much time wiping down the machine as I spend washing the clothes, and I still cannot get the mold off of the rubber seal. At this point – a rock and river would have done me better! If you are contemplating purchasing this product, think twice. There wouldn’t be so many “how to fix your front load whirlpool” you tube videos if there wasn’t such a big need.

  28. Southernkimbo says

    I think you have totally missed the point of a front loader… I love my new Samsung FL, and can say after years of TL washers there is a LEARNING CURVE. Pouring buckets of water into your FL defeats the purpose. FL wash clothes differently. They don’t float them and beat them to death and waste gallons of water. They tumble wash and use several rinses. When used with the PROPER AMOUNT (only halfway to line 1) of detergent, water temperatures (warm to hot) and yes, your favorite fabric softener, also in a reduced amount, they are far superior in cleaning quality and gentleness on your clothing. The money savings is not only reaped in water usage reduction, but in drying time – the high spin speed greatly reduces the amount of dry time needed. I have the matching dryer, and the moisture sensor is very, very good, preventing over-drying. I dry on Normal Dry with medium heat and loads that used to take 70-90 minutes are dry in the 50-minute range, and these are HUGE loads thanks to the large capacity of the FL washer. My water bill is down $15 a month, my whites have NEVER been whiter and clothes, bedding and towels are super soft and fluffy. It’s a matter of trial and error and changing your laundry habits to produce the desired result. Yes, leave the FL door and detergent drawer cracked after you’re finished for the day – that’s a no-brainer. Run the clean cycle when it tells you to. Clean out the filter every 2-3 months. Take care of your machine and it will take care of you. The number one culprit of stinky laundry is TOO MUCH DETERGENT. I have also found through trial and error that HE powder detergent is the winner over liquid; something about animal fat in the liquid. I wish I had found a FL set at the curb!!

  29. Tim says

    I have the same problem with my Kenmore Elite front loader that I purchased two years ago. Coffee and food stains do not come out. My 15 year old top loading Whirlpool I had before this cleaned out these stains perfectly. I read the reviews carefully at Sears.com and there was not one mention of clothes not getting cleaned. In fact, it was just the opposite. Is Sears possibly weeding out the negative reviews? I have two cats and by the time I take my clothes out of the dryer I need to take a lint roller to remove all of the hairs. Again, this problem did not exist with my old top loader. I also recently purchased a Kenmore Elite dishwasher for $998. I am disappointed with this as well since the silverware does not get clean and sometimes will leave rust stains on them. The soap cake in the dispenser does not dissolve. I never had these problems with my other dishwasher that was 17 yrs old. Yet the reviews make no mention of these downfalls.

    • Jim says

      An exponentially growing trend is fake reviews. They are planted and not legitimate experiences from purchasers or end users. There are actually contractors who will plant positive stories in all applicable forums and companies hire them to sway message boards with fake positive reviews.

      A little known fact is that GW Bush let manufacturers know that the FTC will no longer prosecute companies that intentionally sell shoddy or defective merchandise. Quality control has been done away with and the front company that distrubutes the junk will just wait until an angry customer makes a claim. Most don’t and just throw away the worthless appliance. Even worse, an appliance can be made correctly but, the design is made to satisfy Federal and EPA diktats. Thus, it works but, doesn’t work.

      If there are any repairmen left, they may be able to modify the water level settings of these front loaders and water-saving dishwashers. I modified my front loader and it washes perfectly now! LOTS of water for the clothes to slosh around in!

  30. lIZ bOWEN says

    I HATE MY WHIRLPOOL DUET STEAM DRYER!!! MODEL # WED96HEAC1. WHEN I HAVE THE WRINKLE SHIELD FUNCTION ON WITHOUT STEAM (SO IT WILL INTERMITTENTLY TUMBLE CLOTHES AFTER DRY SO THEY WON’T WRINKLE IF UNABLE TO REMOVE THEM IMMEDIATELY)—IT WILL SPRAY THE ALMOST DRY CLOTHES WITH WATER MAKING THEM WET AGAIN. THE WRINKLE SHIELD IS ON BUT WITHOUT STEAM—-NO SPRAYING OF WATER ON CLOTHES SHOULD BE HAPPENING. tHIS APPLIANCE IS LESS THAN THREE YEARS OLD. OF COURSE, THIS WARRANTS A REPAIR!!! RIDICULOUS!!!!!!

    • says

      Thank you! Our junky Kenmore washer is made by Whirlpool and is part of this class action. I appreciate you posting this as I was not aware of it. It looks like we qualify for $50. Wish it was more…

  31. LIsa says

    Thank you for this idea. I drug the hose in amd now fill it pkenty by adding warer thru the detergent drawer. Its a super great idea and i thank you for it.

  32. Nathan Brazil says

    Update on the “10 year old” (guessing, could be older) front loader replacing the modern tech.

    Wow, really glad I did this. There was some musty smell and stuff, but unlike the new machine (which I could never get “clean”), no problem fixing it.

    But these mechanical workhorses are better still. I have a comforter that the new machine couldn’t handle. Computer couldn’t figure it out and never spun. The old one, it tries and eventually balances it and cleans it just fine, thank you.

    Mechanical beats computer doing the job!

  33. HappyMom88 says

    Great hack. However, if you ever want to replace your front loader, be careful. The government is requiring ALL top loaders to be efficient in a couple of years as well, so there is only one brand left that is an old fashioned model, Speed Queen. My front loader stopped draining, so I recently purchased my Speed Queen from Thompson’s in Woodstock and supposedly Grand Appliance also sells them. I also didn’t get the digital model, just the old fashioned knob version. Very happy with it. Clothes are much cleaner. So, be careful and check out what you are really purchasing before you purchase. Oh, those Speed Queens are flying off the shelves so to speak. Better HURRY, as it is a great investment. Also, we need to all write to our government about the HE washers. Soon, we will have HE dishwashers, and what a pain that will be.

  34. GWhee says

    I have had satisfactory results with 2014 Samsung front load washer but learned to put smelly or soiled clothes through a RINSE cycle (to which I add Baking Soda to eliminate odors – OR – a couple Tbsp of ammonia to kill germs) before I put them them through one of the wash cycles.

    I LOVE the Samsung DRYER!!!

  35. Harvey w. Lindley III says

    My 3 year old LG front loading washer sucks as far as washing clothes goes. I used it for 6 months and that’s all I could put up with. I unhooked it and put it in the office and covered it up. Its been there since. I went outside and brought my old washing machine back inside and connected it back up so I could get my clothes and whites clean again. It is still working great. From the BEGINNING it wouldn’t clean the wash, even small loads. I put a queen size bed sheet set in the washer. I set it for extra wash and extra water. The sheets tangled up into a ball and when the wash was finished the sheets weren’t wet on the inside , Just the outside was wet.For the 6 months I used it my whites got darker and darker.I called the LG tech support and they said the wash wasn’t suppose to get soaking wet because its a water saving machine. They said there are no water level adjustments that I can make on it , and the water is sprayed on the wash and that should wash the items properly. I found that if I added 3 or 4 gallons of extra water at the start it cleaned my wash much better. The LG FRONT LOADING Washing machine doesn’t let enough water inside DOESN’T USE ENOUGH WATER 2 GET THE WASH CLEAN. Some of these front loading washers do have a way to adjust the water levels. Not my LG though! Big waste of money for a washing machine I cant use !

  36. Gretta says

    Instead of adding water via a bucket, if you can remove 4 screws and turn one clockwise, you can adjust how much water the machine adds.

    Using the technique in this video, turning the screw 1 1/2 revolutions clockwise solved my problem.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-M1HqG8t1G0

    That video shows an LG made machine, but I’m sure yours has a similar adjustment.

  37. Frances says

    I have a 5 year old General Electric front load large size. I am a one-person household. My laundry is a joke, always grey and soiled looking after being washed. For years I have assumed it was the soap I was using; This morning I came to the conclusion it’s the front load washer model that is the problem. Your discussion convinces me tat the front-load style is the problem. NEVER a front-loader again. The matching G.E. dryer’s motor died at 5 years. (My old GE agitator top-load set lived to be 20 years and still alive when I sold them, each for $50.) I’ll try the pails of water added and hope it doesn’t overflow…no place for the water to go. (I also made the big mistake when forgetting to add some soiled garments and shut the washer off in a panic. From then on it was ‘dead in the water’. Took me days to figure out how to reset the controls for it to work again.

  38. Marianne says

    I have a GE front load washer than came with our house when we bought it back in 2002. I hate that machine as it doesn’t get anything clean. And rinsing clothes is a big problem. I too hack it by adding extra water and putting every load on extra rinse cycle. I read somewhere that front loaders usually wash with 8 gallons of water, well, I painstakingly measured what my washes with and it’s only 5 gallons! I hate the damn thing.

  39. Kevin says

    I realize this post was almost a year ago now, but I still thought I should reply for anyone else having these issues. I stumbled across this page when looking for which cases would cause the pressure sensor switch to not be triggered. I continued my research and it was determined that overfilling OR under filling could cause the pressure sensor to give an error (which is what I figured would be the case). It sounds like what you have is an under filling issue, and it is not that your pressure sensor is failing, it is that it is doing what it was designed to do, by giving you a warning that water level isn’t right. What you are doing is probably incorrectly taking these warnings as a faulty pressure sensor, rather than checking to see if the warnings are legit first. At the same time you are stating that not enough water is being added, which is one of the things the pressure sensor is supposed to check for. What is likely wrong is that one or both of your inlet filters are clogged and need to be cleaned. This is actually something that is listed in the manual for pretty much every front load AND top load washer as regular maintenance, and is extremely simple to do. Now you may have changed your sensor multiple times and had the issue seemingly go away each time, but let me explain why that may be. Just like any type of sensor, a pressure sensor will become less sensitive over time. This means that it will take more pressure to trigger the sensor as time goes on, and therefore an under filling problem may not be immediately apparent. This same loss in sensitivity can be the reason a pressure sensor goes bad and give faulty readings. Now you may be wondering “why isn’t a clogged inlet filters also an issue with top load washers” and the answer is that they are. Any kind of clogged filter will reduce the flow of what goes through it. However because top load washers don’t have these types of sensors, they won’t be able to tell you when the washer isn’t filling enough. Instead you will just have a lower water line, and the clothes on the top of the load won’t be completely saturated (which would cause issues with the clothes not getting clean). A front load washer is designed to be more efficient, and therefore simply has something in place to let you know about loss of efficiency.

    Other things I could comment on include the tearing cloths, and the person who tried to blame their cracked water line on a front load washer (I can promise you that is not the reason), however this post is already long enough. The reason I made this post is to help people who are having issues with there not being enough water, or they are having pressure sensor issues (which could be caused by other things as well, or really could even be a faulty sensor). There are pros and cons of each type of washer, and each person should weigh these when purchasing one, I just want to prevent people deciding to go and buy a completely new washer because of an issue that can easily be fixed for free.

  40. Galen says

    I have a Maytag set of front load washer and dryer and I love mine! Never have an issue with clothes not getting clean. Has a huge capacity and lots of settings to choose from.

  41. anne floy says

    Best washers I have had—a 20+ year old plain Jane Maytag set that I bought for $50 after my house burned down in the 80’s. It had been left by the elderly owner of a friends home and they wanted to use their newer set. Well, I used that washer for another 18 years of raising 3 boys with just a couple of repairs. Each time the repair person would say “Keep fixing it…they don’t make them this good anymore”. Finally I foolishly replaced it with a new Whirlpool set with a washer agitator that ripped clothing. Grrr. Sold those at a moving auction after a year.

    When I moved to a new home, the seller offered her 3 year old Amana washer for $200, the ones that were made by Speed Queen with a stainless steel tub. I snapped it up and 16 years later it’s still going strong with zero repairs. I have moved it to 2 more homes. Both homes had newer washers included that I sold so that I could keep the Amana/Speed Queen. I lucked out when I moved into my current home – it came with a newer Whirlpool washer (that matched the electric dryer I owned) and an old Amana/Speed Queen gas dryer that matched my washer. Perfect! I sold the Whirlpools and kept the Amanas.

    Amana has not been made by Speed Queen for many years. I just hope that when I do need a new washer that I will be able to find a Speed Queen that still offers adjustable fill levels. I’m almost tempted to buy one now before the regulations make them obsolete.

    Everyone I know who has a front loader detests them. Stinky unless you leave the door open and poor performance and reliability. I’ve trained my family to wear clothing more than one time (unless it’s dirty) so rationalize that my use of a top loader washer doesn’t really use more water because i wash less and when I do, the laundry actually gets clean the first time!

    • MaBEllucy says

      All these testimonials have me sold… except for the size… I must be able to wash my king comforter and my king mattress pad. My maytag front load does this. And yes it takes extra washes and rinses. And I hate that. But it does seem to get them clean and saves me trips to the laundromat.
      If I could just find the machine who are also happy with and in large size I would not hesitate to get it.

  42. R. frey says

    Overall washers today are more efficient, but not as robust as the old ones. That being said there is tons of info and parts on the web that allow you to “modify” the cycles.
    In the spirit of this thread, the number one complaint of the front loaders is not enough water. I discovered with our LG, there is an adjustment screw on top of the water level sensor that can be dialed up to fill more. Works great–cleans every thing the first time. Just you need to do it with a full load and in small increments. If you do too much it will leak at the door.

  43. Cathleen says

    We bought a GE front loader less than a year ago. The clothes absolutely do not become clean. The towels actually smell like meat, and since we’re vegan – we’re double disgusted! I am so disappointed. I will have to try the bucket method, but I can’t believe it’s come to this!

    • says

      I am so sorry to hear that. Sometimes I get email about this post, and people say “Oh, yours is too old. New ones aren’t like that.”

      I find that hard to believe, especially since I continue to get posts and email from people, like you, whose machines are still relatively new.

      I’ll never, ever buy another front loader again.

  44. Tara says

    I also hate my front loading Whirlpool Duet washer! It was our first appliance purchase in our new home 6 years ago, I did my research and at the time it got great reviews. I have constant trouble with mold around the rubber ring, which we had to replace once. Now it starts blinking and beeping and unable to drain from the wash cycle. Oh the best part is it locks me out so I have to flip the circuit breaker to unlock it. I’ll need to fix this asap. I will never get a front loader again!

  45. Judith Baldwin says

    We’ve had two different front load washers – an LG that walked across the floor no matter what we did, and the Whirlpool Duet that I have now that gets so unbalanced so often that I’m afraid it’s going to break the glass in the door! It doesn’t matter how many clothes I have in the washer. It can be completely full or half full and the Whirlpool will go off balance. Or it might now – no way to tell what it will do. I will NEVER have another front load washer again. We gave the LG set to our daughter and it works fine for her and doesn’t walk at all. My husband told me today to look for another washer because the Whirlpool sounded worse than ever! I’m probably going to go old-school: with an agitator and not an HE.

  46. Nellsbells says

    Regarding any impending EPA high efficiency regulations, according to the appliance center I purchased my top loading Speed Queen set at about 3 years ago, Speed Queen is not subject to HE legislation because they manufacture ‘commercial’ machines, not residential machines. (Hence the price and the warranty.). If you notice their ‘home’ models say Commercial Heavy Duty. I was told there’s no danger of Speed Queen not making an old fashioned water-in-the-tub ‘home’ version as long as they’re manufacturing ‘commercial’ grade machines. Btw I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE my top loading, twist dial, Fill-er-up with water, agitatating Speed Queen. Guests are always asking me how I get my sheets and towels to smell so heavenly and feel so soft. It’s a combination of a washer and dryer that does what’s they’re meant to do and some 7th gen. Lavender laundry products. But I just tell them it’s magic. Lol

  47. Holly says

    I despise my front-loader. My husband bought it without consulting me when I was at work about seven years ago when we first relocated here and bought this house, This has been the source of many an argument between us and should be grounds for divorce. Just kidding. I hate it for all of the reasons quoted above, but now I know why my clothes are constantly dingy. They look like my clothes looked after washing them, years ago when I was young and broke and used the laundromat (Yuck!). Now I know why. I feel like dumping it and buying a new washer even though this one is still functioning, if that’s what you call it. Thanks for confirming what I believed. Heaven help us.

  48. L Fab says

    It’s now 2017.
    I had the same kenmore as you when you originally wrote this column, and the same issues.
    I’m limited because I have a laundry CLOSET.
    Went through a machine every 2 years, so I just kept buying them used.
    SO .. it’s 2017:
    Bought another kenmore compact front loader. Only one that will fit.
    STILL CRAPPY. STILL ADD WATER. Got smart and pre soak in oxyclean in an industrial bucket.
    Then I add water AFTER washer fills, w clothes in it, or else this thing will pump water out.
    Also , now I use a plastic one gallon pitcher to add water.
    TAKES FOREVER. also I turn EVERYTHING INSIDE OUT . AND AL OST EVERYTHING GOES IN MESH LAUNDRY BAGS, or else it beats the day lights outta my clothes.

    HATE THESE machines!

  49. Pamela says

    Had a front loader for 3 yrs. The bearings burned out and melted the inside of the door. The repair man wanted to order a new door at a cost of $300.00. No way, we dumped it and bought a top loader Speed Queen. I LOVE IT, clothes finally clean. I have been doing laundry for 55 years. I think I know when wash is clean!

  50. Christine says

    Love the article. When I was purchasing a washer/dryer back in 2013, I was looking for US made, minimal computer parts and good warranty. I purchased Speedqueen top loader washer and standard dryer and oh boy, here I am in 2017 and do I miss them. I have GE front loader and HATE it…the cycles are long and half the time the middle portion of my load comes out bone dry…..will never have a front loader again.

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