Occasionally, amidst all of the coupon blogging here, I like to share a few Cataldo-family misadventures. This is one of those days…
Two weeks ago, our very nice, less-than-two-years-old, front-loader high-efficiency washing machine stopped working. It showed a water level sensor error code on the screen and… that was it. Without boring you with all of the details, apparently this sensor error is common enough to be discussed in hundreds of forums online for Whirlpool and Kenmore washers. And, of course, the washer is now out of warranty. Whirlpool will come and replace the part for $300, but the replacement sensor is $94.
Being a pretty handy girl who likes fixing stuff AND likes saving money, I figured I’d tackle this one myself and save $206. It doesn’t hurt that there is an entire series of YouTube videos showing how to replace this sensor too. Got to love living in the Internet age!
So, I ordered the part. Apparently the problem is so common that Whirlpool has trouble keeping these sensors in stock. It’s backordered for four weeks. Incredibly, Whirlpool said they could not send a tech any sooner than that either because (surprise) they too have no water sensors in stock for these machines. So, we wait.
But back to the laundry. The day that the washing machine quit working, it of course had a half-washed load of wet laundry in the drum. What do you do with a drippy, wet, soapy load of clothes? I threw the wet clothes in a laundry basket and brought them upstairs to the bathtub. And, my kids and I finished washing, rinsing, and hand-wringing the clothes in the tub.
Incredibly, my boys found this to be great fun.
A few days went by, and it was time to do another load of laundry. Yes, we could have gone to a laundromat, though the closest one is 20 minutes away. And sitting around watching clothes wash and dry is not exactly my cup of tea — it would cut into my super-coupon queening time immensely! After sorting the clothes into “absolutely has to be washed now” and “maybe could wait to be washed until the machine is fixed” piles, we did another load. And another.
Now, aside from hand-washing single articles of clothing here and there, I can’t recall ever doing entire loads of laundry by hand in my life. (And certainly not in the bathtub.) But being the Jill-O-Matic for the last couple of weeks hasn’t been too bad. It seems to appeal to the pioneer spirit in my little laundry helpers too. And hey, the dryer’s still working! We are hanging a lot of the clothes to get some of the water out first as we’re not doing anywhere near the job of spinning water out of the wet clothes that our machine does.
I have to say, too, that washing this much clothing by hand certainly makes me appreciate the job that the washing machine DOES do when it’s working. Wet laundry is heavy and requires a lot of agitation to get clean – no surprise there. But I was surprised to note how dirty the water is too once we pull the wet clothes out to drain the tub and do a “rinse cycle.” These are all things you just don’t witness when you put dirty clothes in a machine and pull out clean ones!
Lastly, I have to give an unsolicited positive review to CVS’ Just the Basics laundry detergent too — it’s what we’ve been using for all of our hand-washing since this laundry misadventure began. Being that we have a high-efficiency machine, I have a very nice stockpile of All, Wisk and Tide HE detergents that I didn’t exactly want to “waste” on hand-washing things in the tub. (Admit it, you too are protective of the “good stuff” sitting on your stockpile shelves!) A few months ago CVS sent over a box of their house-branded products to try out and share with my readers. I gave away nearly all of them in classes and on the blog, but I’d saved the detergent because it was heavy and it had a dent on the bottle from the box being banged up in shipping. (Hey, I try to give away products that are in new, perfect condition!) But this bottle of Just the Basics is a non-HE detergent, it’s a nice “Tropical Scent,” and it’s doing a fine job of getting the clothes clean.
I would guess though that the people at CVS may not have anticipated someone using it in quite this way though.
And now, back to working on “Deals of the Week” for tomorrow. Rest assured, hand-wash laundry time isn’t cutting into coupon-deal-writing nearly as much as you’d think. :)