I am not one for reading manuals. Yes, I’ll read the included manual (or at least look at the pictures) when I must use fit Peg A into Hole 7B. But for new appliances I’m more of a trial-and-error girl. It just seems that if you’ve used a washing machine before, getting the new one up and running shouldn’t be rocket science. That’s exactly what happened last year when we purchased our new HE washing machine and dryer.
We moved our laundry room to the second floor and in exchange for a more convenient upstairs washing, we were left with an extremely compact room with space for little more than a stacked high-efficiency washer and dryer (hey at least it cleaned clothes and the room had a door – that’s enough for me). When the new machines finally arrived to replace the ancient, rusty top-loader located in our dank basement, I was so over-the-moon, I did laundry for several days straight and eventually became a pro at using this new appliance. Or so I thought.
When my baby was born and cloth diapers entered my life, I scoured blogs and websites for sample washing routines and eventually figured out how to get my diapers clean without so much as cracking the manual. But since I’ve been engaged in this on-again off-again battle with stink now for several weeks months, I decided to open the manual this week to see if I could learn how to get more water into the tank when I do diapers (yes, I know it goes against the energy efficiency theory of the machine, but my dipes need a little more swirl and a little less flop-flop-flop).
And learn I did. Here’s a little sampling of some of the interesting things I discovered in my washing machine manual:
- A chart with the estimated time, water temperature and spin speed of each of the cycle options. Now I know that a “Small Load” has all the features of a “Normal” cycle, but only takes 28 minutes while a “Normal” load takes 56 minutes. For a small load in the past, I would have just chosen “Normal” and walked away wasting time and water.
- Now I know that the “Eco Heavy Duty” cycle reduces the hot water usage but provides the same wash performance. I tried it and was impressed. Cool! Energy savings.
- Cosmetic stains are best removed with a “Heavy Duty” (hot) cycle while blood is best removed with a stain fighter then a cold or warm “Normal” cycle.
- Lower spin speeds, which can be adjusted for each load on my washing machine, help reduce the amount of wrinkles in the garments. Who knew?
- The “Soak” cycle is actually better for soaking diapers than just pausing a “Normal” cycle, like I was doing because “soak” is one of the only settings that increases the amount of water into the drum.
I’m going to take a wild guess that cloth diaper mamas are a little more obsessive about their laundry than most. And we all know that we spend a LOT of time with our washing machines, so why not peruse the manual (if you can still find it – or go online if you can’t. Many washing machine companies list their product manuals on their websites)? You might be amazed at what you’ll find.
Now where did I put that blender manual…
What tricks have you learned about your washing machine from checking the manual? Or are you a manual-reader?
Sarah is a mom of two and blogs about her adventures in motherhood, cloth diapering and everything in between. Catch her “Cloth Diapering Unwrapped” series on the FuzziBunz blog every Tuesday.