Bring back my washer |

Bring back my washer

When my 10 year-old washing machine began to shake, rattle and roll I knew it was time for a replacement. Surely, a new washer wouldn’t make those obnoxious noises?

Yeah, sure! Little did I know that they new top-loaders work entirely different than the “major brand” I had then.

Searching newspaper ads and Internet, and finding one in my price range, my son Doug and I went to check it out. We chose the same “major brand” as the old one. Inside the lid it proudly showed a tag stating “America.” The features seemed good. Hooked, we bought it. Knowing that my dryer was even older, we decided to bite the bullet and get both. Boy was I glad we replaced the dryer.

It turned out that the vent pipe from the old dryer had a large hole in it. Lint had been building up underneath for years and it could have caught fire at any time. However, the new dryer seems to take longer to dry things, and it spins counterclockwise, opposite of the spin in the old one. Perhaps because it was made in China or below the equator?

Our new “High Efficiency” washer is another matter entirely. Instead of a tub that spins, this one goes up and down as well as around and around. It makes even more obnoxious noises than the old one that was crashing. There’s a grinding sound sometimes. At other times, it sounds like someone is grunting. And the whirling sound is very irritating. The choice of cycles, water temps and laundry load styles is mind-boggling. I like simple things.

It appears someone wants to dazzle us with all the bells and whistles. Even worse, the new washer appears to “grind” and compress the laundry load in order to conserve water. You have to load the soap at the bottom to make sure it doesn’t get trapped in the clothes. Now I find I have to presoak and double rinse to get the same results. So much for expected “High Efficiency.”

We thought we were buying a washer made in the USA. However, in small print below the “America” tag, it says “Designed, engineered and assembled in the USA.” Not a clue where parts were manufactured. I’m sure the dryer is the same. Making things even worse, the clothes in this washer come out all wrinkled. That is, except for the one cycle you can chose called “Wrinkle control.”

A caveman couldn’t smash the clothes like this washing machine does! I still remember one washer my mother had many years ago that had a large copper bowl on the bottom, and three smaller copper bowls on the top that went up and down. Then there was the old “wringer” machine that was around for quite a while. Putting clothes through the wringer without getting your fingers caught was “challenging” to say the least.

After the new washer and dryer were delivered, a local appliance repairman kindly took the old ones off our hands. He stated that he didn’t care for the new ones, and that the older ones worked much better and with less trouble. Boy I’m glad we got extended five-year warrantees on the new washer and dryer. However, that won’t bring back my old washer.

The other day, Doug and I were about cars we’ve owned. Remember how you often used to see autos broken down on the side of the road? Nowadays, you seldom, if ever, do. The newer cars also last longer. It’s not uncommon for cars to reach well over 100,000 miles or more. Some go for twice as long or more, especially if you keep them well serviced. We’ve had almost every type of car.

Remember when the Japanese cars came out? Everyone laughed about their quality; but they improved. The U.S. makers had to get better to fight the competition. Then the Japanese opened up plants here in order to appeal more to those who would buy their cars. Right now, we have a 2004 RAV4 and it has been the best car we’ve ever owned; but we will be looking for a domestic maker for our next one.

We’ve learned some valuable lessons. Check out where things are made before you buy. Use caution when buying a washer that has a specific cycle called “Clean washer with affresh.” Make sure to check under your appliances. Finally, new doesn’t always mean better. How I wish I could “Bring back my washer.”

Edna Van Leuven is a Churchill County writer and columnist. She may be reached at