Washing Machine FAQs: In this post, I will quickly answer most common washing machine related questions --
Frequently Asked Questions before buying a washing machine --
1. Which is better? Top loading washing machine or front loading washing machine?
Well, there is no one perfect answer. It depends on multiple factors. Front loading washing machines save water but are more expensive. Top loading washing machines are more convenient to use as you do not have to bend to load and unload clothes. You can read this article for in-depth comparison.
2. Is it true that top load washing machines are more gentle on clothes than front load?
It’s a myth. Modern washing machines are made in such a way that they are gentle on clothes. It does not matter if it is a top-loading or front-loading machine as long as it does not use a rod-like agitator.
3. Which is best to buy -- a semi- or fully-automatic washing machine?
Fully-automatic. No second thoughts.
Consider semi-automatic washing machines only if the budget is too low.
Semi-automatic machines are too much of hassle to use. The entire washing procedure is time-consuming and tiring. You need to be present after every step -- wash, rinse and dry. On the other hand -- fully-automatic machines complete the entire wash cycle without even you being present there.
Only if the budget is low or there is no tap water connection, you can go for semi-automatic washing machine. Read -- Which is the best semi-automatic washing machine (opens in a new tab).
4. Which washing machine is better in terms of power consumption and cleaning clothes: a top-loading washer or a front-loading machine?
A front-loading washing machine is better regarding power consumption.
Concerning cleaning ability too -- front-loading machines are slightly better. That doesn’t mean top-loaders do no remove stains; they are also very good at cleaning the clothes. The difference is tiny.
5. How much water is consumed by a fully automatic washing machine and semi-automatic washing machine per wash?
There is hardly any difference in water consumption between fully automatic and semi-automatic top-loading washing machines. Check this table from Samsung for reference water usage.
It is the front loading washing machine which consumes the least amount of water.
6. What damages clothes more, the washer or the dryer?
It all depends on how you use the washing machine. If you wash or dry delicate clothes with high settings -- there are chances of delicate garments getting damaged. Short answer -- Read and follow machine wash guidelines mentioned on your clothes to reduce the risk of tearing the clothes.
7. How long should washing machines last?
That depends on 2 factors -- how you use them and the quality of washing machine itself.
8. What is better, direct drive motors or belt drive motors in a washing machine?
Depends, direct drive motor based washing machines produce lesser noise and vibration. The direct drive also consumes lesser electricity. The only problem is faster wear and tear -- this can be taken care of by regular servicing.
Belt drive motors are cheaper and longer lasting. So the cost of the washing machine with belt drive motors is more affordable. But they produce more vibration and sound.
9. Is water pressure mandatory for a fully automatic washing machine?
Yes, it is. Low water pressure can damage the washing machine. If you get municipality tap water 24 hours a day (unlikely) and if the water pressure is low, then you will need to install a pump to provide enough water pressure.
Most of the people would get water from building water tank. If the water tank is more than 16 feet (2 floors above) in the vertical distance, then you are lucky. Which means if the tank is on the terrace of a 10-story building, people staying on the 8th floor and below will get enough water pressure. People on the 9th and 10th floor may need a water pump to increase water pressure.
How to check if you have enough water pressure? -- The test is simple. Take 1-litre water bottle (bisleri). Of course, it should be empty. Fill it from the tap you will use to connect washing machine. Use stopwatch on your phone to measure time to fill the entire bottle. If it takes less than a minute to fill a 1-litre bottle, then you are good to go. If it takes more time -- than you need a pump.
10. What all factors I should consider while buying a washing machine?
Capacity, space requirement, type, budget & brand. These are the factors you need to consider while buying a washing machine. If you are on a limited budget (like me), then consider budget first and search for other factors within that budget.
11. Why are front load washing machines more expensive than top load ones?
The tumbler washing system in front-loading washing machines is more expensive to manufacture compared to pulsator system in top-loading machines. Also, manufacturers put more features in front-loaders compared to top-loaders.
In the long run, front-loaders can turn out to be less costly as they consume less electricity and water compared to top-loading washing machines,
12. Where is the best place to buy a washing machine online?
I prefer either Amazon or Flipkart for all home appliances, depending on who is offering a better deal. Is it safe to buy electric home appliances online?
13. How efficient are washing machines at cleaning clothes as opposed to hand washing?
Washing machines can remove moderate stains, dirt, dust particles & sweat easily. For tough stains, hand washing is better.
In short, besides common stains, proper hand washing can also remove or at least lighten tough stains. The only problem is time and energy required. So, you should use the washing machine for the daily wash, and if you have dropped tasty gravy or sambhar while enjoying food, you can target those stains through hand wash.
Read -- Which is the best washing machine detergent? (opens in a new tab)
14. What is fuzzy logic?
Fuzzy logic is the computer system or chip inside automatic washing machines which automatically decides how to wash the clothes. It detects the weight of the clothes, how much water is required, the temperature of the water, amount of detergent needed & type of fabrics. Basis all these parameters, the smart chip decides what should be the duration and the speed of the wash/ dry cycle.
It is the fuzzy logic system which makes fully-automatic washing machines work fully automatically.
15. What is a good model of a washing machine that I can check the status of remotely?
Smart washing machines are gaining popularity. They can connect to the internet through your home Wi-Fi and download latest wash programs. You can also control these smart washing machines remotely through your mobile phone.
Washing machine FAQs while using the washing machine --
1. For a washing machine, can you improve its efficiency by introducing pre-heated water?
Yes, warm/ hot water is better at removing stains compared to normal water. Remember not to put very hot water as it can easily damage the washing machine. Few washing machines can detect the temperature of water and based on that chose the duration of the wash cycle. With medium-hot water, wash cycles would be shorter and thus save some electricity.
More expensive models of washing machines have a built-in water heater. Check top 5 washing machines in India with a built-in water heater.(coming soon)
2. Can you put fabric softener together with the detergent in the washing machine?
No, you cannot. Fabric softeners are gentle on clothes and are supposed to be used after washing (with detergent) is completed. Add them during the rinse cycle to get most benefits. Also, check the recommended quantity mentioned on the bottle of the softener and do not put too much of softner.
3. What is the role of detergent in washing clothes? Can you wash clothes without detergent?
Water alone cannot clean clothes effectively.
Detergents contain surfactants! What the…
Surfactants are molecules that are attracted to dirt, grease and also water. It snatches dirt particles and water together. When water is rinsed out, surfactant gets rinsed out along with water -- and it takes away dirt with it. What is left out is clean fabric.
So, for better cleaning of stubborn stains, we need detergent. Want to know more? Read this excellent article.
Also, read -- Which is the best washing machine detergent? (opens in a new tab)
4. Is there any difference between top loading and front loading washing detergent? Or is it just another marketing gimmick?
Yes, there is a difference.
Top-loading washing machine detergent produces the foam which helps in removing dirt. This foam has surfactants. Read Q3 above to know what a surfactant is?
Front-loading washing machines hardly have any space for the foam to float. So they need less of foaming surfactant and more of other chemicals to remove dirt. Due to the use of specialized less foaming cleaning agents, Front-loading detergents can be slightly higher priced.
5. Is installing a washing machine in a bathroom safe?
Washing machines have parts made of plastic and metal. They also have electrical parts like motor, circuit board, etc.
Splashes of water can corrode the metal and can be extremely risky if water comes in contact with electrical parts.
Even if you have a big bathroom and keep washing machine in a corner away from the shower, it is still risky. Steam from the hot water we use for bathing can easily enter washing machine and damage it.
If there is no other place left in the house and keeping it in the bathroom is the only option, call an authorized technician from your washing machine manufacturer to ensure safety guidelines are met.
Remember, steam and water can be extremely dangerous when they come in contact with electrical parts. Take safety seriously.
6. Is direct sunlight bad for a washing machine?
Yes, it is. Direct sunlight can quickly heat up the washing machine and slowly damage parts of washing machines. Especially the buttons on the front panel are very susceptible to damage.
Too much of exposure to direct sunlight will ultimately lower the lifespan of a washing machine.
7. What are the main reasons for a washing machine to stink? What causes mold and mildew fungus in the washing machine?
If water supply coming into you tap is dirty, it can cause the washing machine to stink. But that only happens during monsoon. Then what is the most common reason for the smell?
Fungus -- yes fungal infection. And scaling.
Mould and mildew are the two types of fungus which can easily infect a washing machine. Both mold & mildew love damp places. They grow very fast on wet surfaces like the inside of washing machines.
They not only cause bad odour/ smell but can be harmful to our family members too.
Scaling is another reason for odour. Water has minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, etc… Gradually they get deposited inside and outside the washing machine and can cause it to smell.
8. Is there a way to get rid of the mould/ mildew fungus/ scales that build up in my washing machine?
Yes, but let’s talk about prevention first.
Indeed, prevention is better and a lot easier than cure.
Your goal should always be to ensure that your washing machine is as dry as possible!
Sounds like a joke right -- a “dry” washing machine!!!
Well, water is only needed for washing clothes. Once washing is done, you need to ensure there is no water or foam left in the washing machine.
- Drain out all the water -- ensure that the drain pipe is not blocked or obstructed.
- Ensure there is no foam left over in the washing machine or the drain pipe.
- Do not use too much of detergent, it may create extra foam that gets stuck in the pipe.
- Do not overfill the washing machine to prevent water from overflowing out of the tub and reaching the inside of washing machine. The only way to clean insides of a washing machine is by calling an authorized service technician.
- Do not leave damp clothes in the washing machine for too long.
- Do not keep washing machine inside a bathroom.
What if the washing machine is already infected? How to remove the mold/ mildew/ scales?
- Switch off and disconnect electricity supply and clean the external body of the washing machine
- Clean the detergent dispenser, lint filter and the tub of the washing machine with mild soapy water and later dry cloth.
- Wash and rinse both drainage pipe and water inlet pipes of the washing machine
- Use a “descaler” washing machine cleaner if available. You can check it on Amazon
- If basic cleaning does not get rid of the smell, you need to call an authorized service technician to clean it from the inside.
Also, read -- 10 Easy Washing Machine Care Tips to increase the life of the machine. (opens in a new tab)
9. What should I do when there is power out while the fully automatic washing machine is working?
Unplug it. That will prevent any possible damage to the washing machine if there is a power surge when the power comes back on.
Replug and switch on the machine once the power supply is back. Most of the fully-automatic washing machines have the memory function and will continue wash cycle from the point you lost electricity.
If not, then manually select the approximate time that was left before the electricity went off.
I usually do not track time, as in for how long washing machine was on. But luckily my washing machine has memory function which helps. So when buying a machine, ensure it has the memory function.
10. If we manually pour water from the top of a fully automatic top-loading washing machine it will not harm the machine, right?
Once of use will not harm the washing machine. Special functions like water spray may not work.
But if you regularly pour water from the top, it may damage the buttons ( top panel).
I would recommend once off plumbing work to be done if you do not have a tap near the washing machine. I know it will cost money for plumbing work, but that will be a one-time expense and will save a lot of time in future. By pouring water from the top, you will miss on the benefits of a “fully-automatic” washing machine.
11. Why are holes appearing in some of my clothing/why are some of my laundry ripped? Could my dryer be responsible for the small holes in my dress?
There could be multiple reasons that can damage your clothes.
- Choosing incorrect settings is the most ignored one. Always check washing instructions on cloth label. Group similar types of clothes and wash them together with correct settings and detergent quantity.
- Forgetting coins, clips, mobile phones, keys inside shirts and trousers can also damage clothes.
- Adding too much of detergent or bleach can also be harmful.
- Overloading is also a common problem. We put too many clothes together to save time and electricity, that can damage not only clothes but also the washing machine. Get a bigger size machine instead. Plan 3 years in future before buying a machine. Expecting another family member soon (marriage in the family, etc…)? Get a bigger size machine as you won’t change machine for next three years at least.
12. My machine is leaking, and I’ve found water underneath the unit?
It is peeing.
Joking, POWER OFF and DISCONNECT THE ELECTRICITY PLUG AT ONCE. Then check water is not leaking from the pipes -- inlet and drainage. Change them if they are loose or damaged. Also, check water is not leaking from other places like nearby tap/ wash basin, etc…
Once you have checked everything near the washing machine and did not find anything which is leaking, it could be something from inside the washing machine causing the leak.
Do not use the washing machine and do not open it to fix it yourself. It is very risky for you and your family to use leaking washing machine.
13. Since purchase & installation, my washing machine is vibrating so much it’s moving across the floor. How can I stop this from happening?
All washing machines do vibrate a bit when washing and spinning clothes.
But if the vibration is so much that it is making loud noises and moving across the floor, then you need to check few things --
- Ensure that you are using the washing machine on a flat surface, bathrooms have slightly slanting floors to drain the water towards drainage hole. Avoid using washing machines in bathrooms and other areas with the uneven surface. Avoid keeping washing machines on thick carpets or mats.
- Check the foot of the washing machine. Ensure all four supporting foot are present and rightly in place. Broken/ bent foot will require immediate replacement.
- If you are using a washing machine stand or trolley, check if it is cracked, broken or too loose. If wheels are too loose, then vibration may cause the washing machine to move across the floor.
14. Hot water or regular water -- what washes clothes better?
If the water is too hot, it can damage the washing machine. Don’t use very hot water.
Warm water is better at removing stains from tough fabrics like blended cotton, polyester, denim jeans and knitted wear.
Regular water is better for natural fabrics like cotton, silk, and wool.
I would recommend that you read the wash instructions/ wash label on the clothes before deciding on using warm or normal water.
15. Should you service your washing machine regularly, even when there is no problem at all?
Yes, you should.
A washing machine has lots of moving parts. Regular oiling/ greasing of moving parts can improve performance, efficiency and decrease noise levels. It can extend the life of the washing machine too.
Servicing also involves cleaning from the inside, that can prevent or clean fungi like mould and mildew.
Go ahead, call your washing machine customer service and schedule a servicing.
That’s all folks!
I hope all these washing machine FAQs cleared any myths you had and uncovered new facts. If you have any questions, tips, facts or myths to help others, kindly comment below.
Also, read -- 10 tips to take care of your washing machine!