Getting to know your new HE top-load washer

Congratulations on purchasing one of the most advanced washing machines available!

Because you've made a significant investment in this new appliance, your satisfaction is very important. Knowing what to expect from your new washer will help maximize performance and enjoyment. This high-efficiency (HE) washing machine is different than conventional top-loading washers, and it will work differently. Here are a few important things to keep in mind:
  • Read the owner's manual.
  • Only use HE detergent, and always put laundry chemicals in the appropriate dispensers.
  • HE top-loaders use 50-75% less water than conventional top-loaders, so less bleach and fabric softener are required (if used). If your laundry is not as clean as you expect, try using less detergent (and fabric softener, if used). More is not better!
  • The more laundry you put in your HE washer, the better it cleans.
  • To protect your garments from possible damage, certain options are restricted based on the cycle chosen.
  • Your laundry will not be submerged under water; instead, it will be saturated with soapy water with some extra water for soil suspension.
  • Instead of washing by forcing laundry down into soapy water, your HE top-load washer washes by causing the laundry to rise up the center and cycle back down against the sides of the washtub.
  • Despite having high spin speeds, HE top-loaders are appropriate for second-floor installations. The vertical axis of the washtub means that there is little vibration due to sway. Higher spin speed means shorter drying time.
  • Use Washer Magic for your first cycle, and then every 4-6 weeks.

  • If you receive any error codes or are unsure if your washer is working properly, call for service immediately.

Q: Why do I have to use HE detergent?
A: Unlike regular detergent, HE detergent doesn't make suds. Suds can damage your HE washer. HE detergent generally costs the same as regular detergent, cleans the same as regular detergent, and most brands have HE versions of their detergents. Using smaller amounts of regular detergent is never recommended. Using regular detergent voids your manufacturer warranty, and any resulting damage will not be covered by any service plan.

Q: Why are some options not available on certain cycles?
A: Your washer is "goof-proofed" to protect your garments. By restricting certain options depending on the cycle, potentially damaging options cannot be chosen. This helps those of us who aren't so good at doing laundry without hindering those of us who are.

Q: Why are the cycle times longer?
A: Cycle times are based on effective cleaning. The way these washers work will actually clean your clothes more thoroughly than conventional washers.

Q: Why does the water go on and off so often?
A: HE washers have load sensors that determine how much water is needed for the amount of laundry in the washtub. Water is added in short bursts and the load is weighed between each burst. When the load no longer gets heavier with added water, the load is saturated and a little more water is added for soil suspension. If you hear banging while this is happening, you should install water hammer arrestors. Water hammer is caused by pipes that are not fastened securely. Water hammer arrestors can be purchased online or at home improvement centers.

Q: Why should I use Washer Magic?
A: Washer Magic should be used for the first cycle to eliminate residue from manufacture, rather than having it redeposited on your laundry. It should be used every 4-6 weeks to eliminate residues from stains, detergents, and fabric softener, which helps keep the washer fresh and prevent excessive wear.

Q: Why are protection agreements recommended for HE top-loading washing machines?
A: HE top-loaders have sophisticated electronics, load sensors, and high spin speeds. Most repairs for HE washers cost $300-500 or more. Additionally, annual maintenance checks help prevent big problems, and should one occur anyway, you'd be covered 100% for up to 5 years. Manufacturer warranties usually only cover defects in materials and workmanship, and generally only last 12 months. Protecting your investment provides great peace of mind.

NOTE: The site with the Bravos reviews no longer exists. Please ignore the links to that site.


  1. Hi Randy -
    Thanks for all the info. I just purchased an HE top loader and went to 5 stores in the local area to pick up some Washer Magic to no avail. 3 of the stores carried Dishwasher Magic, but none carried WM. I purchased Affresh and am currently running a cycle with it in there.

    I wanted to know if there was a reason you lean towards WM on the top loader page and Affresh on the front loader page.
    I am also wondering where you purchase your WM. About the only place I can find it to buy is online. (of the stores I visited, 4 were listed on the WM website as sellers but no one seems to actually have it)


  2. That is a really good question! Affresh works very well in front-load washers because the turbulence helps break up and dissolve the tablets, and creates a cleansing froth that gets distributed well in a front-loader.

    However, in a top-loader, Affresh won't spend quite as much time in contact with the entire tub. Because of this, Washer Magic, a liquid (rather than a tablet like Affresh) is distributed more easily and thoroughly throughout the machine, and despite less contact in upper parts of the washer, the citric acid acts faster than the ingredients in Affresh.

    Whirlpool does recommend Affresh for its Cabrio and Bravos machines, and I can't say that Affresh wouldn't be a wise choice, but I think Washer Magic would be a better choice for top-load machines.

    With either type of machine, using hot water during a load of towels with Oxi-Clean or similar products added to your detergent will perform the same function (Affresh is Oxi-Clean and perfume and binding agents). And, if you have especially hard water, Washer Magic will work much better, as it's an acid (citric acid).

    Thanks for asking!

  3. Since you said both HE front loaders and top loaders cost betw. $300 - $500 to repair, do they break down more often than conventional washers? What about dryers?

  4. Contrary to anecdotal evidence, HE washers tend to have fewer failures than conventional machines. They get more press because their prices are higher, but their reliability is actually better than the old-fashioned water and energy guzzlers.

    Repairs do tend to be expensive, though, which is a big reason a protection agreement is a wise way to protect your investment, along with the use of a surge suppressor for your washer.

    Dryers tend to have fewer issues, as they are rather simple machines whose main technologies have not changed for half a century. Reliability rates are pretty even within a brand regardless of whether it's matching a conventional washer or an HE washer.

    If nothing else, definitely have a protection agreement on the washer. Having it on the dryer does provide peace of mind and coverage for those times when life happens, and getting two protection agreements at once does knock 10% off each protection agreement, so they're generally worthwhile. Take full advantage of the preventive maintenance check-ups, and talk with the technician. They tend to have lots of good information about the machines.

    Be sure to take advantage of our enormous Energy Star sale! 25% off all Energy Star major appliances, plus an extra 5% off with your Sears card, plus 6 months no interest/no payments on your Sears card! Sale ends 2/16.

  5. Randy thank you for responding to my post and recommending your blog. I will keep it bookmarked for further use.
    Do you feel that the Push Button start buttons tend to go out faster than the basic pull on off knobs of the new top loading washing machines?
    I look forward to your opinion.

  6. Hi there!

    Push buttons and knobs can both wear out. I've seen knobs wear out in a couple years, I've seen buttons last for a decade or more.

    I think you'll find, though, that if you get an HE top-loader like the Kenmore OasisHE or OasisHT, Whirlpool Cabrio, or Maytag Bravos, you probably won't use the buttons much, because the knob's default settings for each cycle will be suitable for almost all your needs. So, in that sense, the buttons are even more likely to last longer, because they won't get used much.

    If you'd like to see how the agitatorless washers wash, check out this video on youtube:

    These are excellent machines, and the sale we have running right now makes the washer and dryer together ridiculously affordable. I highly recommend you look closely at them at the store, discuss it, and take advantage of this excellent promotion.

    Thanks for visiting! :)

  7. Thanks for your blog, your suggestions are very helpful!

    I've got a 24-year old White Westinghouse washer/dryer set I'm considering replacing. Just two folks in the household so nothing fancy. However I'm looking at a Fisher Paykel model (their lower end - and on sale locally) - any thoughts about that? I don't think Sears sells it however. :( The other item for a good price (now on sale) would be the LG 2050 set. Thoughts?

  8. 24 years! That's fantastic!

    Now, looking to new machines, F&P does make good machines. My only concern would be service, as they are not a common brand in America. And, you're correct that Sears does not sell F&P. Lowe's is the only big box retailer that carries it.

    The LG model you refer to is a good little performer, especially at its current price. Do you need gas or electric for the dryer? The main reason I ask is that right now the gas version is having its regulators changed out for a better model, so right now the gas dryer is not available. If you need electric, this is irrelevant.

    You might also want to look at the Maytag Bravos, which is fairly close to this price range but offers greater capacity in an HE top-load design. Click here to read my take on the Maytag Bravos. Click here to check it out on

    Good luck!

  9. Thank you for your blog. I have spent alot of time reading it. I just had a Maytag Bravos top washer and dryer delivered today. :) I read about the Washer Magic and have purchased a bottle. Do I pour the whole bottle 24oz into the washer tub or in the detergent holder? I wanted to be sure before trying it. Do I use the "affresh cycle" or the normal cycle? Also, I noticed you do not recommend to use fabric softner in the washer. The sales guy told me to use it in the washer, but not to use dryer sheets in the dryer cause the silicon coats the auto dry sensors. I have not used liquid softner for years. What are your additional thoughts on this? I want to make sure I'm starting off on the right foot with my new appliances. Thanks!

  10. Hi JMS!

    Yep, dump the whole bottle in. Pour it into the detergent dispenser, though. Use the Affresh cycle, which is intentionally full-hot, high-filling, and very turbulent.

    The dryer sheets do not affect the moisture sensors in the dryer, so don't fear harming them. One thing I do recommend, though, is about once a year to remove the lint filter, and take it to the sink. Turn the water on to a gentle stream (not aerated) and see if the water goes through the screen. If it does, great. If it pools atop the screen, give it a wash with warm water and hand dish soap. The fabric softener can build up on the screen and hinder proper airflow (a common cause of dryer performance problems).

    Enjoy your new Bravos. It's a wonderful machine!

  11. Thank you for the directions on the Washer Magic and for instructions on cleaning the lint filter.

    I will definitley try that. As for the liquid softner, should I not use that at all? The bottle says to dilute with water when adding. The instruction manual says not to dilute.

    I'm thinking if it's not a good idea to use it, I'll just return it. :)

    Thank you again for your information and time!

  12. If you choose to use liquid fabric softener, don't dilute it. The HE machines take care of that on their own. Liquid fabric softener can leave behind deposits in places that are hard to clean, even with the washer's self-cleaning cycle. Those deposits can build up and get stinky with bacteria. There's not really much, if any, advantage to using the liquid stuff, so I don't generally recommend it. Dryer sheets should be able to take care of your softening needs.

    And, for everyone out there: don't use fabric softener with towels! It makes them waterproof.

    Thanks for stopping by!

  13. Thank you Randy for your expertise regarding the fabric softner, washer magic, etc.

    I do have one additional question regarding the bravos dryer. During the initial set up, the delivery guy ran a short timed cycle. It was quiet. I then did a small load of dark clothes, dried on normal, dryer sounded fine. Then I did another small load of colors and used the "wrinkle" setting. The dryer seemed loud like making a noise toward the bottom and back of the dryer. No error codes were showing and the clothes dried fine.

    The delivery person said the Bravos are noisier dryers... but I just don't recall it being noisy initially. Do you have any experience with the dryers and the noise? I just want to make sure I'm not being paranoid in thinking something is not right. I could hear some of the noise upstairs in the kitchen as the washer/dryer is in the basement.

    Thank you again for your time.

  14. There shouldn't be any banging noises during normal clothes drying (obviously, if you don't have a rack and are drying sneakers, THAT would cause loud noises). It wasn't just the sound of, say, buttons on jeans knocking against the drum, right? Because most dryers will let a bit of noise out from things like that.

    If it's not something like that, I'd recommend giving 800 4 MY HOME a call after checking the troubleshooting section of the user manual. If the troubleshooting tips don't help, the 800 4 MY HOME folks can set up an appointment for a technician to come out and check out the machine. It might be something that just requires a tiny adjustment. It might not be. I really couldn't say, but a technician could.

    Good luck!

  15. Thank you. No rack was used and it was not the clothes knocking against the drum. I may try one more load to see if it still does it, then try the 800# that you suggested. I'll let you know what I find out if a tech comes out. :)

  16. As an additional note,I used the maytag website for assistance.

    I found a link on it regarding dryer noises.This is the exact noise I am hearing. Hopefully the next time I use the dryer, the rollers will not be noisey.

  17. Donnamac559/1/10, 9:33 PM

    I am returning the Maytag Bravos mvwb450 that I got last week as it is 3/8" too wide. I am looking at the Centennial mvwc6esw and the mvwc500v. The loads that I washed in the Bravos came out excessively wrinkled. Is this typical of all HE models? If so, is it reasonable to say that I could expect the same from the mvwc6esw? What about the MVWC500v? Thank you

  18. Hi Donna!

    Usually, when people refer to wrinkled clothes, they mean the clothes are wrinkled directly out of the washer. Is this what you mean? If so, the dryer eliminates the wrinkles effectively.

    HE washers tend to have higher spin speeds (minimum 800 RPM) and use less water, which can make clothes wrinkly straight out of the washer. Heat relaxes those wrinkles out, and the dryer essentially acts like a giant steamer to draw wrinkles out of clothes. Wrinkle-preventing features in dryers, such as keeping the drum tumbling after the cycle is done, further decrease the likelihood of any wrinkles occurring.

    I'd recommend looking at the Maytag MVWX500XW HE top-loader or its sister models (which you can find on the "Branded Bargains" page for washers) if you need a narrower machine. The spin speeds aren't quite so high - around 800 RPM - as the full-size Bravos, but higher than the Centennial - around 600 RPM. It maintains efficiency and excellent cleaning power, along with a good amount of capacity, in the footprint of an old-fashioned conventional washer.

    The Whirlpool Cabrio 5500 and 5600 series machines are comparable, as are the Kenmore 28002 and 26002. The higher number models have more cycles, and the Kenmore 28002 has a timed Oxi release dispenser.

    Just so you know, we have a Whirlpool Duet 9400 here, and while the clothes might come out wrinkly from the washer, they always look just fine after a ride in the dryer. And, our machine has higher maximum spin speeds than any of the HE top-loaders. So, if you're using a dryer, there shouldn't be any issue with wrinkles.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  19. Hi Randy,

    I just purchased a LG Wave Series 5.2 Cu Ft (IEC) Ultra Large Capacity High Efficiency Top Load Washer
    Model: WT5001CW
    I won't receive it for another 2 weeks. I never owned a HE washer before and I hope I'm not making a mistake. Do you have any good remarks on this particular washer as to how it performs & etc.??
    Also will this washer also need a monthly clean to keep it extra clean and fresh from mildew or mold ??

  20. Hi there!

    Well, first, welcome to the world of high efficiency! You should see a change in your energy bills and water bills, if you're on municipal water.

    Now, the LG HE top-loaders are the cousins of the new Kenmore Elite HE top-loader 29272. Previously, it was available as the GE Profile Harmony, and while not as popular, it was a stable platform that has done fairly well.

    LG has upped the ante with new wash motions and improved efficiency, which has resulted in better cleaning performance.

    Be sure to use HE detergent and follow the instructions in the manual. As far as regular cleaning, if you use an oxi product when washing towels on a hot cycle, that should be all you need to keep the washer fresh. Keeping the door open when you're done doing laundry will let it dry out, which also keeps the machine clean.

    Enjoy your new washer. I think you'll be very pleased with its performance. Good luck!

  21. What's the difference between the Whirlpool Cabrios and the Maytag Bravos? Just branding? Does the Cabrio 5600 = Bravos 600? Also, anything to add about the Cabrio 5700? Newer model or extra features?

    I'm also interested on your take between the Cabrios/Bravos and similarly priced Kenmore models for top-loading HEs? Anyone in that group stand out? I'm looking to spend in the $650 or less range.


  22. Hello visitor!

    The Cabrio and Bravos are generally the same, with cosmetic differences. Technically, the Maytag machines have Maytag Commercial Technology (MCT), which means it has been tested for 20 years of use rather than the industry standard of 10 years, heavier duty belts, and uses synthetic oil in place of conventional oil.

    Yes, the Cabrio 5600 is comparable to the Maytag 600. Same with the 5500 and 500, and 5700 and 700. Isn't it nice of Whirlpool to keep things simple? :)

    I have a nice write-up of these machines on the "Branded Bargains: Washing Machine" page (the link is on the right side of the screen). These machines are proving extremely popular, along with the Kenmore 26002 and 28002, which are comparable to the 5500 and 5600, except the 28002 adds a timed Oxi release. These are all priced fairly similarly for comparable models.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  23. Thanks! I saw your response to a similar question on another page just before I saw your response here so I guess I wasn't the only one who was confused by the different models/brands/etc. Sounds like I just need to find the model I want and see who has the best price. I appreciate the explanation and the quick response. You have some great info. on here and it's much appreciated by someone who's definitely not an expert in washing machines!

  24. Sears has a Maytag 23872 and a Kenmore 26002 on sale at the same price. Both are 4.3 cubic feet HE washers and they seem very similar. However, the Maytag has a 10-year warranty on the motor and wash basket. My question is, are these models comparable in quality and reliability? Is the better warranty sufficient reason to choose the Maytag over the Kenmore? Thanks!

  25. Hi Randy, I just purchased a Bravo 500XW set yesterday and was thinking of canceling it until I read your column. I read some bad reviews on other web sites, but when I read yours I decided to let it be delivered tomorrow. Thanks for the reassurance.

  26. Hi Steven!

    The Kenmore model has the same motor, but with conventional oil rather than synthetic. The washbasket and tub are the same. With Maytag, they advertise the warranty as a means of demonstrating confidence in durability, trying to return Maytag to its traditional role as the industry's reliable brand. However, that doesn't mean the Kenmore is any less reliable.

    The Kenmore will save you an extra 5% with your Sears card, so with the same performance, capacity, and efficiency, the Kenmore may be the better option for the lower price. If you prefer the Maytag brand or look, that's a perfectly good option, too.

    If you want a good understanding of these machines, give the "Branded Bargains" section above, and choose the washing machine link. I'm sure you'll be pleased with either.

    Good luck, and thanks for your consideration!

  27. Hi Randy,

    I just received this LG Wave Series 5.2 Cu Ft (IEC) Ultra Large Capacity High Efficiency Top Load Washer
    Model: WT5001CW on 9/23. You did give me a response posted above on 9/14 and I really Appreciate that.

    I'm really Pleased so far with this machine at what it all can do and I really Love the Capacity. I say so far so good !!

    I was just wondering, what is the water that I hear at the bottom of the drum ?? I move the tub around and hear this and it sounds like alot to me. I talked to a repair man and he said it's sodium chloride to balance the machine when in motion, is this correct ?? I worry about water and any smell that could come from it setting in the machine.

    Also the water isn't Hot, but they say 90-100 is considered Hot so I guess it does pass the test. It must be the HE that these new machines are that are keeping the temps down.

    So do you say it's alright to use fabric softener in this machine ?? I do use some but not as much as before, same as for the liquid HE detergent I'm been using alot less also. My wash has been coming out really clean and soft. I was concerned about the softener because I don't want it causing a problem down the line from using it. I'm keeping the door open also like you said after my wash is complete, but How Long is it to stay open, a few hours or over night or until my next wash ??

    Sorry so many Questions, but I really Appreciate Your Opinions !!!

    Thanks Very Much !! :-)


  28. Hello again, Clare!

    What we consider "hot" and what a washing machine considers "hot" are two different things. Tap hot is about 120-130 degrees. However, this is much hotter than is good for laundry. So, a "hot" cycle won't just be tap hot, but will have a combination of cold and hot. 100 degrees is certainly normal for a "hot" cycle. There is a version of your washer that has an internal water heater, for sanitizing and even greater stain fighting power. And, the Kenmore Elite 29272 has the internal water heater, too.

    HE top-load washers usually have a "cushion" of water at the bottom, and this is normal. It allows the washplate and tub to work properly. You'll always hear a sloshing sound at the bottom. If you don't, that's when you should be concerned! :) That water cushion won't cause any odor, so never fear.

    You can certainly use fabric softener, and you're very smart for using less. You should use about half what you used to use in the old water hog machines. As long as you're running occasional hot loads, that will help keep the softener from building up. I'd also advise using an oxi product while washing towels on hot, which will keep the machine super clean inside while keeping your towels super clean, too. If you don't use oxi, use Affresh or Tide Washing Machine Cleaner every 6-8 weeks.

    The door should be left open for at least a few hours. There's no harm in leaving it open all the time (that's what we do with our front-loader).

    Make sure you're using HE detergent, and enjoy your new washer!

  29. Thanks Again Randy for all Your Valuable Advice !!!

    So when would the internal water heater come on or be used, is it during certain cycles ?? Like Stain Care, Tub Clean or Soak ??

    I do already use Oxy Clean and also heard Borax is good to, is this true ?? I like to wash my whites with Hot & Oxy & I will start doing that also with my towels.

    I bought the HE Wisk that I'm trying out. Do you have any opinions as to which HE product can do the best job ?? I heard Tide is Great !! How about powdered He detergents, any opinions what to use in that case ??

    Thanks Again !! :-)


  30. Hello again, Clare. :)

    Yes, the heater would run during cycles that demand higher temperatures.

    If a washer has a Sanitary/Sanitize cycle, that is an easy way to tell if there's an internal heater. Or, if the temperature options include "Extra Hot" you know there's an internal heater.

    The easy way to see which cycles would use the heater is to turn the dial on a machine that has one, and see which cycles choose the "Extra Hot" temperature. Which cycles do this depends on the model, but any sanitizing cycle would definitely use it.

    Borax is safe to use. It's really just a water softener, so if you have hard water, it can be helpful in getting your detergent to work better. Calgon is a similar product.

    As for detergents, I'm a fan of the UltraPlus detergents at Sears. It's all we use at home now. We use the Perfume/Dye-Free powder and liquid, and the powder detergent with Oxi-Clean already in it. I guess the orange box UltraPlus didn't do so hot in Consumer Reports' testing, but we've been very satisfied with the performance of the versions we use versus Tide. And, the price is fantastic. The orange box UltraPlus is sometimes on sale for 50% off, which gives you an incredible amount of loads for the dollar, and the other flavors are very reasonably priced. The liquid is priced comparably to mid-range brands, and sometimes goes on sale for $1 or $2 off. Powder is definitely the best bargain, though, and it has the same cleaning power as liquid.

    If you're a name-brand fan, TideHE is a very good product and usually tops CR's ratings. I've also seen a green slime-looking detergent by Arm & Hammer which intrigues me, but...well...I don't know. I don't watch Nickelodeon enough to use it. :)

    Just stay away from Martha Stewart's detergent. CR tested it and it performed as well as using no detergent at all (they gave it a "do not buy" rating). Now THAT is a waste of money!

    I've seen lots of advertising for Wisk lately, but haven't been able to identify what, exactly, sets it apart from the previous version. It's enzymes, surfactants, and perfume. There's lots of ambiguous marketing chatter about how it's better, but I think I'll reserve judgement for now, and wait for CR to give it a go.

    Have fun playing with your new washer!

  31. By the way, I have links to the UltraPlus detergent in my "How to Select" section under "Laundry Detergent."

  32. Hi Randy,

    You said to Wash Towels with Oxy & Hot Water. Should I just be washing them with Oxy alone or also with Detergent ?? How much Oxy should I use to wash along with those towels ??

    Thanks Again !! : )

    Clare ..

  33. Good question, Clare!

    Oxi should be a supplement to the detergent, not a substitute. Use however much the package suggests (I believe it's one scoop) for a large load. We actually use the UltraPlus with Oxi-Clean in it, and that does a great job. Sometimes my wife will use the Oxi-Clean with the no dye/no perfume UltraPlus, too, when washing clothes.

    There's now a Smart Sense oxi product available at all Kmart, Sears Essentials, and Sears Grand stores. It should be a lower price than the name brands, and because the two active ingredients are exactly the same, there should be no difference in performance.

    Good luck, and enjoy!


  34. I have a question - I have a new Whirlpool Cabrio and am wondering about the Oxi and Fabric Softener dispensers. There is a button where you choose Oxi or Fabric softener, but what if you want to use both? Is it that when you by-pass Oxi to choose fabric softener, it automatically fills the oxi dispenser? Just wondering ...

  35. Hello, Becky!

    If I remember correctly, hitting the button once should choose one option; hitting it again switches to the other option; hitting it again should select both options; and hitting it again should de-select both options. There's no reason you shouldn't be able to use oxi and fabric softener on the same load.

  36. HI,
    I just purchased a whirlpool cabrio wtw5600. It seems to shake alot during the spin cycle. Is this normal or is there something wrong in the installation?
    Thank you

  37. Hello!

    If your Cabrio is shaking, the first thing I'd check for is if the installation was done properly. There should be a piece of insulation under the washer, but nothing else.

    Then, I'd check that the machine is level. You'd have to use the line where the top attaches to the cabinet to determine level. Use a standard level on the front and sides. All three should come out level. If not, adjust accordingly.

    If it's only shaking with a particular item, say, when washing a single pair of jeans, that would also explain the problem, as that will make the machine out of balance during the spin. Or, if the machine is being overloaded, that can also cause shaking, as there are limits to what it can do.

    However, if it's during normal loads, and all the above factors check out, then I'd recommend calling 800 4 MY HOME. They'll be able to send someone out to diagnose the issue and you'd have the option to have the machine adjusted/repaired or exchanged (only within first 90 days, done through the store).

    Good luck, and let us know what turns up!

  38. Hi,
    Thank you for your response regarding my cabrio wtw5600 spin problem. The problem was the installation..the "feet" are the problem and is being corrected which is what caused the balance problem. Would that also be the problem when I used the slower spin cycle the clothes came out dripping wet? Also, there was a little bit of water in the detergent tray. Is this normal?
    Thanks for you advice.

  39. Welcome back. :)

    Yeah, being installed crooked would cause the washer to not spin properly, even causing the spin cycle to stop prematurely or spin out much less water than it's normally supposed to.

    And, yes, some water in the dispenser is normal. Water flushes the detergent into the washer, so some will pretty much always be left in there. If you want to be on the safe side, leave it open when you're done doing laundry so it can dry out.

    Good luck, and enjoy your washer!

  40. Regarding my cabrio 5600. Thank you so much for your response. One more question. They are bringing me a new machine and swapping out the old one. What cycle do you recommend the installers testing this machine before they leave to be sure it is spinning and working properly? Do clothes have to be in there to test it? or can it go thru the cycle empty. The first installers never did this, but I am promised a more experienced crew next time. Do you personally know someone who has this washer and is happy?

    Thank you for you help :)

  41. Hello again!

    I just want to make sure I'm understanding properly. Was the machine simply not level, or was there a defect in the legs? If it was a defect in the legs, and the new one is leveled when they install it, it should run fine. If it's just that it wasn't level, all it should need is to be leveled, which just involves adjusting the legs.

    Testing the spin can be done by loading it and running the "Drain & Spin" cycle. As for someone who has it, we've got quite a few folks around here who've purchased the Whirlpool, Kenmore, or Maytag versions of this machine and are happy with it. It's very popular, and problems have been very rare overall - certainly no more than any other washer.

    Good luck!

  42. Hello again!

    There was a defect in the legs ( the screws weren't moving to be able to adjust machine) and there were two dents in the side of the machine also. None of us noticed it. So for testing the machine, just put some dry clothes in there for the purpose of testing it and run the drain & spin cycle?
    I read that this machine has a balance sensing system and adjusts itself if it goes out of balance (like if it has to do with the load in the machine). Is this true?

    Thanks yet again!

  43. Aha! Damaged legs makes a lot of sense. It sounds like it may have gotten accidentally dropped, which can cause leg damage as well as buckling the sheet metal which can resemble a dent.

    Yeah, just throw some laundry in and run Drain & Spin. It does have a sensor to detect when it's out of balance, so it should take care of itself should there be an imbalance in the spin cycle.

    Good luck and enjoy!

  44. Hi,
    I received my new washer today. Threw some towels in. It is still vibrating quite a bit on the spin cycle. Just don't know if this is typical with this machine or not. Should there be no vibration on the spin cycle for this Cabrio 5600? Now what?

    Thanks again for your help

  45. Welcome back!

    If you threw in a small amount of towels, like 3 or less, that can cause some balance issues, as it would with most any washer. And, there is always a little bit of vibration with a belt-driven washer. It won't be completely silent, but it won't be banging and clanging, either. It will have a little bit of sound, and a little bit of vibration.

    As a comparison, our Whirlpool front-loader does vibrate when it's in the spin cycle. It's most visible when looking at the LED lights, because they look like they're wiggling. But, it's certainly not making a big noise, and it's not walking or anything. It's just a little bit of vibration.

    It sounds like your washer is most likely working normally, and should be fine, especially with a regular load of laundry in it.

    Good luck, and enjoy!

  46. Hi,
    Regarding my Cabrio, the installer came back today and checked the "feet". we did a trial load and it still vibrate/shakes more than a little bit. I have the opportunity to exchange this machine for the Maytag mvwx600xw. While I understand that this is a similar machine, it lists that is has "advanced Vibration control" which I didn't see listed on the whirlpool, as well as "quiet series sound package". Do you know anyone who has this machine? Do you think this could help make a difference and also do you know if this machine also has an auto correct for when the clothes are not balanced like the cabrio does? do you feel this machine is a step down from the Whirlpool Cabrio?
    Thanks for all you help!

  47. Welcome back!

    The Cabrio and Maytag Bravos have the same vibration control systems. The "quiet series sound package" is a piece of sound insulation that goes under the machine.

    If you're having vibration issues with the belt-driven models, you might want to consider the Maytag Bravos 4.7 cu. ft., which is a little more than the 4.3 cu. ft. models, but is direct drive. That eliminates almost all vibration. You'd have to pay the difference, but it should pretty much guarantee that you won't have vibration issues.

    Good luck!

  48. thanks Randy, that is probably a good idea. Went to my Sears store today and the salesperson felt it was a better machine than the other two I was looking at. Other than the vibration issue, do you feel it is a better machine as well? Is direct drive better quality than belt driven? The salesperson also said from his experience he gets more complaints about the cabrio vibration than the bravo belt driven model. From experience do most people seem happy with the purchase of the Bravo 4.7 cu. ft.?

  49. Sorry, one more question..does this bravo 4.7 cu.ft also have a sensor if the clothes are out of balance does it correct it?
    Thanks again!

  50. Well, the larger Bravos series has more wash motion options, because the basket moves independently from the washplate. This gives it better cleaning power. And, of course, the capacity is larger.

    Most any HE machine will have a sensor to detect if the load is out of balance and redistribute the load, or adjust spin speeds, to compensate. The Bravos series has this, as do the related Cabrio models.

    They have to have this so they can extract as much water from every load as possible, which boosts the "Modified Energy Factor" (MEF), a key criterion in Energy Star qualifications. The better a machine's MEF, the higher the tier (Tier 3 being the highest/most efficient, Tier 1 being the lowest/least efficient Energy Star-qualified HE machine).

    I hope that helps!

  51. Hi Randy,

    Yes, thanks for all the help. I will be receiving this Maytag on Thursday. I am hoping it won't have the shaking/vibration issues at the other machine. I noticed that this Maytag MVWB300wq has different speeds for spinning. Do you know the rpm's of each speed? I noticed on the Cabrio 5600 the lower speed hardly took the water out. I hope that won't be the case with the
    Maytag on the lower speed. Is there any special advise on installing this Maytag, so I do not have any balancing issues?
    Thanks again.

  52. Hello again!

    I don't know the particular speeds of each spin cycle, sorry. That's not something they publish. The only numbers they put out are the maximum spin speeds.

    As the spin speeds are significantly higher in this larger Bravos, you should see less water left behind. The smaller Bravos and Cabrio machines top out at around 800 RPMs, so their lower spin speeds are akin to the top speeds of older conventional machines (around 500-600 RPM). And, if you were having balance issues, that would definitely affect water removal.

    As for installation, just make sure it's level and on a good solid surface. It should be extremely quiet while running, and especially during the spin.

    Good luck, and enjoy!

  53. Hi Randy,
    Just thought I'd give an update..Received my new Maytag what a difference. As you said "quiet". Haven't done a load of clothes yet, but did a test spin and already can see the glad I made the switch. Question, they give you a free affresh packet and oxiclean packet. Do I have to run the machine with affresh before I use the machine on my clothes, etc? Or can I just go do a load of laundry and be ok?
    Thanks again for all the advise. :)

  54. Sounds good! I do recommend using the Affresh to "christen" the machine. Really, what it will do is get rid of any residues that may be left inside the machine, so it will be ready for cleaning your clothes.

    I do recommend using Oxi-Clean and similar products with hot loads (like towels) to maintain the washer's cleanliness without any special additives. It's the same stuff as Affresh, and it's getting your laundry cleaner to boot! We've been doing that with our front-loader and it's as clean as the first day after 2 years.

    Just use powder HE detergent with oxi when washing towels with hot water, and the machine will stay nice and clean, and your towels will come out totally fresh and clean.

    Enjoy your cool new washer!

  55. Randy -
    enjoy reading your comments. I'm having buyers remorse as I just spent $1600 for a new washer and dryer. I had sold myself on the LG WaveForce 5.2 top loader which always seems to get 5star ratings. When I went into Sears tonight I ended up with the Kenmore Elite 29272. Main reason was that the sales lady told me I would have to run a separate water line for the steam dryer instead of using the water container in the Kenmore. I just want to know I made the right decision. I currently have a Kenmore washer/dryer pair that I've had for 10 years and haven't had a day's trouble. I just see a lot of negative reviews and specifically about service and am now nervous about my purchase. It won't be delivered for another few weeks so I still have time to change my mind....

  56. Hi there!

    Well, I think I can help set your mind at ease a bit. The Kenmore model you purchased is, in all significant ways, the same thing as the LG model. LG manufactures the Kenmore model you've got coming.

    Now, there is one problem with what you were told, but it wouldn't have made a difference one way or the other. All LG dryers with steam use a water tray. LG doesn't do an integrated water system, so while the advantage you were advised about isn't necessarily true, it also doesn't matter because the LG branded model would have the same set-up if it had steam.

    By the way, the machines with an integrated steam system (such as those made by Whirlpool and Samsung) use a Y connector so no special water hookups are required, and those Y connectors are included with those dryers.

    So, I'd recommend just sticking with the machines you ordered, as they most likely ended up costing you less. They're fantastic machines, and should serve you extremely well.

    Thanks for visiting!

  57. Been reading about the Bravos and I ordered one, now I want to know what is the procedure for washing a king sized comforter? I can see sheets etc. but how do you put in a comforter without either covering the center of the wash plate or winding it in some way? If you just stuff it in it will take up the entire machine, so how do you do it?

  58. Hi!

    You've chosen a great washer. To wash a king comforter, just stick it right in there. Use the Bulky cycle, which is designed specifically for things like comforters. It will use more water than most cycles do and the comforter will compact a bit, it will adjust its wash motion speed for the added weight and bulk, and its spin speed so it can extract most of the water without causing undue vibration. Make sure to use HE detergent only, and don't use fabric softener in the washer or the dryer when washing a comforter.

    Good luck, and enjoy your new Bravos!

  59. Hello,

    I just purchased an HE Top Loader (Kenmore) from Sears, and it will be delivered in two days. One thing I did not think to ask the sales rep was how to add the detergent, and when I got home I realized my model does not have a Detergent dispenser. I am considering going back to the store prior to delivery to change it for one that does. Do you think the dispenser drawes are better at dispersing the detergent, or can you list some pros and cons for each?

  60. Hello there!

    If the washer you purchased has no dispenser, simply add detergent first, then load the laundry into the machine. If you want to use fabric softener in the washer rather than the dryer, you must use the Downy ball.

    Other than cosmetics, cycle options, and the lack of dispenser, the Kenmore 21302 has the same guts as the Kenmore 26002 and the Kenmore 28002. The 26002 adds the dispenser and nicer controls, and the 28002 adds a dispenser for Oxi products, an estimated time remaining display, and some additional cycles.

    On a Normal cycle, they should all have comparable cleaning power. If you're happy with the price you paid and don't mind putting in the detergent first, stick with what you have. If you'd rather have the dispenser and guarantee that the detergent will be distributed evenly, then step up to the 26002 or 28002 (or the Whirlpool / Maytag equivalents, described here).

    Good luck, and thanks for visiting!

  61. Hey,

    Thanks Randy, I stopped my pending order and went with a Whirlpool Cabrio 5600 model instead, got some Instant Rebates and a local Utility Rebate which puts it under what I had paid for the Kenmore, (and a dispenser drawer to boot!)

  62. Hi Randy

    Have you ever heard of anyone having an instance of power surges with their new units? I have the Whirpool cabrios, and when the washer cycle is running (and the drum is moving) the lights in my house blink. Do you think the machine is faulty, or is it something to do with the electical outlet etc. thanks

  63. Hello!

    If you're having power flickers while the washer is running, I'd guess that the circuit the washer is on is overloaded. Check out how much stuff is running on that circuit and, if overloaded, reduce the load by plugging into alternate outlets. Without knowing what else is on that circuit, I can't really be more specific.

    As for the machine itself, it shouldn't be using terribly much electricity. Certainly not more than an old-fashioned washer, so it's likely something other than that. You may also want to check if there's any damage to the line running from the washer to the circuit panel.

    If you're not comfortable checking the electrical system in your home, call an electrician to inspect it. They're going to be experts in isolating electrical issues, which it sounds like you have. Or ghosts. ;)

    Do what you can on your own, and call an electrician if it goes beyond your comfort zone or skill level.

    Good luck!

  64. Hi. You are my only hope! We just got a Whirlpool Duet WFW9150. Only used it once. When I move the drum from front to back I hear water sloshing under drum. Whirlpool first said it was the fluid from the balance ring and then said it was left over water from the wash cycle. Which one is it?

  65. Hi there!

    The simplest answer is yes. :)

    The balancer in HE top-loaders is liquid-based. In front-loaders, there is always water that can be heard under the tub. It's absolutely normal to hear what you're hearing.

    Follow the advice on this site and you should be very happy with your washer.

    Thanks for visiting!

  66. Hi Randy,

    You said it's good to use Oxi in our Wash and when we do this with towels with Hot water we really don't have to do a monthly Tub Clean. Now what I'm wondering, I read an article that Oxi could also cause a build-up in our machines to. I don't think this is true but just wanted to get your opinion. I know whenever I use any kind of Oxi product it does seem to suds up much more than not using it.

    Could a Product called Smelly Washer be used for that monthly Tub Clean ??

    Thanks Again Randy, You are Always a Big Help at answering my Questions !! :-)


  67. Welcome back, Clare!

    Oxi-Clean will definitely NOT leave residue or build-up. In fact, the ingredients in Oxi-Clean (sodium carbonate and sodium percarbonate) are the same ingredients in Affresh and Tide Washing Machine Cleaner. And, they're the active ingredients in Finish dishwasher detergent (along with protease and bleach).

    Rest assured that Oxi-Clean, and all related products, will not cause any harm to the machine or your clothes when used according to instructions, and it will keep your machine fresh as a daisy without any extra work.

    If you want to use SmellyWasher (a citric acid-based product), you can do that, but it's really unnecessary when you use Oxi-Clean. Save your money and your water, and just use the Oxi.

    Thanks for visiting!

  68. I am considering replacing my nine year old Kenmore washing machine with an HE top-loader. I've been reading many reviews of many brands but it seems like virtually none of them have overall good reviews. So I'm hesitant to purchase one. Any advice?

  69. Hello!

    For some worthwhile options in the 3.6 cubic foot size, check out this page from my blog.

    If you're looking for greater capacity, there are fantastic options from Whirlpool, Maytag, Kenmore Elite, LG, and Samsung. These machines will be direct drive (rather than belt-driven, like the 3.6 cubic foot models). This gives them the ability to have higher spin speeds and greater flexibility with wash motions. There are some models with internal heaters so you can sanitize towels (keeps them fresh and clean for weeks without needing heavy perfumes in the detergent), and Samsung has a model that incorporates its proprietary PowerFoam Technology

    I wouldn't worry too much about reviews, as the majority of reviews are usually the people who got one of the rare but inevitable duds and are expressing their frustration and disappointment. Understandable, to be sure, but not an accurate portrayal of the product in general.

    To get a better feel for what you want/need, how many people are you doing laundry for? Do you want to be able to wash comforters and save yourself the $30-50+ at the dry cleaners? If so, what size comforters do you have? Would you like to be able to sanitize? Are you planning on replacing the dryer as well?

    If you can answer these questions, I can give you more specific direction for models that would be good choices for you.

  70. Hi Randy

    Real quick question - I'm looking at a HE top load washer - trying to decide between the Whirlpool 4950xw, Whirlpool 5500xw and GE 5050MWS. What would you recommend? Is it true that the more electronics there are, the lower the reliability?

    From reading your blog, it appears that you really like the 5500/5600 (I don't think I would use the features of the 5600)...

    FYI - my requirements were: reliability, quiet and good value for what one spends

    Is there something else you would recommend?

    Thanks in advance!

    (sorry posting as anonymous - could not figure out all the choices)


  71. Hi Mo!

    Well, first, I would recommend the Whirlpools out of that list. They're just much better machines in general.

    Now, between the Whirlpool WTW4950 and Whirlpool Cabrio 5500, the Cabrio 5500 is going to be the better pick. It's got a detergent/fabric softener dispenser, which helps ensure better detergent and softener distribution (and no need to use the Downy ball for fabric softener). The controls also make it much simpler to use. Just select the cycle and all the options set automatically.

    As for other models you might want to consider, in the same price range is the Maytag Bravos 300. It has 4 cubic feet of capacity (versus 3.6 in the others above), it's direct drive (rather than belt driven), and the top spin speed is around 1000RPM (versus 800RPM in the other machines). It's a great bargain. Definitely worth your consideration!

    If you prefer Whirlpool brand (Maytag is owned and manufactured by Whirlpool), the equivalent Whirlpool Cabrio 7300 is also available, though at a slightly higher price.

    And, finally, a step up from that would be the Kenmore 29002, which has 4.3 cubic feet of capacity, a stainless steel washplate, and a gentle-close lid.

    Oh, and electronics aren't really more things to have's just different things. The new machines are just as reliable as previous machines on the whole, if not more so. As with anything, though, life does happen, so I always recommend the Master Protection Agreement. I wouldn't recommend it if I didn't have it myself!

    If you have any other questions, let me know. Thanks for visiting, and thanks for your consideration. :)

  72. Hi Randy,

    What do you make of this new product by Downy called "UnStopables" ?? Suppose to put this in the washer to add extra scent, do you think this is necessary or just another product they are trying to push ??



  73. Hi, Clare! :)

    While I'm not a fan of perfumes on my laundry, I know lots of other people are. Basically, they're selling pellets of their detergent perfume. You can add as much as you want so your laundry is more strongly scented. It won't harm your washer or laundry, so you don't have to worry about that. I've read that the scent absolutely fills the room. That's pretty powerful, but different strokes, right?

    I'd rather use scented drawer liners or have no event at all, but it's up to you how heavily perfumed you want your laundry and home to be.

    Thanks for visiting!

  74. Thanks Much Randy !!

    Your give me all the right answers to my Question. I'm glad it won't hurt my washer, that is my main concern. I did receive a couple of Free Samples but I don't know if I really care to spend the extra money just for a little extra added smell.

  75. Hi Randy,

    We just purchased a Kenmore 28002 washer and are trying to register with SoCalGas for their rebate. I am not locating the MEF or WF factors anywhere and need to supply them on the rebate application. I contacted Sears and they have been unable to help me. Would you know where I can get the MEF and WF ratings for this washer?


  76. Hi, Patrice!

    I actually have a link to the Energy Star table of MEF, WF, and other information for HE washing machines. It's on the right side of the website in the "Other Useful Stuff" box. From the table, I see that the Kenmore 28002 has an MEF of 2.45, and a WF of 3.58. Good luck with your rebate, and enjoy your new washer!

  77. Randy, Do you know the spin speeds for the different choices on a Bravo washing machine?


  78. Hi there!

    That's kind of a tricky question. You haven't specified whether you want to know about the Bravos X or XL series washers. The X series tops out at 800 RPM. I haven't seen specs for lower speeds, but I'd assume it's around 600 RPM. If you'd like to know about the XL series, the max speed is 1100 RPM. The various lower speeds are not published in public documents or training materials, but I can see if I can get further details.

  79. I have a Maytag Bravos MCT washing machine and recently had a set of beads break over the soap dispenser of the washer. I need to find out if the soap is dispensed into the drum via a pump, that the beads may damage, or if it's gravity fed and the beads will simply flush into the drum if it's run. Thank you in advance for your assistance.

    1. Hi, Ty!

      The good news is that the dispenser does not run through the pump. Water is fed into the dispenser and flows into the washbasket. So, there's no risk of damaging the pump. The bad news is that you likely won't get the beads out without getting inside the machine. I would strongly recommend having a technician service the machine to get the beads out.

      Good luck!

  80. Thank u for all the advice on here. I just ordered the new samsung wa400 washer and dryer model. So far I like my choice. I am still concerned that I made a good choice? I found out that it recommends yo not wash waterproof items or throw rugs. This would be a hassle yo have to take to the laundry mat. Can I wash them gently or will this hurt my washer to do so? Should I return it for another brand, that is if any other r different? Thank u so much. Elaine

    1. Hello, Elaine!

      Rest assured that you got a good machine. All HE top-loaders, and really just about any washer, shouldn't be used to wash waterproof items or anything else that won't allow water to pass through. The water will pool in the item and cause the machine to go out of balance. They can technically be washed in the machine, as long as it's not spun out. As long as you follow the manufacturer's simple instructions, along with the advice here, you should get good service from your new washing machine. Enjoy your new washer!

  81. Dear Randy,

    We have a Kenmore top-loader 28002 washer that's about 1 3/4 years old. It's having some weird issues.

    Where we live our electric company offers appliance protection for an extra monthly fee. All repairs are covered. If the cost of repair is too high, the machine will be declared dead, and we'll be given some cash to compensate.

    One of these repairmen was out this week to replace the switch motor (actuator?). The washer wasn't agitating in wash-mode across most of its cycles. (It agitated well when rinsing.)

    The new part was put in a couple days ago. I did a load last night that had a water level problem. See below for more on our machine's water level.

    Tonight I did three loads. All had some issues.

    LOAD 1
    I ran a load on normal, with a single rinse. When the machine got to the rinse cycle, water entered the machine then drained and spun. There was no agitation. I ran a separate rinse/spin cycle that worked fine. (The wash's water level wasn't high enough to saturate the clothes, and some clothes never made it to below the water level. More on this coming.)

    LOAD 2
    Next load was bulky, with 1 rinse. It was a small load, but I'll explain why I chose that mode in a minute. In sensing mode, it filled fine. It then agitated well, but kept adding water on-and-off throughout the wash cycle. The water almost reached the top of the drum--maybe a couple inches below it. Remember, this was a very small load for a bulky cycle.

    Here's another odd part: After the wash's drain and spin, the drum started filing for the rinse, and I went down to see how it was doing.The timer read 11 minutes. That was about right, I thought, for a rinse and spin. As I looked at the timer, it jumped to 23 minutes. That's when I noticed that the cycle light was still lit for wash. I ended up with a second wash.

    Odder: This time the drum filled only halfway for the wash cycle (what I would expect for a small load in the bulky cycle).

    Odder: When it finished its second wash, it filled for the rinse. Again the water was within inches of the top of the drum.

    LOAD 3
    Another normal cycle, 2 rinses. This time the washer agitated the first rinse the way I expected it to--filled with water (though not enough, see below), then agitated well. In fact, I finally got a decent amount of water. Surprise, surprise! (More about water level in a second.) But for rinse 2, the same thing happened as with load #1: Drum got water--just a sprinkling, really, not even enough to cover the bottom of the drum, much less the clothes--then immediately drained and spun. Load done.

    I know the HE machines use small amounts of water. But since our machine started having problems, I've been watching it. In normal, some of the clothes get damp, but never swirl under water. Except for the first rinse on load #3 above, we don't get a decent water level.

    The water level I got in the first rinse of load #3 was just enough to make the clotes really wet and they agitated much better. I kept pausing and opening the lid to check.

    The repairman who was our this week is willing to replace the control board if we have further problems. Do these issues sound like a bad control board to you?

    Oh, and the repairman checked the pressure tube from the drum to the control board to make sure it was clear. It was.

    Can you think of anything other than a board problem that would explain bad water levels, jumps in time, double washes, etc.?

    We'd love to hear any advice you have. Apologies for a really long post. :-)

    C&C (signed in as Anonymous)

    1. Hi there!

      Sounds like a faulty board. I'd just get it replaced and it should work as it's supposed to. Good luck!

  82. Wow, I really wish I had seen this blog prior to my purchase earlier this week. I purchased a Kenmore Elite Top Loading Automatic Washer, model # 796.3151#21#

    I was super excited for the arrival of our new appliance considering my laundry was quickly piling up. When I went to run my first load, I noticed the dreaded sticker I had been warned about "caution, do not wash or spin water-proof or water resistant clothing, mattress covers, outdoor gear or platic mats." WTH???? Please explain further if you are able. Should I return it??

    1. Hi there!

      The sticker (which you'll find on most high efficiency washers) is there to keep people from putting in items that will act as a bag holding the water in. When water is prevented from leaving the wash basket, and is kept in a single spot, it will force the machine out of balance. To prevent that, either wash those items but don't apply any spin, or don't wash them in the washer. To repeat: this rule applies to all high spin speed washing machines, and is not a defect or design flaw. It's just a notice that the laws of physics have yet to be overcome. :)

      Enjoy your new washing machine!

    2. Thank you soooo much, huge relief. I really wasn't looking forward to an exchange. I thought it was washer specific. Nice to know that this would be the case with whatever he washer I chose. Thanks again for your rapid response.

  83. I have a bravo and am having trouble with residue being left on clothes. Especially black pants and dark sheets. What am I doing wrong?

    1. Hi there!

      Are you using liquid or powder detergent? In either case, try using less. Also, do you have hard water? If so, try adding about a quarter cup of baking soda to the wash to soften the water a bit, which should assist in detergent solubility. You also might want to try pouring some hot water down the detergent dispenser (if it's one with the dispensers on the corners) and then running a Clean Washer with Affresh cycle with an Affresh tablet.

      Good luck!

  84. I have a Kenmore HE Washer model number 21302010. It was emitting a burning smell the other day and i'm not sure where it's coming from. It said cycle complete but the clothes were soapy but there was no water in the tub...but it sounded like water was sloshing in the bottom when I moved the machine. Do you think it's the drive belt that needs replaced? Out of warranty lol

    1. Hello!

      Burning smells are usually caused by wires overheating and burning the sheath around them. It could also be the belt. Did it smell more like rubber burning or plastic burning? If it smelled like plastic, it's wires. If it's rubber, it's the belt.

      Good luck!

  85. I just purchased a top-load HE washing machine. I didn't know when I bought it that I had to use the bounty ball for softener and I'm not happy. Is there any other way of adding softener? Surely this well made, modern machine has some other way of dispensing softener. I don't like this system and wonder if I should return the machine. I hope you can help me so I don't have to do that.

    1. Hi!

      Any washing machine without a built-in dispenser for fabric softener will require you to use a Downy ball. If you don't like Downy balls, you could always try a detergent with fabric softener built into it, such as UltraPlus 9899 on, which is on sale right now for just $15.99 for 275 loads worth of detergent (powder works very well in HE machines).

      If you'd prefer a fabric softener dispensing system in your machine, I'd recommend that you look at something like the Kenmore 26002, which has a pull-out dispenser for detergent and softener. The equivalent Whirlpool and Maytag machines will have the same system. They will cost a bit more than the machine you have now, but they will have the dispenser you're looking for. And, they're excellent machines, too.

      Good luck!

  86. So it seems you are saying you cannot wash rubber bottom rugs, water resistant mattress covers, ski jackets etc. in HE top this all top loader models to your knowlegdge? What about front load? I'd love to find a HE model that I can wash these items. Thanks!

    1. Hello!

      Waterproof materials are not suitable for any HE washing machine, as they will have high spin speeds. Front-load or top-load, it makes no difference. Waterproof materials like rubber-backed rugs are a no-go. If water can't pass through the material, it will result in an unbalanced load and the machine will not be able to properly eliminate water from the load during spin.

      Good luck!

    2. Thank you for the explanation. I understand the potential risk of damaging the machine, however if I want to try to in a pinch when I can't make it to the dry cleaner such as bathroom mat if dog gets sick on it or mattress cover if children get sick, could I perhaps try: Wool cycle, Light Soil Level, No Spin? I currently have the LG 4.7 Top Load WT5070CW.

    3. I really couldn't recommend doing that. Even the wash and rinse cycle will employ spin to varying degrees at varying speeds. Of course, I can't stop anybody from doing anything, but my best advice would be not to do that. For those "in a pinch" things, I'd recommend using the kitchen sink or a bathtub.

      Good luck!

    4. Eeek!.... I'm picturing myself during flu season with multiple sick kids and having to wash mattress covers by hand. I know you aren't recommending it, but if I were to try it, do you think it would be better to wash these items individually or mixed in with other things to potentially avoid the ballooning and/or bagging effect? Now I'm wishing I didn't buy an HE machine. I like to wash everything under the sun- kids back packs, sneakers, snow suits, etc and it's really not practical to take all of these items to a dry cleaner.

    5. Mattress covers are a bit different. It's really more for things like vinyl and rubber. What I usually recommend regarding bath mats is to get the towel-style bath mats, so they can be washed with the towels. And, they last much longer because there's no rubber to break down. We've been using them forever and they're a much cleaner and simpler solution.

      I've just been told today, by the way, that Maytag and Whirlpool (and Whirlpool-built) HE machines can handle such items due to the algorithms they use. But, nobody else uses those proprietary algorithms. In the meantime, know that you've got a perfectly fine washing machine, and most items will wash perfectly well in it. It's really only the vinyl and rubber items that shouldn't be run through.

      Good luck!

    6. Just to make sure, you do mean woven mattress covers, and not the old vinyl mattress covers, right?

  87. I'm not exactly sure if it is vinyl....It has a cotton terry top with a breatable waterproof bottom-sort of looks rubbery (it is a wonderful product by the way):

    I think I'm going to try to exchange for an HE top loader machine that can wash these items...back to the drawing board. The Bravo XL had good ratings although noisery than the LG which is disappointing since that is important to me and also the accompanying dryer wasn't highly rated, so now I'm not sure what to do...

    1. Sorry about the delay!

      The Maytag and Whirlpool HE top-loaders can take those items according to the Whirlpool reps, so you might want to switch to one of those (Cabrio Platinum or Bravos XL are great machines).

      Good luck!

  88. We just purchased a Kenmore 26002 Washer for a rental home, and sense we have been told that the HE top loads will not add enough water and that the clothes will not get clean. We have also been told that the front load HE machines do a better job of washing.
    I also work at a place where I am washing White gloves all day, and we had a commercial Maytag HE Machine and it took forever to wash and we always used the hot water, but it would only put a small amount of hot and then fill up with cold, when we had to test the water it was always cold. Do all these machines keep you from actually using hot water to wash.
    I really would like to find out what to do about this top load machine before it is actually used, to know if we need to return it for exchange to a front load washer. Thank you Brenda

    1. Hi Brenda!

      First, HE top-loaders certainly do use enough water to clean clothes. I promise! :) Front-loaders do have a slight edge in cleaning over HE top-loaders, but the difference isn't usually something noticeable in most cases. And, the 26002 has been an excellent performer for about 3 years. Check the back issues of Consumer Reports. It's been one of their best buys for quite a long time.

      If you're washing white gloves, you may want a washing machine that can heat the water to increase cleaning power. These washers will have a Sanitize or Sanitary cycle, and have a heater inside to bring the water temperature up to around 150 degrees. In HE top-load, you'll be looking at machines like the Kenmore Elite 31512, or the Maytag Bravos XL MVWB950YW. In front-load, you'll be able to use most any model except base models from most brands. So, you could do something like the LG WM2650HWA or the Whirlpool WFW86HEBW. Keep in mind that using the Sanitary/Sanitize cycle will take longer, but these machines have pretty large capacities (especially the top-load models at more than 4.5 cubic feet), so you can do more at once, and the longer wash time is required for sanitizing as well as having time to heat the water.

      But, if you use good detergent and Oxi-Clean powder (or another brand of the same product), you should have satisfactory results.

      As for the hot water, kind of a tricky answer. Washers will alternate between hot and cold. However, the washer first needs to clear the formerly hot water from the hot line before anything actually hot gets into the washer. And, washers will ALWAYS mix hot and cold, so the hottest a "Hot" cycle will ever get is around 100 degrees, and that's if you just ran a hot cycle previously and cleared out the cooled water from the hot line already.

      So...long story short: the machine you've chosen will probably do just fine, but if you want to make absolutely sure you've got maximum cleaning power for those white items, get a model with a sanitizing cycle, use a good detergent (the Ultra Plus powder with extra stain fighters in the green box is quite good), and use Oxi-Clean powder with it.

      Good luck!

  89. Hi I just bought a Samsung WA400 he top loader. Can you please tell me how the soil level works? Does it Pre soak longer or what? Thank u for your help. I hope this was a good choice.

    1. Hello!

      Yes, it's a good washer. As for the soil level setting, that just tells the machine whether it needs to run the wash part of the cycle longer or shorter. The same is true of all HE machines.

      Good luck!

  90. Hello,
    I recently purchased a Kenmore HE Washer model 26002 6 months ago. I am experiencing some uncommon problems that I never experience with my old conventional washer. 5 months into usage I started to notice the following.
    1) After wash clothes are left white residue on it and it doesn't feel as clean. I used detergents that are recommended for standard and HE machine such as Purex, and ALL.

    2) Second problem, the spin cycle turns on itself without the power being turned on. I heard the noise from the laundry room and went to check it out and noticed the washer was off and it was making the spin cycle noise but washer was off and there were no spin.

    3) The water rises up inside the washer and then goes back down after the spinning cycle (as described above). This happens pretty frequent.

    4) I can hear water when I shake or spin the washer by hand. I called Sear and the rep said this is normal for a Kenmore HE washer. Is this true?

    A Sear tech came down a few days ago and said there was nothing wrong with the washer, but instead said I was using the wrong detergents. I’m not too concern with the white residue left on the clothes and today I went out to buy Tide HE detergent and will test it out soon to see if the residue still there. My concern is the spin cycle that goes off itself and what if it causes a major damage to the washer. Have you seen these issues and any recommendations or concerns I should be aware of? I am not too familiar when it comes to appliances and pretty nervous about this washer. Thank you very much.

    1. Hello, Maysa!

      I'm sorry to hear you're having some issues with your washing machine. This is a generally very reliable and strong performing washer, so I can assure you what you're experiencing isn't normal. The washer, when powered off, shouldn't do anything. And, everything should be rinsed away. It sounds like there is something wrong with the control board. I would recommend calling 800 4 MY HOME again, and tell them about all the weird activity the machine is having. The white residue sounds like an improper rinse, which could be a board issue, as could everything else. It definitely won't get better with time.

      As for the sound of water, that is absolutely normal. There's a ring of liquid at the top of the tub (that plastic collar at the top), and that's there to stabilize the tub when the machine goes into the spin cycle, to prevent unbalanced loads from causing too much lateral movement. There would be a problem if you didn't hear that water sound! :)

      Good luck, and let me know what comes of the second visit. Make sure to mention that the machine is turning on by itself and that it is adding water after the spin cycle has completed.

  91. Hi,

    I haven't seen this question anywhere else and hope you have an answer for us. We came into a TL Cabrio recently and wonder if we can "preload" with water or if any water in the tub would just drain out when the cycle starts.


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