When front loaders came onto the North American laundry scene several years ago, they made a big splash. Consumers quickly embraced the energy and space efficiency features associated with the design, which has been popular in Europe for decades.
Advancements in design and technology, however, mean that many of those same consumers are taking at second look at top loaders.
There’s lots to recommend them. Users — especially those of a certain age — like that there’s less bending, and that it’s easier to add a forgotten t-shirt or dropped sock. The flat surface on top is also handy for folding and sorting.
Some of the new top-loaders, including the Whirlpool model shown above www.whirlpool.ca have very generous tub capacity (in this case, six cubic feet). That means large families do fewer loads, and bulky seasonal items like duvets and winter gear are less onerous to clean. This model also has programmable, customizable cycles that suit particular pieces of clothing consistently used by a family and its children. (Hockey, baseball, and soccer moms and dads, we’re looking at you.)
If you grapple frequently with stains (see kids above) or have a lot of delicate fabrics, look for a machine with pre-soak, steam clean, and deep wash features. Keep a box of stain-fighting solutions within easy reach of the machine, and if you come across a real stubborn spot, consult this chart www.instituteoffabricscience.org/stain-assist/
As with any machine, choosing the cycle best suited to the fabric type is important. Steam and gentle wash features are excellent to use for summer silks and delicate winter woolens before packing both in tissue-lined storage boxes. Day to day, consider having a dedicated basket for delicates, so that they don’t get mixed up with the regular wash.
Going easy on the detergent will help fabrics last longer and feel nicer against the skin. Pay attention to amount you use, or choose a machine with precision dispensing.
Whatever technology you use, weekly laundry chores and seasonal changeovers can be more fun if you do the work together while watching a movie, or if everyone take turns at creating a laundry “play list”? Here’s one to get you started when it’s your turn — Carrie Underwood’s Dirty Laundry www.youtube.com/watch?v=_pGOaKCF7jg
Pictures by : Whirlpool® www.whirlpool.ca
Vicky Sanderson writes widely-read columns on home improvement, décor, design and housewares that regularly appear in the *Toronto Star * and is a contributing editor at* Reno and Decor.