Tuesday, June 9, 2009


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We are always getting recommendation requests for washer/dryer units. I asked Ted, a long time Laundress client and laundry enthusiast about his washing machine......needless to say, I'm jealous! -Gwen

Gwen - As for washers - I could go on forever, but I will try to spare you. To cut to the chase, I love my Asko W6761 (5 years old) and wouldn't part with it for the world. It is a European-style front loader with its own built-in heater. It has only a cold-water fill, and it heats the wash water from cold through various stages to the final temperature. This so-called "profile wash" enables enzymes to work at the optimal temperature for each kind of stain, then holds at the final temperature for a minimum of 20 minutes. A warm wash (40°C) with The Laundress detergents provides unbelievable results with my daughter's play clothes... Grass, grime, food stains, etc., just disappear. The machine also rinses up to seven times, removing every last trace of detergent residue (but not The Laundress lovely scent!). Since I have a whole house water softener, the extra rinses are especially important, as it takes longer for the foam to go away in soft water. Finally, it is superb at extraction, so the clothes are nearly dry when you take them out. Also, the Asko is amazing at removing lint. They did a feature on this once in Consumer Reports - washed some black shirts with linty towels, etc. - and the contrast between the Asko and everything else was incredible.

That said, these washers are not for everyone. First, they run on 220v, which many Americans do not have in their laundry rooms. There are other non-standard requirements, such as a shorter drain standpipe. And although Asko used to get very high scores in almost every area from Consumer Reports (when they still rated this style of machine), they were always downgraded for "capacity". These are 5kg machines (11 pounds) - which is fine for me, but they will not hold a king size comforter. Also, the cycle times are long, up to 2 hours, so to save all your wash for one day is impractical.

Finally - although they have a great warranty of 3 years parts and labor - one would need to be very sure there was good service in their area. The service in Los Angeles has been superb, but I would call Asko customer service about other cities before buying. Oh, and did I mention these are expensive? Currently over $3000 for washer and dryer together.

Here is the link to the current model (W6903).

This is not to be confused with Asko's "XXL Laundry Series" which is built especially for the American market. That model (WL6511) runs on 110V and holds a king-size duvet, but it cannot do a profile wash and its vibration is terrible, according to CU.
Unfortunately, Asko's only real competition, Miele, has pulled its 220V European machines from America, and now only sells its version of an American machine, which was also down rated for vibration.

Most of the upscale new front loaders (Speed Queen, Duet, LG, etc.) have a heating element, but note that they cannot do a European-style profile wash.
They depend on hot-water fills and can temporarily boost temperatures from around 50°C to 70°C, but could not for instance maintain a long 40°C wash cycle.

For more information on current upscale front loaders, I would refer customers to Consumer Reports. They update their ratings every few months (latest in Feb. '09, where they top-rated the Samsung WF448AA for $1500).


Sally said...

As tempting as the Asko sounds~maybe my future washer~I love my LG TROMM Steam Washer. I am faithful to The Laundress products; no other detergent has touched my machine. With it, I wash everything, including my cashmere and wool sweaters, in Cashmere and Wool Wash of course, delicates, handwashables, everything, gym clothes, winter jackets, my husband's dress shirts. I don't even know where I would take dry cleaning anymore!

Tori said...

Ah, my machine! I just moved to Colorado from New York City and bought my first house and thus my first machine! It is the front loading fancy pants side by side front loading with the matching dryer in that GORGEOUS red with storage drawers below. I am in love! I am FINALLY able to use the Laundress products I have always coveted at Gracious Home instead of sending my laundry out from my tiny 400SF studio!

The Laundress said...

Thanks for writing!

Can you both e-mail us at laundress@thelaundress.com with your shipping addresses? Thanks! :)

Genny said...

I have a front loading Hot Point Aquarius. It is my first front loader and I love it. Had a stand built for it so I don't have to bend over at all for a front loader.

Pink Avenue Bride said...

We currently have a Hot Point Washer & Dryer set. We will soon be moving to Phoenix, AZ and I will hopefully be getting an Electrolux washer & dryer in our next new place. I own my own business and will be working in buying/merchandising so I am always on the go and attending meetings. Having a machine and laundry care items are important for my handwashables, delicates, skirts, etc.

Shana said...

We currently have a mismatched set that came with our townhouse--a Roper washing machine and a GE dryer. The washer is a top loader. Although it is not the top of the line, my husband can stuff it full (even against my advice) and his clothes come out clean every time! I use the Laundress Delicate wash with the delicate cycle religiously for the items that I don't handwash. We are in the market so a new pair so hopefully these reviews will help!

Victoria said...

I have an Amana top load washer--pretty standard, but it's new, so it gets the job done well. I had one skirt that recently escaped with a few soap stains. I apparently need to polish my laundering skills :)

Janna said...

Well, my machine is the cheapest one I could buy at Home Depot about 5 years ago. We were moving in to a rental house in GA and needed to buy a washer, dryer, and refrigerator! It lasted 2 years in Georgia, a move to Texas and is hanging in there for now.

Molly said...

We have a Kenmore front-loader. It is pretty good, but I am considering an LG.

Wendy Shoaf said...

What I want is a LG steam machine, but what I have is a Whirlpool Super Capacity Supreme. It does a top loading machine and does a good job, but I am dreaming of the day when my washer and dryer do all of my ironing for me!

jcmama said...

I have the Whirlpool Cabrio he washing machine which is a top load but works like a front load. Uses less water and doesn't agitate my clothes as my other top load.

As for using The Laundress products...I feel empowered washing and taking care of my garments instead of sending it off to the cleaners and I love how its eco friendly and it smells good. Thanks for the great products!


Amy o said...

Hi! Two summers ago, my husband left town on a business trip and within 24 hours our air conditioner and washer were both broken. Talk about a tough week -- I got a Samsung front loading washer and dryer and they were being installed when he got home -- surprise! We're so happy with them, though -- the front loaders get the clothes cleaner than top loaders.


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