Monday, November 26, 2012

Appliances are junk

I realize this is not a very thankful post for the week after Thanksgiving.  Just to be clear, I am incredibly thankful for my hubby and my peanut, our wonderful families, our good jobs, our nice house, our fabulous friends.  What I'm not thankful for, is crappy appliance manufacturers who build stuff cheaply and charge you exorbitantly.  I already spoke in my kitchen post about the problems we've had with our brand new KitchenAid refrigerator.  We've had at least four service calls on the stupid thing since it was installed (all having to do with the ice maker) and that, to me, is redonk.  But this post is not really about out stupidly overpriced frig, or the range with a 'power burner' that not only doesn't boil water in 90 seconds but cannot seem to boil water in the same amount of time as the regular burners.  No, this post is all about our craptastic Maytag Bravos washing machine.  
A few weeks ago Shaun was traveling for work, and I realized (with ten loads of laundry saved up), that the washing machine wasn't working.  Now, we knew there was a bunch of socks/undies stuck under the drum of this thing because it STUNK to high heaven when we used it and little scraps of my Victoria's Secret underthings were sticking out of the bottom of the inner drum.  But, it kept limping along, so we just took things out immediately after washing so they wouldn't stink and made festive confetti out of the lacy bits.  This particular night, all I heard after pressing start was a revving noise and no action .  I was pretty pissed because this washer and dryer are just 4 years old and were #1 on the Consumer Reports 'best buys.'  Turns out there are several websites dedicated to hating (and wanting a class action lawsuit against) this particular set.  Awesome.  I did what any normal chick would do...I came home on my lunch break the next day and tried to take the damn thing apart in dress pants.  First, I turned off the water.  Riveting photo, I know.  
Then I put a bucket down to catch the spillage, and unfastened the water connectors on the unit to make sure the washer was getting water.  
Of course, there was nothing wrong here because there are these nice little mesh screens inside.  Duh. 
Then I unscrewed the top of the back part and found myself staring at electrical stuff with no clue if anything was out of place or messed up.  Duh, again.  
So then I tried to pry the top of the washer up to get access to the drum.  I used a screwdriver, a scraper, and some other random tools to try to pop the clamps holding it down, but I could not get them to release and was afraid I would damage the paint.  I did what you'd expect me to do, I cried for a while and ate my feelings (they tasted like ice cream) before heading back to work.  But LO, through some kind of miracle, a coworker friend offered up her husband to come take a look at it that night.  Yes, please!!!  He had that top up in no time.    
Then, the bottom was unscrewed, and the drum came out.  That's Jeff, the man who saved my sanity, and the best husband (that's not mine) ever.  
With the drum removed, you could see all the socks floating in the cesspool of old water at the bottom of the tub.  It smelled worse than a diaper blowout.  
And, I about died when this man I have only met one other time in my life pulled my destroyed undies out.  That would be the mess of pink elastic in the middle of this pile:
Oh, and all these socks came out of the water, too...
After all the socks were removed, he put things back together and ran a cycle.  
It ran for a while, and as it was going, I could see the drum spinning through the white plastic tub.  I find it strange that the only thing holding up that heavy drum is some cables and a plastic tub.  Jeff put the back panel back onto the washer and then, of course, it stopped running.
When the unit stopped again, Jeff tilted the whole thing forward and scouted around the waste water hose - and pulled out the longest sock I've ever seen!
That sock had completely blocked the waste hose and was preventing the washer from emptying, which in turn made the mechanical process stop.  The washer was sort of 'drowning' in old water, I guess you could say.  I'm happy to say that it's fixed now, but unfortunately there is not much I can do to prevent this problem.  There are no screens to prevent items from going over the sides of the drum, or into the waste hose.  For now, I've been making sure all smaller items are at the bottom of the washer so they can't jump ship, and all REALLY small items like baby socks and bibs are being washed in a mesh laundry bag.  It sucks that I should have to do that.  For once, I would love to just have something work without any special workarounds in place.  Do things like that even exist anymore?  
To close my bitchfest, here is a photo of me and peanut at the scene of the crime.  Yep, I have a mirror in my gross cinderblock laundry room.  It's so I can check out my fine self while washing clothes.  SNORT.


  1. My washer is also a POS!! Bought from Sears, where I will never ever again buy any appliance ever. I feel your pain.

    That is one good-looking baby and mama :-)

  2. Oh No! I just ordered the Maytag Bravos from Home Depot for our new house! I thought the top load big drum would be better than the front load, smelly door! What am I going to do now?! I hope you survive your appliance meltdowns!

  3. that really sucks. I never understood why my in-laws would buy huge mesh bags (the kind you use to keep dirty clothes in) to put all their socks and underoos in before they did laundry. Guess that is why.

  4. Check out your fine self :-D
    I've been reading your blog for maybe four or five months now, and read back, too, and really enjoy it. Whatever you write about. You're funny, you're honest, and you're really likeable. I shall keep poking my nose in here.

    Sorry for the washer trouble. I know what you mean with the 'something working just the way it is, no workaround mechanisms.' I will keep my fingers crossed that that miraculous appliance finds its way into your house someday. Ideally it'll do everything, then.

  5. Oh it may be bad, but you better love and hug that machine. My one here in the UK is like playing dollhouse - about 4 items a load!!! LOVE the mirror - priorities right?!

  6. I'm sooo happy that the story ends with you actually getting to do laundry and not having to buy new appliances but man does it really suck having to do all of that every load you do :( I hate when things don't work like they're supposed to. Or even 1/2. Or even a 1/4.

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  8. Hi Chris,

    You can buy "Mesh laundry bags" for the smaller items. People use them for nylons so that they don't get wrapped around the clothing in the wash.....but I'm sure it would work for you in this case to avoid the smaller items going over the drum of the washing machine.....

    You think with technology today they'd build better appliances....:(


  9. That is so strange that it doesn't have guards to prevent small items from slipping down... especially for a nicer washer than many. Laundry is a b anyways.

  10. Any blog post that includes people handling other people's underwear is a good one in my book!

  11. Thank goodness you had a coworker husband to help you out! And I about died laughing at the picture of him pulling that dirty stuff out from under the drum. No gloves?! That's a real man!

    Just a few more years and Ash can fix all that junk for you :)

    ps - totally would comment more but somehow you got on the blacklist at work so I cant click through from google reader anymore. Not sure how that happened!

  12. Oh god, that's gross. Freakin' appliances DO suck. I hate our washer too and I have no doubt that something similar is lurking in it. But I have to say I'm so impressed that you actually started ripping the thing apart yourself. You go!

  13. Just want to second the suggestion for the mesh laundry bag. Hopefully that can save you some tears.

  14. My old washing machine did the same thing when the girls were little - those little baby socks can wreak havoc on a washing machine drum. And yeah - WHY do they design these things with no way to stop crap from flying out over the top? The repairman we had told me to stop washing such large loads because that's how the little baby socks escaped. (He obviously didn't have a newborn, a toddler, two messy dogs and a full time job and was able to do ten small loads of laundry per week) I got a mesh bag. Problem solved. ;)

  15. great, funny post. this is what DIY is all about. unscrew every screw you see until the problem is obvious. good job.

  16. I hear you sister! that is one crazy washing machine! our six year old dishwasher that had a new motor put in after two years just died again, new motor for 250.00
    it still looks awesome so after much debate about buying a new piece of junk we are fixing it one more time.

  17. I haven't read through all of the comments so maybe someone already suggested this, but you need to go buy yourself a mesh laundry bag. Pronto. I use one for my bras, and it's genius. It doesn't solve the problem of companies selling crappy appliances, but at least it will save your socks and undies from getting trapped inside your washer. ;)

  18. I'm glad you got it fixed, nothing worse than laundry on hold!! We've DIY fixed my washer once (broken small thingy-part, Sears gave us a new one made of metal instead of plastic) and my dryer twice. Once, a dryer sheet was caught in the fan mechanism and was simply making a horrendous noise (though still working fine) and the other time, a lightning storm fried the electrical parts, so we put in a new harness. Not really the dryer's fault, lol. (That house turned out to have a bad ground.)

    Another vote for mesh bags, even if it is the sort of thing Grandma Did. Not only does it save the washer in the end, but also the delicate things. I like the round bra bags for, well, bras (especially with underwire, those get mangled in the wash!!) I use the bags for the obvious delicates, but also anything very stretchy - which my washer will otherwise use to tie up the rest of the laundry like some torture exercise. (I actually like my washer, as long as I am careful with the delicates - an LG front load model.)

    I like and use a washer-cleaning product called "Affresh" (two F's) - I can get it at Target, but Amazon carries it too. (Target is significantly cheaper than the Amazon price point I'm seeing this AM.) One tablet (in its own "washer cleaning cycle) once a month keeps the gunk from building up - we have really hard water here, and it builds scale and stink otherwise. I've been a long time user of a little vinegar in the water (to help with minerals and odor) but I've also started putting Borax in my laundry lately, and that is doing good things for laundry odors too, both the kind that originate on the clothes, and in the machine LOL.

  19. So socks and underwear really DO get lost in the laundry! I've had things go missing before, but never paid enough attention to really know if it was during the laundry.

    Bummer for you, though. Good luck with the mesh bags!

  20. So cool you had a coworker volunteer her husband. He seems like such a great sport about it too!! I can imagine that water had to smell disgusting. You need to buy them dinner or something. :)

    They don't make ANYTHING well anymore in my opinion. IF they made things well to last a long time, well then people wouldn't be out buying new appliances all the time. I just had to replace a fridge that was only 6 years old!!

    Your son is a cutie!

  21. Oh that is the best story - I need to take apart my washer to find all of my lost socks!! They must be having a singles party back there.

  22. I so feel you...I hate that our culture is so disposable in that rarely is anything built to last a legit amount of time. Stuff you spend that much $$ on shouldn't be that high maintenance.

  23. It is awful that you are experiencing so many issues with your appliances. In the future, buy Kenmore. I cannot say enough about their products. They are not as trendy as the other brands but they work. And you can get the service warranty so if anything happens, you won't have to pay to have it repaired.

  24. Thanks so much for sharing your real experience with appliances. Who knows, the manufacturer may even find your story on a Google search (it's happened to me before with restaurant experiences on my blog).

    I've burned through 3 dishwashers in 7 years. This April I finally broke down and bought a service plan with our latest dishwasher. So far so good. We've had one service call (it took 4 days and our dishwasher was filled with stinky water), but it worked. We use our dishwasher at least twice a day.

    Sorry to hear that your kitchen appliances suck. I'll stay away from Kitchen Aid if we ever get a house nice enough for a kitchen renovation. :)

  25. BAHAHAHA! I couldn't stop laughing at this post because I can totally relate!!! In one week I had my dish washer leak and practically drown my house, I found out my washing machine was leaking fluid, my stove was connected by DUCK TAPE to the wall - which started sparking, and I also lost a couch to a dog. Let's just say I drank at least an entire bottle of wine that week - maybe more. :) I get it, I really, really do.

    Mr. P and I bought our washer at Lowe's at an extreme discount, like $200 for a Bosch washer (WOAH!) and then got rid of our old one on Craig's list for $150. Therefore, our new washer was only $50!! I hope you run into some of this luck with your appliances soon.


  26. That dude deserves a medal! And EW. I totally wouldn't have wanted to fish out my own socks and undies let alone someone else's. Ha!

  27. Omg,that is my washer and dryer!!! I've had it since 2007 so hopefully everything is fine. I did notice a smell like 6 months ago so I started using the Tide cleaner for it. Thanx for the mesh bag tip. I'll get one this weekend.

  28. Hi! I found your blog searching for Braemore Silsila fabric. Your home is lovely!
    I had to comment on this one. I have the same washer, with the exception of the glass lid. Total piece of crap washer!!! We have replaced the pump motor three times in the four years we've had it. All because there is no screen to prevent small items from getting in the pump. For us it has been coins, not socks. Fortunately my husband has done the work, saving us $$$ to a repairman, but seriously, when you pay hundreds of dollars for an appliance, you hope it will last for years. Ours first went out in less than a year. When we finally have to replace it, I'm thinking of getting an old fashioned no bells agitator style.
    Yay for your coworker volunteering her hubby to come to your rescue.


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