My husband and I did a water study so we will know how much water it takes to machine wash clothes as well as hand wash clothes. We have an HE top loading washer and have had it for about a year and half. Our old one, could not be repaired. So we purchased a new washing machine.
We have never sent an appliance back until we picked out our first HE (High Efficiency) washer, our first one we sent back the next day. It was terrible would hardly swish and very little water. So then the man from the washing machine department explained how these new machines work. But the first one would barely swish so I would not take it back to the house.
I want to save water, I don't like to waste water but they do not have these machines quite figured out. We purchased another one, cost more than the first one and sent it back too.
We finally decided to get a Maytag with a see through lid and with a flashlight I can see inside and watch what it is doing. Out of the three we tried I am more happy with the Maytag but I still wish I had my old machine.
My family can tell you I have grumbled a lot about these new fangled washing machines. I understand they are suppose to save water but they are large and the size of the tub spreads out the water so the water level will not always get high enough to cover the clothes.
I understand the sensor and how it determines the size load and how much water it needs but I feel that these machines were designed by people that never wash clothes!
I found my best cycle is the deep water wash cycle. Even though it does not look deep enough I have finally figured out how many articles of clothing and towels I can put in it so it will clean and the items will submerge. I have just about figured out the normal wash too.
The problem is I have to wash more loads since I can't put as many clothes in the machine. Defeats the purpose to me.
We chose a top loader because it is hard for me to stoop to a side loader also I know several people that have had problems with the side loader smelling musty.
I don't like any of this so I decided to do a water study and thankfully my husband helped me with the study.
I decided to do what I call medium size loads. The sensor will sense what is in there so our job was to measure the amount of water that it is using.
A medium size light colored load in the washer swishing above. I am holding my flashlight over the top glass.
First thing we drew up water for the day to use while the water study was going on. We did not flush toilets, wash our hands or anything with running water from the faucets. We used our water jars for washing our hands, dipped water out of the bucket for washing dishes, and we used our composting toilet until the study was done. The only running water was to wash clothes.
Then we did a regular size load of clothes in each cycle of the HE machine. The only cycles we did not use was hand wash, cold wash and power wash. The reason for that is I hardly ever use those cycles. I use the normal cycle, deep water wash which is only about half full of water and the bulky/sheets for large items. We used the soak cycle for extra dirty and the rinse and spin.
We read the outdoor water meter before starting. After the first fill my husband read the meter again, and read the meter for the rinse. We noticed on a few of the cycles just after washing and draining it will add a bit over a gallon of water, I guess to get soap suds out before spinning. We continued this method. Read the water meter outside, start the machine and keep reading the meter after each cycle.
Then we went outside to our outdoor wash area. I decided on washing sheets, pillow cases and a small load of light colored clothing. I chose sheets because that is the cycle that takes so much water in the HE machine and it will fill nearly to the top. I was generous with the water for the hand washing the sheets.
We use soap that will not harm the environment.
To our surprise we used much less water hand washing our clothes, I had expected it to be the other way.
We did the hand washing after the machine washing was done. The last machine load, I put in a load of dog blankets into the washing machine on the bulky/sheet cycle, the same cycle I normally use for washing sheets. I decided to wash our sheets in the outdoors hand wash area as well as other items.
This is the way we heat water, a camping stove if we need hot water.
I used the washer plunger thing as well as rubbing the clothes by hand. It takes a lot of work to hand wash clothes and a lot of time as well.
I pass the clothes through the wringer to get the water out before rinsing.
The tilted ledge on the wringer just under the rollers directs the water to where you want it to go. I have it tilted so the water runs back into the soapy water.
I am very thankful to have a roller wringer. They are much more expensive now since we purchased our. Lehmans still sells these.
We have a basket on the other side to catch the garments and two large rinse tubs, the blue tubs sit next to the basket so I can toss the garment into the rinse tub. I rinse everything twice.
There is about 7 gallons of water in each rinse tub.
This is how our outdoor wash area looks, I have had the deep sink several places but after my husband built our bath house and wash area this is where it stays now. I am looking in to finding a flat stone to use for extra scrubbing.
I start off with the clothes soaking in the deep sink then wash in the deep sink, wring out using the roller, toss into first rinse blue tub, ring them again, toss into second rinse, ring again then line dry. Occasionally if the clothes are real dirty a third rinse may be necessary.
If I have a small to medium size wash I prefer to use the blue buckets for wash and rinse. These are 15 gallon containers and they swish very good if we put about 7 and half gallons of water.
Sheets will go through the wringer but must be fanned out and helped along. I could not show you how I use my left arm to lift the sheets or garments as I crank the roller.
These sheets have a middle thread count, They are good quality queen sheets with extra deep pockets and they go through the wringer. I do not know if king size sheets would go through because we do not have a king bed.
Hand washed clothes take longer to dry on the line but a hand wringer helps them to dry faster.
I will probably be hand washing our clothes more often now that I know the outcome of the water study. When I first married I hand washed our clothes because I did not have a machine and even washed military uniforms and I did not have a hand wringer but I was young and strong. Now I need the help of a machine but I still can do some hand washing. I am a bit more motivated now that the study is over. STUDY RESULTS BELOW.
HOUSEHOLD WATER STUDY
HE washer - Deep Water - Wash 17.5 gals Rinse 17.5 Total gallons used 35 gals
HE washer - Rinse and Spin - Total gallons used 14.2 gals
He washer - Soak - Total gallons used 13.3 gals
HE washer - Regular Wash after Soak - Wash 18.7 gal's Rinse 20.6 gal's Total gallons used 39.3 gals
HE washer - Regular Wash Not Soaked - Wash 12.9 Extra fill after draining 1.9 gals Rinse 13.6 Total Gallons 28.4
HE washer - Bulky / Sheets - Wash 29 gal's Rinse 28.2 Total gallons used 57.2
* Hand wash Bulky/Sheets size load
I washed Queen Sheets, flat and fitted extra deep pockets, 6 pillow cases, kitchen towels, wash rags, pajamas and several shirts.
7.6 gallons to wash, 14.2 to rinse 2 gallons for clean up, Total used 23.8 gallons
Note * Reused hand wash water for lawn and plants.
I did this study for my own use but I thought I would share with you our findings. I hope it was of some interest, Grandma Donna