Entry 104: All Washed Up

As I’m sure you all know, February is Black History Month and the best time to buy a washer and dryer.  I’m not sure if those two things are related, but I do know that any discussion about sorting laundry can get you in a lot of trouble unless you make it very clear which February event you’re talking about.

I’ll give you a moment to think about that.

It was becoming urgent for us to purchase a new laundry set-up, because, frankly, some of our clothes were coming out of the wash with more stains than when they went in.   To find a solution to this, I did an online search for laundry blogs, and was shocked to learn that there are laundry blogs…a lot of them…some of which probably get more readers than this one, which is somewhat surprising, for the simple fact that THEY’RE ABOUT LAUNDRY!  I mean, come on, people!  Tell all your friends to stop reading about friggin’ detergent and subscribe to this blog instead.  How funny can lint be, anyway?

In any case, there didn’t seem to be much of a consensus among laundry bloggers about what causes clothing to acquire stains while being washed, so naturally we selected the most expensive solution: buying new machines.

My wife Barbara was assigned this task.  I felt that this was a purchase decision I didn’t need to be involved in, because, a) I know nothing about laundry and, b) really, how many options could there be?  Big or small, top load or front load, right?  It’s not like buying a car or anything.

Hah!  Shows what you know!

You have to decide if you want steam or not and, if so, whether you want it in the washer, the dryer, or both.  You need to know what degree of energy efficiency you’re willing to pay for, the size of the built-in LCD screen (and whether it’s color or black and white), the number and type of baffles you want in the dryer, and, evidently, how many apps you want your laundry appliances to be able to run.

After careful online research, Barb decided on a 4.3 cubic foot Whirlpool Duet® washer, possibly because it is advertised as being able to “wash up to 20 pairs of various sized jeans in a single load.” This despite the fact that our entire family doesn’t even own 20 pairs of jeans. Our entire neighborhood might not even own that many.  Obviously, this machine was designed for Kate Gosselin or Octomom, but would even they ever have to wash 20 pairs of jeans at the same time? Wouldn’t members of their families wear khakis at least occasionally?

According to its website, Whirlpool has also empowered this washing machine with “6th Sense Technology™,” so we’re all set if dead people ever invade our laundry room.*  It also makes our washing machine really smart:

“6th Sense™ Technology is Whirlpool brand’s exclusive package of intelligent systems that help you care for your clothes better than you ever thought possible.  It’s what empowers our Duet® Premium front-load washers and dryers to deliver ultimate cleaning, gentleness and efficiency.”

Yes, the ultimate cleaning–that’s what we wanted.  Plain old regular cleaning isn’t good enough for us, especially now that we live in Connecticut.

But how does Whirlpool know what level of clothing care I think is possible? I think it may one day be possible for a washer/dryer to not only clean clothes, but to have them come out ironed, folded and, if necessary, darned.  Obviously, the person who writes Whirlpool brands’ copy doesn’t have my imagination.

Let us now move on to our Whirlpool brand dryer.  According to the hyperbolic Whirlpool brand website, it has:

  • Three built-in sensors that read incoming air temperature and outgoing air temperature while monitoring moisture levels inside the dryer.
  • Four staggered baffles to promote better, more balanced tumbling.
  • Fourteen specialty cycles plus a full-color LCD widescreen and a built-in suite of Laundry Apps.

This does, indeed, sound impressive, and I’m sure Barb will enjoy watching Real Housewives or playing Angry Birds on her laundry equipment while waiting for the clothes to be thoroughly baffled.  However, I’m not sure why a dryer would need to know the temperature of the air once it leaves the machine, or how the sensors could be anything but “built-in.”  I mean, what’s the alternative–a remote monitoring station?  (“Hello, Ms.  Hallen.  This is Whirlpool calling.  The air temperature alarms are going off here at central monitoring, so can you check to see if there are any intruders in your dryer?)

Okay, so anyway, Barbara goes to Sears during National Black History Laundry Sale Month and picks out these two units.  Total list price: $2,549.98.  Sale price: $2,794.89.

I’m sure glad we waited for February!

Evidently, there are a slew of options that bump up the price.  Like being able to plug the machines into an electrical outlet.  That’s right; the power cord is optional.  I guess either the machines can somehow be powered by several hundred AA batteries**, or else some people prefer their washer/dryers to be entirely ornamental in nature.

There was also a charge for platforms for the machines to sit on, and a charge to set up the machines and put them in place, which is separate from the delivery charge, which apparently only leaves them by the front door like orphaned babies in a baskets, only with lots of styrofoam.  And don’t forget the haul away charge, without which we would be responsible for disposing of our old, stain-causing machines ourselves.  There was also an additional charge for any color other than white (still talking about the laundry sale February event here), but Barb, bless her heart, decided it didn’t matter what color the machines hidden away in the basement were.

So last Wednesday, two guys from Sears came with our two new appliances, each of which are about Barbara’s height, which means it’s a really good thing they’re front-loading, but not so good that they’re sitting on platforms.  One of the guys explained what all the dozens of settings were for, then concluded by saying “Just leave it on normal.”

Well, goshdarn it, we will not leave it on normal.  For $2,800.00, we will use all the settings, even if we have no idea what they do.  And while I may not get ironed shirts, darned socks and folded underwear, I sure as hell intend to really enjoy my well-tumbled, steamed clothing.

See you soon.

*Get it? 6th Sense Technology? Dead people? Bruce Willis? This isn’t some laundry blog you’re reading here; you’ve got to get the references!

**Not included.

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