Jun. 26, 2014
Choosing a Washing Machine - Some Fundamentals
Thanks for all the likes and comments on 'choosing a Fridge'.
The next preferred appliance in the heirarchy of acquisition , is the Washing Machine. To understand our best buy , let us understand the dynamics of washing a little:
Why do clothes get dirty ? Because , sweat , salts , oil from the body , and dust , fumes , soot , smoke and pollutants from our environment , gets entangled in the fine fibres of the fabric .
What happens when you wash clothes with water and detergent ? The detergent is a chemical , that acts in the presence of water (which acts as a catalyst or facilitator by dissolving the chemical detergent) , to break down the entangled dirt particles. And the physical action of your hand scrub , or the maid's brush , or the washerman's splash on the stones , removes the broken up dirt , to clean up the pores and the fabric.
So what all does the washing machine change ? Well , the water and the detergent still are needed . What changes , is the physical action required to push out the dirt . Along with the same , the type of washing machine you choose , also decides the level of convenience you achieve in terms of soaking , rinsing the detergent , and drying without the involvement of your own , your maid's or your washerman's physical action.
This brings us down to the basics of what type of machine you could choose.
(a)The starters , single person households or small (read two adult , lots of spare time) families , might go with avery basic washer , which purely removes the pain of soaking the clothes in soap , and churning them to remove the dirt. The rinsing , wringing out the water , and drying in the sun needs to be done later. In lighter vein , these machines are known more as 'lassi churning machines' in north India , more than complete washing machines.
(b)Thus the very basic category of machine , could be called as the twin tub or the semi automatic machine , with offers of capacities of 5/6/7/8 Kg dry load. Dry load is the stated capacity of dry clothes that the machine can take. (For very rough calculations , a double bed sheet is around 1250 grams , a shirt is close to 250 grams , a saree might be 400 grams , and a blanket might weigh 2500 grams). For a household of 4 persons , the daily (dry) load is going to be nearly 3.5kgs to 4.5 kgs . Add to this the load of alternate day laundry like towels , weekly laundry like bed linen , etc. in a 4 member household the daily load peaks at about 6.5 to 7 kgs. The capacity of the machine should thus be based upon the washing frequency that you wish to deploy. For a daily wash , a 6 kgs machine is good enough , but for washing on alternate days , even an 8 kg machine would not work in a single wash . The twin tub washing machine provides you the convenience to soak , wash and rinse in one tub. Physical intervention is required to remove the clothes to the second tub for rinse , and spin drying. After spin dry , a sun drying effort is required to bring clothes to iron / use level of readiness.
(c)The fully automatic or top loading single tub washing machine , is normally a complete convenience equipment , which enables soaking , washing , rinsing and drying in one single tub. The wash capacity remains fundamentally same , as applicable for a single tub , except that the tub for spin drying too is the same , and not smaller , as in case of a semi automatic machine , thus needing no physical intervention or shift for rinsing out soap , and drying. The need to dry out in sun or air after the complete cycle of wash , rinse and spin , remains the same as for a semi automatic washing machine.
(d)The tumble wash , or kost commonly called the front loading machine, is the costliest in the category of washing machines , because it provides additional convenience of maintaining the texture of the clothes , and creating an environment of thrashing clothes on a water bed , which provides the cleanest wash. In some machines , the drying capability is upto 90% , which makes clothes ironing ready , and thus not needing sun drying after the machine drying in done.
Some user tips :
(a)For a clean wash , it is not essential that water be heated. In tropical countries like India , chances are that the ambient temperatures would be above 25/30 degrees celsius , which are right for best detergent efficiency. Hot water would work additionally as a disinfectant , and hence it might be advisable to wash baby nappies and other hygiene needing clothes in a small load separately , in the interest of energy saving
(b)Bleaching , liquid blue rinse and starch applications are possible with machine wash too , but with physical intervention. Bleaching , and liquid blue application needs segregation of white loads , and application at the beginning and end of wash respectively. Starch application too would be used towards the end. However , all these activities might stain , corrode or clog the equipment. It is always better to get re-assured about the capability of the metal , plastics and elctronic components to withstand such usage , at the time of purchase.
(c)Laundry areas carrying harsh dirt , like collars , hem lines etc. might need a spray of special washing agents , available in super stores , to get fully cleaned , since the machine does not select specific areas for tougher wash
(d)Woolens and silks must ideally be washed separately since they need gentle wash . And clothes which are susceptible to color loss , obviously need separate handling.
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Vivek Kumar Gupta