Thursday, July 25, 2013

Laundry Drama: Saving Your Washer

During Ichthyosis Awareness Month, I wrote a post on "Mommy tips". One of the topics was about laundry. Not only is it difficult to get Aquaphor out of clothes, it's also tricky to get it out of your washer. Especially front loaders. We received our front loader shortly after Evan was born thanks to our good friend Jenny. This machine has a "sanitize" cycle which does a really good job getting Aquaphor out of the clothing when using a basic detergent. But after a full year (and first year as an Ichthyosis mommy) of just throwing in laundry as is with minimal prepping, soaking or even shaking and no maintenance, the machine started clogging up.  I was getting errors, cycles that wouldn't finish and a machine that wouldn't drain. After having it serviced and given a few pointers, the machine was working better. I cleaned out the drain (pump filter) more often and occasionally used a washing machine cleaner to "clean" the machine. And again, a year later more errors and new errors.

You wouldn't believe the crud I have found in here. Lot's of Aqauphor and skin build in the pump filter.  **Make sure you have a dish to collect water, I use a cookie sheet to catch any liquid as you unscrew ***

As much as the machine was having problems because of Aquaphor and skin residue, I should have done a better job taking care of the machine, never mind the fact that it was one of my tips!!!!! Shaking his clothes out alone would have helped significantly (you wouldnt believe the amount of skin that comes off from shaking and I definitely had my lazy moments!) Running empty hot cycles would have been ideal after Evan's loads and cleaning the machine weekly would have prolonged its life.

We just had it serviced again and we were told we needed a new pump. I knew that the pump was just clogged not broken so I refused for pay hundreds for it to be fixed, most likely temporarily. I knew if I could clean out the machine really good, I could save it. After watching never ending youtube videos about taking front loaders apart, I knew I would not dare make that step. But I did get it working again after days and days of soaking in Washer Magic and then running empty Hot cycles with cleaners including bleach, vinegar, Tide, Borax, Krud Kutter, Spray-n-Wash,  and baking soda (NOT all at the same time!). But still, every time I tried to wash Evan's clothes it would not finish its cycle. A new washer for Evan was the consensus on this predicament; a top loader this time. With hopes to save the Kenmore for our clothing is the goal and so far a successful one!

The new setup! 
Just need to figure out the pluming connections so both machines are hooked up!

Some of the cleaners used..

The thing about laundry in this house is that we never really struggled to get Aqauphor out of the clothing. Spray-n-Wash did the trick for my clothes and the sanitize cycle on our Kenmore machine worked best for Evan's. But not taking care of the machine was causing it to not work properly and over time was not washing out Aquaphor as well. So after this ramble here is some NEW advice for laundry and saving your washer. Some of which I should have done in the beginning when it was suggested when Evan was a wee lad!

-Shake out clothing excessively! You can get some good exercise doing this!

-Soak heavily soiled Aquaphor clothing in HOT (dish soapy) water before washing in machine.

-Run empty HOT cycles on your machine after Aquaphor loads

-Clean out your machine weekly or biweekly (with a machine cleaner or even on the machine's cleaning cycle. BTW just saw the button on my Kenmore that it had a "clean machine cycle"- imagine that!)

-Try cleaning the machine with dish soap. (have yet to put this in a machine cycle but it is necessary for top loaders since residue also accumulates inside of the drum, imagine what you can't see!)

-Buy an extended warranty. Our new machine for Evan came with a 10yr motor warranty and optional 5 yr service plan. The plan cost the same as one service visit and it isn't a bad idea to have someone come out yearly to do that. FYI- they sometimes use a shop-vac to suck out things from the hoses or rubber drain area in front loaders and it seemed to help significantly!)

Shop-vac it!

-Check Craig's list for a cheap or affordable machine. Author's of Confetti Skin, Beauty Within wrote a post about laundry issues and they advised others to check Craig's list for a machine that you know is going to bite the dust once Aqauphor and skin take over!)

Washing your clothing is as important as washing out your machine. You can't have clean clothes if you don't have a clean machine. Since there are many extra expenses that are associated with Ichthyosis it is important to have a washer last as long as possible as it is an absolute necessity. Yes, unfortunately you use a lot more water and some non earth-friendly cleaners but it is essential for keeping you and your child healthy. Any other tips, feel free to share.



  1. Such a useful post! Thank you. Machine troubles have plagued me this year.

  2. For the plumbing connections you can buy a brass "Y" at almost any hardware store to go on both of the hot and cold water inlets. That way you can hookup both machines at once and never have to be switching back and forth. The drain line may be a little harder. You might be able to find some type of Y so both lines can be hooked up at once. You could also try some type of wide mouthed funnel that will fit into the drain line and then you could hook both up at once.

    1. Thank you for the tip! We have tried that but with our space issue the hot water hoses will not fit! We need to extend the line to put the "Y" on but cannot find the proper hose!

  3. Great blog and really helpful for washing machine user. I am also using washing machine and i will definitely apply this tips and trick to overcome problem relating to washing machine.

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