CHOOSING A WASHING MACHINE FOR YOUR LARGE FAMILY

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If you have a large family, then a large washing machine is an absolute no-brainer. If it’s worth doing, it’s not ALWAYS worth overdoing. Sometimes a big washing machine causes more problems than it solves. When you’re in the market buying a new washing machine, you could opt for a more-or-less identical replacement for your current model or, with just a bit of research, you could find a machine that’s even better suited to handling the unique laundry needs of your particular household.

With this in mind, today’s question is – when it comes to washing machines, does size matter?

Well, sometimes a big washing machine causes more problems than it solves. In general, bigger washing machines tend to use more water and more energy per wash cycle than a smaller model.Depending on how frequently you wash your clothes, this could have a significant impact on your home’s environmental footprint and power/water bills – just as much as doing mini-loads in a small machine also, doing a lot of laundry in one go can be a big hassle, and a lot of hard work. The physical effort of hauling a big load of dirty washing to the machine can be a pain, and it only gets harder when the cycle finishes and you need to haul out the wet clothes. Even with a fast spin speed that extract more moisture, damp laundry is still heavier than dry laundry.

Technology to the rescue!

Fortunately, some washing machine manufacturers are adding special features in their larger models to help offset some of the traditional shortcomings while allowing you to keep enjoying their benefits. Newer large washing machines often include a variety of specialised wash cycles to take better care of different types of clothes, such as sportswear, wool or denim. It’s not unusual to find an Eco mode among these options, which minimises the washer’s use of power and water, while still giving your clothes a great clean. That said, in some washers this Eco mode may take a little longer to finish than a regular wash cycle.

Speaking of wash times, if your large washer is taking too long to clean your clothes, it’s worth investigating the control panel to see what adjustments you can make, such as altering the rinse, spin and other wash settings. The electronic display found on many newer washers often provides a countdown of the remaining cycle time, so see which settings can help reduce this time while still providing the best possible wash. Of special note is the Quick cycle, found on many newer washing machines, which can run for as little as 15 minutes. That said, these cycles only provide light refreshment to a few garments at a time rather than giving a full-size laundry load a thorough clean, so it’s best used to quickly bring a few lightly-soiled garments (say, a couple of business shirts) back into circulation in the shortest possible time.

So the question still remains, to buy a larger washing machine or to manage with multiple cycles in a smaller one?
The answer lies in one’s usage pattern and load of clothes. Also capacity is a simple but important consideration for washing machines: the bigger the drum, the more you can wash. As a guide, 1 kg is roughly equivalent to an outfit including a pair of trousers, a top, underwear and socks. High capacity machines allow you to wash less frequently, cutting down on energy bills and environmental impact. Our two bits, if you have a larger family or regularly do larger loads, try a high capacity drum. If you live run a smaller household, consider a 5 kg or 6 kg-capacity machine.

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