A Fluff Love Experience with a Combined Machine!
Written by: Jennifer Brock
As an admin in the largest troubleshooting group on Facebook, when faced with an international move like any other sane person, I worried about how I would get my diapers clean. Okay, maybe not like a very sane person, but come on? Laundry is kind of my life. Moving in itself is always stressful, only to add on the fact that my new laundry room only had ONE machine in it. One, scary, foreign, do-it-all, machine.
*** I want to go ahead and note that ALL machines are not created equal. This holds true for all in one machines, as well. My machine is Korean (220v) made so it’s probably going to be different than one made in the USA. I’ve read a lot about the different types of all in one machine, my experience definitely isn’t a RULE to all in one machines. This is just my experience with my machine and upholding the Fluff Love cleanliness standard across the globe. ***
When I got here the machine was entirely in Korean. I had a small piece of paper with the basics translated from our relator. My husband tried to walk me through it, but his laundering needs are expectedly different from my own. The machine itself is pretty basic for a front loading, HE machine. It does all the good stuff. Has about 10 different cycles, can do up to 5 extra rinses, and drains. From there things get a little fancier… After it goes through a wash cycle it dehydrates. It pulls out as much water as it can, then starts the drying process, which continues to pull and dump water out during the cycle. Of course drying is an option, the temperature it dries on is as well.
For the first week or so I was doing a very basic rinse and spin with a little bit of detergent on my dirty diapers. Following with a standard wash with a full cap of detergent, and of course adding things to it to bulk it up 2/3-3/4 full, with it set to dry them right afterwards. It was getting them clean just fine! I was having no problems, everything was coming out as clean as can be. Once I had a little down time from moving in, curiosity got the best of me so I sat down and translated my entire machine, and the manual that came with it.
(<Temperature, Steam, Wash,
Rinse, Dehydration, and drying settings
I wont translate all of my cycles, they don’t matter. >)
I found a stubborn dirt cycle. PERFECT.
While I haven’t been having any problems with my standard cycle I didn’t like that I couldn’t change it to heavy soil. I felt like I was going to need more eventually. Stubborn dirt sounded right up my alley. I also found a quick wash cycle! Perfect!
From there I started doing a quick wash with my dirty diapers, one or two pods of detergent. Then I would throw in my other laundry to get it to be about 2/3-3/4 full, fill my detergent dispenser up, and run the stubborn dirt cycle.
A few weeks of that and everything has been going great! The quick wash only took about 20 minutes, so it wasn’t taking too horribly long. Although, it probably could have been shorter.
Through some trial and error by playing around with normal laundry, I found out that my stubborn dirt cycle has a quick wash cycle built into it!!!
Which has made my life amazingly easy, let me just share with you the ease of my diaper laundry routine:
1.) All diapers are removed of any poop before going into the laundry room.
2.) I pull out any inserts that I have that will not agitate out (My Applecheeks will agitate out my other pocket diapers will not.)
3.) Throw everything into the drum. (Pockets, Covers, Inserts, Prefolds, Flats, and whatever it takes to get my drum 2/3-3/4 full. I include any laundry I have to do that day so I’m only doing one load per day.)
4.) I place 1 or 2 pods in the drum. (Currently I use Gain flings in Mountain Breeze (MY FAVORITE) or I have Tide pods in spring meadow. If I have a lot of poopy diapers, I will throw in one tide and one gain pod)
5.) I dump in ½ cup of purex stain fighter booster or a Tide booster pod (purex is like oxiclean or biz. But cheaper and more available for me here)
6.) I fill the detergent dispenser up with liquid detergent (currently Gain lavender)
7.) Move the dial to stubborn dirt and cold tap water temperature.
8.) Change the rinses from 3 to 1. (Who needs 3 extra rinses?!)
9.) Select my drying setting (I pick most dry, which is the highest I can go)
10.) Press the Start Button and walk away!!
In about 4 hours later, they are washed, clean, and dry waiting for me to take them out of the drum! (30 minute prewash, 1.5 main wash, 2 hour dry time)
Tips on washing with an all-in-one machine:
1.) READ your manual!!!! This is super, super important. Most normal washers you can get away with not reading the manual. For these, you really need to know what cycle is going to give you the most/longest agitation for cloth diapers. Take the time, look things up.
2.) Don’t be afraid to play around with it! I’ve read a lot of about these machines, most people aren’t washing cloth diapers in them though. Some people say their machines like ½ full drums best. Some like 2/3-3/4 full, like mine. The only way to know for sure it to start with a full drum and play around with it. If a full drum doesn’t get them clean, try ½ full and see how that works. Don’t let them get away with NOT being clean, but don’t be afraid to see what works best for that machine.
3.) As always, make sure you are using HE detergent if you have an HE machine.
4.) The biggest problem with these machines that I have read about is there drying ability. I can’t speak for all the other machines out there but mine is amazing at drying. THERE is a trick though. (That I have learned the hard way around) As soon as you hear it beep, don’t touch anything before you give it a chance to cool down. Often, they will feel slightly damp right when the machine will beep to let you know it’s done. Opening the door and letting it breath for a few minutes can make a world of a difference. Occasionally mine will not be dry by the time it beeps, but that’s really a rare occasion and usually is related to number 7 (see below). As long as I open the door and let the laundry cool before opening they are always bone dry. * Extra Tip: If you are washing big blankets, take it out halfway and put it back in inside out of how you pulled it out. That will help dry any blanket *
5.) All-in-one machines aren’t for everyone. If you have a lot of laundry, they probably around going to be the best for you as they aren’t exactly the best time efficient things. Drying time can take a while. (about 1.5-2 hours for a full drum) We live a minimalist life here. Doing one load of clothing a day is perfect for us as a household of 3, sheets on the weekend, no problem. But if you’re someone who goes through a lot of clothes a day, it might not be a perfect fit.
6.) Any big things are best done alone. Only one big blanket at a time. Sheets are best only washed with sheets. Also, if you have a quilt or bulky cycle be sure to use it. If not, it most likely won’t put out enough water to clean it fully.
7.) The lint trap will probably be different in all machines. MY lint trap is outside of the machine actually. There is a hose that goes from the back of the machine to the ground water pipe. Lifting up the hose from the ground water pipe exposes my lint trap so its easy to clean out and avoid any problems. But find where YOUR lint trap is right away and clean it often. You’ve got washer AND dryer lint going through it, it will fill up quickly. I check it about once a week. * If you do NOT clean this it will cause your dryer to not work properly and it will send water back into the drum and make everything soaking wet again… I found out the hard way… Trust me…*
8.) Cleaning the drum is the same as any normal FL. Leave the door open when not in use to prevent any mold or smells. Although with the dehydration process there should be no water left in the machine at all, it’s not a bad practice to continue. You can run a bleach cycle or washer cleaner cycle just like a standard one. Just make sure you don’t have your dryer to come on after the wash is complete.
9.) MOST washer settings do NOT automatically dry. It’s a setting you have to select. So you don’t have to use the dryer. Many people here hang their stuff outside to dry to save money.
* Extra Tip: A downside to the dryer is that it doesn’t de-wrinkle as much as I’m used to from a single dryer machine. With a full load, most things will come out wrinkled… Dry but full of wrinkles. I have an iron cycle attached to my dryer. If I need something to be wrinkle free (like shirts or pants) I will typically toss them in through smaller portions. However, many times the wrinkles come out by the time we go to wear them so it’s nothing I have to do regularly.*
10.) Be sure to clean out the door area with a damp wash cloth or wet wipe. I usually use a wet wipe because then i can just throw it away. Lint will get stuck in the door frame in between the rubber opening. A wet wipe will help grab it and prevent your lint trap getting too full.
So there you have it! Life with an all in one machine is definitely something to get used to and an interesting one for sure, but they can work really well and you can definitely get your diapers clean in them. If you’re going some place that has one, don’t be scared! Give it a shot! If you are interested in buying one, look up the reviews, read the manual before hand, and make the best informed decision for you and your family!