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Start Machine Before Loading?

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What I'm talking about is an older/simpler machine that doesn't have that automatic sensor that somehow figures out how big the load is.  All it has is a set of buttons for small, medium, large, or extra-large loads.  Affects how high the water level gets before it stops filling and starts agitating.

My understanding is you toss in some clothes and some detergent, look at how high the clothes fill the washer, select a load size, close the lid and start the cycle.  Come back when it's done.  But I don't do the laundry around my house, my wife does, and only because I had to fix her washer recently did I learn this isn't how she does it!  She opens the lid and starts the washer -- with no clothes in it, the tub is empty.  It starts filling the empty tub with water, and after it's come up a couple of inches she adds the detergent so that it can get all mixed up in the water.  When the water reaches the set level the machine shuts off; it won't go into agitation mode because the lid is still open.  Next time there's an ad on TV or whatever, she comes and loads the clothes into a washer that's already full of water, pushing them down into the water to get them thoroughly soaked.  Then she closes the lid which begins the agitation.

She claims that *MY* mother taught her this method years ago!  I didn't do the laundry when I lived with my mom, either.  But supposedly my mom was aghast when she saw my wife putting detergent in the washer with dry clothes, insisted that's not how it's done.

I don't know if there's anything wrong with what my wife is doing, or whether it really has any advantages.  It occurs to me that, if the machine fills to a level when it's empty and then you add clothes, it'll end up with a water level HIGHER than the button is set for.  Does the button impact the length of the spin/drain cycle?  Will the machine put enough water in there to rinse properly?  Is there a right way or a wrong way to load a washer?

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Hello Kirbert. I don't have much knowledge on top loaders, hardly ever worked on them as 99.9%of my customers had front loaders. I presume you no longer have the instruction manual which would settle the argument? :)

I think a washing machine filling with no laundry may well take in less water. It's contrary to what you would think, but the laundry soaks up a lot of water so it would need more water to reach a preset level with laundry soaking it up than with none. However, I agree that the system your wife uses seems pretty unnecessary and time consuming. She doesn't need to assist in any way. I'm confident that the proper method would be to put in the laundry, add the detergent to wherever it's supposed to go, decide what kind of load you are washing and select the appropriate button and wash cycle and then just switch it on and let it get on with its job. 

Having said all that if your laundry has always been suitably clean her method can't be doing any harm.



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