My washing machine rises like a phoenix from the ashes

Filed in Blog by on November 5, 2018 5 Comments
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washing machine repair for a zero waste lifestyle - BidvineLast week my washing machine died.

And yes, it was half way through a cycle with a full load of washing and a drum full of water when it happened!

I asked on Facebook for recommendations of washing machine brands which were energy efficient and long lasting.

While I was browsing new machines Mr Green grabbed his screwdriver and set to looking to see if he could fix the existing one.

According to research by WRAP, the average consumer expects a washing machine to last six years before it needs replacing. I admit I expect more than that. I expect about ten years, which is exactly how old ours is. So I really couldn’t complain and I wasn’t expecting a positive response from Mr Green about the prognosis for our machine.

Which? have some interesting things to report on washing machine longevity. First they point out that several factors can affect the potential lifetime of a washing machine such as over or under loading (we definitely overload ours – show me a family who doesn’t), frequency of use, detergent usage (I’d love to know more about this) and where the machine is situated – for example, having it in a garage without heating can reduce life expectancy.

Apparently Miele say that all their machines are tested to last 20 years; which I would kind of expect, given their price. BUT 20 years doesn’t come as a standard warranty, most of their machine only have the usual two!
Indesit, on the other hand, say they’d expect their washing machines to last seven to eight years. However, their standard warranty is just ONE short year!

All this has got me thinking about inbuilt obsolescence and my somewhat rose-tinted view that I’m sure things used to be build better in ya know, the Olden Days, when I was a child.

I’m wondering if our love of smartphones and computers has gradually got us used to the idea of upgrading all things in our homes more frequently. I mean, even my first mobile phone lasted me about ten years, which would be virtually unheard of now. And you only have to look at the appliances dumped at your local household recycling centre to know people get rid of perfectly good appliances, probably because they colour is wrong or they have a minor scratch.

Anyway, before this turns into a mini rant about inbuilt obsolescence and our disposable culture, back to my washing machine.

Here’s my kitten, making sure Mr Green is going a good enough job:

kitten sitting on washing machine

I’m thrilled to say that all that had happened was the drainage pump had stopped working. I found a replacement pump for less than £10. It’s now installed and my machine is as good as new!

Thankfully I just happen to be married to an ex washing machine engineer!

If you’re not as lucky as me, I’ve got a great website to tell you about. Bidvine is THE place to find trusted local professionals. The way Bidvine works is that you type in your postcode, answer a few questions about what you need then reputable people send you bids – along with their company profile and reviews. You sift through the competition and book the right person to help you. You’ll find all sorts of people to help you live a more zero waste lifestyle – alterations professionals, computer repairs, you’ll even find people to help teach you to cook so you can stop wasting so much food!

Interestingly, Bidvine’s most popular category is photography! I’ve mentioned in this post about the idea of giving experiences rather than gifts for Christmas and Birthdays, so if someone you love is coming up to a special occasion, why not book them a session of family portrait photography? It’s a gift that someone might not treat themselves to, but they’ll love the end result.

What about you – do you have an appliance you’ve fixed recently to give it a new lease of life?

About the Author ()

I am a long time supporter of the Green and Sustainable lifestyle. After being caught in the Boscastle floods in 2004, our family begun a journey to respect and promote the importance of Earth's fragile ecosystem, that focussed on reducing waste. Inspired by the beauty and resourcefulness of this wonderful planet, I have published numerous magazine articles on green issues and the author of four books.

Comments (5)

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  1. Katy says:

    My Mum used to rent her washing machine and had a service contract as part of the deal. Her engineer told her to use half the recommended amount of soap and to do a hot wash, in an empty machine,with washing soda only. Her machine lasted 18 years.

    • Mrs Green says:

      Hey Katy, that’s super helpful information – thanks so much for sharing. Isn’t it interesting your Mum was advised to use half the amount of detergent!

  2. Katy says:

    The washing soda wash only needs to be done every 6 months or so. It shifts all the soap build up in the pipes. On a related note, I’ve been using soap nuts for months now and not only do they wash well, but they seem to cause no gunk to build up that I can see. They’re economical too – I get them from Natural Spa Supplies and even the bag is compostable.

  3. Philippa says:

    I now wouldn’t want any from the Whirlpool family as they had too many problems some time back and Which? isn’t recommending any of them at the moment.

    I wish I’d done something about the bearings… before the noise worried me too much to use my washer/dryer but it is difficult to find time to stay in for an engineer. So I kept taking washing to FILs. When looking at machines I was amazed that some machines apparently have eco programmes that take absolutely hours to complete. It used to say turn the water off after use and to not run the machine while you are asleep or in bed. Who has time to hang around while it is washing for that amount of time? Fast spins are good at making drying quicker but I think also reduce the life of the machine.

    I will go for another washer dryer because of lack of space and just dry for the minimum amount of time to heat through enough so that creases drop out when immediately hung out especially in winter when the days are short. When the weather is dry and I can I hang out in the garden. The breeze blows any creases out. It has been a great summer for drying clothes on the line! I definitely intend trying to make a habit of organising myself to do that.

    You have to be careful with a dryer to keep on removing the fluff so that it doesn’t catch fire and I’d never want to leave a working machine unattended. I find this very worrying where the elderly have carers who come in at intervals. There is generally a lack of continuity with too many different carers and you can’t expect someone in their 90s to crawl around on the floor to de-fluff a machine on their own.

  4. Susan Kay-Attwood says:

    I agree with the fact that “things used to last longer”. I’m sure they were made to then and I also expect appliances to last longer. I haven’t tried soapnuts but have used the ecoegg. I’m currently using surcare or ecover liquid as I have eczema. I also have Soda crystals which I used with a small cup of vinegar in the drum to clean it out every so often and clean the dispenser drawer regularly too.

    I read the Which article about parts to repair and would always prefer to get something repaired than buy a new one and chuck the old one – unless it is past the point of repair.

    Our old washing machine got repaired twice I think and lasted well over 10 yrs.

    Husband has just repaired the toaster which is only 8 yrs old, small piece of wire broke. It will go again though. Looking for a new one that doesn’t take up masses of space and doesn’t do a million things is a nightmare though. What happened to something simple that just does what you want?

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