Last Updated: , Created: Thursday, January 8th, 2004

Keeping old appliances alive and looking at a ductless clothes dryer

Viewers sent in a series of questions about their appliances, so I located a very interesting resource written by a busy appliance repairman in Calgary, Alberta. John MacKenzie writes in detail why it is that so many appliances die premature deaths.

Ken from London, Ontario has grease stains on his clothes that are in the pattern of the holes in the washer drum. He wonders where the grease is coming from. Well, it could be grease, especially if it is a dark brown colour, coming from the main shaft. Lift off the agitator, as in the second photo above, and see if grease is rising up out of broken seals from the transmission below.

But surprisingly, MacKenzie tells us that a more common bluish grey stain is actually caused by an accumulation of soap and fabric softeners. Whenever you put too much soap in a washer, it flows up over the tub and accumulates in the hidden parts of the machine, where you only see if you lift up the top of the washing machine. Clean this all out and restrain your use of soap, just enough to have a suggestion of bubbles when it is agitating. Washers actually clean better with less soap.

Dianne of Hammer, Ontario had a pen that exploded in her clothes dryer and wants to know if she needs to replace the drum. First figure out if that ink is cooked in completely, or will it ever come off on clothes. Take some very white towels or rags, wash and dry them and inspect for ink. If there is absolutely nothing, just forget about it as it is now part of the machine.

We did try several cleaners to see about removing the ink with various products that our viewers have recommended. One suggestion was Simple Green, which does have the warning that it can remove latex paint. When we scrubbed hard enough on the ink stain to remove it, we removed the paint as well, exposing bare metal and asking for rust marks on the clothes rather than ink marks.

A graffiti remover called Remove-All removed the ink with barely any rubbing and without affecting the paint. So is possible to find something that will take cooked ink out of a dryer tub. Buy the way, don't turn on the dryer for a while after using a flammable solvent on the inside.

Sometimes it is not worth keeping an old appliance going, especially when we consider advances made in modern appliances and how they are so much more energy efficient today than 20 years ago. Some new appliances even do things that the old one simply could not do.

We took a quick look at a Bosch ductless clothes dryer. It has a number of very interesting features. It uses a humidity sensor to determine when the clothes are dry, not a timer, so it never over-dries and it never runs for no reason. Most amazingly, it has no exhaust air duct. Instead it has a compressor inside, like an air conditioner, which condenses all the water out of the air flow and sends the water down a drain tube. This is the ideal dryer for a small apartment where ducting to the outdoors is very difficult. It could also permit a designer to put the laundry room in a location that otherwise would be impossible.

Keywords: Appliances, Graffiti, Clothes Dryers, Repair, Cleaning, Grease

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