“ Brand: Hoover „
I have a confession to make. I haven't bought a washing machine in over 20 years. Ever since I upped sticks to London over 20 years ago, I have either used the launderette, relied on my husband choosing one or inherited machines in house moves or rental properties.
My previous machine was an Ariston washer dryer, which was elderly when I inherited it and which actually broke down. Luckily for me it was the circuit board and I actually found an engineer who fixed circuit boards, thus saving me a small fortune.
When I moved to my latest home the washing machine in situ was a Hoover, which made my heart sink. Ever since the Hoover "Free Flights" fiasco in the early 90s, I have avoided Hoover products after my husband and I purchased a Hoover wet/dry vacuum in anticipation of a trip across the pond, only to be let down by the company - both on the offer of flights and with the vacuum cleaner - which was rubbish.
You don't tend to forget things like that and I've happily avoided the brand in the intervening 18 years but I had to make use of what I had and try to put my negative feelings about the brand to one side and get on with things.
The H120M is a white automatic washing machine with a maximum capacity of 6kg. It's a fairly basic washing machine, with no electronic display, no bells (or whistles) to tell you a load has finished and it doesn't have a drying feature either.
It has a range of programmes to cover all laundry needs however - and this is something that is very important to me as I am very particular about laundry - in fact I do at least one load every day - and often it's two. I have what seems like a huge collection of detergents as well to cover every kind of fabric and stain.
Operating the machine is very straightforward - you select a programme and turn the knob on the right hand side of the control panel to the desired number. You can elect to run the machine in economy mode, use the crease guard feature and add an extra rinse. You then press the start button, a red light comes on and the machine fills up.
When I moved into this property there was no manual for the washing machine, but I was able to obtain one in PDF format online, ensuring I wasn't using this without having read up on it first.
I must admit however that my first few washes with this machine were an unmitigated disaster.
Firstly, it's actually quite easy to turn the dial round to the wrong programme. There is a notch on the knob you turn but if you aren't paying really close attention it's actually quite easy to turn it 90 degrees the wrong way. Which isn't a problem if you wanted a robust programme and have put them on delicates but can be a disaster the other way round.
Secondly, I discovered that if I used the fast spin on this machine the noise it made was horrific - a piercing shrill scream if you will. Which was awful. However to add to my woes, having put a load of clothing in and giving it a full spin, half of the clothes were ripped at the end of the cycle. As you can imagine, those negative feelings I had about Hoover were growing by the day.
I called out a repair man to have a look at the machine, and was amazed to discover screws, coins, buttons and several other pieces of debris removed when he emptied the machine's filter - and needless to say it was this debris which had been responsible for ripping my clothes and making the machine scream at full spin.
Having had the machine fixed, I have used this machine on a daily basis without further incidents of clothes being torn, although my particular nature regarding laundry extends to me putting anything which might damage the machine, such as underwired bras, in netted laundry bags in an attempt to preserve the life of the machine.
As a washer, I have had variable results with this machine. I do most of my washing at low temperatures - a habit I got into some years ago as it's viewed as the environmentally thing to do. Also, I wear a lot of wool, which necessitates using the programmes for very delicate fibres, along with milder detergent. It goes without saying that this combination is great for cleaning lightly soiled delicates but not so good for heavily soiled cottons.
The detergent drawer has three sections - two for detergent and one for fabric softener. The detergent gets taken clean away but unfortunately the fabric softener section frequently has a large amount of residue after a wash, which is rather irritating.
The dial is split into three specific sections - one for cottons, one for synthetics and one for delicates.
I don't boil wash anything so I can't comment on those programmes in the cottons section but I do use the programme which washes at 60 degrees for my bed linen and towels and find this a very effective programme, so long as I use it in conjunction with a biological detergent. My daughter is particularly bad for not properly removing make up and then wiping her face with a towel. All my towels are white so you can imagine the lipstick stains and the like on them. I have yet to have a stain hang around using this programme, and have to say the full spin at 1200 rpm is particularly good. In this cold weather I have to hang towels up to dry indoors but am amazed at how quickly they dry off on the airer after a full spin in this machine.
The synthetics section is ideal for mixed loads, and I frequently use this for clothing as it doesn't give a full spin - something I tend to avoid for most clothes as it can result in shrinkage - never mind being stung with ripped clothing. In this colder weather I have been using the delicates programme more often however - I have a lot of knitwear and my daughter has several items of clothing which are hand wash only but wash fine using the hand wash programme here so long as I place the items in laundry bags first.
I was a bit apprehensive the first time I put delicate items in using this programme as I have had good and bad experiences with so called hand wash programmes but I have to say I have been delighted so far. So long as I stick to using detergent specifically for wool and silks my knitwear has also come out beautifully clean using either the 40 degree or 30 degree wash - although once again if I use fabric softener there tends to be rather a large amount of residue left behind.
The final programme on this machine is the Quick Wash, which enables you to wash a load of 2kg in just 32 minutes, which is ideal if you are in a hurry. Most of the synthetic and delicates programmes last about an hour, with the cottons programmes ranging in time from well over 2 hours to about 90 minutes, so if you have a small load of lightly soiled clothing, this is a godsend.
You do have to be careful when you use this programme however - Hoover recommend you only use 20% of the amount of detergent you would normally use and you shouldn't use fabric softener at all. It's also worth noting that it washes at 50 degrees so it's no use for delicate fabrics such as wool which will shrink at this temperature. Don't use this programme if you have a stained item however - it won't shift the stain.
Cleaning the machine is easy enough - the drawer isn't the easiest at coming out but I have been able to clean it effectively without removing it altogether.
I tend to run a hot wash once every month or so to clean the machine of gunk, putting bleach in the detergent drawers and this helps clean out the drawer too. There tends to be a build up around the door seal too but this is easy enough to clean with a damp cloth.
I have to say the H120M hasn't made me fall in love with Hoover again, but it's certainly helped those negative feelings about the brand abate. This isn't the best washing machine I have ever used, but it's a competent beast.
On short spin the noise is actually pretty low - certainly much lower than it was on my old Ariston machine - but on full spin you really can't miss the noise and occasionally it does cause items which are positioned on the work top above the machine to fall over.
What has impressed me is the variety of programmes available and how generally, if you choose the correct detergent and programme, it cleans clothes effectively.
Obviously the issue I had with torn clothes when I first started using this just reiterates the importance of ensuring zips are fastened on garments, pockets are emptied and laundry bags are used for items which can pose a hazard to the machine - it's not unheard of for wires from bras to write washing machines off after all.
I still have some niggles however. I think the knob for selecting programmes could be far clearer - even now, after using this machine for four months, I find myself choosing the wrong programme by not having the knob lined up at *quite* the right place - at times I have missed out the washing part of the programme altogether due to just missing the correct line up by a millimetre. What's worse is you can't just move the knob round once the programme has started and assume it will correct your mistake - instead the knob will infuriatingly work its way back to where you originally started the programme all by itself.
The icons around the knob aren't very clear either, with the blue paint used to show them reacting badly to detergent and fading.
I also don't like how this machine seems to struggle to feed fabric softener into the machine - it's led to me using a 2in1 detergent more frequently to get around this problem.
Overall I quite like this machine but must be honest and say I wouldn't choose this myself, despite the fact it's functional and reasonably durable, due to the minor niggles that have become evident over time.
This machine is no longer available to buy new but is available second hand.
Energy Efficiency:A / Wash Rating:A / Spin Rating:B / Spin Speed:1200 / Load Capicity (in kg):5 / Dimensions (H/W/D):40 x 85 x 60 cm / Washing Machine Type:Frontlader / Short name: Hoover H120M