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---Being a grown up---
For years I have done my own washing and for years I have done my own washing in the machine supplied to me by my landlords. Eventually, I moved to an unfurnished flat in an attempt to build a stockpile of my own things like beds and sofas. In that stockpile was a washing machine that my mum had managed to get on the cheap. Flash forward about 3 years and all of a sudden my washing machine stopped spinning. Probably something to do with the large amount of clothes that had been gently, yet firmly coaxed into fitting into the drum. We'll ignore that incident though.
After that happened, being skint and determined not to borrow money, I tried my best to get a free machine from free-cycle. As it turns out people aren't as generous as they first seem. The first machine I was given used to be a home for the women's rabbits (as did her entire garage by the looks and smell of it) and had to be thrown out as it was actually making clothes stink rather than cleaning them. The second machine didn't work at all, so I essentially wasted my petrol to be a free removal service for the idiot who had given it to me. Totally worth while. In the end I caved in and got a credit card.
Coincidentally I remained skint as my bint of a flatmate at the time decided that going on nights out and bringing home various men was more important than the money she was due on the washing machine. Got to love people!
---What did I get?---
The machine I went for was an Indesit IWE8123. Catchy name no? It's white, set me back £240 at the time and is currently retailing for around the same price. For what you get it's actually really good. It has a capacity which is at the higher end. If you are like me and love packing the machine full, this one will at least be able to handle it. To add to that it has a wide load door which always makes me happy.
A wide load door is a good thing. It is not an entrance for when you've over eaten. It does make it easier to get the machine full, it also helps save the seal around the door. Another washing machine related mishap I had was due to pulling washing out of the machine and it getting stuck in a small door size. In turn this pulls on the seal and things like zips or knifes (if you put one in the machine, as you do) can tear the seal. If you do that you'll soon find water dripping down the front while you do your washing. If you are really lucky, it will just flow all over the floor. Wide load doors basically stop your larger loads struggling to come out of the machine, reducing the pull on the seal and making your machine last longer.
---What's your capacity?---
It took me a while of hunting to realise that you don't really get a capacity above 9kg. The IWE8123 has a capacity of 8kg so it can happily defeat a whole basket full of washing at a time. If you have a family and you're the one stuck driving the washing machine, I'd definitely recommend as high a capacity as possible. It gets as much done in one go as you can. If, however, you are a lazy, no good flat mate, you probably don't care about doing any work, shame on you.
If you are sensible you'll get the shop to fit your machine for you. I didn't. If you don't, you'll need to take a few stoppers that keep the drum in place for transit out the back with a screwdriver and remove all the packaging. The machine is HEAVY. This is no easy task. Once you've unpacked it though, installation is easy. Connect your waste pipe to the waste pipe and your water pipe to the water pipe (it's a cold fill washing machine, though it works just as well on the hot tap as I discovered when I moved house and realised I'd had it connected wrong!) Energy wise it's an A rating for washing (using 43L) and a B rating for spin (which goes up to 1200RPM). Decent all round.
---Tell me about my wash---
The think I like most about this machine is that is has a large digital display. If you are in any way unsure of what the wash is going to do, you can generally figure it out from that. It will tell you how long the options you have chosen will take to get your washing out again, meaning that you can plan your washing to finish when you've just popped out for a quick pint and your partner is in the house. Unlike other machines I've used, the display does give a very accurate read out as to how long the cycle will take. My dad's machine, for example, tells you your washing will be ready in one minute when what it really means is "check back tomorrow".
---Push my buttons---
The machine in question has a few buttons you'll need to use to get it on the road. Next to the detergent drawer is the power button. You probably guessed that the function of this button is to turn the machine off and on. You would be right. Give it a push and the machine beeps to let you know it's on and the display flashes up. There is one big dial surrounded by numbers which correspond with the wash-types listed on the detergent drawer. There are also some pictures which correspond with things like spin, rinse etc if you want to give it an extra rinse or spin after the main wash programme. That will obviously add time to your wash cycle so make sure you check how long it takes by selecting that number if you do want to be uber-organised.
---Personalise your Hygiene---
Above the black display screen are 4 more buttons that can come in very handy. If, like me, you are a smelly git, you will probably find that your clothes are also quite hard to wash. On any setting just push the "Intensive wash" button and it will be extra mean to your clothes. It adds about 15 minutes to your normal setting but the machine adds this all up nicely for you. You can also push the extra rinse button and the machine will add this to your total (rather than doing it manually with the dial and doing the adding yourself) or the easy iron button which doesn't change your wash but keeps your washing on the move. If you allow your washing to stay still for too long it will only mean extra ironing. That's if you even iron. I only ever do shirts myself so it's a button I don't particularly require.
For the economy conscious there is an "Eco Time" button which basically messes with your water consumption, temperature and spin speeds. I would love to be eco conscious, I really would, but my nose just won't accept that my clothes are clean unless they have been burned at the stake to prove their innocence.
---Full Spin Ahead!---
Thought that was it? Think again. If you look carefully the display has some built in buttons too! On the left is a temperature button to further personalise your washing experience (you go!) and a spin speed button to control how fast you want your clothes to be thrown round the machine. I always go for the highest setting (1200RPM). The machine is quite stable in comparison to others I've had so I don't need to worry that it's going to try and sneak out from under the worktop and kill me in my sleep.
---Midnight Cleaning Spree---
You may also be a complete crazy. If you are, then you may find yourself doing your tidying at a time that really isn't socially acceptable. If that's a worry to you, then kudos, you haven't completely lost it. Yet. On the left hand side of the display section there is another very handy button with a clock on it. Push this button and it will delay your wash. You can set your wash to delay up to 24 hours, the first few pushes will increase the time by half an hour at a time, after you have pushed it a few times it starts adding an hour at a time till you get back to "off". Once you have set your delay, hit the start button (on the right hand side of the machine) and it will start counting down, displaying how long you have till your washing will start. This comes in handy if you want to have the washing ready for you waking up, or coming home from work. It saves it sitting getting stale all day too. The only down side is that it doesn't come with an actual clock so you will need to figure out when it's going to start yourself.
That said, the machine really doesn't make half as much noise as others I've had in the past. Usually I'm fine to stay sleeping while it washes away. Maybe I should ask my neighbours?
There are 13 different wash types to choose from, not including the extra spins and rinses. They are listed on the detergent drawer under three categories: Daily, Special and Sport. The number for each was is the one to the left and the print is a very decent size. I've had the machine two years and there are no signs of fading on the menu like I've seen on countless other machines. The list is as follows:
1 White Cotton (90 degrees)
2 Cotton (60 degrees)
3 Coloured cotton (40 degrees)
4 Cotton (30 degrees)
5 synthetics (50 degrees)
Usually I will use the white cotton setting for all my washing due to the need to not be smelly. You can, however, select any of these settings and then change the temperature with the button on the display! How handy!
7 Silk Curtains
9 Express 15 minute
10 Flash cotton
I've only ever used the express wash from this section, usually if I feel like I've left it a little long before emptying the machine (because let's face it, washing sucks and so I don't always do it when I should). I'd imagine the others may come in handy for certain things. I do just wash my jeans on the same wash as everything else; I wonder if THAT'S why none of them fit any more? Couldn't be anything to do with all the chocolate...
11 Sport intensive
12 Sport light
13 Special Shoes
As much as the wash name makes me giggle a little, I've used special shoes from this section. I feel it's just polite to let your machine know what you intend to put inside it. I've also used the sports intensive, but felt that the 90 degree wash dealt with my manliness better.
---Show's yer Drawers---
Last but not least, the drawer! There's a little indent below it to make it comfy to get your hand in. Pull it towards you to open it and you are met with three sections: one for softener on the right, one for powder on the left, and that strange middle drawer that no one really knows what to do with it. It's like that guy from take-that who is just there to make it look proper. If you want to take the drawer out to clean it occasionally you'll have to push little clips on the inside of the drawer up as you pull firmly to get it right out. It is difficult and I always feel like I'm going to break something on either myself or the drawer. The machine works well though and dissolves all the powders and potions I've put in it, so it doesn't really need that much cleaning.
Two years of heavy use later and my washing machine is still in great order. It still gets my clothes clean and the timer functions come in handier than you would ever think. If I was looking for another washing machine, I would have no doubts about going for this one again. It's definitely been worth the money. Five stars as I honestly can't think of any issues I have had with this machine!
1200rpm Washing Machine 8kg Load Class A+ White