Monthly Archive for September, 2008

Washing Machine Blues

So, for the second time in a year, both of my Miele washing machines failed within a few weeks of each other.

Yep, you got it.  I have two front-loading, high-efficiency washing machines.  For a long time, they were the most expensive things we owned, including the cars.  I thought they were worth it – energy efficient, clean well, can wash anything from wool sweaters to dirty gym socks, so little wear and tear on clothing, and so worth it because of the eczema.  But the repair problems…  

The last time they failed, it was the water valves in both machines.  This time both failed catastrophically.  One somehow got a nickel stuck on edge between the drum and the drum enclosure.  It squashed the nickel down and punched in the drum all the way around.  (You’ve got to see this – I’ll try to upload a photo of the nickel later this weekend.)  

We called for repair, but it wasn’t the company’s fault (though I am bothered by the fact that this machine design allows coins to get in there if they could do this kind of damage).  My husband spent a day fixing the drum, only to find that there are other broken parts.  The other machine had a catastrophic failure – the bearings were replaced within the last two years, but somehow, it’s all gone bad again.  The belt behind the drum has practically vaporized all over the place.  

Now I have no working washing machine.  This was a bad time for this to happen.

One of the machines is a stacking machine, and the dryer works just fine.  But we can’t afford another Miele washer, and we don’t have space NOT to have the stacking unit.  

Miele has the most incredible repair department and really stands behind their products, but we can’t afford to repair or replace these machines.  If anyone has recommendations for a good value in washing machine that doesn’t cost so much, I would love to hear them!  Please send email through the site.  Thanks!

No-detergent Diaper Wipes

When our son was a baby, we used a great diaper wipe from a company called Tushies.  It had no detergent in it whatsoever, and the major cleansing ingredients were aloe and glycerine, which are also good for the skin.  We loved that we could understand every ingredient – no ten-syllable words you can only find in a chemical industry manual.  

The wipe worked well.  But then the company changed the formula – it became just another one of those supposedly “natural” detergent wipes.  When we ran out of the old formula, we switched to a spray bottle with filtered water and Bounty paper towels for diaper changes.  If we tore the paper towels into individual pieces and stacked them next to the changing table, this turned out to be no more trouble than wipes.  It also worked extremely well.  After cleaning up with the water and paper towels, we patted the skin with a little cornstarch, and that was it.  We never had any diaper rash, not once.  So we stopped using the wipes and never looked back.

But wipes come in handy for more than just diaper changes.  They are great for on-the-go clean ups.  Teachers at school even ask parents for donations of wipes along with other school supplies.

I recently went to the store expecting to find nothing but detergent-soaked diaper wipes.  I was pleasantly surprised.  Tushies seems to once again be making a simple no-detergent diaper wipe under the Tushies name.  I tried TenderCare wipes (which I believe are also made by the Tushies company) – the product works well, is flushable, and best of all, has a short, simple, truly natural and safe ingredients list.  No detergents.  Not even any ingredients I had to scratch my head about and look up on the Internet to be sure.