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Laundry is a Battlefield – An All-Spun-Out American using German Technology

02 Apr Posted by in Family Life, Technology | 6 comments
Laundry is a Battlefield – An All-Spun-Out American using German Technology
 
Every country seems to have its own technology for washers and dryers. Most washers in the US seem to be top-load, although front load is becoming more prevalent. And dryers in the US all have an external exhaust system.

So what happens when one country tries to be as environmentally friendly as possible when it comes to doing laundry?

In my experience, it becomes a battlefield. And I’ve decided that our washer and dryer henceforth should be called Braveheart and FUBAR (F-ed Up Beyond All Recognition).

Braveheart is a lot smaller than machines in the US. But do you think it stops me from trying to cram as many clothes as possible into it? Of course not.

In my mind, Braveheart should be able to wash the same amount of clothes as my machine in the US. After all, this is how we save on water and electricity, right? This is an environmentally friendly country, damn it.

More loads equals more water and electricity. (Warning: The Science Dummy has now checked into the house.)

Braveheart is a front load machine, which sounds convenient, but the first noticeable difference is that the machine is on the ground and not the most accessible to me. It is however, very accessible to a baby, which is why he shouldn’t be downstairs while I am doing laundry.



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Since everything is in German and even Kay had a hard time deciphering what the cycles were…

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We finally just selected one and I’ve pretty much used the same cycle since I’ve moved here, regardless of color or fabric type; no discrimination here.

Using the same cycle, however, has obviously worked to my detriment.

The last time the baby was downstairs while I was doing laundry, either I, being in such a hurry, or the baby accidentally threw an angora sweater into the machine; my first felting job without even trying.

What nerd still wears angora? Um…this nerd.

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It was a total kick-a§§, black angora hoodie.

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 Now I just look like Chris Farley saying, “Fat guy in a little coat.”

The day before yesterday I tried to wash two Micro-fiber sheets. Not only did two sheets not really fit into the machine, but after 2-hours when they were supposed to be done, I opened the door to find a soapy mess still dripping with water.

This is about the time I screamed for Kay to come downstairs. I’d had it! Not to mention the last time I tried to wash these sheets, Braveheart started spitting soap out at me.

It was at this point that Kay informed me to just use the “blah, blah, blah” cycle. Grrrr! It worked to remove the soapy mess of sheets, but nice to know now.

The water in Krefeld is extremely chalky, so we now also add de-chalking tablets in order to protect the machine.

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Not so long ago we had a major malfunction, which involved Braveheart stopping and locking the door closed.

After a few hours of being unplugged, we were able to open the door and water obviously came spilling out. Neither Kay nor I am handy with machines and it was actually my mother-in-law who figured out the problem.



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There was a coin in the machine that came out of this do-hicky on the bottom right of the washer… along with more water.

Hopefully you can understand why the washer is called Braveheart; it is somewhat abused and isn’t afraid to retaliate.

Throughout the cycle, we have to make sure to be home and listen for the water pump (Rocky) since sometimes Rocky jams and requires a quick punch to the lid. While this is annoying having to go all the way downstairs, I do find some pleasure in kicking the crap out of a plastic box.

When the load is finally done, it’s time to sort through the clothes and determine which go into the dryer, FUBAR and which should be hung. By the way, we are fortunate to have a FUBAR; many people living in apartments/flats do not have this luxury. Plus the washing machine is in their kitchen.

Call me high maintenance, but towels and sheets must go into FUBAR… as do socks and underwear since crispy towels are no fun, and in the summer, undies hanging outside are not only disturbing to look at in public, but so light they just might be Gone with the Wind.

And so the fun begins again trying to translate settings on FUBAR.

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I’ve since learned that it really doesn’t matter which setting is used because dryers here don’t really dry much of anything anyway. Hence, the name FUBAR.

It takes just under 3 hours to dry clothes. And no, it has nothing to do with the amount of clothes I am trying to cram into the dryer. Most everything gets hung. I don’t care how much or how little is put into the machine, it takes forever to dry.

So, for the newbie in Germany, here are the top 10 most important things to know about doing Laundry in Deutschland.

The Take-Aways:

1.)    Not all apartments and/or homes have Dryers in Germany. As Americans, you can feel special…or wasteful…however you want to spin it (nyuk, nyuk, nyuk).

2.)    Sometimes the washer is or must be put in the Kitchen depending on the size and setup of an apartment or house.

3.)    Washers in Germany do not have hookups to hot water. The washer warms up the water to the desired temperature depending on the cycle selected.

4.)    The dryer typically has two lint collectors. (Excuse the dirtiness, but it is a lint collector…and a battlefield)

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5.)    You must not only empty the lint collectors but also the water container. (Instead of an exhaust that goes to the outside, dryers have a water catcher. Do not confuse with a dream catcher because emptying the water catcher each time is anything but a dream and instead an annoyance.)

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6.)    Dryers take forever to dry.

7.)    Most people hang their clothes on a line because they either have no dryer or it takes too long to dry… or they are just extremely environmentally conscious.

8.)    Washers and Dryers in Germany are supposed to be more energy efficient than those in the US. (I’m still trying to wrap my head around this one, because for me, Time is Money.)

9.)    If you live in the Düsseldorf area, you will need to use some kind of de-chalker tablet with your washer or you will either ruin the machine and/or have a battle with your washer trying to get the clothes out on the day the washer begins to retaliate. (I slip one of these into the soap dispenser about every other load. I’ve been told that you don’t need to use as much soap when using the de-chalker.)

10.) Regardless of in what country you live, the Sock Monster will eat your children’s socks. The Sock Monster is a very hungry global entity.

 

 

Angora Sweater Out-Takes (I really can’t ever be taken seriously. It’s pathetic. Even if I wanted to look intimidating I couldn’t.)



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  1. Mona Raub04-03-12

    Aaaahhh, my favorite thing to do whenever I come to visit you – laundry, German style. NOT!!!!!

    So, who put clothes in the laundry with coins in their pocket? :-)

    • Mommy04-03-12

      Either Kay… or the Ghost :)

  2. Genesis04-04-12

    Holy smokes, that looks complicated! Our washing machine is so simple there is virtually nothing to adjust . . . press power and on and it senses the amount of laundry and goes. It’s tiny though and I tend to overload, as well. :)

    An idea for the towels . .. if you hang them outside and then toss them in the dryer for a few minutes when they’re dry, they should lose the crispiness!

    As for time to write, I’m writing this one handedly while nursing a baby and supervising two kids on the computer, heh.
    Genesis recently posted..Family of Five: A Day in the LifeMy Profile

    • Mommy04-04-12

      That is an excellent idea for towels! I give you so much credit for having three boys! Wowsers! But they are so gorgeous and I’m sure completely worth it;)

  3. Lukewarm04-06-12

    Wa … ter container? Erm … *confused guy going to check his washer*

    What do you consider long for a dryer to dry? My dryer don’t need more than 120 minutes to dry a 5kg load (and has exactly one program: DRY!).

    P.S.: Nice to read a blog from an expat living in this region.

    P.S.S.: Oh my, I’m discussing washers and dryers on a blog. Quick, where are the posts about beer and football?

    • Mommy04-07-12

      Did you find the water container? Or has it found you first? Really curious now. As for beer and football…yeah, I probably should write a bit more on these topics. I somehow have been trying to convince myself lately that if I drink wine or vodka it has less calories than beer. (Hey, I have a warm-weather vaca coming up:) Stay tuned!

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