Return of the Agitator

We just “downgraded” our washing machine and are very pleased with it. Let me share the story with you.

When the Maytag washer, which my parents had given to us as a baby gift at our first child’s birth, had some major problems about 20 years later, we purchased the new HE front loader Maytag Neptune washing machine. It promised to conserve water, energy, use less detergent, and wash bigger loads of laundry. It never, however, performed well for us, and those machines were eventually in a class action lawsuit. After a few years we decided to cut our losses and try a Kenmore HE front loader. While that one didn’t have the mold problems in the gasket that the Neptune did, it still didn’t seem to clean as well as our old Maytag washer had cleaned.

When we built our house and chose a washer for it, we decided on an HE top loader. It was okay, but still wasn’t cleaning like that original Maytag. As we watched clothes through the glass window on the lid, we weren’t surprised they didn’t seem to get very clean. There wasn’t much motion in the clothes nor much water in the washer.

When recently the bearings went out in the HE top loader necessitating a $130 part plus an $80 tool and the time for Steve to fix it, we decided to do what Christopher and Anna Marie had done – go backwards to an old agitator style washing machine. With the money we would invest in repairing our HE top loader, we could buy an old machine from Craig’s list and fix it, if it wasn’t working.

Christopher had done research and come up with Kenmore Series 80 or 90-agitator style washing machine as being a solid machine, easy to work on, with parts still readily available. Within a few days, we had procured a Series 90 had it cleaned up, and begun using it for less than half of what the repair of the HE top loader would have been. We are happy with the agitator machine’s performance, and it will be much less costly to repair when something goes wrong with it.

We have now decided to get an old Kenmore Series 90 dryer to have on hand for when our new dryer has a problem. We have already had to replace the control board on it. The Kenmore Series 90 dryer will be easier to repair and have parts that are less expensive.

Sometimes the old ways are better.IMG_3029.JPG

Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways, and see, and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls. But they said, We will not walk therein. Jeremiah 6:16

11 thoughts on “Return of the Agitator”

  1. We did the same thing. The fancy expensive washers left our clothing dirty, and they constantly needed repair.

  2. Thanks for the tips about the washer and dryer. I will ask my husband to consider doing the same thing.
    On another note! I absolutely enjoy your families’ blog. I look forward to reading each post, and smile when I see that a new one is on my feed!
    Thank you.

  3. Thank you for sharing your experience with the washers. I currently have the old Kenmore Series 80 washer and dryer. We have had to repair them a few times (usually a broken belt or similar item) but have been reluctant to replace them because we plan to sell our home in the next year and felt it would be better to wait until we knew what type of space our next home would have. We had been looking at the front loading machines, but I will be sharing your experience with my husband and
    perhaps we will re-think our plans. 😉

  4. We have an old-style washing machine, too. We had thought about upgrading when we had our first baby because it is easier to wash bedding in a front load machine, but we chose to use cloth diapers and I heard many testimonies that front load machines just don’t agitate enough to clean cloth diapers well. 4 years plus of cloth diapering later, I am glad that we chose to stay with the old-fashioned agitor style: I never experienced the “stink” in my cloth diapers that several I knew with front loaders experienced, and we have found it is much more economical to take our larger bedding to the laundromat when we need to wash it.

  5. How interesting! We have a 14 year old Kenmore front loader and it has been fantastic! It cleans well, and I am careful to always leave the washer door a bit open so we have never had a mold problem. However, I have heard that some later models had issues, that is too bad.

  6. I still have the “old fashioned” one we bought years ago with our honeymoon refund (shipwrecked…got our money back…long story). I love it. Fortunately we have an appliance repairman (who’s also a pastor) who liv s down the road. He repairs what my husband can’t, and keeps us agitating! 🙂

  7. Amen and Amen!!!! In this day and age of “latest and greatest”, this post was so refreshing!!!! ??

  8. We upgraded to the front loading style about 8 years ago and learned very quickly that the washer door must be left open when not in use. I use a couple of drops of essential oil in my wash so haven’t had any bad odor

    Interesting story!!

  9. We are in the process of doing the same. While our front loader is only 7 years old, it has been a nightmare. Constant issues, now it has to be forced in to a final spin cycle. The cost to replace the parts just isn’t worth it. Back to a traditional agitator model for us.

  10. We are sticking with our agitator style washing machine as long as we can. So far we have had it for 25 year (being married 30). Hubby has repeatedly fixed it and it still works fine. I see the new “fancy” and pretty ones in the stores, but always fondly think of my still working one at home. The ones at the stores are nice to look at, but are not a temptation at all. The prices on them are crazy!!! Our dryer is our washers companion and still works fine and hubby repairs that as needed.

  11. thank you so much for this post. We will be moving soon & will need to purchase a washer & dryer. We had heard of the troubles of the same washers and dryers that you all had had. “Old Reliables” are always good. We just want something simple..:)
    Blessing to you, the K. family

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