By Tare Youdeowei
WASHING machines,in the 90s, were considered household appliances for aristocracy and poorly trained females. With the coming of the jet age and the high rising population of working women, washing machines have become a time saving necessity for every household, as clean clothes are the desire of not just the rich but the upper middle class, middle class and the low income earners. Everyone likes clean clothes.
Presently, washing machine manufacturers have the daunting task of making Nigerian women know that washing machines are not the reserve of the rich by manufacturing affordable, easy to use machines. The affordability of washing machines is so much so that a person earning 25,000 to 30,000 a month can afford one. Hence, prices range from N25,000 to N250,000, it all depends on what you want, how much you are willing to spend, if you have an allotted space for the machine or not and if you are prepared to incur extra cost to install the machine or not. Whatever your preference, there is a machine for you.
Suffice to say, when getting a washing machine, features to look out for are;
- Size; what quantity of clothes do you generally wash weekly or bi-monthly? On the average, four adult pieces of clothes are equal to one kilogramme, i.e 1kg, as such; if you wash roughly 50 to 60 pieces you would most likely need an 8kg washing machine, as each load, most likely made up of clothes of approximately the same colour, would take between 20 to 24 not so heavy clothes, particularly not jeans or heavy sweaters. Invariably, the larger your wash load, the larger the machine capacity you need.
However, if you cannot afford a large machine and/or do not have the space for a large machine, get the size you are comfortable with, you will simply have more loads to go through before your laundry is done. Note that you should not over stuff the machine because an overstuffed machine means less clean wash. Machines need room to spin and roll for a clean wash.
- Water; if your house is not well fitted with water supply or if you do not have regular running water, it is advisable to get a semi automatic washing. This will not only be convenient for using a bucket and your desired quantities of water, semi automatic machines are generally more affordable.
- Electricity; several models exist in washing machine specifications, however if you would power your washing machine with a generator from time to time, and if you have less than a 3.5kva generator, you might want to take that into consideration when buying a washing machine. Washing machines require between 280 to 800 watts per load, that is less than a kilowatt, to function equitable, hence a 1.5kva would suffice for a semi automatic and safely a 3.5kva or more should suffice for an automatic washing machine. When using an inverter, it should have roughly 1,200 watts output. To save on energy, particularly for the automatic washing machine user, opt for cold water, particularly if you are washing with a generator.
- Semi or full automatic; this option is greatly affected by water and electricity, as well as installation. Where you do not have the wherewithal to have a plumber and electrician work to get your machine fixed and where water and electricity is a challenge, it is best to get a semi automatic machine. However, where these factors are well mitigated, mostly when a laundry room has been factored into the building of the home, it is preferable to get an automatic machine for a seamless and leisurely wash.
- Soaking technology; For as long as I can remember, like the last 30 years or more, Nigerians like to soak clothes for varying periods of time, as it is believed to produce an easier and cleaner wash. In this light, there are washing machines that are designed to not just soak clothes for a maximum of 30 minutes, they spin and wash at intervals within the 30 minutes soak time. You might want to inquire from the dealer if the machine offered has this function if you are big on soaking clothes. Where you might not desire the pre-soaking function, there are machines with special stain remover cycles.
- Twin, single tub, front or top loader; for single or double tub top loaders, this is basically about having a spinner or not. Spinners afford your laundry a quick dry, particularly where dryers are not quite an option. With five minutes spinning the average cotton fabric can dry in 45 minutes to an hour. Where there is room for a washing machine with a spinner, try an acquire one, you will not regret it.
If you want to conserve water and electricity, it is believed that front loaders use less water than traditional top loaders. Where possible, opt for an Energy Star model which reduces electricity and water use to about 20 to 35 percent. Front loaders are also perceived to provide better cleaning results than top loaders.
Summarily, do well to visit an accredited dealer who is well informed to answer pertinent questions about your purchase. There is no harm in paying the dealer one or two visits to equip you in making your choice before you eventually purchase.