Thursday, January 31, 2008

Home Sweet Home: When It Rains, It Pours

Or doesn't pour, in Wednesday's case of my washing machine fabric softener dispenser. Mere weeks ago I was cleaning the lint from my 3 year-old ailing dryer. We bought the washing machine at the same time as the dryer and they were installed on the very same day. Last night, while folding baskets of the long-neglected laundry, I discovered grease spots on several articles of clothing, including my new pants. Oh calamity! Oh help!

Having determined that someone had not left a tube of chap stick in a pants pocket, I checked everything to make sure there weren't any other oddities about the load of laundry. It seemed that a few articles from a previous load also had grease spots, but not the whole load either time. I am young, but I have enough siblings and have lived long enough to see the ravaging effects of both a tube of chap stick and a brown crayon going through a cycle in the dryer. It ain't purdy, take my word for it if you have never been privy to such a scene of devastation. But this time, since the whole load wasn't affected, my guess was that it was somehow related to the fabric softener dispenser in the washing machine.

For the past several months at least, I had noticed a yellowy, waxy build up in the fabric softener dispenser. I also knew that there was a way to remove the dispenser to clean it, but it turns out that, yet again, the instructions were not correct about how exactly one was to go about doing that. Way to go, Sears. Turns out that no amount of twisting would do it, just brute force pulling straight up. More elbow grease prying the top part off the bottom part to free the cup in the middle. Once it was all in pieces, I got an old toothbrush and scraped the build-up out under a stream of hot water. It really looked like dirty crisco, not to be unappetizing (if lard substitutes ever really could be appetizing in the first place).

Also, the actual "dispenser" part, where the softener drains out small holes during the first fast spin cycle, was really clogged and some fabric softener was still standing in there. I poured some hot water in and prodded at some more build-up until I had water flowing well out of one hole and tolerably well out another. I just kept pouring and prodding until, all of a sudden, a third drain hole opened up. It had been so clogged that I didn't even see it. That's how bad it was. Ewww. Once everything was cleaned up, put back together, and the dirty rinse water was drained, I ran a load with the clothes that had the greasy spots to see what happened. I used lots of detergent, hot water, and no fabric softener (I was just too annoyed that it had been such a pain).

The result? Clean clothes with no hint of grease anymore. Hooray!

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