Why are my clothes still soaking?
March 25, 2013 9:37 AM   Subscribe

My washing machine (a top-loading Maytag Centennial similar to this one, about 3-5 years old, I'd guess) sporadically leaves clothes dripping wet after the whole cycle's done. Other times, it works perfectly and spins the load to a much more reasonable level of dampness.

I bought it from a used appliance store last summer and when I first noticed the issue, they sent out a repair guy who made sure the machine was level and ran a sample load that worked fine. The problem came back pretty soon after that.

The sink it's draining into does not back up. The motor that does the spinning is not suspect because about 75% of my laundry loads are perfect. I've tried doing smaller loads and that decreased the frequency of the problem, but didn't get eliminate it.

My normal settings are warm wash/cold rinse, fabric softener added, normal setting, regular soil level, and extra rinse off. All these settings are negotiable if it fixes the problem.
posted by wolfnote to Home & Garden (9 answers total)
Is it getting off balance during the spin cycle? If that happens, it might be shutting down (or at least spinning less), which would leave a lot more water in the clothes.
posted by primethyme at 9:40 AM on March 25, 2013 [2 favorites]

Unbalanced load or fabric alignment in the wash, so less permeable fabric against the wall of the tub that is preventing the spin cycle from getting all the water out from the fabrics closer to the center of the tub in a spin cycle.
posted by iamabot at 10:03 AM on March 25, 2013

My parents had a washer for years that did exactly this. We all learned to check how the load was balanced during the spin cycle, because if it was thrown off, the washer would stop and the clothes would sit there all soggy and drippy.
posted by corey flood at 10:10 AM on March 25, 2013

Doesn't prevent it, but may help after the fact: shift the wet laundry around and run the load again on spin cycle only when this happens.
posted by asperity at 10:19 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Looks exactly like my washer which just died last Thursday. Does the control knob not work the way it's supposed to? Mine started slipping about a month after I got it; I had to spin the disc directly.

About six months in, I started having the exact same dripping wet issue. I called Maytag, they sent a tech out, he found that the washer was sporadically not pumping out the water before starting the spin cycle. The spin cycle itself would extract some of the water, but since it was starting with a full tub, it was spinning up a lot slower, which meant that . He replaced the board and control knob, and it worked fine for another six months, at which point it started all over again, and now it was out of warranty. Great. The good news is that we got four years out of it, and only occasionally did I have to run a second spin cycle.
posted by disconnect at 10:39 AM on March 25, 2013

Thanks for your replies!

I assume there's no way to prevent the load from becoming unbalanced without checking it during the spin cycle? Is the best solution "if it's soaking at the end of the cycle, stir it up and run an extra rinse/spin?"

disconnect: The control knob works fine, as far as I can tell.
posted by wolfnote at 10:51 AM on March 25, 2013

In my experience, load unbalancing happens when you have things with very different wet weights mixed together. Like towels and socks, or blankets and t-shirts. The heavy items make it very hard to spin and the lack of counterweight throws the whole thing off.

If you wash similar items together and it still claims to be out of balance, it's probably something wrong with the machine.
posted by zug at 10:59 AM on March 25, 2013 [1 favorite]

Make sure the feet of it are leveled, too; that can unbalance the spin cycle. Mine just kept getting unbalanced in the spin cycle more and more often as it got to the end of its useful life, but we just re-ran the spin cycle a second time and that kept it going for a good three years before it finally got frequent and annoying enough to replace it.

Also if you happen to have the appliance guy or the plumber out for something else, ask them if they can quickly check the washer, see if it's level and whatnot.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 11:24 AM on March 25, 2013

Do you notice the wet loads immediately when the washer stops spinning or does it sit for a few hours before you get to it? Our washer has started doing this sporadically, and we found that there is some kind of a leak that is dripping water onto the well-spun clothes from the top of the washtub. The longer it sits, the wetter the clothes get. We haven't actually fixed it, or even tried - we just try to empty it sooner or re-spin that load.
posted by CathyG at 12:13 PM on March 25, 2013

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