How to Get the Smell Out of a Washing Machine

Do you hold your breath as you uncomfortably sidle up to your washing machine and try to dump your clothes in by the fistfuls before you need to come up for air?

Do your clothes have a weird smell even after you’ve washed them two or three more times?

Alas, there is hope!

Most times a smell in a washing machine is caused by bacteria build up inside of the drum, which causes the not-so-lovely scent to permeate the air and soak into your clothes.

But now you can breathe easy knowing there are simple steps and precautions to make your clothes smell great.

How to clean the washing machine:

  1. Wet the inside walls or the drum with warm water.
  2. Use a cloth you don’t mind getting dirty/throwing away, and gently scrub the scummy film that is coating the inside of the washing machine.
  3. Empty the lint trap (if your machine has one), and wash it thoroughly.
  4.  Rinse the surface with water. Do not add bleach to the soapy surface – that will make toxic gases!
  5. Add bleach to the dry, (and now) clean interior surfaces of the washing machine.
  6.  Give the bleach time to set before washing it away.

Once you’ve given the washing machine a good scrub down, here’s how to keep it smell-free:

  • Schedule a thorough cleaning every so often.
  • Keep your washing machine dry.
  • Use detergent made from 100% soluble cleaning agents.
  • Use the recommended amount of soap and wash setting.
  • Soak dirty fabrics in soapy water before throwing them into the washing machine.

No matter which brand of washer (Whirlpool, GE, or Electrolux), you can always be assured that if you take care of your appliances, they will take care of you.

The Look of Stainless Steel Has Lost the Look of Love

It has been a 25-year run for the look of stainless steel, but has it’s time come?

In our constantly changing world, the newest look always seems to be the most sought after product that we can purchase. Currently, it is a pivotal moment in kitchen design, causing major manufacturers to speculate as to the new look that will succeed stainless steel in the world of kitchen design. The trend seems to point to the major decline of the ever popular stainless steel, even though there does not seem to be any clear successor lining up to de-throne the reigning finish king.

The appliance industry has tried to introduce and promote new finish looks before, which led to no success. “Oiled-bronze,” “antique copper,” and a gray hue called “meteorite” are a few that almost made a run for champ of the kitchen finishes. Whirlpool Corporation, the world’s now largest appliance manufacturer, recently introduced its “Ice Collection” of appliances, including glossy white. “White is the new stainless steel,” quotes a Whirlpool representative.

Wishful thinking? One might think so since competitor General Electric, just last week, introduced refrigerators, ovens, microwaves and dishwashers in a muted gray called “slate,” and this will soon be coupled with new high-gloss finishes that they plan to unleash to the U.S. sometime soon.

Bottom line, introducing a new finish is a risk, and one that can cost enough to make the colors matter. Development takes approximately a year or so, which is a lengthy amount of time, especially in the appliance industry. Typically, stores will grant extra space to new ideas, but usually manufacturers’ have to work within a given number of slots, which means that if the product is unsuccessful than the manufacturer has just lost significant numbers on overall sales.

Why does this matter? Why are manufacturers’ even bothering with “color-scheming?” Essentially, the appliance market is in need of a significant boost due to the slump in the housing market, which has resulted in an even more significant slump in appliance sales. This means that manufacturers’ are trying to dazzle the buyer with new looks at every turn.

Fear not, for stainless steel is not being completely pushed out. However, there is a changing role that kitchens are playing in the American household, and this role reflects the changing times, of which appliance manufacturers are well aware. Therefore, manufacturers will continue to keep stainless steel finish in their collections, but consumers should be on the look-out for new and innovative looks for very common appliances. Within the past decade, kitchens have been central to the home in the sense that children and parents alike spent a significant portion of their time bonding in that central location. However, with every room having a television and technology added to it, the family now splits at dinner time and this makes for the kitchen to be a much less essential place of meeting. But this breakdown of the American home is one that appliance manufacturers are looking to change and they hope to once again make the kitchen a place of gathering and quality time.

It is certainly whimsical to think that common appliances and their related finishes can have such profound effect on our everyday lives. However, this is precisely the thinking that manufacturers task their marketing team with in order to rejuvenate the family spirit in the modern American home. You may feel a tug of nostalgia in the coming years, but the question will be if this is targeted marketing, or just are you really longing for that special “look of steel?”

The Unsung Heroes

Appliances matter and their value is on the rise

I’ve never come across a clothes washer that wears a mask and fights crime, and I’ve never used a dishwasher that had superhuman strength or used an air conditioner that could transform into a masked crime-fighting superhero. Basically, I’ve never met any major home appliance that really impressed me. However, the fact remains that I have used all of these and many more on a daily basis, and they have become as ingrained into my way of life as brushing my teeth or taking a shower, which I happily report is a daily routine.

The truth? We need our appliances, as badly as the Gotham needs Batman, and as frequently as the Hulk has a temper tantrum. From the very minute we wake, we use an array of appliances to aid us in our daily battles. In the course of one single day, we use everything from the refrigerator to the dishwasher, with stops at the washer and dryer, shower, sink and microwave oven, just to name a few. If one of these has even a minor malfunction that disrupts our daily routine, our days are forever altered and we just can’t seem to be as effective at work or as happy at home. Essentially, our appliances are the unsung heroes in our lives and silently get us through each and every day, and we give them less attention than we do our cell phones.

This is why appliances matter, and why we all should pay a little more attention to the purchases we make and the care we give to these “aids” of humanity. I urge you to imagine a time where you could not throw your clothes in the washer or dryer, or could not take a hot shower, or even worse, couldn’t heat up a frozen dinner in the microwave. This is a time that we have only read about in history books, but with one malfunction we find ourselves back in an age that we cannot comprehend and could never understand.

GE, Whirlpool and the like all are in the market of dealing out the essentials in our lives, except that we just are not quite aware of it yet. We hear of these companies, but do we actually pay attention to what it is that they are giving us? These unsung heroes stay with us for most of our lives, and yet we continue to disregard talks of outsourcing and the effects that it truly has on our national security. In the wake of the newest tropical storm, and in any time of crisis, it is essential that our own country be able to provide its own with supplies and tools needed to survive such tragic natural disasters. Truth? We still have to wait for most of our supplies to be shipped in to us, and that means putting our very livelihood in the hands of potential enemies. I am not one for debating politics, but I am one for the essence of survival. Why leave anything to another nation to take care of?

Bottom line, appliances are our best friends, for I don’t know any dog that can help me eat. However, it is almost comical to think of them as cherished necessities, yet that is quite essentially what they are.

No, they do not wear cool costumes or fight crime when we sleep, but our major home appliances keep us sane and give us the convenience and luxury that we take for granted every day.

Preparing Your Air Conditioner for Storage

With the weather cooling and Labor Day almost upon us, it’s finally that time to transition our homes from summer to fall.  While it’s sad to say goodbye to warm weather and backyard barbeques, wipe away your tears and roll up your sleeves, it’s time to get a little dirty.

It’s time to put the air conditioner in storage.

This hefty machine has been good to us during those scorching summer days and kept us cool throughout what would have been some miserable nights.

So now that your air conditioner has taken care of you, it’s your turn to show it a little love.

Here are the easy steps on how to safely and effectively prepare your air conditioner for storage:

  1. Unplug the air conditioner and remove any insulation or objects that may have been used to secure it.
  2. Recruit a friend and remove it from the window.
  3. Place the unit on a towel that you could stand losing. (The air conditioner may still be full of water.)
  4. Now clean the filter.
    1. First, vacuum it to remove any grit and grime.
    2. Next, place the filter under running water and use soap to gently wash away dirt.
    3. To give your filter to the full spa treatment, use equal parts vinegar and water. (That will help remove bacteria and allergens.)
  5. As the filter dries, use a cloth to wipe down the air conditioner’s exterior surfaces with either the same water/vinegar solution or a cleaning product.
  6. Remove the front grill and give it a good scrub.
  7. To store your air conditioner, put it in a bin, its original box or, if you’re feeling particularly ambitious, in an air conditioner cover. (Otherwise you’ll have to clean it all over again or little critters might decide your unit is an excellent place to settle down and start a family.)

By properly cleaning your air conditioner, you’ll save yourself money in replacement filters and increase the lifespan and efficiency of your unit. Like every appliance in your home, your air conditioner needs a little TLC too.

“GYRO” Screwdriver Employs New Technology in a New World

Tech-Savvy screwdriver brings about new wave of home care

The company of Black and Decker brings innovation and new possibilities to the category of screwdrivers, making a dull category sparkle. The new GYRO Rechargeable Screwdriver is the world’s first motion-activated screwdriver that controls variable speed and direction. The variable speed feature and direction change can happen with a simple flick of the wrist, which allows for improved control while screw-driving that surpasses all other rechargeable screwdrivers on the market.

Similarly, this new screwdriver employs gyroscopic technology never-before seen by the industry, allowing for the user to turn left and right with only a quarter-turn of the wrist, essentially becoming a motion-activated screwdriver. This is is a fascinating creation, albeit a possibly unnecessary one, and it is coupled with a recent article published concerning robotic technology taking over human manufacturing jobs.

Coincidence? The conspiracy theorist would say no, but it matters not. Truth is that our beloved technology has finally breached the “manliest” of markets in home care, and this innovation seems to stamp the message that technology will continue to pervade our lives in every way that it possibly can. Should we now look to producers like Elecrolux and Whirlpool to aid us in folding our own laundry with some gyroscopic “laundry folding” technology?

Either way, this new screwdriver is impressive and glamorous, which is still quite surreal given that a screwdriver has never been required to be glamorous or impressive. But hey, for all you screwdriver enthusiasts, eat your heart out and enjoy!

Design and Engineering Contest Inspires Creation and Innovation

Entries Open for Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Awards

Feeling creative? Possibly inventive? The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is in need of intelligent individuals with a desire to better the world around them with their creations and innovative designs. The CEA is now accepting entries for the International CES Innovations 2013 Design and Engineering Awards through September 14th, 2012. Awards will be accepted in the Home Appliances Category as well as 28 other categories.

This is a contest that every intelligent consumer should be jumping to endorse. Even if you are not so creative to be inventing new designs and creations, one should help find those individuals that are creative and inventive. This type of contest promotes the ideals that, globally, are so desperately needed in a time where the mind is something we seem not to cherish enough. Along these lines, a new category will be “Tech for a Better World” in which the goals of this category will be to pay special attention to those inventions that share a common goal and will help to impact the world in a positive way, either domestically or globally.

This a contest that needs to be put into the front of our minds and agendas as we seek to promote a world that employs humans with more intelligence and more creative ideas. Our focus, if we can’t invent our own creations, should be to help and aid those that can so we can continue to strive for a world that is comprised of those with fruitful ideas.

American Manufacturing Key to Security

How critical is American manufacturing to American security?

You can consider this the “Part II” to the post from last week discussing a report, filed by two former professionals of the Department of Homeland Security, where they made the strong assertion that America grows weaker with every product that is produced, developed or shipped to the United States with which American consumers are dependent upon. The main point of that report was to warn of a growing vulnerability that is the result of increased reliance on foreign shipping and the prediction that America’s strength is tremendously undermined should a crisis hit or should we be engaged in hostile activity with foreign supplier.

Assuming we take this report at face value, it seems warranted to be overly concerned about the implications of such proposed weaknesses that America seems to have and the truth of how strong these implications are. Simply put, we are at risk because we don’t supply our own citizens with supplies, causing us to rely upon our foreign suppliers to aid us through all times, including the times of great natural or man-made catastrophes. Essentially, this report is one that makes a simple yet well-founded claim that proves to be a laborious task to refute.

How can an argument be made that we are NOT vulnerable? It is a fact that we rely on foreign suppliers for nearly all of our basic products and while this may prove cost-effective it could certainly lead to our own demise. In a world where hostile intentions are never lacking and global strength is always a savory prospect, it seems careless to allow all of our supplies to come to us instead of being made by us.

Interestingly enough, this report is coupled with the U.S. Department of Commerce’s recent proposal to propose tariffs on leading producers like Samsung and Electrolux, in which there is a hope that the act of “dumping” will be reduced and that leading producers will think twice before supporting foreign suppliers that engage in “dumping.” On the other hand, a producer like Whirlpool seems to be on board with eventually having most of their products manufactured in America and hope to be much more American based by 2013, according to the DoC investigation report from July. This could mean a serious shift in production and sales in the market and if other other leading producers are not willing to jump on bandwagon, they quite possibly could be left in the proverbial dust.

Is this enough? Policing the foreign markets could prove to help American infrastructure while crippling production for leading producers. The question then becomes a matter of which is more important. Furthermore, is a reliance on foreign manufacturing simply the way that it has to be? Can there even be an alternative option for the United States?

The overwhelming concern of national security seems to pervade every market and industry throughout the global economy. We must decide if this is something we can change but, more importantly, if we can do we actually want to change. Do we want to change our way of life? Is it even possible?

We leave this, as always, to you, the consumer. It still remains that every leading producer still needs to sell their product which is where you fit in quite nicely. Your role is critical, essential, and ultimately the determinant of how vulnerable this country will be in the future years.