My GE Top-Load Washer Review

This is about the GE 4.6 cu ft top load washer model GTW680BSJWS.

When I was shopping for a new washer and dryer last year, many of the reviews I read were written within a few days of purchase. Since I’ve been using this machine for the past year, I thought that I would share my opinion, since often times reviews are written by people who have just received the washer, or may have only used it once or twice.

Because of the laundry space we have available, front-loading machines are not an option. I would not be able to leave the washer door open to air out after washing, so it would probably become stinky in no time.

For the past 15 years I’ve had a front-loading washer, and really had not paid too much attention to changes in washer technology. The first thing I noticed on some of the new top loaders was no post (agitator) in the middle. The pitch for these HE top-loaders is that they are quieter, use less water and are gentler on fabrics. Plus, without the agitator, you can fit bulkier items like blankets/comforters more easily. Sounded good - no more mangled underwire bras or stretched out sweaters!

The washer was delivered without an instruction manual, which I didn’t notice until the delivery guys had left. I had just assumed it was in with the dryer manual - oh well. The washer is easy enough to use without instructions anyway. It’s a nice looking, simple machine, with a lot of room in the tub for sure! The tub is so deep that I think if you are on the short side, you might need a step stool to reach all the way down to the bottom. I like the clear lid too – nice to see what’s going on inside.

There are all sorts of combinations of wash settings, temperatures to suit anyone, along with the ability to set “My Cycle” to remember your favorite. There are also optional settings for blood, wine, grass stains, etc, which I have yet to use, since I prefer to handle those things before they get to the washer.

This is definitely not the quietest machine around, but since it is in the garage, it is more tolerable. I would not recommend it for interior laundry rooms. The noise is not too bad during the washing, but it has a wicked fast spin cycle that can sound like a helicopter taking off! Because of the spin cycle, I would also not recommend leaving heavy loads unattended. Even though I am careful to evenly distribute the load in the tub, it does tend to become unbalanced, vibrate and sometimes “walk” across the floor on the spin cycle of heavy loads.

So in using this model without an agitator, I have noticed a few things. Yes, it is gentler on your clothing, but I sort of feel like the agitator played an important role in moving your clothes around enough to help remove dirt and stains. I have found that if the clothes are not too dirty, the HE and no agitator features are not a problem. However, if you tend to have very dirty laundry, then you will probably want to do smaller loads and add more water.

Oh, and about adding more water – this HE model definitely skimps on the water. I always have to use “Deep Fill” and “Deep Rinse” settings to get enough water to cover and properly agitate the clothes enough for a thorough cleaning. Maybe it’s just a mental thing with me, but I like my laundry completely submerged. Again, the clear lid helps to see, without interrupting things.

After some trial and error with this machine over the past year, I finally found a happy medium. Overall I’d give it a 7 out of 10.

I also purchased the GE 7.4 cu ft Electric Dryer at the same time. It’s a match for the washer – nice and simple. The inside is huge – plenty of room for large comforters and blankets. The panel is easy to use, with 12 drying cycles for a variety of fabric types. It is definitely quiet enough for interior laundry room. Laundry loads dry quickly, usually before the times cycle is completed – much faster than my old dryer. Favorite features - Extended Tumble is great if you tend to forget to remove items right away. I have absolutely no complaints about this dryer in this first year.

How to Wash Cloth Diapers

First, I would like to say thank you to those of you reading this who are already using cloth diapers and even to those who are seriously considering going the cloth diaper route, for doing your part in saving landfills from thousands of diapers. It takes an estimated 450 years for disposable diapers to decompose in a landfill - that's disgusting!

Secondly, the cloth diapers of today have changed a lot since my days of changing diapers! Way back in the day I used plain white cloth diapers, secured by safety-pins and a separate, waterproof pull-on style pant on top. Those nylon covers were bulky, ugly, and very inconvenient if you had a messy change on your hands! Then there was the fragrant, wet diaper pail for pre-soaking, ugh.

Today's cloth diapers with their all-in-one design styles and snap close covers in fun colors/patterns, it is an attractive, money saving alternative, even if you do it part-time. There are unavoidable occasions (like daycare) where you have no choice but to use disposables, but every little bit helps.

Whichever brand of diapers you choose, follow their prep-instructions to insure maximum absorption before using the first time. Some require washing/drying a few times. You can test by pouring a small amount of warm water on the diaper - if it beads, it's not ready, if it is absorbed right away, then you (or should I say baby) are good to go.

All you need to do after changing a diaper is shake solids into the toilet, and drop the diaper into the lined pail after a change, until ready to wash. Of course, there's nothing to do for just pee, but as for the other, the more you remove, the better/easier cleaning will be, so if you need to dunk, or spray then go for it. Depending on the style of diaper you choose, you may have the option of separating an insert from the cover - check your instructions.

When it comes to laundering, it's pretty simple. Carry the filled diaper pail liner to the washer and turn it inside out as you dump the load in - no touching involved! If it is a machine washable liner, then toss it in too.

Back when I did this, all we had were top-loading washers, which were (and still are) great for washing diapers. Front-loading washers have an issue with not using enough water to rinse diapers properly. You need to manually set the machine to use the maximum water possible. Try doing smaller loads, and possibly multiple rinses until you are sure all of the detergent is out of the diapers.

You will want to do a pre-wash one time without detergent, then run a second wash with hot water and detergent. Do an extra rinse to be sure all the detergent is out of the diapers. Adding a 1/2 cup of distilled white vinegar to that first rinse can help get the soap out better, but it may not be recommended for the waterproof cover - check your instructions. 

Keep it simple with detergent - dye and fragrance free. Recommended brands include Tide Free & Gentle, All Free and Clear, Arm & Hammer Sensitive, Seventh Generation Free and Clear, you get the idea. 

Dry in the dryer, or clothesline. I always liked to hang outside in the sun, a natural brightener and freshener.

If the diapers have a lingering odor of detergent or ammonia from urine, they may not be rinsed thoroughly enough. There are also products available such as Biokleen Bac-Out and Ecos which are enzyme products you may want to try in the initial wash cycle.

Do not use fabric softener or dryer sheets, as it decreases the absorbency of the diapers, and do not use bleach since it may break down the waterproof cover. A bleach-alternative may be able to be used on occasion, but it is best to follow the diaper manufacturer's instructions.