Open a front loader mid-cycle and rescue your mobile phone

November 15th, 2012

Appliance Talk Laundry Washers & Dryers

Imagine this: you’ve just loaded your laundry into your front loading washing machine, added the detergent, and started the cycle.  All seems well, and you’re about to walk away.

Then you hear… a tapping.

You turn around, but there is nothing in the laundry but an empty basket and a full washing machine, whose cycle is just beginning.

And then, over the whirr of the turning washer, the tapping comes again – from inside the machine.

What could it possibly be?

Slowly you step closer, gazing into the washer’s cyclopean eye, which is slowly filling with bubbles.  Pressed up against the glass are your favourite shirt, some socks, those underpants you really should get rid of…

And then it smacks against the glass – your mobile phone!

Trapped in with your washing, the expensive gadget is getting a good soaking and tapping against the glass with every revolution.  You try to open the door and rescue it, but it’s no use – once the cycle has begun, it cannot be stopped.

After waiting the agonising length of the wash cycle, you pop open the door and retrieve your phone – but the damage is already done.  A thorough waterlogging, an infusion of detergent and soap, and a lot of being bashed around have left your phone completely dead.

And your Angry Birds high scores have been irretrievably lost.

You may now return from the edge of your seats.

Does this scenario sound familiar to you?  t happens more often than you think – some people go through several phones this way, thanks to the combination of forgetfulness with a front-loader.

Here are a few ways you can deal with this little issue:

Don’t forget about your phone

They say that the simplest solution to any problem is probably the best.

If you habitually forget about the whereabouts of your mobile phone, then there’s a very real chance that it could catch a ride into the wash while languishing in a stray pocket.

Improving your memory is a long-term, complicated exercise, but you may be able to adapt a few of our tips for finding a lost remote control to this purpose.

Open the front loader mid-cycle

No, it’s not impossible – though depending on your model, it could be difficult or inadvisable.

Front loader doors lock during their cycles for reasons of both convenience and safety.  Keeping the door locked averts the risk of flooding the laundry with washing water, and as this water is often very hot, it helps protect you and your loved ones from scalds.

However, some newer front loaders don’t lock their doors until the water gets too hot and the drum too full to be safely opened, and deliberately keep the water level low at the beginning of the cycle to give you the opportunity to liberate a phone or add a missing sock.  If you realise that your phone is going to be getting a bath in the first five minutes of the cycle, you may be able to rescue it – an indicator light is often included on these washers to let you know when you’ve passed the point of no return.

The 10kg Front Load Samsung Washing Machine WF1104XAC is just one of many washing machines that can be opened in the first five minutes of the cycle, before the drum gets too full of hot water.  Contact the Appliances Online team for other models that can manage this feat.

Otherwise, many front loaders include an Emergency Drain feature that’s designed to let you empty a washer in the event of a power failure.  We don’t recommend using this feature lightly though, as it’s possible you could damage your machine and/or void your warranty (plus, it wastes a lot of water) – but if it’s absolutely critical, check your manual for details.

Keep in mind that for safety’s sake, many front loaders don’t unlock for 3 minutes after stopping, even in the even of power loss, to allow the water to cool down to a safer temperature.  And NEVER try to force open the door of your front loader – you’ll be putting both yourself and your appliance at risk.

Switch to a top loader

While front loaders tend to be more efficient in terms of water and power usage, and are becoming available in comparable sizes to many top-loaders, one of the benefits of owning a top-loader is being able to toss in that extra sock you dropped on the way to the laundry, even after the cycle begins.  All you need to do is pause the cycle and open the lid.

You can also retrieve an errant phone, though with most top loaders lacking a porthole to the inside, it’ll be harder to spot one in there.  Plus, as top loader tubs often fill right up with water, it may be thoroughly submerged when you go to get it out.

Mark joined Appliances Online in November 2011 and has since learned more than he ever expected to know about appliances. He enjoys looking for new and unusual ways for to solve everyday problems using typical household appliances. When he’s not toiling at the desks of Appliances Online and Big Brown Box, he tries to find time to write the next big bestseller and draw satirical cartoons, but is too easily distracted by TV, music and video games. Mark’s favourite appliance is the Dyson Groom Tool, as he loves the concept of vacuuming your dog. Google+

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