Comparisons of fabric care performances between conventional and high-efficiency washers and dryers
Chen-Yu, Jessie H.
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High-efficiency (HE) washers use 35–50% less water and about 50% less energy per load than conventional washers. However, there has been a consistent debate as to whether HE washers perform better or worse in garment care than conventional washers. Consumers need research-based information that would help them make informed decisions concerning the purchase of a clothes washer. The purpose of this study was to compare fabric hand, appearance retention (strain removal, color change, and fabric smoothness), and dimension stability (dimensional change and skewness change) after the specimens were repeatedly washed and dried for up to 20 cycles in three combinations of washer and dryer used: (a) conventional washer and dryer, (b) HE washer and conventional dryer, and (c) HE washer and dryer. The results showed that the specimens washed in the HE washer had better fabric hand and were smoother (fewer wrinkles) than those washed in the conventional washer. Conventional and HE washers performed similarly in color change, dimensional change, and skewness change. In regard to dryer, all results except those for stain removal showed no significant differences between the specimens dried in the conventional dryer and those dried in the HE dryer. In stain removal, when a softener was not used, the conventional dryer removed more stains from the specimens than the HE dryer. However, when a softener was used, the stains on the specimens dried in the conventional dryer were more difficult to remove than those on the specimens dried in the HE dryer.