Danby DWM99W Portable Top-Load Washer
I received this washer from Amazon in September of 2006 as a gift from family. It arrived in good condition. At the time, I lived in an apartment, and had two main reasons for wanting my own washing machine: money and convenience.
This apartment complex charged $1.00 - $1.25 per load, so I would have to go through about 300 full-sized loads to make this washing machine pay for itself.
It also limited people to two washers at a time per apartment unit, so that others could have a chance to wash their laundry, which I thought was fair.
The problem was that I was using CareFresh Ultra for my three guinea pigs. They were a bonded trio, and their mother had worsening allergies and needed to rehome them.
With so many guinea pigs being put down in shelters across the country and overflowing rescue organizations, I knew they wouldn't have much of a chance at their local shelter, so I took them home.
Guinea pigs need, at minimum, 10.5 square feet of cage floor space and recommended 13 square feet for a trio (7.5 for a pair or single, and being social, they should not be kept singly unless temporarily necessary such as for quarantine), along with daily "floor time" in the house for exercise and stimulation.
I used free newspapers (soy-based ink only, please) for floor time, but 10.5 square feet's worth of CareFresh Ultra cost a lot every week!
I wasn't complaining too much, since I knew what I was getting into when I adopted them, and a smaller cage would actually be more expensive since it would mean more frequent cleaning and bedding replacement, but reduction in income that year made me look at the cost again.
Soon, I was watching how joyfully my guinea pigs were running out of their cage to explore and exercise during floor time, and thinking, "Why only 1 - 4 hours a day?
I can guinea-pig most of the room and let them have a larger space 24/7!" That's when I discovered how economical, soft, and safe fleece and towels could be as guinea pig bedding. So long as I followed simple guidelines, such as prewashing the fleece so it would wick, it worked out perfectly.
They were very happy having such a large space to live in, but this meant a LOT of towels. And guinea pigs pee a lot. This is where washing eight towels twice a week, and an additional 24 towels 1 - 2 times a month, came in.
Enough about my guinea pigs and reasons for
wanting the Danby, this is a washing machine review. It hooked up fine to the kitchen sink, although the faucet adapter wasn't very durable and leaked after a while. We placed something heavy over the drain hose when it was in use, because we were afraid it might slip out of the sink. We could wash all the guinea pig towels we wanted (oh and human clothes and towels too) right in the kitchen.
Installing and using the washing machine is simple and easy. The controls are obvious. For taking up such a small amount of space, it washes relatively large loads. To make sure our dirtier loads get clean, we can run an economy cycle and a regular cycle.
I like doing a regular cycle for items for which it's important that as much of the detergent as possible is rinsed out.
Alternatively, one economy cycle with detergent, then another economy cycle with vinegar works out very well for these articles.
I don't like putting vinegar in the softener dispenser, as the vinegar smell stays for a while. So long as the washer is not overloaded, everything agitates well and gets clean.
However, the inner tub stopped spinning reliably after a while. We don't care too much because the agitator does such a good job.
A more annoying, but infrequent, problem is that it won't drain unless the lid is opened and closed again, even if the lid was closed properly to begin with. Also, the lint filter catches hardly anything per load, although it gets full over time.
Since it's not mentioned in the manual, we didn't even look for it for weeks, by which time it had accumulated quite a bit.
It's easy to clean out, but at least an equal amount is trapped right below it, and that's anything but easy to clean out.
Maintenance has been simple so far and the washer seems sturdy. We have moved since we bought it--it traveled across the country in a shipping container--and it didn't break as I had feared. I've splashed water on the control panel, but it survived just fine.
I wash surfaces that have gotten dirty, such as by having urine-soaked towels dragged over them. Since the washing machine cleans so well, it's probably unnecessary, but I run an empty cycle with just hot water and detergent to clean the tub between guinea pig towels and human clothes. It makes me feel better :)Overall, I'm very happy with this washing machine. It is the first I've ever owned and I expect it will last a long time.