Is the new 12-minute washing machine a marvel – or just spin
22:14 GMT, 31 October 2012
A super-fast washing machine that truly delivers has always been the holy grail for manufacturers. Now Servis claims to have produced the swiftest wash yet — just 12 minutes.
The rapid 30c programme of the HydroDrive (279.99 at Argos) is designed to cope with a maximum load of 3.5kg (around 13 T-shirts) that is only slightly grubby, although any load over 2kg may take longer.
It’s faster than conventional machines, says its maker, because it has two jet-nozzles to wash clothes instead of the usual single one.
So is the new machine really a dream come true or a dirty disappointment
Getting into a lather: Tessa tests the HydroDrive
LOAD 1: Two white towels
These towels are big and grimy, with splodges of mascara and foundation on them. My daughter — back from university for the weekend — has forgotten her make-up wipes again. I’m fuming. Will my towels ever be the same again
TIME TAKEN: 15 minutes. But Servis does say if the load is over 2kg, it may take longer, depending on the clothes’ absorbency.
RESULT: I expect the cycle time to vary depending on how heavy the load is, the type of fabrics I’m washing and how long they need to spin for, so I’m not concerned about the extra three minutes. I’m just impressed that two thick towels wash so quickly. They come out squeaky-clean and smelling fresh. The make-up stains have vanished. Fantastic result.
LOAD 2: Two cotton cardies and two pairs of tights
I’m always running out of tights because putting on a full load to wash a few smalls is such a waste. So a machine that gives me clean tights in a jiffy seems perfect. Add two tops — worn only once but in need of a bit of freshening up — and I’m ready to go.
TIME TAKEN: 13 minutes. The cardigans must have slightly pushed the load over the 2kg limit, which surprises me.
RESULT: Fantastic. The tops and tights are every bit as fragrant and clean as if I’d used a normal cycle.
Test: Will the machine be able to clean this stained T-shirt
LOAD 3: One top with an oil stain and pyjamas
Help — I’ve splashed some olive oil on my cotton top during cooking. Oil is notoriously difficult to remove but the sooner I tackle it, the more chance I’ll have. It should be perfect for this machine. I also add a pair of pyjamas. They’re not dirty but I might as well freshen them up.
TIME TAKEN: 17 minutes. The extra time is down to washing a mixed load of light and heavy cotton.
RESULT: The pyjamas have washed a treat but the oil mark is still evident. To be fair, when I wash the top again on a conventional 40C programme in my usual machine, the stain still doesn’t shift.
LOAD 4: Three filthy white shirts
It’s time to give the machine a bigger challenge. I dirty some white shirts — one with ketchup, one with mustard and one with mud.
TIME TAKEN: 12 minutes.
RESULT: The only time the cycle takes exactly 12 minutes as promised. The mud has disappeared altogether, the ketchup has faded dramatically but the mustard has left a nasty yellow stain. And the shirts are all sopping wet and need an extra 15-minute spin. Admittedly, Servis says the machine is only suitable for light stains but I’m disappointed the clothes don’t come out drier.
On the clock: Tessa timed all the loads
LOAD 5: Two cotton coats
Weighing at least 2kg each, the coats are grubby and need a wash before I put them away for winter. The collars are slightly greasy and there are marks around the pockets. They need a quick spruce-up rather an in-depth clean. Will the 12-minute wash be sufficient
TIME TAKEN: 24 minutes. Twice as long as 12 minutes.
RESULT: Despite the extra time, the result is still pretty impressive for a wash under half-an-hour. The marks have gone and the coats smell fresh. I can put them away without any worries.
LOAD 6: One pair of jeans
Walking the dog on a wet day in my favourite pair of jeans is definitely a mistake. There are filthy marks all over the legs where Milo — fresh from mud-wrestling with a stick — has hurled himself at me. The jeans are my fail-safe outfit, and I want to wear them to the pub tonight. Normally I’d wait to wash them until I had a full load. Instead, I pop them in.
TIME TAKEN: Ten minutes. This is incredible — obviously I’m way under the 2kg limit.
RESULT: There’s not a trace of mud left but the jeans are sopping wet because they haven’t been spun for long enough. I have to do another 15-minute spin to get them dry enough to hang up.
AND FINALLY: A normal 40C cotton wash…
As well as the 12-minute programme, the machine has conventional programmes for heavier loads. I can’t wait to try it out on my usual family wash — a mix of underwear, socks and shirts that weighs around 7kg (the maximum recommended weight is 8kg).
I know this will take more than 12 minutes but when I set the dial I’m stunned to see the cycle will take three hours, five minutes. I could do 15 super-fast washes in that time.
My Bosch machine would take 1 hours to do the same load. This is going from the sublime to the ridiculous.
TIME TAKEN: 185 minutes.
RESULT: When the machine finally stops, the clothes are damper than I’m used to. I’ve waited so long, I hang them up anyway, rather than waste more time with another spin. This is seriously disappointing.
The super-rapid cycle may be fast but the 12-minute boast doesn’t always hold true. The average time it took was 15 minutes because each load time was calculated by the machine based on weight and the clothes’ absorbency.
Even when I thought I had put in a load that would qualify for the 12-minute treatment, the machine calculated something different, and some of the washes were twice as long.
Plus, for a normal wash, who wants a machine that seems to be set on go-slow Although I tried the 40C wash three times, I could never get the time under two hours, 50 minutes.