NPR logo The Internet Is My Live-In Butler

The Internet Is My Live-In Butler

Don't put in too much! iStockphoto.com hide caption

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Don't put in too much!

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I moved into a new house a couple weeks ago — it's a bona fide house, complete with semi-functional showerheads and creaky staircase. It's wonderful, a big old project that will take us years to complete, and honestly, I have a problem almost every day that I have to go to the web to solve. Web searches from this weekend include:

electrical outlet help

front loader smell

removing splinter

peonies flopping over

cheap vacations

One constant source of anxiety and frantic web searching: my new appliances (Some, not so new.). I know that people sing the praises of front loading washers, but me? I am not singing. However, thanks to my new domestic partner, THE INTERNET, I'm beginning to show it who's boss. Many web searches later, I've found that there are certain things you must do with a front loader: keep it open, clean the gasket, and maybe most important, use less detergent. That last advice? Goes for practically everything in your house... according to the New York Times.

The No. 1 sin, according to repair people and appliance experts, seems to be adding too much soap to washing machines or dishwashers.

"Nobody thinks they use too much soap," said Vernon Schmidt, who has been a repairman for almost 35 years and is the author of a self-published book, "Appliance Handbook for Women: Simple Enough Even a Man Can Understand." But apparently most of us are in denial.

Washing machines and dishwashers are made to use far less water now than older models and, therefore, need less soap. And detergents have also become increasingly concentrated. So a little goes a long way.

Ah, internet. Thanks, again! Want to have a romantic dinner in my empty dining room?

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