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Is Auto Dosing Worth Paying For?

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Automatic dosing of detergent and conditioner, is it a good thing or a bad thing?

In the world of commercial machines automatic dosing or auto dosing has been about for a while and in full blown commercial use we can understand why.

Bosch i dos auto dosingThe primary reason is to control costs, preventing operators from using too much detergent or indeed too little as often the machines will be operated by unskilled labour so, it makes sense there. Plus you’ve got all the space you need, adding extra size to the machines is not of concern normally and the cost of installing such system not prohibitive in relative terms.

In a domestic setting, not so much.

You’ll see these systems labelled up as i-Dos, self-dosing, TwinDos, auto-dose and so on but in essence, they’re all the same thing, just differing flavours.

Now we totally get that it sounds great, lad up the machine with “stuff”, wash things and that’s it. The marketing bumph makes it sound great, it’ll improve your life, give you more time, make you not worry and all the usual garbage we see but, is it actually true?

In large part, no it isn’t. It’s a glorified advert, of course it’s not exactly fully accurate will we say, to be kind.

Here’s why that’s the case explained for you and why we would recommend you avoid these systems like the plague.

  Only Liquids!

Out the gate all the domestic systems we’ve seen from the like of Miele, Indesit, Bosch and so on have the same underlying fundamental problem, they can only use liquid detergents.

Many people might not think this a problem but, it is and a big one.

You see no liquid detergent can contain bleach for technical reasons, it’s just not possible to do so when you use liquids all the time you get issues with smells as bacteria grows in the machine leading to the old smelly washer problems.

Where people combine that with constant low temperature washes we see this problem made worse and potentially damage to the machine so all in all, it’s not even remotely a good thing in our estimation.

For far more information non this please see our article all about detergents for more on this topic as well as others we will talk about here, that will cast more light on why we hold this position on auto dosing.

  Not In Control

So here’s the other big thing about auto-dosing, you’re not in control of the dose, the machine is and the simplistic logic within it.

Mistake number one many people get into trouble with is endowing washing machines (and other appliances) with having more intelligence than they actually have. They’re pretty dumb really for the most part.

The chance of a machine figuring out that you’ve banged in mixed items is zero. Mixed colours, not a hope. mixed up wash labels, no chance.

The machine will wash on the program you select irrespective of what you put in it and, when there’s an auto-dose system in operation, it will does according to the program that you select. What that means is, if you select the wrong program, it’ll wash wrong and now it will also dose wrong as well.

That leads to use being a very fickle affair, you need to sort laundry completely correctly, select the correct program and the correct soiling level or, it won’t wash well.

None of the machine currently available can get around that problem and without some hateful fuzzy logic or AI and RFID or something in the clothes, we can’t see any way around that problem. Unless you can get a robot that will do it all for you of course but, we’re probably some way off from that being a reality.

So if you are perhaps under the illusion that somehow the machine will magically work all that out for you, please rethink as it simply will not do so. You could actually end up with more to do, not less.

  Bigger Cost, Then More Cost

Any machine with an auto dosing system is going to cost more, probably significantly more.

It will have extra bits in it that at some point will probably break and they won’t be cheap. To us it’s just more points of failure never mind the potential problems outlined already.

Miele twindos  auto dosing reviewYou also have systems like Miele’s TwinDos auto-dosing system that uses specific detergents that are delivered in a sort of cartridge type way and, they ain’t cheap.

We guess you could argue that, if you can afford a Miele TwinDos machine than you probably aren’t all that bothered about the cost but we’re sure you don’t want to get ripped off nor do you want to get poor results or have more hassle. The bottom line here is, this is going to cost you more and possibly a lot more over the time you own the machine.

Of course if the manufacturer can lock you in to buying stuff from them and them exclusively at whatever they want to charge you, sure they’re gonna do that. We would advise strongly to avoid anything that traps you in this way as there’s no need for it and, it probably won’t be doing you any favours.

  Avoid It

On balance we cannot see any real world benefit in having an auto dosing system in a domestic washing machine, to us it just makes no sense at all. There really are no redeeming factors from a technical perspective in design or in use.

We get that on the face of it that many people might think this a great idea and it does play to the “lazy” in us all, why do something you can have a machine do for you but here, it’s not really doing that much and may well end up making things more difficult for many people, not easier at all.

Therefore our advice, avoid auto-dosing system, they’re not worth the hassle or the expense.

Jonathan Taylor
Uninformed and simply incorrect article
I\'ve got the Miele system (and no Ken, I don;t work for them) and it\'s great - replace the bottles once a month or so, and all the rest of the hassle is taken care of.

Frankly this article makes no sense to me at all, and clearly wasn\'t written by someone who has actually owned any brand of auto-dosing washing machine.

The inaccuracies are littered from start to finish, but here\'s a great example: \"You see no liquid detergent can contain bleach for technical reasons, it’s just not possible to do so when you use liquids all the time you get issues with smells as bacteria grows in the machine leading to the old smelly washer problems.\"
Whilst this point might be correct, it\'s totally irrelevant because the bleach is not mixed with the detergent, the detergent and bleach are stored in two separate containers, with bleach only being used with a whites wash.

Here\'s another example: \"Of course if the manufacturer can lock you in to buying stuff from them and them exclusively at whatever they want to charge you, sure they’re gonna do that.\". Also incorrect - you can use refillable containers that you can top up with whatever brand of detergent and bleach you care to use.

Frankly I find it hard to understand the author\'s position. In the best case, this is an example of complete ignorance. In the worst, the author works for a washing machine company that has yet to provide an auto-dosing model and intentionally seeks to deceive.

You cannot just fill it with any old bleach, you need to use propriety stuff or you risk damage, as per Miele themselves state:

Frequent use of chlorine increases the risk of component damage. The use of agents containing chlorine, such as sodium hypochlorite and chlorine bleach in powder form, can damage the protective upper surface of stainless steel and cause corrosion to components. Factors affecting this are chlorine concentration levels, contact time and temperature. It is therefore advisable to avoid the use of such agents. Oxygen based bleaching agents should be used instead. If, however, chlorine based bleaching agents have to be used for particular types of soiling, then anti-chlorine measures must also be carried out. If this is not done irreparable damage can occur to components in the machine and to laundry.

Anti-chlorine treatment has to be carried out immediately after chlorine bleach has been used. The use of hydrogen peroxide or an oxygen based cleaning or bleaching agent is recommended and the laundry should not be drained in between. With thiosulfate, especially when used with hard water, gypsum can form, which can lead to incrustations on laundry or deposits in the machine. The use of hydrogen peroxide is preferable as it aids the chorline neutralising process. The exact quantity of additives and the treatment temperatures required must be set and tested on site in accordance with the dosage recommendations of the detergent and additive manufacturers. The laundry must also be tested to check whether it contains any active chlorine residues.

So, you're locked into using expensive stuff that you cannot just pop down to the local supermarket and buy, sorry but that would appear to be a fact.

I'd hazard that any damage caused by using incorrect detergent or bleach will not be covered by warranty so, if you damage it by not knowing the chemistry, your'e stuffed and will get the proprietary huge repair bill from Miele. They're nice like that as, so far as I am aware you'll be paying over £120 for the first 15 minutes or, forced to take a service plan.

Additionally at £20 or so a bottle, it's not cheap!

Detergent, goodness knows what you can or cannot use as there appears to be zero information but then, guess Miele would rather you bought their own rather than a third party detergent. It's also probably the case that, if you use the wrong thing and cause damage it won't be covered by warranty and, back to looking at a big bill to fix it.

The refillable bottles that you can get for the Miele system are an optional extra so far as I can see, must be a German thing like they do with cars, they're £20 odds a shot.

All in, from the alternative "haven't drank from the Miele KoolAid dispenser" viewpoint, it's simply not worth the bother, probably more expensive over the long haul and likely not saving you any hassle at all.

Despite the Miele propaganda in the comments here.

Anyone else see a recurring and very familiar PR like thread in these comments, it\'s almost as if Miele are paying someone such as a PR company to spam this article.

No real names, no verification... hmmm, suspicious much?

Of course not that this would ever happen, would it?

Jonathan Taylor
Who cares
If they are correcting misinformation, like the original article, and your previous comment, then who cares if some of the responses are from Miele (p.s. I\'m not from Miele)?
Economic (with the facts)
Your article is certainly interesting, but for the Miele (which i have - can\'t speak for the other brands) economical with the facts.
ONLY LIQUIDS - not correct. I use the TwinDos system but you can load your own liquid cartridges OR use powders in the draws OR Miele\'s own capsules.
NOT IN CONTROL - not correct. part of the programming is to tell the machine the degree of soiling so it can adjust the correct amount of each detergent.
BIGGER THE COST - subjective. You pay for what you get. For same price, I can go and buy 3 cheap machines. While they might last as long, are they going to do as good a job? This thing is so quite, all you hear is the water running in and sploshing. No jet on the tarmac revving to take off. I sat through the first cycle because i was mesmerised by it\'s operational efficiency. My old (fully manual) Blanco as good as it was, wasn\'t a scratch on this one. AND ultimately, the TwinDos is meant to meter out the waste that we errantly overfill the detergents on our manual machines in the misguided belief that it\'s better for our wash, not to mention the environment. And at the end of the wash, I get a read out of the electricity & water consumed.
Like the majority of contributors, I have to add my voice to your article being more fiction than fact.

Miele Twin Dos
In respect of the Miele machine your article is un informed twaddle. Clearly, from it you have neither seen nor tested the Miele Twin Dos.
Miele Twin Dos
I\'d also like to jump in here as the Miele TwinDos system is superb! We use Persil Small and Mighty in Container 1 & Ace bleach in Container 2. We get better results than the Miele detergents at half the cost! More than happy for anyone to ask me any questions.
Hi - Could you tell me where you got the refill containers from and how you are getting on with the Persil Small and Mighty and ACE Bleach in 1 & 2? Would the ACE be something like this: https://www.homecareessentials.co.uk/products/ace-for-whites-laundry-bleach--1-litre/w3579


Miele TwinDos
Hi, just wondering which Ace bleach you use? The green container for coloureds or the white one for whites?

Many thanks!

Basil Brush
Miele Detergents
I\'m not entirely sure you understand the Miele UltraPhase system.

UltraPhase 1 is the cartridge containing only biological liquid detergent.

UltraPhase 2 is the cartridge containing only liquid hydrogen peroxide bleach.

Depending on the programme, the machine injects the appropriate ratios; for example, 1:1 for whites, or 2:1 for coloureds.

Apparently these detergents are quite fluid, not viscous like standard detergents, so shouldn\'t clog tubes and pumps.

The detergents are not made by Miele, but one of their partners, to Miele\'s specifications.

There are some stories of Samsung auto-dose machines not coping with today\'s thicker liquid detergents.

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