Washing Machine Buying Guides
Is Auto Dosing Worth Paying For?
- Created: Thursday, 02 February 2017 10:07
- Last Updated: Thursday, 02 February 2017 10:07
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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.
The 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.
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.
You 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.
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.
Miele Twin DosI\'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.
Miele DetergentsI\'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.
Therefore any conversation is largely pointless as the facts cannot be verified without access to them.
Miele TwinDosThe article is not entirely correct.
The Miele \"Ultraphase 2\" cartridge actually contains hydrogen peroxide bleach.
If the user of the machine wishes, standard detergents can be put into the supplied dosing bottles. Therefore it is possible to use Persil liquid in one bottle, and Ace liquid in the other. Or Daz liquid, and Vanish liquid.
Apparently, there is even the option to use liquid detergent in one bottle, and fabric conditioner in the other bottle.
Can we assume that Miele have cracked the problem that the entire detergent industry with armies of chemists has not been able to in that, it is not technically possible to have bleach in a liquid as it is heavy and sinks to the bottom? So, the last wash bleaches everything badly.
It is an issue that, to date, there has been no way around and why no liquid detergent contains any bleach.
Yes, they have - That\'s why it\'s called Twin Dos.The Miele system has cracked the problem by using two component detergent.
There are two slot-in tanks. If you use the Miele pre-filled cartridges, Tank 1 is colour detergent and Tank 2 is hydrogen peroxide bleach with an optical brightener.
When you select \"DOS\" the machine asks you : Colour / Whites and the soil level.
If you select the lowest option, it reduces the dose, if you select the normal option it does whatever dose you\'ve preprogrammed, or if you select heavy it will do a prewash.
If you select Colour - it dispenses the colour detergent only.
If you select Whites - it dispenses the colour detergent and bleach.
The machines have recirculating pumps and plenty of tumbling so there\'s absolutely question of the bleach sinking to the bottom or not dispensing correctly through the load.
You have an option of either using the Miele pre-filled cartridges or, you can use the two refillable tanks provided.
Tank 1 - Any liquid detergent of your choice. It\'s probably better to stick to something not too viscous.
Tank 2 - A peroxide fabric bleach like Ace for example will work fine OR, if you prefer not to use a bleach - you can fill it with fabric softener.
You can programme all the dosing levels through the menus to anything you like.
Also the drawer continues to work as normal and you can add any detergent you want just like any other washing machine. If you don\'t select \"DOS\" it doesn\'t use the auto-dose pumps.
It\'s a very, very flexible dosing system and I don\'t think this article really dose it justice.
The main advantage I would see of using it:
1. Very clean utility room. No gunk being spilled anywhere.
2. The doses are very precise and we have dramatically cut down our detergent use as a result.
3. It\'s quite child-safe as the detergents are in sealed containers with a valve and are quite difficult to accidentally come into contact with.
What settings?Can you tell me what I should set Compartment 2 to if I put a third party \"hydrogen peroxide bleach\" (e.g. Vanish) in Tank 2?
The options on the machine are:
- UltraPhase 2
- Miele WoolCare
- Miele Conditioner
- Colour Detergent
- Fabric Conditioner
Putting Colour Detergent in Tank 1 has an obvious answer (\"Colour Detergent\"), though I\'m not sure what the setting would be for Bio Colour Detergent.