If hell hath no washing machines, purgatory has a Malber
Hell's Bitchen

If hell hath no washing machines, purgatory has a Malber

By Kelly Kreth  |
October 25, 2012 - 1:18PM

The last two apartments I’ve lived in have had washing machine access. The first in the basement and the latter in the apartment because I smuggled one in.

When I  moved here I could have easily brought the contraband machine with me—there is enough space---but wanted a clean (pun intended) start. You see my beloved ventless Malber wd1000 was much like the men I seem to date, dreamy but complicated and really more trouble than it was worth.

It was a good washing machine that did bad things. It connected to the sink and you’d have to keep the water running for the whole three hours it took to wash and dry a load.

Occasionally the spout would fall out of the sink and flood my kitchen floor. That was fun and used every towel I had to sop up the mess, thereby creating five more loads of wash to do. It was a vicious cycle.

It was an Armageddon-type of appliance that wreaked havoc with both fire and water. The heating unit exploded once leaving the smell of burning rubber in my home and on my towels and sheets. $280 later it was replaced, only for the door latch to break a month later, and Malber repair did not come cheap.

Then on Christmas Eve several years ago during one particularly aggressive spin cycle, one of the wheels cracked off and I had to hold up a heavy machine until I could slide a tin cake loaf pan under the missing wheel.

I ran down to my third floor neighbor’s apartment frantically trying to explain I had a three-legged, outlawed machine in my apartment that was about to tip over. She recommended I run across the street to the pet store and ask for the stock guy who does handyman work on the side.

He was about to head out for the holiday but said he and his friend would come and try to fix the wheel for $60. When they realized there was no way to reattach the wheel I came up with the genius idea of having them crack off the other three wheels. 

Crisis averted…or so I thought. Because the machine was now flush to the flimsy kitchen stick-on tiles, when condensation built up under it over the course of a month or two, the tiles started popping up. It got so bad that the wood started to turn into soil and every time I’d walk through the kitchen mud would slosh up.

It was tricky but I got the landlord to replace the floor citing a leak under the sink (there really had been an unrelated leak.) The monster was too hard to move so I threw a table cloth over it and hoped the floor repairmen sent by my landlord would not notice.

To prevent the new floor from experiencing the same fate as the one just replaced, I bought a rubber washing machine pan to put under the unit, but it was impossible to lift the unit to get the lipped pan under it.

Finally a friend walked over a dolly from his apartment building 12 blocks away and we succeeded in using the science  of leverage to get it on the dolly, over the pan lip and have it fall perfectly centered.

Because it had caused so much strife and money I decided when I moved here that I would abandon it. One of the moving men took it, and I assume it is now someone else’s nightmare in the Bronx. 

I didn’t think it’d be such a problem not having a washer and dryer in this apartment because it is only one flight up and directly across the street from a Laundromat.

However, I’m neurotic about doing the wash and have at least three loads per week so sometimes it can be tiresome making several trips up and down to get it all there and back. The Laundromat leaves tons to be desired in terms of ambiance and atmosphere. This 'mat is stuck in a time warp and still uses quarters instead of one of those nifty wash cards.

Still, it has been fine. A few times the cops were called while I was there for Laundromat altercations but I kind of live for that type of stuff anyway—blog fodder!—so it’s all good.

However, about five months ago I started having some weird health issues and was eventually diagnosed with Lyme disease. It sometimes causes my joints to hurt and for me to be so exhausted I need to lie in bed. Doing the wash has been harder. This plus the mechanics of the treatment for what ails me (I will spare you the gory details) has made carrying anything, let alone heavy bags of dirty clothing, nearly impossible.

On a recent night I returned from the hospital and called around to all the area Laundromats and only one—the one across from my apartment—does pickups and deliveries. However, the woman said she could not send anyone because she was alone and to call back in the morning.

It is extremely costly to have someone else pick up, wash, dry, fold and deliver your laundry when you do as much wash as I do as they charge per pound. I’m toying with the idea of finding another Malber.

In fact, ventless washer-dryer units have come a long way and nearly every brand seems to have their own version so maybe a new one would be easier to use and the possibility for mayhem to occur would be drastically reduced…  



Kelly Kreth, recently returned to Hell’s Kitchen, chronicles her misadventures in her tenement-style walk-up in this bi-weekly BrickUnderground column, Hell’s Bitchen

See all Hell's Bitchen. 

Also by Kelly Kreth:

Inside story: My illegal washer-dryer

A brief break from bitchin': 9 seriously awesome things about Hell's Kitchen

Hell's Bitchen: I vow never to move again

15 things I've learned from 'Million Dollar Listing NY' so far

The 20 deadly sins NYC rental agents should never commit (but do)

Escape from the UES: Goodbye douchebaggery, hello Hell's Kitchen

Dear Neighbor: I am your worst nightmare

Living next to a bridge & tunnel club: KY Jelly wrestling, all-night noise, no regrets

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Kelly Kreth

Contributing writer

Contributing writer Kelly Kreth has been a freelance journalist, essayist, and columnist for more than two decades. Her real estate articles have appeared in The Real Deal, Luxury Listings, Our Town, and amNewYork. A long-time New York City renter who loves a good deal, Kreth currently lives in a coveted rent-stabilized apartment in a luxury building on the Upper East Side.

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