RE: high efficiency washers top load vs. front load
As you know, we don't have our own washer (don't I wish!), but back when we thought we might, we were looking at front loaders. I use my mom's washer to clean Dora's lovey, and it does a much better job getting out the grime and smell. I think it's much gentler on clothes that need handwashing, and it really appears that they use less water.
"Mommy, I need to put on my goggles, because I have too much energy."