dirt / build up on front loader glass door

cgi101March 28, 2010

I've only used my new Kenmore Elite washer (a rebranded Samsung WF409) for about ~10 cycles and some weird build up is appearing on the glass door (pictures below). Whatever it is, it's extremely hard and 'baked' on... so hard and scratchy that at first touch it seems like maybe the glass is etched/scratched, but it is in fact some kind of build up. Has anyone else experienced this before? I tried some all-purpose cleaner and a good scrub, but not the slightest bit came off at all! The first time I saw the build up was after running a sanitize cycle with a shower curtain and detergent. The buildup at that time was only half as 'long' as it is now (in the pictures you can see the build up is kind of a strip). I did some warm/cold washes after this, and the build up did not increase or decrease. Then yesterday I did a hot wash of some white clothes, and noticed the build-up strip was twice as long! What's going on? How do I get it off? I'm using Tide HE detergent, if that helps. I tried a washer clean cycle with no detergent, but there was no change... the water doesn't really reach that part of the door much anyways... just some splashes during tumbling.

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It looks to me like something (the rubber gasket, perhaps) is rubbing on the glass leaving that mark.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 3:23PM
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I took a closer look at the build-up strip while the door was closed... and it doesn't appear that the gasket or anything else could rub up against this part of the glass. There is more than a 1" gap between the affected area of glass and the nearest portion of the gasket.

However, your idea that something is rubbing against it seems to make sense.. hmmm... I tried using a knife to scrape off the build-up. A layer of it comes off, but underneath there is a thin layer of whiteish buildup that cannot be scraped off... which makes me wonder if the glass is actually etched/discolored underneath.

I just bought this washer in the last few weeks. Should I exchange it for a new one?

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 4:19PM
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Etching occurs when you use phosphate detergents with very soft water. The alternative explanation could be calcium carbonate deposits due to extremely hard water and not enough, or the wrong kind of detergent. Visit your local water company web site and see if you can download a water quality report. How hard is the water (look for terms like "total dissolved solids" or "grains per gallon", etc.)?

In hard water, you do not want to use laundry "soap" as it will cause precipitation of the calcium carbonate and you will find deposits not only on your glass door, but also on the heating elements and clothing as well. If you have very soft water, do not use a phosphate detergent and try to reduce the amount of detergent you are using.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 5:16PM
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Look closely at the fist pic : that's just a scratch beyond evidence, not a buildup .
If it were limescale due to hard water it would have a drop shape (as it happens in sinks).
You can notice it looks as if it were made with a spinning iron brush

I have such a scratch in my older miele.
The culprits are open zippers and metal buttons in jeans that haven't been turned inside out.
While tumbling they may scratch the glass this way

Wash everything inside out with zippers closed and closed buttons, it's better for garments ... but it's also better for the glass door :)

Scrubbing/scraping may worsen the situation rather than improve it

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 6:55PM
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That was my thought at seeing the first pic ... scratching during spin from zippers on jeans or some such.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 7:27PM
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Looks me like abrasion from a zipper or the buttons on jeans. I have some similar marks on the door of my Miele washer....which are permanent. I first noticed them about eight years ago. They don't seem to pose any risk to the glass. I don't worry about it.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 10:34PM
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Hi All,
Thanks for your responses. You're right, it seems the glass is scratched. I didn't believe this at first because when I tried scraping it with a knife, a layer of residue came off. But now I see that detergent/soil must have been collecting in the scratches/grooves.

    Bookmark   March 28, 2010 at 11:17PM
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That really does look like it's scratched but I would still think there is a small possibility of something rubbed/ build up on.
I had once - about year ago,small very faint streaks on the bottom of the glass, they too were whittish and felt rough and wouldn't scrape of. I let it go -didn't want to bother-just a small thing in life and it dissapeared. I do not remember what detergent I was using. But I did have ground Zote soap that I was trying to use up so I was adding it to each load. Could that cause this? Have no idea. I also had Tide that I hate w/passion.
I don't believe zipper would do this. Unless it would be plastic window. I washed fishing hooks and paper clips and studded jeans w/beads etc over the years in few FL and never got scratches. I had few bra wires stucked in drum holes too-very noisy.
I wash in sanitary mostly, I would recomend do a few loads on sanitary w/ diferent detergent,nothing natural or eco.
Those don't work in my hard water at all and caused this funny film on the rubber gasket.
Good luck!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 2:12AM
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Chzechchick, the things you washed were more free to move in the drum than zippers and buttons that are sewed on garments, so it's very rare they stick on the glass as it may happen to a zipper in a pair of jeans.

Also don't ever think that glass is scratch-proof : have you ever had the bad idea to use your car wipers after a sand storm ? Don't try this :)

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 2:34AM
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Hidroman,I know it is possible to scratch a glass but I don't believe zipper would do this in such a new washer.
The only thing, I would imagine having drum so packed that the zipped would stay in same position for entire wash and it would take some pressure too but I'd say that's not the case here.
Weird things do hapen w/washers. Remember the stupid tiny button? Still didn't find where it came from.
I'm curious to find out what it is.

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 2:47AM
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Me too have found missing tiny buttons after a while in the coin trap :)

I have noticed that those washers with deeper glass door "bowls" ( like Miele and this SamsungMore) are more prone to scratches in that very place than those machines with a more shallow "bowls" (eg Equator, Ariston) or even commercial grade flat glass door (ASKO).

The gap between glass and rubber gasket is "deeper" in deeper bowl doors, so even with an half load if a thick garment as jeans get caught in the very place where the button zipper is, it will make such a scratch.... that's just my guess

The 30 y. old Candy i have in the garage to wash dustpads, mats and rugs has a shallow glass and no scratches, also haven't ever seen scatches in that kind of machines. The downside of these "shallow bowl" machines is that sometimes small items aren't pushed towards the centre as "deep bowls" do and they just bounce around the glass .
Not a case every commercial machine since 20 lb has the Asko design door

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 7:34AM
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So here's an update:
I found it odd that the two washes that resulted in new marks on the glass were hot / sanitary washes. While the first wash (a shower curtain) could have scratched the glass (from the metal gromet holes) the second wash (all towels) couldn't have.
Last night I ran an empty wash on sanitary mode, with a couple teaspoons of detergent. The result? A new small scratch/etch/mystery white patch-- this time on the other side of the glass door (i.e left instead of right).

What is going on here?! My last kenmore HE3 front loader of ~9 years never had any marks on the door, and I'm not doing anything differently.
I'm really unhappy with this washer right now, because I feel like the door is going to be covered in these white scratch marks in a few months!

    Bookmark   March 29, 2010 at 5:47PM
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While examining these marks I've noticed that the glass on the door is pretty dirty after each wash. While the glass generally looks clear and clean, if you feel it with your fingers, there are a lot of small granules of dirt all over it. I notice that the washer has a door cleaner / water sprayer at the top, but it doesn't spray much water or spray during all water filling operations like my old Kenmore FL (a 9yr old Whirlpool Duet) which always had a clean door. I wonder if these marks / etching could be caused by the door not cleaning well enough, and the hot sanitary wash temperatures?

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 3:50PM
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I was looking at the droplets on the glass, not the horrible scratch that was right in front of my eyes in the same photo! That is definitely not from hard water stains or etching. I can't even imagine a zipper doing this kind of damage, let alone grommets from a shower curtain.

This almost looks like there was something stuck underneath the glass and subject to some pretty intense pressure against the glass and some horizontal movement. Is it at all possible that this was on the glass when you purchased the machine, but you only noticed it recently? Was the washing machine moved on a truck, and could something have been stuck under the glass?

I have zippers and metal grommets banging against the glass all the time without any damage whatsoever, let alone what is in these photos. It almost looks like this was done with a Dremel tool.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 5:59PM
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That is the edge of the drum actually riding along the glass most likely in the fastest spin cycle; check the drum edge for abrasion too. Close the door and I bet the edge of the drum is in the vicinity of the scratches. Since you are under warranty, I would request a new door and for the service tech to check all the drum suspension parts. The scratches are permanent.

    Bookmark   April 2, 2010 at 7:46PM
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Ok, someone doesn't believe what zippers and metal button are capable to do.... :)

This kind of frontloader is used to dye and to stone wash jeans/denim garments. Look at its door

Fahrenheit if it were as you say one could notice the drum edge in touch with the glass just closing the door and it would make an unbearable noise. I'd rather guess what you say maybe happened just during a very unbalanced spin, because of too soft suspension matched to that particular "bowl" design

This Lavamat A.E.G. glass door bowl like the above Samsung have a square-angled shape so the glass is closer to the drum lip. Also note the jeans pair : if it were the button instead of the label, a further scratch was to come ....

Miele and other makes have a "V" vase-shaped glass bowl, so that the more protrudes, the farer is from drum lips

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 1:05AM
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Ok, someone doesn't believe what zippers and metal button are capable to do.... :)Not saying that zippers or metal buttons cannot scratch, but look at the consistency of the scratches and the swath that is being made.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 2:40AM
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How about if he would run the washer on empty and watched the cycle and then w/ laundry in it.
You can prety much tell if there would be any chance for drum rubbing if it is balance or suspention problem.
I still don't believe zipper would do it. Not in new machine. As I mentioned, I washed plenty of zippers and I still do and no scratches.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 3:36AM
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- The empty drum can't go out of balance

- if the drum would always rub onto the glass, the noise would be extremly loud .... and after 20 cycles the glass would be already destroyed

- a load *may* go out of balance during distribution (when drum speed increases and from tumbling laundry starts sticking to drum walls).
*May* is different from *always happens* Washing a single bathrobe increases the chance it may happen again

Anyway, have you checked the gigantic Tonello washers with the stainless door ?
What matters is the door shape, not the glass age

However I agree with you it may also be an Out Of Balance issue
Check this thread on AW.org it's about that very machine in the above pic

I have such a scratch in the older miele. It spins no matter of the OOB. In cause of a severe OOB it just decreases from 1100 rpm to 800 rpm, however it doesn't shake at all cause is 230 lb heavy. The "new" machine has an accurate OOB system and not a case it hasn't any scratch

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 6:15AM
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My little Supra bangs around sometimes w/ heavy load like towels, before it balances out. I try to keep an eye on the first spin and many times I just lay on the washer for few seconds to ease the shaking and walking. Yeah, funny but the washer is very light so I am not surprised it does that. Usualy if the first spin goes O.K. the rest of the wash is fine. I'm lucky I don't have any damage on it!
If the washer was heavier, it wouldn't shake that much, just my weight on it helps a lot. It does slow the spin too.
The other day I was thinking about my old twin tub since many years ago. I could do soooo much laundry in couple of hours. You have to actualy spend some time and do some manual work but it was kind of fun.I could use the water couple of times. I rinsed it in bathtub while another wash was going. Everything was clean and rinsed well. And the washer never had any problems!

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 6:41AM
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- if the drum would always rub onto the glass, the noise would be extremely loud .... and after 20 cycles the glass would be already destroyedWater acts as lubricant; the drums edges are not sharp, but rolled and producing this effect that is similar to a dilapidated windshield wiper scratching an automobile windshield; any noise produced can be minor and masked by other noises emanating from the washer in its spin cycle.

The film covering was a resultant of the initial scratching of the glass that in turn acted liked a fine abrasive against the drum's edge. The film covering is actually the drum's outer coating since the glass is now acting like a tool on a lathe, or a piece or sandpaper being held against the drum's edge. The drum's edge wearing away will not be readily discernible in one area as the entire circumference is being honed. Suspension inadequacy during spin.

It will be interesting to learn the results when the washer is reviewed by a service tech.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 8:53AM
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Thanks for all the insight everyone.

I've been experiencing some major problems with the washer recently, which backup your theories about the glass door scratches. Namely, when the washer gets out of balance the tub is moving so far in every direction that it seems to be hitting the exterior of the washer! Or at least that's what it sounds like. I've taken a close look when it gets crazy out of balance like this, and while I've never caught the tub hitting the glass, it looks to come pretty close. It also causes the gasket to ripple like crazy as the tub moves back and forth towards the door. Obviously something is wrong with the washer. I never noticed this behaviour during my first loads in the machine which caused the scratches, but I wasn't sticking around to pay attention to the wash cycles at that time like I am now.

The balance problem / tub movement seems to be getting worse with each use of the machine! I wonder if each time it goes out of balance it is damaging the (presumably already damaged) suspension each time?

I'm wondering if it was defective from day 1, or if the delivery people did something wrong. When they came on delivery day they unboxed the washer and dryer on the street, lay them down on their backs, screwed on the pedestals, then brought them in the house upright on dollies. I didn't see if they removed the shipping bolts before or after bringing the machine into the house.

In any case, I went to Sears and told the salesperson what's going on. I also brought a video I took on my phone of the spin cycle going nuts and hitting all over the place. He watched the video for just a few seconds and said from the sound of it he could immediately tell something was wrong. He ordered a new unit to exchange this one, so hopefully all will be operating normal soon.

    Bookmark   April 3, 2010 at 7:17PM
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Yes, the suspension might indeed be damaged by the delivery people. This person's Samsung has apparently been dropped during shipping. I suggest you should have an eye on the delivery people next time. ;-)

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: Samsung VRT Washer Problem

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 1:01PM
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Thanks for the link, whirlpool_trainee. My washer was making a very similar sound (but not quite as bad as in this video)!

My matching dryer has also developed a squeaking sound. A quick search on youtube found that someone else has this same squeaking sound (link to video below) :( Looks like both the washer and dryer are getting exchanged.

Here is a link that might be useful: Samsung Dryer Squeak

    Bookmark   April 4, 2010 at 8:15PM
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Just to follow up on the issue I was having....

Sears replaced my defective washer, and I haven't had any problems with the identical replacement unit. When washing the same items (zippers, grommeted shower curtain) that were thought to be scratching the glass on the old unit, there are no scratches developing on the glass of the new unit (after 30+ days of use). So, it appears the theory that holds is that the scratches were caused from the metal tub getting so out of balance (defective unit) that it was rubbing the door glass and causing scratches.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2010 at 1:19PM
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Glad to hear your problems are solved. I'm curious about one thing. I have a two year old Samsung 338 and it does not have a glass door. It used a molded plastic window. Also it comes with "VRT", vibration reduction technology, that keeps the drum pretty controlled during spin. The thing actually turns a few times to check for out of balance and stops and lets the clothes drop and restarts to check again. It will do this until it is satisfied that it can control vibrations before going into full rotation. Of course it doesn't really rotate during wash cycles, just rocks.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2010 at 11:10AM
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