Kenmore Elite Front Load Washer Smell

joechsleJuly 13, 2006

We have a two year old Kenmore Elite Front Load Washer and Dryer HE3t. Lately when we run the washer there is a terrible odor, like stagnant water, coming from the washer. It does not affect the clothes, but the entire laundry room smells everytime we wash clothes. Is there anything we can do to get rid of the odor??

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run a cycle of whitest whites with bleach and no clothes

    Bookmark   July 13, 2006 at 12:54AM
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If the bleach doesn't work (or even before trying the bleach) you could also do a no-clothes wash on the highest setting with an enzymatic dishwasher detergent (Cascade Complete is the usual suggestion). This will 'digest' some forms of biofilm, the bleach will take care of the rest. Also, use a bleachy rag to wipe down the gasket (especially hidden parts) and the dispenser holders.
Oh - make sure you use real (chlorine) bleach, not a 'green' substitute. - DR

    Bookmark   July 14, 2006 at 3:00AM
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"It does not affect the clothes, but the entire laundry room smells everytime we wash clothes."

My first thought reading this was, "it's in the plumbing, not the washer." So I waited till dh woke up and asked him about it. Here's what he said:

Next time you wash, put your nose to the place where the drain hose goes into the pipe. Is the smell coming from there? Do you hear a gurgle as the washer pumps out? Perhaps you have no trap there (to keep the air from coming back thru as the water pumps out). Some duct tape around that would be a quick fix.

Other possibilities - do you have a floor drain in your laundry? There might not be a trap there either. Or, climb up on your roof (if you live in a house) and see if your vent is clogged.

Though I would definitely do the bleach/cascade thing too.
Good Luck!

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 9:14AM
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Look inside/under the rubber gasket. Is there mildew? I got rid of the same washing machine because of the mildew that grew inside this rubber gasket. The drain holes are not properly placed and the water just sits there. My laundry smelled awful. People suggest leaving the door open and/or using bleach along with wiping up the water, but I thought that was too much work for such an expensive machine. Good luck.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 6:10PM
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but I thought that was too much work for such an expensive machine.

Jesus Christ! How much work can leaving the door open BE??? In fact technically it requires less effort than to shut it! *rolls eyes*

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 6:32PM
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Wow acquarius, that was a strong response. After *that* I had to respond that I agree with Gail! When she referred to a lot of work, she mentioned not only leaving the door open, but wiping the water and using bleach.

Yes, to me as well that is too much work and was a big enough issue to push me to a top loader. I don't want to find I haven't dried my washer properly and end up with mold.

Coincidentally I was talking to a friend today who has a Maytag Neptune and loves it, except for the mold and mildew. She never knew to dry it out -- and now she's having a really hard time getting rid of the mold.

So, aquarius, if you have no FL problems then that's great. But no reason to chastise Gail who had mildew in hers.

    Bookmark   July 15, 2006 at 10:04PM
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Well from how I read it, Gail said that leaving the door open was too much work for such an expensive machine as well as having to wipe the boot. If people are going to have attitudes that leaving the door open and/or taking general care of their machine is too much work even though they have paid a lot for it; then they deserve to get mould problems from not looking after their investment properly.

Nobody I know in Europe, where frontloaders have been the norm for years, has suffered from mould problems, and I have seen/used many frontloaders. Thats because everyone leaves the door slightly ajar. What do Americans want next, a door that locks itself open and/or a special anti bacterial device that sprays the door seal?

Nobody can come on here complaining that they have mould/mildew problems, then blame it on the machine because they didn't practice the proper precautions in the first place.


    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 8:17AM
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Most Americans are more familiar with toploaders, whose lids, when left open, do not obstruct the passage.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 8:42AM
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My mum's washing machine sits right by the back door. Even when the door is left cracked open, it doesn't get in the way at all. Bear in mind we use the back door more than the front door, and not once has it got in the way.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 8:54AM
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Aqqurius - I was really referring to doing loads with bleach (which I don't use) and wiping down the gasket after each load when I said it was too much work. Leaving the door open is more of an eyesore to me as my washing maching is visible from my kitchen and I just don't like the way it looks.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 10:10AM
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I just wipe out the gasket with a super-absorbent "shammy" after each wash. I have never used bleach in my FL, and have had no mold/mildew problems after one year of ownership. YMMV, but people might not have to use the intensive, occasional cleaning methods if they just take a few seconds to give the drum and gasket a quick wipe after every use. Anyway, I hope the OP found a solution to the odor.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 10:23AM
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Saying that people deserve mildew in their machines - wow. Perhaps if when I bought my washing machine the manual instructed me that I needed to follow certain steps to avoid the growth of mildew I would agree with that statement. However, as the instructions do not warn you of this (I wonder WHY???) for many people such as myself, the mildew grows without you knowing it. And then your clothes stink, and leaving the door open etc. does not get rid of the mildew. Perhaps in Europe, where everyone you know has been using front loaders for years, it is common knowledge that you need to take such measures. I am very happy for you that you have such an amazing passion for laundry, but as I did not see a marked difference in the cleanliness of my clothes with the front loader, the drawbacks of MY machine far outweighed its benefits. As the poster seemed to have the exact same problem as I did, with the exact same machine, I was just trying to help.

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 10:48AM
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First of all, I must apologise for my earlier posts. I was in a bad mood earlier and I shouldn't have been so harsh in my wording. I still think that the best solution is prevention rather than cure (i.e. leaving the door slightly ajar), and that mould is caused majorly because of the door not being left open after use, but I take back what I said about operators deserving it - I suppose that was too strong a word to use. So Gail, please have my sincerest apologies and I'm so sorry for any bad feelings I have caused over something so stupid as a washing machine.

All the best, take care,


    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 12:13PM
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The manuals for most FLs sold now in the US do say to leave the door cracked after use to let the machine dry out, and some say to wipe the gasket as well. The door does not need to be open by much - we leave a white terry cloth on the door to hold it open a towel thickness, then use the same cloth to wipe the boot when we've done our last load for the day - takes 1 second. Most people do neither of these things and never have problems, but why take a chance?
Some machines - notably the early-generation Maytag Neptunes mentioned above - do have an exceptionally bad track record in this regard. - DR

    Bookmark   July 16, 2006 at 5:46PM
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In July, 2006, I bought a Kenmore FL. The laundry room is on the top level across from the bedrooms. I have used the bleach running it through the detergent compartment, no clothes; I have wiped out the rubber with a bleachy towel; I have used the Cascade. I have had Sears out there 3 times because of the noise, vibration, shaking and they find nothing wrong. They also said there is nothing I can do about the smell. I do have a well, but the rest of my water doesn't smell. Short of throwing this machine to the end of the driveway, I don't know what more I can do. I truly can't afford to buy another. The space I have is meant for a front load. It is frustrating because the smell filters downstairs so when you walk in the front door, or back service door from the garage, it hits you (and your family and friends) right in the face, with that terrible stench. I have tried running bleach in the clean cycle. I have started running bleach through the detergent compartment 4 times a week. I am at my wits ends. Anyone can help?

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 2:57PM
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Wendyann, this sounds more serious than even severe biofilm buildup. Where does your washer drain, into a utility sink or into a drainpipe? if a drainpipe, how far down the pipe is the drain hose stuck? Can you get close enough to the drainpipe to see if there is a smell coming from down there? - DR

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 5:10PM
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wendyann, My brother had this same problem with his Duet FL, and they did all the same things you did. It turned out that there was a little sock that had somehow "escaped" the drum and had gotten very funky. It really only smelled while the washer was running...maybe because it was small and didn't reek as much when not disturbed? I don't know for sure. Anyway, after they pulled the sock out, the smell went away and they haven't had problems. Have you looked for anything like that? Sorry you are having such problems!

    Bookmark   November 30, 2006 at 8:36PM
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Always use HE detergents! No exceptions!

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 4:21AM
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wendyann - have you gone back to Sears and spoken to the sales manager? When I had mildew problems with my HE3 I went back to the sales floor. They allowed me, after having owned the HE3 for one year, to trade it for any toploader I wanted. And they voluntarily credited me back the difference in price. I told them about the mildew problems and they were very cooperative. Perhaps if you try going back to the store. And I would focus on the mildew more than anything else because I think that this is the major problem with this machine.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 2:04PM
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If the smell is spreading all the way downstairs, it is *not* a simple mildew problem! There is something far more serious! Wendeyann, have you checked the drain pipe yet? - DR

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 5:39PM
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I too have a Whirlpool (same as Kenmmore) front load washing machine. I am guilty of leaving the clothes in the washer sometimes. I could not get the smell out of the clothes. I called Tide and they told me to try Febreeze. It has worked.
Now, regarding the mildew smell in the washing machine. I have that also but I thought it was from leaving my clothes in the washing machine. I have not been leaving the door open, but ocassionally do because of the smell.
Just wanted to mention the Febreeze and how it worked for me.

    Bookmark   December 1, 2006 at 11:26PM
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Febreze will not eliminate the smell, just cover it up.
Hot bleachy washes *will* help eliminate the cause of the odor in the machine, which is why I think the poster's problems are deeper than simple biofilm. - DR

    Bookmark   December 2, 2006 at 3:12AM
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I finally got rid of the mold and the smell! No amount of cleaning of the machine would have solved my problem. I checked the entire machine and could not find the source.

So I decided to rip the machine apart! To see pictures of the inside of the machine go to the following link:

You might have to cut and paste this to you browser.

The mold was inside at the top of the front and back of the machine and caked behind the drum. As of now the machine works good as new believe it or not! The odor is gone and the clothes are clean once more! If they had used stainless steel behind the drum most of the mold and debris would never have collected and if they had of added a few carefully placed cleaning jets and a special cleaning cycle then this problem would never have happened!

I took a big chance tearing the machine apart. I do not encourage anyone to take this drastic measure but I figured I had nothing to loose! I could not keep using the machine the mold and smell was making my family sick!

NOTE: I would only use the special detergent they suggest!! The picture of the back side of the drum shows about 1/2 inch layer of mold/detergent and dirt. This would have been drastically reduced if we had started out using the correct detergent!

NOTE: Always remove clothes as soon as wash is complete! leave door open and open soap tray! This will help to dry the machine!

NOTE: The mold would have never happend though if they had of designed the machine correctly!!!

Any comments? Email

Here is a link that might be useful: Mold_Pictures

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 1:11AM
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People........use common sense. What conditions cause mold/mildew growth? Anytime you have a wet (as in water left in boot, water left in bottom of machine outer tub) and closed environment you are promoting the growth of mold/mildew. This is nothing new and can happen anytime, any place where the conditions are right, right? This can happen in a top loading as well as a front loading machine. My front load neptune is 7 1/2 years old and has never given me a mold/mildew problem. (or any other problem). I always leave the door open and wipe the boot after washing.

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 5:46AM
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tduckman, are you either of the earlier two posters who posted about problems (joeschle or wendyann)? If not, could you tell us which model washing machine, and how long you had it before the problem began? Thanks. - DR

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 6:12AM
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Here is a link to another thread in another forum which describes an alternative cleaning method for mold in the washer.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cleaning a Washer

    Bookmark   December 7, 2006 at 9:58PM
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It is the Kenmore Elite HE3. I am not either of the two. I have had this machine for just under three years. I started noticing this problem when the machine was roughly two years old. The odor reached the unbearable point just shy of three years. If we hung the cloths up slightly damp to air dry we could smell the mold six to seven feet away until they were completely dry. If my wife did a wash before going to bed in the morning the inside of the washer would smell very bad. Also if the machine would sit for a day or two between use the discharge water would smell like rotten eggs. Now that I have cleaned the machine the drastic way the only odor we smell is the slight scent of the detergent! My shirts have a very faint mold scent but this will take a few washes before it is gone. Once the washer was cleaned my wife soaked the towels and knit shirts in Borox in our laundry sink which removed most of the mold smell. My wife has always kept the door open from the start. Our biggest error was not using the HE detergent from the start!

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 5:52AM
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OK - one reason I asked is that wendyann's problem did *not* sound like biofilm to me. I think her machine is feeding sewer gas to the rest of the house.

Besides leaving the door open, it also helps to do washes occasionally with bleach and/or the hottest water possible (your machine has no onboard heater, unfortunately), and to do an occasional 'cleansing' wash with no actual clothing (or maybe just some rags) and a quarter cup of Cascade Complete dishwasher detergent (the enzymes help digest some biofilm). - DR

    Bookmark   December 8, 2006 at 3:29PM
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Don,t get me wrong I love the front loader for the less water and electricity alone! The water and sewer fees where I live are extremely high! The amount of washing my wife does each month alone would be an extra $20.00 - $40.00 a month using a top loader.

The problem with the HE3 front loader I have is that a small amount of water is getting on top of the drum housing and causing mold. (spin cycle and condensation) There is no was to clean the mold no matter what you use without resorting to drastic measures once the mold forms on top of the drum housing. During a normal wash cycle any bleach or other chimicals would normally slosh around roughly 50 - 75% the height of the inner drum on the sides of the drum housing not the back side of the drum. The wash cycle ends the machine drains then the spin cycle starts. If there was a way to make the machine go threw a spin cycle with the bleach or whatever you use to clean the machine still in it then this might be able to clean the top of the machine and get rid of the mold. The link I posted shows pictures which clearly illustrates this.

Almost all of the mold was on the top front and back of the drum housing. The rest was behind the drum towards the center where again the water normally would not go during a normal wash.

My machine would let off a foul smell with the water discharge like spoiled eggs if the machine sat several hours. I had already removed the lower hoses of the machine and made sure they were free of mold. I tried dozens of suggestions on how to get rid of the mold and smell and the machine would smell clean after the wash. If the machine sat for an hour or two when the wash was done with clothes in it then the clothes would smell like mold although the inside of the machine did not smell bad inside. I though it could have been sewer gas or something coming back into the machine so I placed the discharge hose in a large bucket and let the machine sit for several house and did a drain/rinse cycle and the discharge water still smelled very bad. This eliminated the sewer gas idea.

After trying everything I could think of and all suggestions I could find I decided to take drastic measures as noted in my previous post. I was extremely nervious about taking the machine apart but I could not go on wearing clothes that smelled real bad! My two year old would cry if we tried to put put certain clothes on him because of the smell. My only regret taking the machine apart is that I did not photograph each step ehough! I had several screws of different lengths I am not sure if I placed then back in the right spot or not.

Results of extreme cleaning I did:
1. The machine smells clean hours and even days after a wash!
2. I know for a fact the mold is gone!
3. The machine seems to wash much better! It seems to fill enough to properly wet and wash the clothes!
4. The clothes feel, look, and smell much cleaner!
5. My clothes are no longer making my family feel sick any more!

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 4:13AM
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I ran into that smelly problem with my Sears Kenmore front loader, too. As was mentioned by someone earlier, it was nothing more than a sock that had slipped past the rubber gasket. Once I found it and tossed it out, the problem was solved.

    Bookmark   December 10, 2006 at 7:07PM
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WE have a Kenmore HE3, actually, we are on our second one... The first one got the mildew smell within a few months, I had sears come out and service it 3 times and then I demanded a new one. They agreed.... we've had the new one about 3 years and the smell is back, big time! First I just noticed the smell in the washer, now every time I work out (which is almost daily) and I begin to sweat I can smell the mildew smell in my clothes and it is truly awful! I have done everything suggested short of taking the machine apart. I have also never used any detergent but HE since getting it. This machine is just a bad design, and an expensive one at that!

    Bookmark   September 12, 2007 at 6:23PM
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Every one of the whirlpool, kenmore, etc. are poor designs and not one of these companies have come up with or attempted a solution to the problem...but they keep on selling this miserable machine.
SEARS is especially bad and to blame..this is their name brand..they know it is bad, and they still continue to push this crappy machine to their customers...even lying that there is no problem and that that was the old machines, and the new ones dont have this problem.
Every one of these machines is defective from the get go!!
If the manufacturers dont fix the problem then there needs to bew a case action law suit to make them pay back the full amount no matter how old the machine is( considering that wwe all have this problem from the start) this way there is a solutioon to the mold and mildew threat that is deliberately planted in american homes.

I understand China and asia sending us lead in our toys and pioson in our shrimp and fish...they dont like us!
But for whirlpool and Kenmore to do the same thing...short of the class action suit to hit them where it hurts a total boycott of their products is in order.

Watch for the class action and jump on board.
AND stop shopping at sears (boy would that hurt!)
avoid the whirlpool and kenmore names in all other appliances.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 11:39AM
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OMG!! I can't believe there is a discussion board on this subject!! Actually, it makes me feel so much better, because for a year now I have thought that my Kenmore Elite Front Loader was stinking because I did something wrong, or used wrong products.

My machine and laundry REEKS of mold and mildew. I have tried bleach, detergents, Febreeze, straight vinegar . . . nothing works. I have taken to going to the laundramat now to do laundry, because I can't stand to wipe myself dry after showering with those awful smelling towels.

From reading these posts, I presume that the only thing to really get rid of the smell (from this $1300 machine!!!!!) is the get rid of the machine!! I am so mad, this is not fair and Sears said that there is nothing wrong with the machine, that I must be leaving my laundry in there too long, etc., etc. Socks and other clothes are constantly getting caught in the rubber gasket, and just six months ago it cost me a whopping $400 to get that gasket fixed because it tore away from the machine. The repairman said he has never, ever seen that happen.

By the way, my Sear vacuum sucks too . . . this is number 2 in the last five years. Will never, ever, shop at Sears again. What a shame, Kenmore used to be a great brand that you could count on.

    Bookmark   September 30, 2007 at 9:18PM
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I had the problem too but I changed a few easy things and have NO odors anymore and didn't get rid of my machine!

First of all, I changed to powdered detergent-- and use on half the recommended amount. I do not use fabric softener. I use vinegar. It works WONDERFULLY.

I also wipe the glass of the door and the boot when I am done doing laundry for the day. I have a rag that I use specifically for this and then I throw the rag over the door so that the door doesn't shut tightly--- and PRESTO, no more odors.

Before I switched to powdered detergent, I would always get some type of scum (biofilm) from the bottom of the glass on the door but now the rag stays clean.

I love to shower now-- no more stinky towels!!!

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 8:40AM
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Come on guys, it's just common sense. Anytime you have a sealed, damp environment--such as a front load washer---you are bound to have mold and mildew. I have a Maytag Neptune purchased in 1999. Have never had a mold-mildew issue with it (nor any other issue with it. Works perfectly). I leave my door open and wipe out the boot. It's no extra work. I keep a towel on the washer and wipe the cabinet as well as the boot. Even top loading machines leave water in the bottom of the outer tub but because they are not "sealed" closed as a front loader, you rarely have mold/mildew issues when lid is not left open.

    Bookmark   October 1, 2007 at 11:04AM
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Ours is the Whirlpool Duet also, purchased seven years ago. My husband has been complaining about the towels smelling for years. My smeller is not so good and I usually don't smell anything unless it's a really strong odor. As I type, the washer is going through a 'Sanitizing' on hot, using the earlier posters suggestions; using a Lemon Cascade and bleach combo.
I wonder if running a cycle with Denture Tablets would help? The tablets are effervescent and supposed to be able to 'scrub off' heavy food particules and stains, don't suppose it would hurt anything to try them?

Lori JR

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 3:00AM
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The poster below suggest using OxyClean;see the link.

Here is a free and easy to prevent mold:wipe the door seal with a rag after use and LEAVE THE DOOR SLIGHTLY OPEN,so it can dry out. Mold can't grow if there is no moisture.

Here is a link that might be useful: Use OxyClean to prevent mold

1 Like    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 7:56AM
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I use Borax and Oxi clean and I don't have a problem with smell or mold.

Lorijr- you might try the Affresh tablets that Whirlpool is making now. They are supposed to do the trick.

Also I read that LG machines recommends you use a product called Whirl-Out in there machines. You can get both of these at Home Depot and order them also.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 12:43PM
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I have an LG front load washer. It has recently began to stink after a year. I ran a cycle of baking soda and detergent, liquid ALL HE, in it, trying to rid the odor. After I ran the cycle, it was still there. I have a guest room 10' away. If I leave the door open, the area REEKS! The washing I did with the baking soda did not help. My door will not stay open a crack. It is all or nothing. We have radiant heat with concrete floors, so I know they are level.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 3:59PM
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I wouldn't expect baking soda to help with a machine that already reeks. It's too far gone.

I'm working on a friend's early-model Neptune (blown door lock), and it has a bad case of the ickies. I tried a dose of Affresh (three tabs), it didn't do much. Perhaps more treatments would help, but I imagine the machine needs disassembly for proper clean-up. I offered to do that, but the friend doesn't want to put that much time and effort into it. They have it at a ranch house for the farm-hands to use.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 4:48PM
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I inherited a Kenmore Elite set from someone who used 100% Liquid Tide HE. He said he never smelt anything in his clothes or the washer, even after having it for 14 months.

Ive since switched to powder based (Sears Ultra Plus with FS), and I could swear the washer smells better. More like no smell at all, before it smelt like Tide HE. Maybe mine just wasnt too far gone yet, but to keep it that way I leave the door wide open when not in use and clean off (and under) the boot, the glass/plastic on the door, and even the detergent drawer (I leave that wide open when not in use as well).

As a previous poster said, its not much extra work. I dont mind putting in the extra little bit of time because of the return Im getting on the HE washer/dryer. Washing and drying is almost a 1:1 time thing now, so I can get a lot of laundry done in one night.


    Bookmark   April 25, 2008 at 6:31PM
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I am happy and sad to see this thread! I have the HE3 ... probably for about 3 1/2 years. In the past, it would occasionally smell. I could wipe it down and the smell would be gone. However, recently, the smell is SO BAD, that the entire laundry room smells. I ALWAYS leave the door open, and always use HE detergent. I'm wondering if my problem is more pervasive and that the mildew is actually behind the drum, like tduckman's was. I just used a towel this morning that smelled so bad that I threw it away. I assumed that I had allowed it to mildew BEFORE washing, and that the washer wasn't the problem. Now, I'm wondering. I haven't noticed the smell so much on my clothes, but in the machine and laundry room. I'm going to try a few of the recommendations on this site, but I'm worried that maybe tduckman has my answer and that it cannot be fixed easily.

    Bookmark   May 19, 2008 at 12:19PM
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Hi. I am a service tech for Sears Canada. The solution is simple. Purchase a product called "Affresh". Made by Whirlpool and sold at all Sears Service Depots. $9.99 in Canada. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2008 at 10:36PM
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Is everyone with this problem using detergents with enzymes? I remember hearing something about enzymes being a major culprit in the growth of bio-film and mold--can't remember where I heard this anymore. But a poll might be in order here.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 9:44AM
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I solved my stinky waasher problem. I have a Kenmore Eco-Care FL, bought about 5 yrs ago. About 2 yrs ago I noticed that towels smell after one use. (I do not use fab soft only vinegar.)Sheets and clothes also not very fresh. To make a long story short: Tried Febreeze,Vinegar,Smelly Washer, bleach, borax, baking soda, Cascade, Washer magic--nothing changed smell of towels and/or washer. I took all towels & sheets to laundromat and washed in original lysol then used vinegar to rinse. Then did clear water wash/rinse. Spent lots of $ that day. Then took apart washer and cleaned coin trap and hose/tubes in lysol solution. I thought this would solve problem, but it returned. Finally I decided to try a mildewcide (toxic, I know) because I felt that if I ruined washer it was no great loss as I decided to shop around for another washer anyway. I put in 1/2 cup of Zep Odor Control Concentrate (barely a smell to it) in the tub,set for hot water, allowed this to agitate for about 5 minutes--the washer filled totally with suds. I added manually another gallon of hot water. Agitated 5-10 minutes and turned off machine. I let this sit overnight and then in the morning agitated about 5 more times , off and on. I then let it sit until all suds receded and then went to rinse so all drained and then continued until end of cycle. Set it for another cycle with hot water (no additives). No smell in washer. I now do a few things different with all my wash--a bit more time and a bit more water: put 1/4 cup baking soda in tub, HE detergent in tub (bypass soap disp), fill washer with water at desired temp. Stop machine, add laundry. Return to start of cycle, agitates a few minutes then usually adds more water to load(or I stop machine and add gallon manually via soap disp). Complete cycle. Turn to cold water, add vinegar to bleach dispenser section (not fab soft section), complete cycle. Dry as usual. Finally no more stinky washer or laundry. I am still looking for new machine but right now, water bill still lower and I can take my time deciding. Initially I added baking soda in soap disp for second cycle as it took a few loads to get out the yucky smell. I now do this Odor Control "wash" about every 6 wks or so. I also leave door and disp drawer open and have placed a container of Damp Rid in the washer. If I need bleach, I have been using liquid non-chlorine and also add to tub before filling with water. I discovered that with this machine the bleach is not released into the soapy wash but during the 1st rinse. My feeling is that the bleach and soap should work together not separately.Also, the Odor Control can be used in laundry but if needed, I'd do this in the laundromat and not in FL due to suds. Ends my long 2 worth.

    Bookmark   July 23, 2008 at 11:03PM
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I ended up with bad mildew smell in my Frigidaire FL after having it for 7 yrs, and not doing anything different,I found mold growing in the dispenser under the fabric softner tray, and in the back of the compartment, I couldnt get it out, So I had thought it was the FS causing the problem, I also didnt leave the door open. I know DUH!! I didnt know I had to. I now have a whirlpool Duet and have been scared to use the softner and told the tech about the other washer, he said mix the fs with water before adding, I have been trying this because I have had such an issue with soap not rinsing out, not any odor, so I am trying to see if it will help, I hope that it doesnt happen again.

Where do you get the Zep Odor Control?

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 2:27AM
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I bought a gallon of Zep Odor Control Concentrate at Home Depot in the cleaning section. My FL washer is actually made by Frigidaire for Kenmore. I didn't know to keep the door open either. Diluting FS sounds like a good plan--since the washer uses so little water full strength will probably never rinse out of the dispenser. Also the Sears repairperson said to use powder not liquid detergent. When I took my stuff to wash at laundromat--the top loaders' dispensers FS section was pretty gross looking with build up and who knows what else. With the amount of Lysol I used, I probably disinfected the whole place LOLOL.

    Bookmark   July 24, 2008 at 3:44PM
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I was having problems with a mildew smell coming from my front load washer for over a year. I tried several recommendations, but finally found one that worked for me on one of the morning shows.

The first thing I did was wipe down the rubber around the door with petroleum jelly to remove any mold buildup. They recommended a cotton cloth, but I just used paper towels.

The second step was to add 1 gallon of vinegar to the washer and run an empty load on the hottest setting. I poured the vinegar in thru the detergent dispenser.

It has been about a month and the smell is still gone. I use a liquid laundry detergent, but only about half of what they call for. I also leave my washer door open in between loads.

I hope this helps!

    Bookmark   November 3, 2008 at 10:34AM
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You have to check behind the front rubber gasket after EVERY wash. Small items frequently get caught there and prevent adequate water flow to rinse out dirty dirty water stays in your clothes and over time begin to smell. Every 2-3 months I pour a quart of regular bleach in the tub and run a no-clothes cycle with hot water. No smell and better cleaning in my Elite FL. Hope this helps.

    Bookmark   November 8, 2008 at 12:07PM
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For all of you that are having problems with odour coming from Kenmore Elite, try the tablets that they sell at Sears. They are made to eliminate any smells coming from your washer. They are excellent. Make it a habit to check behind the rubber door gasket for the odd thing that may find its way in there. Good Luck!

    Bookmark   May 10, 2009 at 7:32AM
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! ! ! 20 M U L E T E A M B O R A X ! ! !

If you want to see scum come out of your cloths, just add 20 Mule Team Borax to your detergent and watch all the scum lay on top of the suds as the washer empties. Of course, you would have to have a stationary tub catching the water from the washer to see what I mean. After a while you will notice that your the suds in your stationary tub won't show so much scum.

If you will add 1/2 cup in every load, you won't have a foul smelling laundry. Of course, it is an age old laundry practice that has been lost in time.

You might have to ask your store to stock this for you.

Here is a link that tells it all ...

    Bookmark   June 27, 2009 at 7:56PM
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Tduckman's experience and response is one of the best you will read on the subject of mold/mildew problems. If your front loader has a plastic outer tub, your washer is prone to mold/milder problems from the build-up of detergents and fabric softener on the outer tub and above the water level. Once this happens, you are going to have a difficult time trying to dissolve the build-up above the water level. If the build-up is mostly composed of solidified fabric softener, I would guess the only solution would be to take the machine apart like Tduckman did to correct the problem.

Top loaders can have mold/mildew problems. I first encountered moldy towel and sheet odors from a top loader. Upon inspection, the fabric softener dispenser located on the top of the agitator had a moldy odor. I used a flashlight to look inside it and it was coated with black mold. I filled the dispenser with bleach to kill the mold. I used a water hose to pressure rinse the dispenser. Thick black mold pieces large enough to pick-up with fingers came out of the dispenser. Fabric softener residue build-up is a great place for mold to grow. So whatever washer you have, be careful with the fabric softener amounts and build-up.

I currently have a front loader and I dilute the fabric softener with 2/3 water. There is no build-up in the dispenser drawer. My front loader has stainless steel outer and inner tubs. It is expected that the washer door and dispenser drawer should be left open when not in use.

    Bookmark   June 30, 2009 at 11:36AM
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Forget all the work, just use a DRY detergent, HE type. We had the odor problem for months, saw a post suggesting the dry detergent and the odor was gone in less than 6 washes. I have no idea why liquid detergents cause the horrible odor issue but switching to a powder placed directly in the basket eliminated the problem. No wiping, no open door, no bleaching, nada, nothing. Odor gone for months. It's been so long that I kinda forgot we even had the horrible odor issue.

    Bookmark   April 12, 2010 at 8:57PM
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Folks, the more I read the posts here the more this sounds like a religion. We can't continue to use technology that creates more problems than it fixes. I know many of you would like to think that saving water makes this all worth it but the EXTREMES I have seen people go to fix this is ridiculous. Honestly, mold is dangerous to your health. Once it gets in your house it is nearly impossible to eliminate. Do you want to expose your children to this? Why? We made the mistake of purchasing a Sears Kenmore Model 417-48102. Since we got it it has been getting worse. The seal around the entry of the washer is now BLACK. The smell is putrid. All of our towels and clothing smells of rotten water. We were never told of the "PROCEDURE" which MUST be followed to try to keep this defect from arising. Make no mistake, this is a defect. We live in Florida, where the humidity is 100% year round. It is impossible to keep a washer that is used almost daily, dry. In 2011 one should not have to. Sears has never taken responsibility for this problem. I have been hung up on by their Indian call center 5 times. I was very courteous each time. Kenmore was no different. I will not be buying any Sears products until they resolve this. I will not buy another front load washer until these design flaws are addressed. I will file a small claims suit at our courthouse, which is easy and inexpensive. Class actions are fine but the only ones that gain there are the attorneys. The resolution almost never include a real fix. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 1:12PM
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If the machine is used DAILY then any residual water left after a cycle is flushed DAILY and there shouldn't be sufficient opportunity for it to stand and get putrid. Some other combination of laundry habits is the cause ... too much softener, not enough detergent, too much cold-water washing, etc.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 7:25PM
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I have a Kenmore Elite and have always left the door open after loads just because it made sense to me, but we have experienced a moldy smell now and then and a "rotten egg" smell when the washer drains. I suspect in our case, the rotten egg smell IS the smell from the sewer coming back up the drain pipe, so I'm going to try the duck tape solution for that to start. Beyond that, a very hearty THANK YOU to everyone who has posted here with possible solutions to the other smells! If I discover something new that seems to work, I'll return and post it.

    Bookmark   April 11, 2011 at 9:08AM
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Yup. See tduckmans post. My front loader smelled so bad it could have knocked a buzzard off a s#it wagon. My husband took it apart and it was full of funk. For what these cost, there sure are a lot of things that weren't well small, unreachable places that collect mold, coins, standing water, hair, etc.

    Bookmark   April 25, 2011 at 6:51PM
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The smell is NOT from sewer gases. Our Kenmore reeked for several years until I found this forum. I tried everything that was suggested (bleach, vinegar, clean washer, boiling water etc) and it was the simplest solution that worked. Since I started using powder detergent (Tide HE) and stopped using fabric softener, I haven't had any smell at all and it's been several years now.

    Bookmark   April 27, 2011 at 9:46AM
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Something that may help everybody out with FL or not is to use this washing machine cleaner that helps remove odors causing residues in any washer can be found at walmart for about 6 dollars or so

    Bookmark   May 14, 2011 at 6:27AM
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Well, I for one hate the way the front load washer cleaners smell. They are overly perfumed and are nothing more than a band-aid that never ultimately fixes the problem.

That said, I only have had an odor problem once in a while in my Duets.....more of a "not so fresh smell", like stale water. Towels aren't great unless dried on the line. Yes, I do use He detergent, proper amounts, clean the boot, use hot water, and leave the door ajar. All of this is ridiculous. In years past, I never did much to my top load machines, and never once did they stink, and my clothing was fresh.

After 13 years of front loaders, with the exception that I can wash large quilts in them, I am not impressed. I'll keep the Duets limping along for that purpose, but after visiting my daughter and using her top load to do some towels, and smelling how fresh they come out, it clinched my decision to go back to a simple top load set. Most likely Speed Queen. I could care less about bells and whistles anymore. A fresh, fluffy towel is heaven to me.

The debate will likely rage on here, but I've used 20 Mule Team Borax, washing soda, baking soda, and vinegar. I've tried several brands of detergents. Affresh makes me gag.

Not playing into the marketing hype of these machines anymore.

    Bookmark   May 15, 2011 at 12:32AM
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This does not only apply to 'Kenmore' machines but front loaders in general
In my opinion there is no panacea to the problem of foul odours from front load washers.
I have seen posts where it was stated to have been traced to the discharge pipe pushed to far down the drain pipe allowing water to siphon back into the machine. Most machines I know of have a non-return valve to prevent this, and prevent any water in the pipe draining back into the machine. These, even if fitted, may have been defective.
I have seen posts where the smell has been stated to be traced to small items of clothing, baby clothes, sock, ladies flimsies etc. that have got stuck 'somewhere in the works' and are cheerfully rotting away.
Use of excess detergent and/or fabric softener very often coupled with use of other than HOT water. This allows build-ups of these laundry aids to form and then start turning foul. HOT water alone will sometimes get rid of these build-ups. Sometimes the assistance cleaners such as 'Affresh' will help, sometimes not.

In my opinion there are two, normally overlooked, sources of these fouls odours: -
1. The recesses in the hubs of the spiders fitted to many of these machines will retain water even after the fastest spin. This 'water' will contain, inter alia, unused laundry aids (detergent, bleach, fabric softener etc), soil, the products of the interactions between the laundry aids and the soil, the products of the interactions between the laundry aids and the chemicals in the 'tap' water, and 'unused' chemicals in the 'tap' water. When left over time the water will turn foul smelling. A photograph of such a build-up can be seen at: -

2. The products of corrosion on the spiders retain small quantities of water after the final spin giving the same result as above.

Many posts on many sites claim that the corrosion of the spiders is due to galvanic action. I do not agree, I believe it is primarily chemical corrosion.

Should the corrosion have been galvanic between the stainless steel drum and the aluminium spider the majority of the corrosion would have been at the junction of the two metals i.e. at the ends of the arms. I have seen no photographs of spiders corroded in such a manner, nor read of any similar descriptions.

Aluminium, and its alloys are corroded when immersed in an aqueous solution with a pH value above about 8.0 or below about 4.0 (nitric acid is a well known exception). All detergents have to be above about 8.0 or they would not work. The Material Safety Data Sheets put out by Proctor and Gamble state that the pH for one of the liquid 'Tides' is 8.0 and for one of the 'Tide' powdered detergents as 11.0. Bleach, (sodium hypochlorite) is also very corrosive to aluminium. I should add that for corrosion of the spider to take place these levels are considerably above the levels found in a washing machine during the wash/rinse phases of the cycle.

Sodium carbonate (washing soda) and sodium percarbonate found in some laundry aids (Affresh and Oxi-Clean [powder]) are also corrosive to aluminium, as is borax, provided the required concentrations are reached.

I believe the mechanics of the corrosion are as follows.
Even after the fastest spin small quantities of water will remain on the shaft and towards the centre of the spider. Any recesses in the spider close to the centre will aggravate this situation. This water will contain 'contaminants' as detailed above. Should sufficient of these 'contaminants' be present the pH of the mixture can, as evaporation takes place, rise to a level where corrosion will take place.

Corroded spiders can be seen at: -
for a LG spider

For information on galvanic corrosion there is a very good paper at: -

For information on chemical corrosion of aluminium (or 'micro galvanic corrosion' as the author calls it), I grew up calling it 'pitting corrosion' there is an informative paper at: -

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 7:54PM
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I've read some of these rants about the spiders and IMHO it's a lot of armchair quarterbacking.
Of these failures, how many people used HE Detergents? How many used them at the recommended dosage? How many left the door closed so the water sat in there?

I can say that our experience - we had out LG for 6 years, we always used HE detergents, always left the door open, etc. Never a hint of trouble with the spin, odors, or anything else. If it weren't for 3.5 ft of sewer water we'd still have them today.

    Bookmark   June 6, 2011 at 9:53PM
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To itguy08,
Thank you for your comments.
Could you please clarify what exactly about the 'armchair quarterbacking' is incorrect?
Is it that the aluminium alloys that these spiders are made of are not liable to corrosion by many of the laundry aids available today, should the required concentrations be reached?
Is it that small quantities of water containing contaminants will be left near the centre of the spider, particularly if recesses are present?
Is it that these contaminants could cause foul odours and/or corrosion?
Is it that the products of corrosion will hold water and contaminants and that this can further corrosion and/or foul odours?
Is it that the primary product of the corrosion will be aluminium oxide and that this is the same material that is used for the grit in sandpaper?
Is it that this aluminium oxide that is carried into the water will act as a grinding/lapping paste and relatively quickly destroy the seal?
Is it that once the seal has failed water will enter the bearing housing and destroy the bearings?
What, in your opinion, causes the foul odours that many people experience?
What, in your opinion, causes the corrosion of the spiders?
Why, in your opinion, is the majority of the corrosion of these spiders towards the hub of the spider?
What, in your opinion, causes the bearings to fail prematurely?

Fairly obviously I cannot answer your questions with respect to the number of people who have suffered these failures and who have not done the things you list. I can tell you this the first Frigidaire built Kenmore we purchased in May 2001, functioned perfectly satisfactorily for about 5 years before my wife started complaining about the smell, which resisted all our efforts at removal, including removal of the drain hose, pump and penny trap. Yes we had used bleach in the machine. Yes we had used ordinary washing detergent. Both of these were permitted according to the written instructions we received with the machine. Yes we had used Oxi Clean as it was stated on the label to be safe for all machines. It was not until the machine became noisy at about 7 years of age that I eventually got off my butt and investigated. Failed seal and bearings, corroded spider. These items renewed. I then started investigating what could be the causes. I guess you can figure out what I found. I have to confess that it was not until after I had re-assembled the machine that my wife told me that the smell had gone that I put 2 and 2 together in that respect.

I look forward to your response.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 3:20AM
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I'm going to prefix this by saying this may come off as a bit prick-ish and that is not my intent. In the written communication it may come out that way and that is not my intent.

What I mean by armchair quarterbacking is that people think they have all the answers and can do things better than those that design these machines. It seems to be getting worse lately on the Internet. Seems like someone has an issue, pulls it apart and thinks they can do better. Then everyone jumps on the bandwagon and it becomes this huge issue. This is not limited to appliances. I've seen it with cars, computers, cell phones, etc.

I seriously doubt there's a conspiracy to design a crummy machine. Where's the logic in it? It's been said that for every 1 customer you upset they will tell at least 7-10 of their friends. Who wants that? Not a company who wants to sell appliances and have repeat sales.

That being said, I think a lot of people got a FL machine and followed their old habits. That's the wrong thing to do. I wonder how many people used their old detergents, left the door closed, and wondered why it corroded away?

The manufacturers were partly to blame in the beginning. I remember in our 2005 LG 2077WM manual it said HE detergent was recommended. In our 2011 Kenmore there are numerous warnings that it is REQUIRED. I think HE detergents have more corrosion inhibitors in them than non HE detergents and those are necessary to protect the aluminum.

I can tell you that a washer is not the only thing that has dissimilar metals in contact with each other. Your car engine is filled with aluminum, cast iron, copper, bronze, and a few other metals all touching or in close proximity to each other. One of the components of coolant is silicates or other corrosion inhibitors. They help keep all these dissimilar metals from killing each others. Perhaps that's what was/is missing in old detergents?

If you look at the design of many of the newer washers, the hub of the spider is rarely in contact with the water (ours hardly ever fills it up that high), so I'm thinking corrosion may be there but the weight of the drum and contents helps it crack.

For us, we had our LG from January 3, 2005 to about April 20th 2011. Only reason we got rid of it was the 3.5 ft of sewer water that flooded it. We used HE detergents (Sears, Costco, Gain, etc), bleach (if the laundry room doesn't smell like chlorine when I do the whites it's not enough :), Oxyclean, etc. Never a hint of trouble with the bearings or spider. We left the door open after we were done for the day so the leftover water would evaporate. No smells, no nothing just clean clothes.

I just can't see how residual water that's allowed to evaporate could cause this issues alone. After all, the rinses should be removing the traces of detergent and leaving with regular old water which has a much less corrosive factor than the detergent/bleach mix.

In short I'm not sure what is causing these failures or if there is a rash of failures as the Internet would like us all to believe. But with the millions and millions of these machines in use all around the world I can't believe that it's a design flaw. Could be user error combined with some defective parts.

Maybe we've been lucky? Who knows? But I doubt it's a conspiracy to make us all buy new machines.

    Bookmark   June 7, 2011 at 10:16PM
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To itguy08
Thank you very much for your response, I do appreciate your comments, and agree with some of them.

I do not think that I 'have all the answers' in fact I know I do not. As an example when I first dismantled our Frigidaire built machine I thought that the corrosion of the spider was due to galvanic action. I am very familiar with the corrosion of aluminium when it is electrical contact with mild or high tensile steel in the presence of seawater and the products of corrosion on our spider looked just like what I was used to seeing, and I jumped on that bandwagon. I was in error. The products of corrosion are the same, just produced in a different manner. The fact that the connections at the ends of the spider arms were not corroded however nagged me so I did some research and found my answers. The best, and in my view most authoriative, I have referenced above and now repeat below: -

I strongly urge you to read it.

Now that left me with a problem, should the corrosion not be due to galvanic action what was/is it due to? Numerous internet searches along the line of 'corrosion of aluminium' soon gave me my answer, again the most authoritative I found is: -

Again I urge you to read it.

Whilst there may not have been a conspiracy to build a 'crappy machine' originally, Electrolux, the sole owners of Frigidaire, are in no hurry to take remedial action. The part number for the tub and spider assembly for our 2001 purchased machine is still the same as that for a machine purchased in May of last year. Reviewing the complaints on the web the problem with these Electrolux/Frigidaire spiders goes back to before 2001. They seem content with the situation; they either sell more machines or more of their overpriced spare parts, which, in some cases, are only available as assemblies. Additionally we purchased a second machine, similar to the first, in 2006, the instructions regarding use for this second machine are virtually identical to those for the first! Again Electrolux appear to be in no hurry to rectify the situation and, I believe, a successful argument could be put forward that at that time, 2006, they should have been fully aware of the problem. The number of spares that they must have been producing should, in my view, have given some clue. When I purchased new drum and spider for ours in 2009 the parts dealer I purchased it from told me they had 26 'in stock'. That should tell you something and it is not that parts dealers inventory control is lacking!

Now, your paragraph: -
"That being said, I think a lot of people got a FL machine and followed their old habits. That's the wrong thing to do. I wonder how many people used their old detergents, left the door closed, and wondered why it corroded away?"
I largely agree. In fact it is my understanding that when detergents first became generally available shortly after the Second World War unnecessary additives were put in just to give 'suds' or lather which did nothing for the cleaning power but the 'marketplace' wanted to see 'suds' as it had with the old soap. Heck back when I was a lad, and a fair bit after, the standard test for the hardness of boiler water was the 'Wanklyn Standard Soap Test' where the quantity of a 'standard' soap solution required to produce a lather in a specified size of sample, that would endure for a specified time, was a measure of the hardness salts in said boiler water. When we purchased our first FL HE detergents were not readily available so we used regular detergent and hence got 'suds' which I believe may well have contributed to the demise of the first spider. The FL manufacturing industry and the detergent manufacturers� are also, in my view, partially to blame for not explaining that the new HE detergents do not produce 'suds' I now know my wife and I also overdosed our first machine in its earlier days but how were we to know?
As for leaving the door open to allow the machine to dry out. To my mind this has some validity for the boot at the front of the machine and perhaps the dispenser tray. However in the case of the recesses in the spider of these Frigidaire built machines the open faces of the recesses of the spider are only about 1-2mm from the face of the case of the seal. That will, in my opinion, only allow limited, slow evaporation to take place. Added to this should any of the sediment/impurities left in the recesses contain sodium carbonate, this chemical, being hygroscopic, will remain damp and thus corrosive to aluminium and supply the necessary moisture to allow other sediment to fester and smell. Where will this water come from, the atmosphere and the reservoir that is the 'penny trap' as there will always be a pint or two down there at the bottom of the outer drum.
I am well aware of installations have various metals in contact with each other and your example of the internal combustion engine is well taken. However the designers of these have a great deal of control over what liquids are in contact with the various metals. The designers of washing machines do not have this luxury, who knows what sort of 'soup' finally is left? Additionally it will vary from load to load.

"If you look at the design of many of the newer washers, the hub of the spider is rarely in contact with the water (ours hardly ever fills it up that high), so I'm thinking corrosion may be there but the weight of the drum and contents helps it crack."

I believe if you check closely you will find that your washer never actually fills above the bottom of the door and never to the hub of the spider. Whilst I agree that the hub is never totally immersed in water it is none the less wetted in every phase of the washing and rinsing phases. During the spin phase the linear speed at the edge of the recesses is, I believe, insufficient to throw out all the water and contaminants from this area. I do agree that once any imperfection manifests itself in a corrosive environment the possibility of catastrophic fracture increases dramatically. When I retired, six years ago, although the subject of stress corrosion was well known, the actual mechanics of the processes were not so well understood. Therefore I do agree that the weight of the drum, laundry and spider all will contribute to a cantilever effect at, or close to, the hub, which may well accelerate the failure process. What developments have taken place with respect stress corrosion since I retired I do not know.
"I just can't see how residual water that's allowed to evaporate could cause this issues alone. After all, the rinses should be removing the traces of detergent and leaving with regular old water which has a much less corrosive factor than the detergent/bleach mix."

The point is that the rinses are not removing all the contaminants, particularly from the recesses of the spider. To see the visible contaminants left in the water, and therefore the laundry, catch some of the last rinse water as it is pumped out and see how unclear it is, and that is only what you can see never mind what you cannot see. Should you wish to see that leave a little of the last rinse water in a saucer, bottle cap or something similar and let the water evaporate and then compare that with a sample of 'tap' water that has also been allowed to evaporate in a similar manner. Hopefully you will see what I am getting at. Just as a point of interest our Frigidaire does not even spin after the wash phase.

Thank you again for your comments and I would appreciate any comments that you may have on my above remarks.

    Bookmark   June 8, 2011 at 5:49PM
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I did take a look at the 2 links you sent and wow. The first one made my head spin like when I took college chemistry all those years ago. :)

I'm still having a hard time wrapping my head around galvanic corrosion. From what I got from the Powerpoint this type of corrosion only happens when there is water present contacting the 2 dissimilar metals. Remove the water and you have a lot less corrosion. I would think that letting the water evaporate by leaving the door open would eliminate that. If the spiders can't take that I would suspect poor engineering. Or if the breaks were at the drum end. Many of the breaks I've seen seem to be near the shaft where it goes through the tub. I would think that gets less water and dries off quite quickly.

The second link was quite interesting - the environment of the machines definitely could be acidic or basic (is that a word) so it may strip the protective oxidation on the spider. But I would think that it should hold up better than that or have some type of coating to prevent this.

I'm really not sure what the cause is. I know we used a lot of bleach in our previous LG and it lasted 6 years. The spider and tub components were not the cause of us getting rid of it. Sewer water flooding it was.

I'm wondering if it is/was a bad casting or metal that has been the cause of these failures. It seems like the Frigidare units have been the ones with the most issues. I wonder if they did in fact have a design flaw or bad metal. We'll probably never know.

I wouldn't go by the part numbers being the same as to them not making changes along the way. I've been around cars and computers enough to know they often revise a part along the way. Many times it keeps the same part # (for simplification of the parts systems and techs) but new parts often are different than the older parts. So there may be parts that have the same # but are significantly different.

It's a very interesting discussion that's for sure.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 7:38PM
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If this newbie may ask a question . . . why are spiders made of aluminum? Would a different metal perform better, like stainless steel?

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 9:05PM
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My guess is weight and ease of manufacturing. The spiders I've seen seem to be made of cast aluminum. Casting is an easy process and usually results in tough parts (think cast iron). Aluminum is lighweight and durable and easy to cast (airplanes are made out of aluminum). When you're schlepping machines from Korea, China, Mexico, or even within the USA light weight = savings.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 10:03PM
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@itguy08 - Thanks, that is exactly what I suspected.

    Bookmark   June 10, 2011 at 10:40PM
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To itguy08,
Thank you for your response. I was much of your mind when I first read the paper on galvanic corrosion, took me back a good many years! For the purpose of the discussion in this thread I think the important points are made on the following pages: -
Pages 20 and 21 - passivation can alter the behaviour of some metals.
Page 35 - oxide puts an additional electrical resistance in the electrochemical circuit.
Page 36 - oxide film effects. The oxide film on stainless steel is electrically insulating and impedes the charge flow between galvanic couples. Additionally the aluminium oxide film on the aluminium makes the Aluminium nobler.
Pages 39-43 - Discussion on which to coat, and why, anode or cathode?

I largely agree with you, for galvanic corrosion to take place an electrolyte has to be present and that electrolyte is not always water or 'liquid'. Take the example of the Daniel Cell in the paper it is a paste. One thing I did learn from that paper is that the metals do not actually have to be in 'electrical' contact with each other for galvanic corrosion to take place (page 52 of the paper). I always thought they did.
For purposes of this discussion I further agree with you, remove the water and the corrosion ceases. Unfortunately in the case of the front load washers this is easier said than done. Whilst leaving the door open will allow some drying off to take place there are areas inside the washer where the surfaces of the aluminium alloy are close, or very close to other surfaces. These are: -
The ends of the spider arms where the setscrews pass through the rim of the stainless steel tub into the spider.
The holes in the end of the spider arms that the setscrews are fitted into.
The recesses in the hub of the spider, the open faces of which are only 1-2mm from the face of the cage of the seal.
Any water and contaminants left in these areas will, in my opinion, only 'dry out' very slowly. Add to this that should one of the contaminants left behind be sodium carbonate, in addition to being corrosive to aluminium, it is hygroscopic and it has an ample source of water to draw upon from the 'pool' left in the 'drain' at the bottom of the drum.

Unfortunately this site does not allow for photographs to be included with the posts or I could show you the build up of corrosion products on the ends of the arms and in the screw holes on the spider removed from my Frigidaire built machine.

'Basic' or 'alkaline', either describe a liquid or paste with a pH level above 7.0. Below 7.0 it is 'acidic'. One further point to remember here is that the pH scale is logarithmic, to the base 10. This means that a substance with a pH value of 9.0 has ten times more hydroxide ions than a substance with a pH value of 8.0. Additionally totally acidic is 0 not 1 as some people would have us believe.

I totally agree with your evaluation that the spider should be coated to prevent corrosion, or use a material that can withstand the environment it has to work in.

One thing I have noticed is that many of the complaints about spider corrosion note the fact that the machine in question only had 'light' or 'little' use; ideal, in my view, conditions for corrosion to take place. A machine used more frequently would not be as likely to 'dry out' sufficiently or as frequently to the stage where corrosion commences. Hence the reason for laundrymat machines not to suffer failures as frequently as machines used domestically.

I do not believe that the Frigidaire built machines suffered from 'bad' metal, other than the fact it is, in my view, a very poor choice of material. The geometric design also in my view, is lacking in forethought as, again in my view, it is designed to enable the recesses in the hub to hold water, which, in time, will turn foul even if the material was resistant to the corrosive environment.

I am aware that in many industries part numbers remain the same even though changes to materials and geometric designs do take place. However in the case of the Frigidaire spiders, as I have said the part numbers have stayed the same. I could not tell any difference between the spider I removed from the Frigidaire built machine purchased in 2001 and the replacement spider I purchased in 2009. I know the older spider had corrosion damage but the basic geometric design did not appear to have been changed. It is possible that minor changes to the material physical specifications may have been made which are not apparent to visual inspection but the fact remains that aluminium and its alloys are corroded when immersed in an aqueous solution with a pH value above about 8.0.

Thank you again for your contributions, it is, as you say, an interesting discussion.

I welcome any further comments you may have.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 8:24AM
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Unfortunately this site does not allow for photographs to be included with the posts or I could show you the build up of corrosion products on the ends of the arms and in the screw holes on the spider removed from my Frigidaire built machine.Pictures can be included in posts, but they have to be hosted elsewhere online, such as at Photobucket or other free photo-sharing service, and linked into the post with html code.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 8:38AM
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"One thing I have noticed is that many of the complaints about spider corrosion note the fact that the machine in question only had 'light' or 'little' use; ideal, in my view, conditions for corrosion to take place. A machine used more frequently would not be as likely to 'dry out' sufficiently or as frequently to the stage where corrosion commences. Hence the reason for laundrymat machines not to suffer failures as frequently as machines used domestically."

@bigguggy - This may answer my next 'newbie-to-world-of-FL washers' question(s) I had, but I'll pose it anyway: Do Europe and UK have this spider corrosion/failure problem we have here in the U.S., and perhaps all of North America?

From what I have learned from all my reading, the FLs in Europe & UK are smaller capacity, so probably they are used more frequently than our ginormous ones. Based on the information you've given, smaller capacity FLs might have less failure because they rarely dry out completely?

Thanks. The whole thing has fascinated me.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 9:32AM
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To Cavimum.
Thank you for your comments. Whilst I cannot comment for the rest of Europe being a Limey/Brit. I do have a bit of knowledge about the UK.

Whilst I had not thought about domestic machines in Europe being used more often because they are smaller it is, I believe a valid consideration. What I think is much more likely is that the Europeans, as a whole, seem to use a lot less bleach, sodium hypochlorite, than is used in households in North America. I was over to the UK in October 2009 and my parentsâ, just under 4 year-old; Hotpoint Aqualis had just had its bearings renewed. That machine had no provision for the use of bleach and its use was not mentioned on the âInformation Sheetâ that came with the washer in lieu of the owners manual, another cost cutting move I suppose.
I am given to understand that the lack of provision for the use of bleach, as in my parentsâ case, is âthe normâ in Europe. Up until relatively recently, even for machines sold in North America Bosch used to prohibit its use on pain of nullifying the warranty. I wrote to Bosch and asked them what had changed, they informed me the older âhosesâ would not tolerate bleach but that the ones fitted to the newer models would. They (Bosch) further informed me that their spiders were manufactured from aluminium alloy but they omitted to respond to my query about recesses in the spider.

To see what one drop of bleach, straight from the bottle, did to the spider I removed from our Frigidaire built machine please visit âReply # 21â at the following thread: -

Once again thank you for your comments and I look forward to hearing from you again.

    Bookmark   June 11, 2011 at 1:26PM
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I had this problem I used a product called TechnoFresh. I have tried smelly washer it is OK, then my machine started acting funny so I got a new set. I use TechnoFresh in between "Pure Clean" cycles. It is a great product and cheaper than Afresh.

    Bookmark   June 24, 2011 at 9:39AM
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To aspazqueen
On reading your post, I had never heard of TechnoFresh before, I sent them an email asking where I could find a copy of the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for their product. Their response was to forward me copies of MSDS's for the ingredients. These are: -
Boric Acid
Citric Acid
Magnesium Sulfate
Potassium Sorbate
Sodium Benzoate
Sodium Borate
Sodium Percarbonate
Now what the percentages of these are I do not know, neither do I know how the acids will react with the alkalis when water is added, or what properties the resultant 'mix' will have.
The MSDS supplied for the citric acid notes that it is corrosive to aluminium, similarly for the sodium percarbonate. Sodium percarbonate is one of the main ingredients in 'Affesh' and the powdered 'Oxi' products. Now as sodium percarbonate reacts with water to form hydrogen peroxide, which is the cleaning agent and degrades relative quickly, and sodium carbonate (washing soda), which is hygroscopic and when damp/wet, very corrosive to aluminium once the required concentration is reached.
As far as I am aware the spiders fitted to front load washers in North America are manufactured from aluminium alloys.
Draw your own conclusions.

    Bookmark   June 28, 2011 at 6:54AM
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My 8+ year old washer has been very has had some parts replaced by myself...but that darn smell!! This past weekend I did the unthinkable! I literally tore down the entire washer to get to the tub & basket. And what do you think I found? A coating of brown bio-film on the back-side of the stainless steel basket and the same on the plastic tub. DISGUSTING!! (I may have the two pieces confused with each other). I used my 1600psi pressure washer on each item until thoroughly cleaned off (do the washing on your grass); also did the same with the rubber boot. There are instructions you can download to do this tear down...they are for the Whirlpool Duet..but that is the company that make the Kenmore HE series. Took about 6 hours for me...but well worth it and NO MORE SMELL!! Comments welcome

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 9:41PM
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FWIW,,,,I've had Duet 9400 for 6+ years. Because of reading complaints here I've regularly checked the machine. Inspect boot all around; get in there with a powerful flashlight and look at the drum carefully; and through the holes in the drum to inspect the outer drum.

Nothing. Ever. Machine looks like it came off the showroom floor yesterday.

Long-winded way of saying I don't know what your problem is. However, clearly it isn't the machine's nature in and of itself. Something else is happening there, IMHO.

    Bookmark   June 29, 2011 at 10:04PM
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This is why I would never get another front loader. Mine did leak and mildew got into the rubber door seal and it did smell and there was grimy stuff leaking down the front. The solution would be next time get a top loader. I just got one of those. Now this LG I got is also leaking, but at least I feel I am on the right track with rejecting front loaders.

    Bookmark   July 13, 2011 at 2:06AM
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The bad smell that comes from a washer will get into the cloths. Often you won't smell it in the cloths when you take them out of the washer or dryer, but when wearing the cloths and your body heats and moisturizes them you will then smell the slight odor.

This is caused by mold growing in the washer. If nothing else works, and it didn't for me and I tried everything in my washer, which was and is a Staber, I took it out of service. I then let it sit for a year and dry out, then ran Afresh through it and put it back into service. It hasn't smelled since. I only use powder detergents now, though occasionally I will use a liquid here or there for various reasons. I try to go easy on any of the liquid softeners and use the new Purex crystals for this primarily now, or vinegar.

Good luck with the mold problem, it's a major issue.

    Bookmark   July 22, 2011 at 10:05AM
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I have always used the recommended amount of detergent and FS. After I'm done washing for the day; I do the following: (Top-to-bottom routine) I pull the dispenser tray all the way out; rinse it and put it back in but leave it open about 1 inch or so; then wipe the glass door dry; then move over to the gasket/assembly and wipe it all completely dry. Then DONE! It all takes me no more than 3 minutes max. I keep a dedicated towel for the washer hanging up on the rack next to the detergents. I have done this routine since I bought my first FL, now on my 2nd (Electrolux IQ Touch). I've never had any bad smells in my laundry or machine; oh yes, I forgot the mention the important part. I leave the door open any time the machine is not in use. The Electrolux have spring-doors so I use one of those stretch cord things (gaaah, I fail to think of it's name at the moment) to hold the door open about 45 degrees open angle. That might seem like a lot of work to some people but think about it: Textiles have changed, Washing machines have changed, Detergents have changed, How water is processed at the plant has changed (if you're on city water); therefore, upkeep maintenance has changed. Ok, I'm off my "soap-box" and back to my laundry. - Have a great day folks :-)

    Bookmark   October 1, 2011 at 10:55AM
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This washer is really horrible and has been nothing but a problem. It was so expensive and not worth the money. We also have a problem with constant mold in the belt area (front). I have used Affresh, wiped it out and left the door cracked-it does not work. We discovered that it's leaking this morning and is going to cost $214 for Sears to come out and fix it. Really frustrating!

    Bookmark   October 22, 2011 at 2:12PM
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This looks like two problems, maybe. The moldy, mildew smell may be different from the sewer smell. Our washer stinks like a sewer (hydrogen sulfide, rotten eggs) and the stench is most powerful when we drain the water from the hose behind the little door on the lower left front of the washer. I think the smell is from sulfate reducing bacteria and it is temporarily cured by draining the foul junk and running a "Clean Washer" cycle with liquid bleach. The real question is why such a goofy design which collects stagnant water? Our solution is temporary, a pain in the neck and disgusting to perform monthly, but I haven't seen anything here which hits our problem. Our clothes don't stink, but the house does.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2011 at 1:37PM
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Here is something else to consider. If your laundry room smells but there isn't any bad smell in your clothing even when they get warmed-up on your body in the summer, consider yourself lucky as you probably don't have mold in the machine. When I had mold in our machine our cloths would get a "turdy" smell when you got warmed-up and sweaty in them. It wasn't very strong, you had to really smell the cloths to find it, no one around you ever noticed, but it was there.
So if not the washer why is a house smelling? Its an issue with the drain plumbing. If something is stopping up the vent pipe it will often cause the water that is normally left in a trap to be sucked out. The trap hold water in order to block/stop the odor from coming back into your house. Make sure you vent is operational first before anything, it's an easy fix.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2012 at 7:08PM
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After having our washer for a short time, we also noticed that it started smelling bad. One day I took the detergent tray out of the machine and there was a lot of mildew in this area. I cleaned it with bleach and the problem went away. On another note, I suggest cleaning the drain pump filter. I just had to replace my drain pump because a sock got through the system and blocked the pump which caused the motor to burn up. There will be quite a bit of water that comes out when you open the filter so be prepared.

    Bookmark   December 3, 2012 at 3:01PM
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Stephen Wilson

SO I have a Kenmore Front loader Model # 41172211. So has anyone heard if there is a class action suit against Sears and Maytag on these washers. It has to be a complete design problem. I formerly owned a Kenmore Front Loader that I had purchased in the late 90's. I never had a mold problem at all I didn't have to take all the necessary steps to try to reduce the mold and mildew problem like cleaning the boot constantly and running Bleach in it all the time. I think this is just piss poor engineering on the part of Kenmore/Maytag. At this point I could care less that this machine is supposed to be water efficient. I would just prefer that my clothes would get cleaner and that the damn machine wouldn't stink. Sears needs to put out a recall on all of these machines.

    Bookmark   February 22, 2015 at 12:56AM
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Are you sure your Kenmore machine is sourced from Whirlpool?

    Bookmark   February 23, 2015 at 9:06AM
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