Sour Towels!!

fairymeadowsAugust 20, 2008

We just bought a new LG frontloading washer & dryer about 3 months ago and although they both work great at first, I noticed my towels were beginning to smell sour after awhile. The longest time they have left in the washer would be half hour to 45 minutes but I've had them in longer in my old washer without getting sour.

I can't even use a washcloth once without it smelling sour already.

I've put the washer through a tub clean cycle with bleach and cleaned the water filter but the sour still continues. I've immediately put the wet towels into the dryer with no luck.

I just put in smaller loads and on a hot cycle and that seems to work but I don't want to use hot every time.

Anyone else has the same problem with LG frontloading. I used all the proper cycles according to the type of clothing (ie towel cycle,etc)

Any suggestions are welcomed. I'm fairly new to these front loading machines!

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With previous TL's for decades and with current Duet for three years, I've frequently left wet clothes in my machines overnight or sometimes 48 hours with no hint of what you describe.

Nothing's growing on your clothes in the short time you've described. Something pre-existing in water or machine is being deposited on them. I'd bet on deposits already existing in the machine and being transferred. Relief after a hot cycle, then returning on other cycles, seems strong indication.

Next time you sense your sour-smelling towels as you unload, suggest waiting overnight or two nights, then running the machine empty on warm without any cleaning products at all. Wait until it tumbles and sloshes for 10 minutes to stir things up. Then open the door and take a whiff. I'll bet you'll smell it.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2008 at 7:49PM
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Do you leave the door open & wipe down the rubber gasket after use?
It could be mold that is starting.
What type of soap do you use?

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 6:43PM
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Search this forum for "Whirlout" and "Affresh." I've tried both. You need to run maintenance on a FL washer about once a month. The threads you'll pull up with that search will give you details about how to get rid of mildew in your washer. Evidently LG trains its repair people to use the Whirlout. You can buy Whirlout in the spa bathtub section of Home Depot and you can get Affresh at Lowe's. Both are also available online.

It's easy to avoid the mildew once you've cleaned your FL. Leave the door ajar so it's not a sealed, moist environment, and run a maintenance wash monthly.

Use nothing but HE detergent. Fabric softeners and liquid detergents can be problems, but the biggest mistake is using too much detergent--suds damage these front loaders.

Once you've cleaned your washer, you should have little problem getting the smell out of the towels. If you still have problems, some people say it's your water, but that's beyond my understanding.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 9:23PM
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My daughter had the same problem -- I searched the Laundry forum for "smelly towels" and gave her all the suggestions I read here. When I got a new FL in the house we just sold, I started out doing these things and never, ever had the problem.

Check behind the door gasket -- there might be mold/mildew there. You might find it useful to dry it with a rag when you're finished. DD even found baby sox there, black with mildew. She about gagged!!

When you're finished with the laundry, leave the door ajar until the inside is completely dry. Basically, I just left it ajar all the time.

My FL always left water in the detergent drawer . . . I removed it and let it air dry, or at the least, soaked up the remaining water.

I think that the most important thing is the soap you use. My DD switched to Charlie's Soap and gradually the smell went away. It took a couple months till everything was okay. She'd been using regular detergent in smaller amounts. I never used anything but CS.

I use about 1 TB. of softener and add enough white vinegar to fill the rinse cup. My towels got softer and fluffier and more absorbent the longer I used the FL.

Lots of people have found Affresh to be helpful.

Hope this helps. It's really nasty to dry your face on a clean towel and get a bad smell!!

    Bookmark   August 21, 2008 at 10:08PM
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I purchased a Neptune front load washer and dryer on May 1, 1999. I have never had any problem whatsoever with this pair. I use both HE and non-HE liquid detergents, as well as fabric softner. I have soft water. I usually do two HOT washes (with bleach) a week as well as a warm and a cold wash. When finished washing, I shut water off, dry out the boot, and detergent compartment. My clothes come out clean with no sour smell at all.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 10:11AM
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mr jms. .I have the same duo as you, purchased about the same time also. .I have never had a problem with mine either. I rarely use an HE detergent. I found that Surf detergent has very little sudsing to it, that is what I mainly use. I have never had a musty odor issue with mine either. I have occasionally had a little mold on the gasket even with wiping it out and leaving the door open. I just spray bleach on it when that happens. I do a monthly cleaning with dishwasher detergent and hot water. I too use fabric softner but I dilute it about half, still works and smells just as good. My daughter has a top loader and swears that she can only use vinegar instead of fabric softner or her towels smell sour, so that would be my suggestion to you fairymeadows. .Debbie

    Bookmark   August 22, 2008 at 11:49AM
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vinegar rinse girl here!!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 3:06AM
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Our towels used to smell too, then I quit the fabric softner, and started using the vinegar, the smell is gone!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 8:53AM
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I would run an empty load using the hottest cycle your machine offers, and add a cup of bleach to the mix. Let it complete the cycle. For the next few washes, I would add about a tablespoon of bleach to the wash -- it shouldn't harm colors, but will disinfect the wash water.

I had smell issues with my clothes -- after leaving them in the machine for as little as 30 minutes, clothes would smell musty. I left a load in the machine overnight once and they smelled so bad they were unwearable.

Despite my machine's instructions NOT to use bleach, I did a super hot load with 2 cups of bleach to kill anything and everything inside the machine. Now I add 1 TBS to every wash cycle and the musty odors have disappeared.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2008 at 1:07PM
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Fairmeadows entry is my experience exactly. The only problems are the thick wash cloths. I was prepared to discard them. I read the other posts as well . . . the black mildew is present on the rubber gasket, too. I'll try the suggestions and get back to you. Isn't the internet something? On a whim tonight I googled "sour wash cloths" and Voila! Thanks.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2008 at 11:03PM
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I also use vinegar for the rinse cycle on towels, I've read that FS will cause towels to be less absorbant & sour quicker. My DH & I reuse our towels for a few days and since switching to vinegar for rinsing, I haven't noticed any sour smells like before. I use FS for other stuff, but have it diluted to 1/2 w/ water, it works just as well & saves me $$$$.

I always dry under the rubber gasket w/ a towel after I'm done w/ laundry for the day. I always leave the door wide open & dry out the dispenser drawer & also leave it wide open. Also, I read on here somewhere to use powdered Cascade to clean the washer. I do this once a month (+/-) on the sanitary cycle. I haven't had my washer very long (3+ months), but haven't had a problem yet.

I know there are arguments about liquid detergent & FS, but I switch between powdered & liquid det. depending on what I'm washing, and also switch between vinegar & FS, so I think this may help, but like I said, I'm just a beginner.

PS~ It kills me that there are so many ppl out there that use regular detergent in their pricey HE machines! I paid a good chunk of $ for my set & wouldn't dare use regular det. in them, I don't want to take the chance. Also, I use the Sears det. and it's way cheaper & lasts way longer than any regular det. I've ever used... Just don't see the sense in that. Just MHO.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 9:37PM
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The reason the sour smell in laundry is only a problem with the towels is that the towels are loaded with dead skin cells. I have had that problem, too but never with other clothes. But now I know why...
Many cells remain in the wash and rinse water if the load is overcrowded or not enough detergent is added for suspension. TOWELS NEED LOTS OF WATER TO GET WASHED AND RINSED WELL. Many people reuse their towels too many times. Each time you dry your skin on the towel more cells are rubbed off. You are not just removing the water from your skin-but dead skin cells, too. Sitting in the washer, while waiting to be dried, they remain wet and since there are bacteria still present the bacteria get to work and the skin cells continue to decompose. Then after "washing" these towels and drying them in the laundry, they rehydrate when they are used again and you smell--rotting skin cells. I try to wash my towels frequently NEVER OVERLOADING THE MACHINE WITH TOO MANY TOWELS and use hot water and bleach once in a while, too. Try to see if that doesn't help.

    Bookmark   September 20, 2008 at 11:54PM
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mc hudd
i have a fl (in fl!) and used regular detergent for awhile. well, i ended up burning out the engine (it actually had a different name, but its late and i'm tired and it isn't gonna come to me in the next few days so engine it is!) and the repair guy said that it was the extra work that the unit was doing to get rid of the suds that the regular detergents create. so... to save $4 a bottle, it cost me $375 in repair.
i can't wait to try these tips, especially the vinegar with the fabric softener. we have been having a problem with sour towels and i just figured that once they sour they will always wash sour. i JUST threw away about $100 worth of towels!
it seems like all of my lessons are expensive ones.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 10:38PM
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OK, I have the same top-loading washer I've had for the past 12 years - nothing fancy or new. But the last 6 months or so, certain washcloths - Egyptian cotton - sour quickly. I've had these towels for YEARS and never had a problem before.
I normally use washing soda in addition to liquid Tide. I've tried vinegar - a full cup, or more, in a load. I only use dryer sheets for softener, and I only use about 1/4 or 1/2 sheet per load.
I've boiled the washcloths. I've put them out in the sun to dry.
They still sour, and they're a bit stiff in the middle, like they're gunked up with old soap.
So I guess now I'll try the dishwashing detergent trick, and put a fourth of the normal amount of Tide, and try powder Tide, and see what happens.

    Bookmark   September 21, 2008 at 11:36PM
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Do you leave the lid of your TL washer up? Although not as common, I know TL's can also get mold. Do you normally use bleach in the washer? Also, what temp. do you normally wash your towels in?

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 10:55AM
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This is what I did when our towels started to get funky.
Prewash and wash them in the hottest water,extra water extra soap and extra rinses. I did it 3x and it got fixed.I don't have mold or mildew, I think our problem was due to my BF dermititis- shedding skin and lots of lotions. His T-shirts had that smell too. No other laundry was smelly.
The extra hot water and extra wash always helped. The last detergent I used was Gain and baking soda added. Now I switched to CS and loving it.

    Bookmark   September 22, 2008 at 6:24PM
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We are having the same problem. We have the Frigidaire Affinity. I am going to give up on the FS and use only vinegar to see if that will solve the problem. I am also going to see if CS will help too.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2008 at 10:09PM
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Do you leave the door open, I had that problem and it was due to FS and not leaving the door open.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 12:19AM
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I had this same problem when I first started using my FL back in 2001. The machine was too new to have developed mildew/mold issues. At that time I was using liquid HE detergent (it may have been Tide) and Downey. I had tried everything-bleaching (and ruining) my towels, using hot water, etc. After reading of similar probelms on the web, I traced it to using liquid detergent. Once I switched to powder (Tide HE), the problem ceased. As I stated earlier, I had read so many things on the internet posted by people who had this problem and all solved it by discontinuing liquid soap in favor of powder. It worked for me.

    Bookmark   October 7, 2008 at 3:07PM
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OK, as suggested here, I tried using powdered Tide...AND IT WORKED!
Thank you! Thank you!

    Bookmark   October 11, 2008 at 1:06PM
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I bought the powdered Charlies Soap and the problem is gone. Thanks!

    Bookmark   April 7, 2009 at 2:56PM
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My towels smell fine (no odour at all) when they come out of my front loader; however, several days later they all smell sour (or like varnish) in the drawers. This does not occur with my dishcloths. I think it has something to do with the process of washing in a front loader with low suds. My daughter has the dame problem.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 5:51PM
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Vicki, I think the problem you are experiencing is that the fake detergent/fabric softener scent has gone rancid. I noticed this in my aunt's house recently. She uses way too much fabric softener - you can smell her "April fresh" laundry two blocks away. It's so disgusting! But if you take a towel that is more than a week old, it smells like moth balls simply by just sitting in the drawer.

Cut back on the fabric softener and scented detergents, increase the temperatures to at least HOT, increase the rinses and perhaps add some vinegar to the final rinse. Your towels SHOULD NOT STINK! In my entire life I've never had a smelly towel in my house. It's all about your laundering technique and the products you use.

You can also go to Home Depot or Lowes and purchase a gallon of ODOBAN. Add it to your bleach dispenser and your laundry will no longer smell bad.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2010 at 6:28PM
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Switching to powdered detergent solved the problem for us as well. I knew it was the solution when I switched back to a liquid for one "cycle" of detergent (that is, used it until it was gone). Switching back to powder cured it again.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2010 at 7:09PM
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