mold smell Maytag Neptune

perceptioveritasSeptember 19, 2010

I have a Maytag Neptune which was top of the line 5 yrs ago. I paid almost $1000 it.

I too, have had nothing but problems with that terrible smell of mold coming from inside the tube.

Every time I use the machine, I wipe dry EVERYTHING. Even the dispensers for the bleach and fabric softener. I purchase those tablets AFFRESH that Maytag recommended. What a waste of money.

My Washing Machine still looks brand new, and I'm thinking of donating it and buying a new one, except I don't want to have the same mold smell problem with a new machine, so I'm totally at a loss.

Most of the manufacturers don't care. That is what I found with Maytag.

If ANYONE has a solution to getting rid of the mold smell problem I'd love to hear it. I've tried almost everything suggested here to no avail.

IF anyone can recommend a new washing machine that does not have that smell, I'd like to hear the make and model too. Thanks.

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If it's only five year old you must have one of the last generation Neptune. It's generally thought that Maytag fixed the mold problems by then.

If the machine is infested with mold you're probably going to have to pay for someone to take it apart and thoroughly clean it. Given the cost of labor and the age of the machine it may not be worth it.

Did you leave the door and dispenser open when you weren't using it? Did you wash with hot water and bleach on a regular basis? Is the washer in a wet basement that doesn't have a dehumidifier?

I have a neighbor with a Neptune and she fosters dogs and she washes the most disgusting towels in that washer and she's never had a mold problem.

I would suspect it's your laundry habits or the area where the washer is kept. I'd save yourself the headache and get a regular Speed Queen top loader.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 11:34AM
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I think it's funny how some people are so quick to say "get a top loader" when someone is experiencing an issue with his or her front loader. That advice is predicated on the false premise that there is something inherently wrong with a front loader, therefore a top loader will solve those problems. I've been using front loaders since 2000 and have never had any mold issues in my machine. I've had Neptunes, Askos and now Miele.

Top loaders suffer equally from mold, smell and "gunk" issues. What causes those issues are laundering habits. Infrequent hot/sanitize washes, not enough detergent, overuse of fabric softener, inadequate ventilation, etc. I believe those of us with front loaders chose them for a reason.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 12:56PM
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Top loaders can be cleaned without tearing them apart because you can fill them with hot water and various cleaners and soak the entire tub. I've had to do this with every used top loader I've owned.

Front loaders...we'll you are pretty much out-of-luck without tearing it all apart like this poor lady.

Pretty big difference there.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 2:02PM
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Like sshrivastava, I also had the Maytag Neptune's (9 years, no mold). Part of the fix was a vent installed in the door. If you look underneath the door there should be a hole that passes through the door leading to vents on the top (interior) that are actually poisoned outside of the drum when the door is closed allowing a minimal vent. If you have that you do have the latest version. My original did not, nor did it have the drain line from the bottom of the boot. Fortunately I never had mildew problems.

First, If I were you I would take the light bulb out so you can start leaving the door cracked open after use.
(Most manufactures these days design their units to power down with the door open allowing the user to properly vent the drum without keeping the lights on, this is critical. If I recall the Neptune will stay on the entire time, at least the drum light. Also, my last machine was the touchcreen model, it had the internal heater, they help a lot so use it if you got it.

Second, I would bombard it with a series of hot water washes with a good amount of bleach. You might also try a mildew remover.
(Since it has become such an overhyped health hazard in homes over the last decade you can find it everywhere. They aren't made for washing machines to my knowledge but it's worth a shot. If you are successful with removing it, the key is to dry that sh-t out from now on.

95% of surface area that needs to be dried can't be wiped, we're taking the areas between the inner and outer tube, venting is the only way. As for those machine cleaners I think they are a waste of money.

Hope this helps!

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 7:49PM
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As a service tech I can tell you that even with your method a top loader can still have a scrud build up under the subtop. I see it every day.
The simple fact is that unless the washer user does regular hot washes the body oils, mud, skin cells, proteins, etc can build up as they float to the top and deposit on the surfaces higher than the normal water level. In most cases this is due to the soils riding high on the soap foam.
So even a top load needs to be disassembled to clean it if it has not been used in a proper method.
I know from your previous posts that you're mainly anti front load and pro top load but your reasoning just isn't sound. If a person had poor washing habits with a top loader they will also have the same issues with a front loader and vice versa. the only real difference is due to the design of a top loader you can't see the scrud build up but it's there !

    Bookmark   September 20, 2010 at 9:19PM
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jakvis brings up a point I've mentioned several times on threads re: smell.

Body oils and such create a "bio film" on the outer drum. If not removed frequently by hot water washes it will accumulate and mould will feed on it.

Using bleach will only rid the mould but the biofilm will still exist and mould will reappear quickly - you therefore need to use a product that will remove this film. Several treatments may be required for a bad case.

I know a few who had success with a product called, Smelly Washer (and no - I'm not affiliated with the company). There is also a product called Lemi Shine. Both of these are probably primarily made of citric acid so you can use that too. If you go to the Smelly Washer site, they give you tips on how to properly treat a front loader or a top loader.

I would also check if your unit has a filter area. Some do and they get clogged with gunk that starts to stink. As long as it remains there it will stink (even if the drum is clean). My friend had an LG and when she opened the filter area she found a baby sock, hair scrunchy and a penny. It was stinking BAD. After she cleaned it out - smell was gone.

Here is a link that might be useful: instructions for smelly washer

    Bookmark   September 21, 2010 at 8:43PM
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My Whirlpool Duet front loader started to make the clothes smell. I always leave the front door wide open and clean out the soap dispenser after each load. I did some reading and the front loaders sometimes have a problem with "smell". So various recommendations including buying that special soap you bought. Some people recommended using Borax Soap (remember that old 20 mule team stuff), I found a box at Walmart and put in 1/2 cup, run the machine on super hot and cleaning mode (if you machine has cleaning mode) or just super hot and run with no clothes for a cleaning cycle. I'm doing that now.
You might check you manual and see if there is filter on the machine. Most/all have them to keep junk out of the water pump. If you don't have the manual just look on the net for it. Mine is in the back of the machine and I"ll have to try that next.

I would not toss your machine just yet. I think just running some strong soap first. Then run white vinegar after that should clean it out. If not, try it again, might be pretty dirty inside.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 8:36AM
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I took off the bottom cover, open up the water filter trap, not very dirty at all..a little lint...cleaned it out..ran the machine with Borax powder soap...super hot...smelled like cat pee after than...ran a cup of white vinegar (loaded into the water softer slot) on normal water...all clean more cat pee smell...I think I'll just run white vinegar once every few weeks...I always keep the rubber seal clean...see what happens..I won't buy another front loader..too much of a pain..never had to do anything with my previous top loaders....

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 11:10AM
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yep ... front loaders are terrible ... can't imagine why they keep selling them??? (sarcasm)

I have had a front loader for 9 years now - never had mould - never had smell - nothing. Everything is clean and nice.

Like with any appliance (yes - even top loaders) a certain amount of maintenance should happen.

It's the USER not the machine.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 3:29PM
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I have a Duet which I'm sure is very similar to totsuka's. (how different could it be?) I bought it 5 1/2 years ago. No issues at all. Machine has performed wonderfully and still looks like it came off the showroom floor yesterday inside and out....and, yes, I have inspected the outer drum and drain-path. Been reading about this mold/gunk/scrud stuff before buying, during years of my own use, and right now.....and still don't know what the deal is. Suspect user-issues but don't really know. All I know is my machine's pretty much exactly like everyone elses' and it works great. I haven't done a thing except for reading the manual and doing what it says.

From this experience, I'll never go back to TL.

    Bookmark   September 25, 2010 at 9:53PM
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Quoting sshrivastava:
"I've been using front loaders since 2000 and have never had any mold issues in my machine. I've had Neptunes, Askos and now Miele."

Seriously?? Three different machines within a mere 10 years? Seems each wouldn't have had enough time to get smelly!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 1:10PM
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If you go buy a new one could you buy the new WP Duet on sale at Sears for 1k? It even has a option for "clean washer" with "affresh". It looks cool in the "lunar silver" color. 5.0 cu ft. capacity..that's a lot of clothes..I wonder if it actually gets them all clean?

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 5:22PM
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All of the Duets have always had a "clean washer" cycle....except it was completely hidden in the codes and not disclosed to the consumer. Some kind of secret. I learned about it on this forum years ago. If they've finally made it public, it's about time!

    Bookmark   September 27, 2010 at 8:00PM
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Well, now that we know that the current Duet uses much cooler temps than the older ones, it's safe to say that mold/mildew are more likely to become a problem. My current model prominently features the Clean Washer cycle, specifies monthly maintenance, ships with a sample of Affresh, and tells you to leave the door open.

So far I've had the Duet a month, and no smell. I wipe it dry at the end of each day's use, leave the door fully open while the dryer runs, and leave it ajar the rest of the time. I run hot wash cycles (now that I've figured out how!). And I have excellent ventilation in the room from a powerful Panasonic fan that keeps the room MUCH DRIER than it would otherwise be. But I'll probably run the Clean Washer cycle anyway, since it is much easier to prevent mold/mildew than try to kill it once it's there.

I'll also note here that Affresh has the same ingredients as OxiClean, plus boric acid.

For those who already have a mold problem, you might want to try Smelly Washer. My neighbors use it for their LG that developed a stink, and they say it works. Smelly Washer claims to be made from citrus ingredients, so I speculate it includes d-limonene, a powerful solvent degreaser that probably gets rid of buildup in the outer tub.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 1:58PM
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"Well, now that we know that the current Duet uses much cooler temps than the older ones, it's safe to say that mold/mildew are more likely to become a problem. My current model prominently features the Clean Washer cycle, specifies monthly maintenance, ships with a sample of Affresh, and tells you to leave the door open."

This is a hoot! Quite a contrast in mfgr's position compared with the MANY years in the past when Whirlpool and everyone else consistently denied there were any problems. To be fair, I've never had any of this kind of trouble with my machine.....but judging from posts here and on other forums, an awful lot of other people did. Interesting development.

Feeling glad that I bought earlier. Hope the thing lasts. Excellent performance and no trouble for 5 1/2 years. Believe at least two generations old at this point. Hope it keeps on keeping on.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 2:26PM
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Asolo, Not to pick on you but I want to clairify your statement.

This is a hoot! Quite a contrast in mfgr's position compared with the MANY years in the past when Whirlpool and everyone else consistently denied there were any problems. To be fair, I've never had any of this kind of trouble with my machine.....but judging from posts here and on other forums, an awful lot of other people did. Interesting development.

What I want to clear up is in comparison to the number of Frontloads sold in the last 10 years (some reports are 1 million per year) there aren't that many people complaining.
I bet you would be hard pressed to find 1000 unique posters from all the different forums complaining about mold or smell.
Even if you could find 5000 individual complaints and compared it to the extremely conservitive figure of 5 million frontloaders sold it would still be only 0.01% (1 hundreth of a percent) This indicates it really is a indiviual usage problem and not an inherent problem with the design of the frontload.
You might say why did the manufacturer come out with a cleaning cycle then? Well it seems there is more bad press than bad washers so just like any proper marketing department Whirlpool has given the customers what they think they need...
As you testify yourself there's really no reason for it if you use the washer as it was intended to be used. Some Hot, Some Warm and Some Cold cycles.
Unfortunately some people I run into in my service business feel they know more about washing than the engineers and chemists that design washers and create detergents and it's these customers who experience poor performance and blame the machine. I'm not saying that I don't see actual product failures. I'm just saying every smell or mold issue I run into is customer related.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 3:55PM
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Hi Jakvis

No argument from me. Unlike you, I'm not in the bus., so surely your perspective is better than mine and I find it easy to agree with. Certainly angry people cry out more frequently than satisfied ones.

Unwritten by me above, but written in countless other posts of mine in response to the MANY posters complaining of these problems here and elsewhere, I have frequently said, basically, "I am aware of the complaints but I sort of don't get it because my machine is just like theirs and its been flawless. Don't know reasons for the difference but suspect operator error." Or something similar. Wrote many similar opinions about vibration issues, too. Probably should have included it above.

Upon reading these many posts over the years I've frequently wished I could be on-site with the disgruntled machine owner to noodle through the issue. In my experience with many friends and relatives I've almost always found it's something easily fixable that they simply didn't understand.

On the other hand, there certainly has been -- and is -- a lot of unhelpful blather coming from the mfgrs. Even 1/2 a decade ago I had to call Whirlpool directly in order to learn what they considered cold/warm/hot for ANY cycle because it wasn't published anywhere. I find that pretty annoying. The manuals and web-sites are filled with pretty pictures and ad-speak but even the technical-spec pages make it hard to figure out what they really mean.

    Bookmark   September 28, 2010 at 4:25PM
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The most common complaint among front loader owners, whether it is from 100 people or 5,000 is the musty smell. You have been given a lot of advice and most of it is pretty good. I would only add that ventilation is a key, hotwater and bleach is the standard treatment once a month. Don't overlook the one piece of advice on the filter. If you have a filter, learn how to empty it or clear it. This can be a source of the problem. In addition, be sure to wipe and dry the water seal boot between the washer and the door opening. This boot has been found to be the culprit many times. Keep it dry and ventilated.

Here is a link that might be useful: Cleaner Brighter Whiter Laundry

    Bookmark   October 2, 2010 at 1:13AM
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Using the hottest and longest cycle available, put 1/2 cup each of sodium percarbonate (oxy bleach) and citric acid into your machine and let it run. Then get yourself to a Home Depot immediately and purchase a gallon of ODOBAN. Put about 1/2-1 cup into your machine and wash on the hottest and longest cycle you have available, or use the machine clean cycle if you have one. That will kill any mold and mildew and deodorize your machine.

You may need to repeat the percarb/citric acid wash a couple of times to ensure you get into all the nooks and crannies.

    Bookmark   October 10, 2010 at 6:26PM
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I still love my Maytag Neptune 7500 series with touchscreen. Havent had one problem with these machines yet and I purchased the extended warranty for 5 years from Maytag. The extended warranty just expired without a single problem. I did have a model 4000 purchased in 2001 that got all molded/soap scummed from pure negligent use. We only used cold water and only used liquid detergent and liquid fabric softner. That was a disastrous combination! After fixing that problem and finding out how to actually properly use them I had no more smelly machine.

In 2005 Sears sold its last new in box 7500 to me for 630.00, about half price. I used Persil for the first 2 years exclusively in powder and since have used Sears Ultra Plus. Never had to leave the door open, never had to take out the bulb, never have even had a need to do the refresh cycles! We have at least one hot wash per week and whites use liquid bleach. Absolutely no problems. I wanted to switch back to Persil but the price jumped up and Sears was convenient so I stuck with it.

You might find more whistles and bells on new model washers (but not many) but this set of Neptunes has been perfect so far, and for all those who snubbed the Neptunes I have seen many of those users later crying about thier new machines too.

I dont think you will ever find a top loader to compare to the originals from the golden years so best to stick it out with the more dependable front loaders of today. Unfortunately that is a difficult process to find the best ones and too bad for the many who missed out on the progress Maytag made on the original Neptunes. Too bad they resorted to crappy Korean made substitutes and new top loader technology that crapped out on them too. They should have just stuck it out with the original Neptunes and by now thier reputation would have been at least as good as any others you find out there today IMHO

    Bookmark   October 15, 2010 at 9:23PM
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Hey curiousshopper,
The idea behind forms, and other types of communication, is to provide help. So before you let your ego fly off with your contiousness, and you wind up saying something like "either you're lazy or to stupid to know that you shouldnt put your clothes washing maching in a swamp" in a crowd of peoe that are like me and you find your self running that alligator mouth that your jaybird ass can't back. You should do some home work and reply intelligibly. Otherwise you just sound like some "think-I-know- It-all" prick, like you did in your first response to the stinky front load washing machine... If you had looked you would see that this is a very common problem. Intact that Maytag actually has a special self cleaning cycle that the consumer not aware off because its not in the operation manual material(or at least it wasn't with mine). Plus there is also a filter in the drain that can develope mold that must be replaced inorder to eliminate the machine meldew oder.. Otherwise your piss por response skills are going to command more responses like mine to your lack of common decency

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 9:36PM
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Re: rply-ntegntly-rshtf screed

I think somebody's been drinking or left themselves logged on at a Jr. High School library computer.

Mr. ntegntly, you do realize the last previous response in this thread was almost THREE YEARS AGO, don't you?

    Bookmark   August 12, 2013 at 10:22PM
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Sure the thread may be three years old, but people are still reading it if they have the same problem. I have seen Neptunes that were not properly taken care of and the owners house smelled like somebody had opened up the sewer line.

    Bookmark   August 14, 2013 at 3:52PM
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I have been complaining for years. There is mold around the front rim. I have to disconnect the light bulb so I can keep the door open. My clothes smell horrible. I have tried white vinegar, baking soda and many other things.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2014 at 5:27PM
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Use Cascade Gel around the rubber gasket around the door. It is thick so you can apply it without it running off. Let it work for a while and then wash it off with a rag and hot water--maybe add Clorox to your hot water to clean the dish gel off.
Also run washer on Hot wash/heavy soil with Powdered Dishwasher Detergent. I have also read another "recipe" to use to clean out the tub. Forget what it involves. Will see if I can find it. I do not remove my light bulb. I have mine plugged into a strip so when I finish using it I just have to flip the button on the strip to kill the power. I have NO mold or smell,mine is 14 yrs. old.

Found Recipe I was thinking of: Go to recipe to shock clean washer

This will tell you how to clean it with things at home. Interesting read. Hope some of this helps.

    Bookmark   November 13, 2014 at 7:52PM
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I have followed this site for a few years now and am struck by how many people brag about stuffing their front loaders to the gills with dirty clothes, use a tablespoon of detergent, and pick a cold wash. Then they complain about poor results, mold, and smelly clothes. Of course you're going to have these problems. A tablespoon of detergent and cold water aren't enough to suspend all the grease and body oils from your clothes to be washed down the drain. Instead they will be redeposited on your clothes and inside of your machine. These deposits in your machine are great breeding grounds for mold, mildew and bacteria. Just use warm or hot water and enough detergent and you won't have these problems. You can tell when there is enough detergent in the water when the water feels "slippery" between your fingers. I have had a Maytag FL for 13 years now and have never had any of these problems. I mostly use hot or warm water, except for dark colors, the right amount of detergent, and Clorox chlorine bleach for my whites. Both my wash and washer are sparkling clean with no odor.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2014 at 7:53PM
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What he said. ^

    Bookmark   November 14, 2014 at 9:11PM
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I agree tideman. My 5 year old samsung FL that bit the dust recently never had any issues. I never wiped it out, always had the door closed and never left the detergent tray opened and there was never any smell or mold on the boot. I used the sanitize cycle almost daily and enough detergent to get things clean. I feel bad for those that honestly do all of those things and still have issues while I can do none of them (save the hot wash) and my washer was clean. After we got the new Kenmore FL in August, we took apart the drum on the Samsung for funsies and to see how the inner drum looked and aside from some hard water deposits, it was clean.

    Bookmark   November 14, 2014 at 11:42PM
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Also, I ALWAYS use HE detergent. I know a lot of people try to use a teaspoon of regular non HE detergent and think their clothes will get clean. Why I don't know. HE detergent costs the same as non HE. Maybe they think that they can save money because the container will last longer.

    Bookmark   November 15, 2014 at 7:01PM
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