Thoroughness of Affresh in FL Washer Without 'Clean' Cycle?

chuffleSeptember 5, 2011

I'm new to the Laundry Room forum, though not new to laundry (I am a long time "master chemist," as noted in the article posted about detergent over-dosing).

I own a four year old Kenmore FL washer (a Frigidaire FTF530FS under the skin) and it's partner dryer - purchased because space in the bathroom is tight. Four, five, six loads a week and never a problem (though I have read horror stories about this machine and hold my breath every time that I use it). Without being told to do so, I have always left the door open when not in use, wipe down the door seal/boot, clean the detergent tray once a month, and have never had a mold or funky odor problem. I do warm washes and hot washes, the hot washes are always the last of the day, the thought being that the hot water would keep gunk under control. I use fabric softener sparingly, and follow detergent dosing guidelines. I don't use bleach, but do use Sun's version of OxyClean on whites.

Just recently, I re-read the owner's manual, and discovered (I guess I don't read thoroughly) that it is recommended that I run a bleach wash once a month.

Now that you have waded through the above, here is my question: Seeing as I have never done a bleach wash, I got the idea that I should run Affresh through the machine - and was wondering about how effective the product is, seeing as my machine does not have a "washer clean" cycle? Will the Affresh do much to clean the top and rear of the outer drum?

I have a tendency to obsess over things, and this has been on my mind the last day or so.

Any thoughts will be appreciated!


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"Clean machine" cycles, in machines that have them, are nothing more than water-only slosh-around cycles that heat the water to the max capable, then drain. With or without bleach. That's all they do.

If your machine doesn't have a "clean machine" cycle or, like mine, a "diagnostic" cycle that does about the same thing, you can approximate it by simply running a "sanitary" cycle -- your machine's hottest cycle -- with a few clean rags in there if you want to accomplish the same thing. Use a little bleach or a little Affresh if you want and then run it a second time to be sure everything's rinsed out.

However, sounds to me like your machine is just fine. Mine always has been, too. If you want to get as nuts as I am, get a powerful flashlight and take it along with your own head-and-shoulders inside the drum. Shine it thought the holes and move the drum back and forth a little bit so that you can seen down into the bottom of the outer drum. With a little finagling, you'll be able to see the surfaces and the heater and whether or not there's any grunge in there.

Understand the "obsession" thing. Suspect most of us are kind of like that. Otherwise there wouldn't be anyone posting.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 11:30AM
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I'm not a fan of the Affresh product. I know several with smelly issues who used it and did not have success.

The two products I know have been effective in removing smells/residue are LemiShine and Smelly Washer.

I use Smelly Washer once a month and use my Miele W4842's "clean machine" cycle. As stated above this heats water to sanitary (158) and sloshes fairly aggressively. It is supposed to also flush the hoses and such. It will rinse and drain (no spin).

My Miele manual suggests using bleach. I tried this once and was amazed at the level of chlorine smell in the machine when complete.

Bleach will do nothing to help remove residue/build up but will kill bacteria.

I read an article from Dr. Oz that said studies have found that washing machines are filled with bacteria like E-Coli and Staph Infections. He suggested that all machines should be cleaned once a month with bleach to kill all the bacteria.

Here is a link that might be useful: LemiShine

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 11:58AM
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I read that Affresh is nothing more than sodium percarbonate (active ingredient in Oxyclean) and scent. If that's the case, you don't want to combine Affresh with liquid chlorine bleach, as I believe you will get toxic chlorine gas. I would probably be more inclined to use citric acid (LemiShine) to de-gunk the machine first, then follow that up with a bleach wash to sanitize the interior.

Asko recommends 1 oz (by weight) of citric acid for their smaller Euro machine. If you have a larger machine ~4 cuft capacity I would recommend doubling that dose to 2 oz. Miele's citric acid washer cleaner is 8 oz by weight, so there appears to be some difference of opinion on dosing. If you don't have an active odor problem, I would dose more lightly. If there is active build-up that you know needs to be removed, using a much stronger shot of citric acid is probably recommended. Either way, it shouldn't harm your machine.

In fact, adding 1-2 TBSP of dissolved citric acid to the FS compartment could prolong the life of your machine. You see, many machines die a premature death due to corrosion related failure of the spider assembly. Detergent creates an alkaline bath in the machine, which is corrosive to aluminum spiders. This is why better formulated, stronger detergents contain washer protection agents. However, if you use too much detergent and it doesn't fully rinse out, then whatever water remains will evaporate and create concentrated spots of alkalinity on your spider assembly. That leads to corrosion over time. Bleach is also corrosive to aluminum. So by acidifying the final rinse, any water that evaporates onto your spider assembly will hopefully dry to a neutral or slightly acid pH - no corrosion.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 12:56PM
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Well, I obsessed enough that I ran an Affresh tab through the machine.

I tried to check the inside of the washer with my flashlight, and the bottom half of the outer tub is pristine - couldn't check the top part of the tub, as the door on my machine is small. I was never good at gymnastics in school, so trying to maneuver to check the top was a bit out of the question.

All in all, I'm thinking that my machine will be fine, as I will continue doing things the way that I always have.

Now, I have to worry about that spider...


    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 6:02PM
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Just acidify the final rinse and you won't have to worry about corrosion of your spider assembly. At least that's the hypothesis. A lot of people here use vinegar in the final rinse anyway, so they are engaging in preventive spider care without even knowing it! :)

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 8:37PM
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It's interesting that you said to use citric acid (diluted) in the fab softener compartment to prolong the life of the spider assembly. I may try that. It might be too late since my Duet is nearly 7 yrs old, but I've always used white vinegar in the fab softener compartment.

Regarding the person that said the clean washer cycle was nothing more than a regular cycle. I found a sequence that works on my machine that goes through a clean washer cycle and it's a LOT different than a reg cycle. This fills with water past the boot and the drum spins so fast with a tub full of water that it completely gets under and all around the boot and all of the glass door as well. Then it rinses and repeats twice after that. It's pretty aggressive compared to a regular cycle.

    Bookmark   September 5, 2011 at 9:44PM
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Recall saying credited to President, Jimmy Carter, staff member, Bert Lance, in 1977: "If it ain't broke, don't fix it." Perhaps applicable to chuffle's situation.

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 1:58PM
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Agree with asolo. If you don't have a problem, just take some simple preventive measures. You don't need to take your machine apart and start scrubbing. :)

    Bookmark   September 6, 2011 at 2:09PM
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