he3t Washing machine/moldy smell/Sear's response

sandy_tSeptember 2, 2006

Hello Everyone,

I would like to pass this info on to others that are experiencing the same problem and put out a "buyer beware". I have had my he3t washing machine for about 3 years now and the last 6 months I noticed this musty smell that would never go away. I did discover the mold on the inside rubber and did clean that with bleach and detergent and ran a cleaning cycle w/ hot water and such. I finally just got disgusted and emailed Sears and this was their response. What a joke that I need to do all this after spending so much money on this machine. I love the, "lets hit her up one more time to buy something" at the end!

Please include the following line in all replies.

Tracking number: UT20060902_0000001070

Dear Sandy,

Thank you for contacting Sears regarding our appliances.

We appreciate your consideration of Sears for your laundry needs.

We appreciate your consideration of Sears for your appliance information needs. Although not common, odor problems do occur occasionally with modern laundry systems. New detergents and fabrics have reduced the number of hot water and bleach loads used by consumers. Occasionally mildew will

form above the water line in the inner tub assembly or on the door seal. There is a process that can help to rid the washer of odor and some guidelines to prevent future problems. To take care of your present difficulty try the following:

Before starting the washer, use a mild dishwashing detergent and bleach solution to thoroughly clean the rubber seal assembly around the door. Set the washer to its highest possible fill level and load size but do not add


Use an all hot water wash setting and allow the wash basket to fill, then stop the cycle. Using the add-a garment function, add an additional 2-4 gallons of very hot water using a bucket or similar device. Add three cups of chlorine bleach and continue the cycle for approximately

half the normal wash cycle (Do not allow the machine to advance to a drain or rinse cycle). Stop the cycle and allow the wash basket to soak for 3-4 hours. Resume the cycle and allow the unit to tumble for the rest of the wash cycle and drain.

Advance the timer and run a second all hot water wash cycle to assure that all bleach water residue is flushed from the system.

To prevent future odor problems, always leave the washer door open between loads to allow a more thorough drying of the interior. Some consumers add a small fan to the laundry room to speed the drying process.

Look for Great Ideas throughout the store and find Sears exclusive innovations from great brands like Sony, Kenmore, NordicTrack, Craftsman and Reebok to help you create the good life.

Thank you for choosing Sears to help you create the good life.

Shop sears.com now to pick up great products for the season.


Chuck S.

Sears Customer Care



Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Friends have found running the machine with 1/2 cup of Cascae Complete on Whitest Whites or Sanitary helped with the mold issue.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 1:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What a joke that I need to do all this after spending so much money on this machine.

Doesn't seem like a lot - they (i) advised you on how to clean your machine, and (ii) said to leave the door open between washes. (ii) is standard procedure (found in most FL washer manuals), and is not especially difficult. (i) is not all that different from what you actually did. They're not saying to do this cleaning every time you use the washer! This is just normal maintenance, like washing your car every so often. - DR

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 7:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

agree it is normal maintenance with all FL's and not hard to do, easy self understood procedures

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 9:54PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I am doing the normal maintenance. I always leave the door slightly open when not in use, I run the extra hot water cleaning cycle once a month with bleach and I have a fan in the laundry room like they suggested. When I purchased the washing machine, there was no mention of this extra maintance procedure. Maybe they tell people now but it seems like they don't since a number of people have had the same problem I have had. What they say to do is more then standard maintenance and I feel the consumer should be aware of this.

    Bookmark   September 2, 2006 at 11:38PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My eight year old + HE3t still smells as fresh as the day I purchased it back in August of 2001. I used to perform the cleaning cycle using Cascade Complete (powder formula) every six months or so. Now it's been more like maybe once a year, if that.

If your washer lives in a relatively high humidity environment (mine doesn't) then you need to take extra precautions like "always" leaving the door ajar after every use and using the Cascade Complete cleaning method at least twice a year. Another thing to consider is proper detergent selection and dosing. I never skimp on dosing and normally use a powdered detergent over liquids. Personal experience indicates that powders generally clean better over liquids. Each formula has it's place but for the best cleaning performance powders work the best for me.

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 1:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

sandy, maybe I'm misunderstanding you - are they telling you to do this lengthy cleaning procedure regularly, or just at this point to address a problem you have now? If the latter, well, I don't think it is unreasonable to expect a machine that spends its life damp (and into which people dump dirty stuff) to need a major cleaning every so often. Imagine a shower stall left unscrubbed for 3 years!

Some people never do any prophylactic maintenance on their FLs, and never have a problem. Others do everything right - open door, periodic cleaning - and still have a problem; you seem to fall into that category. This *could* be a function of how you do laundry (too few hot loads; too little or too much detergent; too organic a detergent; etc], or it could just be bad luck and an environment conducive to biofilm formation.

You are correct that manuals should detail proper cleaning and maintenance procedure; they seem to be getting better in this respect. However, I suspect that most owners don't carefully read these manuals anyway. Maybe if they "put it on the test"...:-)

Sears seems to be giving good advice in this case (and I say this as someone who has been accused on this forum as being a Sears-hater). It would have been better had they resisted the urge to slip in that advertizing at the end of their email to you, since it kind of rubs in that you have a problem, but really it is hard to fault them for the rest of the note.

Give their advice a try; if it doesn't help (or even if it does), try the Cascade Complete as well (after rinsing out the bleach). We find it helps with cleansing washes to throw in a few rags or small towels, to swab out the tub during the wash. Sometimes it takes a while for the machine to get fresh again, you might have to do a Cascade wash every few weeks for a while. Also, there are some locations that get wet during washes, but which don't contact the water enough for cleansing cycles to have an impact - this includes some of the folds of the gasket. Wiping with a bleachy cloth helps a lot. - DR

    Bookmark   September 3, 2006 at 7:36AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


One other thing to check. Make sure that just the end of the drain hose from your washer is stuck in the drain. If a majority of the drain hose is in your drain standpipe it can develop buildup on the end of it and that smell will end up in your washer.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 10:30AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Check the screen in the drawer compartment (after pulling out the drawer). All Sears front loaders as well as similar machines sold/made by Whirlpool, Samsung, etc. that have a pull-out drawer have a defect in the design that creates mildew above the screen where the water is sprayed into the drawer. I have cut open this part after Sears replaced it and demonstrated to Sears that mildew develops above the screen in a sealed compartment that can not be cleaned. I have sent this information to the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Just take out the drawer and shine a flashlight inside and look at the screen and you will likely see pink and black midlew forming in the holes where the water sits. I would take out the drawer every day and try to keep this area clean - would spray bleach - but nothing ultimately prevents mildew from developing. I have recently bought Bosch machines which do not have the pull out drawer design.

    Bookmark   September 4, 2006 at 7:30PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I'm curious, Sandy, if you tried Sears' advice and if it made a difference in the smell? We have the same machines, about the same age. Our bath towels have recently come out smelling funny, with a metallic-moldy smell. I checked around the rubber gasket and there really wasn't much to clean.

I just read your post yesterday and am thinking about giving their suggestion a try this weekend. What do I have to lose, except smelly towels?

    Bookmark   September 7, 2006 at 9:52AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

If the moldy smell is coming from the area inside and above the drawer couldn't you disconnect the cold (or hot or both) water hose from faucet, drain the water out of it and fill it with bleach? Reconnect to water supply and run the machine. This would get bleach on all the internal areas and might kill the mold. Just a thought.

    Bookmark   September 12, 2006 at 6:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

how is this???

My eight year old + HE3t still smells as fresh as the day I purchased it back in August of 2001.

Is it 2009 already? ;)

    Bookmark   September 16, 2006 at 9:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


This doesn't sound unusual to me. I washed a load of towels that I had used to wax a hardwood floor. For weeks my washer smelled like wax until I ran a super hot (205 degree) wash using 1/2 cup of Cascade powder with 1/4 cup of something called Brite which is a silica powder used to clean stainless steel surfaces. After this cleansing bath, the washer smelled like new.

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 1:50AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

sshrivastava, next time try some ammonia, which is a solvent for wax. - DR

    Bookmark   September 17, 2006 at 12:25PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We HAD this same problem but now it is fixed. You don't need to call the repair man, it's just a waste of time, money and endless frustration.
9/32 socket or T-20 torx head bit.
Bunch of rags you don't want when you're all finished.


Lay on the floor in front of the washer and look under the lower panel. You will see three silver colored torx head screws, one on the left, right and center. Loosen these up with your socket or torx head wrench. Remove the lower front cover and set it aside.
See all the wires? Did you make sure to UN-PLUG the washer?
Now look at the center of the bottom of the washer. You will notice a white cylindrical contraption. This is a drain trap where all of the junk from your washer gets hung up so it won't clog up the water pump that discharges the water from your washer. On the front of this drain trap is an access cap. BEFORE you open this place the rags under the trap, along the sides and under the washer. Trust me, you'll thank me later. Now open the drain trap access cap by turning it counter clockwise. Be prepared for some smelly water to come out, probably 1-2 cups worth. Once the water is drained, pull the trap completely out. You'll find the reason your washer stinks in the trap. We had a blob of black goo and a security label from an article of clothing we bought. That was the culprit. The drain trap was "trapping" all of this junk and getting real funky.

Now clean the drain trap out with hot soapy water and a little bleach. Clean out the cylinder where the drain was. Wipe it out with a rag soaked in bleach and soap. Once everything is clean, replace the drain trap and tighten it down. Do not over tighten this or the seal may leak.

Replace the front cover and the three torx head screws.
Plug the washer back in.
Run the washer through the SANITARY CYCLE with bleach.
Your problem is solved

    Bookmark   February 27, 2007 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo


THANK YOU SO VERY, VERY MUCH!!!!!--I just checked mine after having my HE3 for 3.5 yrs. After reading your post I thought "God!!!!--Mine just must be god aweful!!!--I have never cleaned it or even took of tha panel on the washer!!!" But I must also say that I have not had a problem with mold or mildew either. So I took it off to fine a small pebble, 3 chucks of lint, smaller than a dime, and 2 foil caps (like you would find under the lid of asprine or something) and that was it!! Cant tell you how please I was to only find that after 3.5yrs. Yes, there was some film--DARK FILM. scrubed it like you mentiond and pow. All done. Thanks again.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 12:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

this is a very good tip. i am a service tech for (ahem) said company, and i have seen this before. just remember when you do this to leave the front cover off and put a fan in front of it for a while to make sure all the surfaces inside are dry before plugging the machine back in, as there is no good way to do this without getting things wet). the computer that controls the motor (instead of a transmission) is mounted on the bottom of the machine. you don't want this wet when you turn it back on. it is a very expensive part to replace.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 1:56PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

"the computer that controls the motor (instead of a transmission) is mounted on the bottom of the machine."

What genius designed that?

I would think that basements, where a lot of laundry machines reside, are commonly flooded. By mounting the computer at the bottom of the machine you guarantee unnecessary failures.

Seems like it would be easy enough to put it up high. But then it might cost 15 cents more in wire.

    Bookmark   February 28, 2007 at 9:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

My wife and I have the same mold problem and when we called Sears they completely ignored us and denied any problem. When we told them the problem is all over the internet, service sent me to the recall department and recall denied any problem and suggested that I report it to the government. They said that if enough people do this maybe they will recall the machine. Well, I am an attorney and that is just double talk.
I have talked with a bunch of people who have encouraged me to do something about the Sears response or lack thereof. I decided to look into the matter in some detail. Upon close examination of the HE machine and how it operates with very little water and low suds he detergent, in my opinion, the washer has design and material choice defects that cannot be fixed. It is basically a mold factory.
We are getting people together from multiple states to make Sears do what they should do for their customers if they were a stand-up company with good people running it. Well they told me to go jump in a lake. My machine is so bad we are buying another machine and putting ours out of service to be taken apart and examined. I'm sure sensitive people are getting sick from the mold and they don't even realize it.
If anyone is interested in doing something, e-mail me and I might be able to assist you with the Sears problem. Thanks Bob P

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 1:46AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I do think the original posted response from Sears is ridiculous. The fact that Sears instructed the person to add all this water tells me that the machine doesn't have enough water to reach all parts of the outer drum where the crud and mold is building up. I understand that all FL manufacturers believe that the little amount of water is enough for proper cleaning and rinsing of clothes but it doesn't sound like it is enough water to properly clean the outer drum. At least they could have allowed more water in the machine during the clean machine cycle. I believe this would have resolved a lot of problems people are having.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 9:03PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

The entire inner and outer surface of the drum is constantly exposed to water while it rotates through the "puddle" of wash water. When the machine goes into spin, the entire outer tub is sprayed, forcefully, with water extracted from the clothes.

    Bookmark   October 5, 2007 at 11:57PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I not referring to the inner and outer surfaces of the SS drum. That SS drum sits inside another drum which I believe is stationary. (Maybe someone can confirm that) During extraction, the bulk of the water is at the bottom and although there is great suction around the entire SS drum, the water extracted at the top and sides of the drum are not extracting sufficient water to affect the outer drum in those sections. Look at the photos of the drums when FLs are taken apart.

Even though TLs have much more water and in theory there is so much water in the drum you would think that this would not happen, it can still happen in TLs. I'm just saying that it is much harder to thoroughly clean the drums if you don't have sufficient water and that is why I believe Sears recommended adding all that water.

It would be nice if there was an option that would spray water between the 2 drums from top to bottom. In any event, this issue has been a big problem for a lot of people and I think the manufacturers should properly address the issue. I can't believe that all these people who had problems were irresponsible.

    Bookmark   October 6, 2007 at 12:38AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Whirlpool has developed a tablet that is supposed to solv this problem. It is called AFFRESH I found them at HH Gregg the appliace store. Below is a post that i sent another group about the problem.

Money and water usage is one thing, but a really potential health hazzard is another. I guess that I am upset that I found out about the black mold and mildew in my washer by accident. Got a set of Duet's about 4 years ago. Have been noticing that my whole family has been having sinus issues ongoing for the past 2 years. Prior to that, my wife never had sinus problems. I have summer allergies, (hay fevr), but never a year round think. Both my wife an I have been noticing that our towels get a mildew smell quickly and that some of our clothes don't smell as fresh. We tried different detergents and fabric softners. Nothing helped. We had always had little quirks with the Duets, but that is another story. My wife had been telling me that the machine smelled bad. She decided to take a close look and pulled back the gray rubber seal which revealed a lot of black smelly mold which was growing all over. My first thought was amazement, and then anger. I searched the internet to find 2 class actions suits for the mold problem. One with Maytag, and one with Sears and whirpool together. We went out today to look at a new machines. Pretty much all the FL's had the same type of rubber gasget, hence the same potential for a mold problem. I was looking at TL's because of my fear. They have improved tremendously, however there are not that many different models. It was not till I kept pressing the salesperson at HHG that he told me that there was a tablet that would help to fix the problem. WHY DID I HAVE TO FIND OUT THIS WAY! I am so pissed that there has not been more said about this. The tablets ate about $10 for three which equates to three months. I really don't mind the cost of the tablets, but at this point, I am concerned that will not clear up the problem. I tried them today after saturating the gasget with Clorox and scrubbing the crap out of it.

My fear is that there are consumers out there that are using these machines and have small children or infants and they they are unaware of the potential health hazzard to their famlies. I am not looking to sue the manufacturers, I just want a better disclosure to the public about the AFFRESH tablets. Besides the Appliace store, I don't even know where to get them. I looked all over my local Kroger. Suggestions from anyone. Do most of you think that these tablets will fix my problem and maybe my health. I am not saying that the washer is the cause of our sinus and congestion problems, but I firmly believe that it certainly is not helping the situation. I will post updates if anything changes health wise. One question though. WHERE did someone you find out about those tablets?? Any replies here or to my cj48111@yahoo.com are welcomed. Luck to all!!

    Bookmark   October 7, 2007 at 9:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Remember that one of the primary reasons Maytag was run out of business is that folks refused to believe that their laundry practices were the primary cause of thier mold/soap/bacterial buildup. Once everyone begins to believe that blaming the manufacturer is easier than modifying habits then the chant for class action suit begins to drown out reason.
As we are all finding out, many manufacturers now share many of the same failures that Maytag had. Now that competition has been removed by the merger into one huge Whirlpool company, you can expect less compassion for your problems as that one company has to shoulder all those complaints and they are simply overwhelmed.

    Bookmark   October 9, 2007 at 7:28AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I just wanted to thank everyone for posting their problems and solutions here. I also had terrific mold problems with my LG FL and had called LG only to be told to be sure and leave the door open. My son had started to get sinus infections and I had headaches daily from the mold being drawn through the air conditioning system. The last thing we wanted to do was leave the door open!

After looking at the posts and my laundry habits, there seemed to be a correlation. I used to do mostly cold or warm water loads, with fabric softner (because the FL spinning seems to dry out the material and make it rough)using liquid HE detergent.

After cleaning the seal (for the nth time) with bleach and getting rid of the slimy mold, I ran several hot water loads with Cascade Powder. Then, I switched to Tide HE Powder for every load of clothes. Instead of fabric softner, I turn down the Spin Speed one notch depending on the fabric type. I have also used Calgon on some items. If I use fabric softner which I still like to get fluffier towels, they are washed on Hot.

Although the seal is still stained in spots, I have had NO MORE MOLD! I do leave the door open right after a load and sometimes dry the lip with an old hand towel. But, I often close the door when the washer is not in use since the laundry room is the hallway to the garage and again have had no problems with mold.

The main question is : Why don't the LGs, GEs and Sears know this ?

    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 4:23PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

lgflowner makes some good points.

There are a lot of benefits with using HOT water washes.
Whites alone get brighter using hot AND it keeps front loaders CLEANER and mold at bay.

Front loaders use so little water that using only warm or cold water washes doesn't save you that much more money and cost more aggravation in the long run.

Why are so many people not using hot washes? I do and I'm still using a top loader.

Use a HE detergent, use the warmest temp for optimal cleaning (don't be afraid of hot water washes), use the correct spin speed (not only the fastest), a little fabric softener goes a long way in a front loader (if needed). Use the "Clean" cycle (if you have one with Cascade powder), that's what it's there for. Leave the door open if you can (at least 24 hours).

Enjoy the machine.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 5:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Sears' advice to use a dishwashing detergent / bleach solution seems odd. The bleach would deactivate the enzymes in the dishwashing detergent. This is why it is recommended to add bleach to a wash cycle at least ten minutes after the cycle starts, and why some machines have a separate bleach cycle. To mix the two defeats the prupose of using the dishwashing detergent.

    Bookmark   February 4, 2008 at 6:16PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I haven't had a mold problem, but had a problem with the wash, especially towels, not smelling fresh. I really felt like the FL did't use enough water to really rinse all the soap out, so I started using the extra rinse cycle with every load and am very happy with the wash.

I use the HE soap, and even use less than they recommend so I know I wasn't using too much soap. Every few weeks I run an empty load with soap and bleach to help clean things out. The last time I ran an empty washer to clean I used OdoBan and really liked the scent (better than bleach!). The OdoBan website says it "Kills Bacteria, Fungus & Viruses" and has a low toxicity rate. When I checked out the web site I saw that they have a new product called Earth Choice that is considered a "green" product. Pat

Here is a link that might be useful: OdoBan

    Bookmark   February 5, 2008 at 4:26AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

sears truly is horrible for their understanding...keep fighting for your rights..look at my posts about the rusting kenmore oasis..they tell me its cosmetic...do you believe that?

    Bookmark   February 11, 2008 at 4:02PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

What a bunch of garbage. All of us "regular" people remember the days when we were growing up and we had one washer that lasted 15 years, didn't need monthly cleaning and never smelled.

The fact of the matter is that Sears did not know they had a problem until they started getting complaints - believe me I have been struggling with my "wonderful" He3T for 4 years. 5 or 6 separate service calls, including a new door lock mechanism and a new mother board and it smells like crap.

ALL of the repair guys that show up will tell you "off the record" how terrible this machine is. Even the customer service people on the phone will tell you they are getting a lot of complaints about this line of washers.

I finally went to Home Depot and bought their cheapest washer and dryer set they had for less than half of what I paid for my He3T. Hands down the cheaper washer works better. I still have the HeT3 because I bought the extended warranty. It might be a pain but I intend to have Sears suffer though the same misery as I.

Two final points - if you search hard enough you will find that there is a law firm out there prepping for a lawsuit. Freed & Weiss

111 W. Washington, Suite 1331

Chicago, IL 60602

(312) 220-0000 Main line

(312) 220-7777 - Fax

Finally - even when the washer is working and doesn't smell it does a very very poor job of actually washing clothes.

Regarding any tips - believe me I have tried them all.

Do I sound bitter? I guess I am. I think I should expect a little more after shelling out $1,000plus for a machine.

To anybody who is considering a FL washer - don't do it!!

    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 12:59PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Steve, I am sorry to hear you have had such problems with you washer. Clearly you have had a trouble prone unit. I have had the exact opposite experience of you.

I purchased my HE3t washer in June 2003, and have not had any problems with it. The washer is completely odor free and squeaky clean inside.

I couldn't be more pleased with this washer, and would buy it again in a heartbeat. It does an incredible job cleaning, and there has yet to be a stain it could not get out. I love how brilliantly white the whites come out, and how much longer clothing looks new compared to my old top load agitator washer. Plus I use less detergent, bleach, and fabric softener, and save drying time thanks to the high speed spin.

Because this washer model line was so new when I bought it, I did buy the extended warranty from Sears. When the service tech came out to clean the dryer last year, I asked him if he has seen many problems with the washer. He said the main problem was from a torn boot due to sharp objects hidden in pockets, or occasionally something in the drain trap stopping the machine from draining properly. He also mentioned that some people have a problem with odors if they wash only in cold and use a lot of fabric softener. I know a lot of people with such a problem will dispute the cause, but I was just asking about his experience.

After being a member of the laundry forum for many years, I have learned that mold and odors are something that can happen to any FL washer, and with the possible exception of the Maytag Neptune, washing habits and conditions seem to make a bigger difference than washer brand.

The newer models have a clean washer cycle, but even without such a cycle, my washer is spotless inside. By shinning a light though the outer drum and looking though the holes in the basket, one can check out the condition of the inside of the outer drum. I do use bleach and hot wash cycles regularly, and leave the door ajar after using it to let it air out, so that probably helps.

Switching to a FL washer from a TL washer took some adjustments in washing habits, but I have been very happy with the switch, and would be very sad if I had to go back to a traditional top load washer.


    Bookmark   March 8, 2008 at 10:44PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We got a HE3t washer at a Sears outlet a few years ago and love it! It cleans tremendously and it holds an amazing amount of clothes.

We did have a problem with a moldy smell that was totally solved by leaving the door slightly open when it's not in use.


    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 10:51AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I think FL's are more prone to mold because they need to be sealed tighter since the door is on the front. Top loaders just had a door close over the tub and it didn't need to be sealed as tight.

I haven't had a problem with mold in my FL, since I left the door open when not in use from day 1. I think that's the trick- always leave the door open from day 1 when the washer isn't in use and mold won't have an environment to grow in.

My old top loader did eventually get moldy, but it was really old! I believe it was partially from leaving laundry in the washer too long (like over night- lots of times!)

I love my FL washer, because it really saves time in the dryer. The spin cycle is great and my clothes dry in half the time of my old washer.

Just remember the FL's have a water tight seal for a door, not just a flap, so it has to be treated differently. Get the washer completely cleaned out of mold (if possible) and then start leaving the door open.

    Bookmark   March 11, 2008 at 12:37PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I agree about TL's. They don't have a "tight" seal by any stretch. Plus it's easy to keep the lid of a TL up to air out.

We did have a problem with mildew in my FL...we live in a warm, humid climate and while AC is great it doesn't pull ALL of the moisture out of the air. Someone on this forum suggested the super hot wash with an old white towel and some Cascade Complete (I used the Walmart version with enzymes) and presto - problem gone. I also stopped using liquid fabric softener. I think that exacerbates the problem, esp if you live in a humid climate.

Running one very hot load/year with some old towels and DW detergent to keep things clean is just not a big deal in my book. People need to understand that FL's are different from TL's. They do have very tight seals, and there's no place for any residual moisture to go if you shut the door completely after removing clothes. And unless you have sunlight shining right into the barrel, it's the perfect environment for mold/mildew to start growing.

So it's a trade-off: Use less water and less energy with a FL and do a little yearly maintenance. Or use alot of water and more energy to dry those clothes and no maintenance.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2008 at 12:34AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Follow-up from my last posting on March 8th. Yesterday my washing machine locked up on me and is showing a door lock failure, which is the same part I had replaced 2 months ago. I can't even open the door to retrieve the clothes that are in the machine 1/2 way through a wash cycle. I have scheduled a service call for 6 days from now. 7th service call in 3 years.

On the positive side 2 cups of Oxiclean thrown into the main drum and run on Sanitary stopped the smell for 4 whole weeks. It started to smell again and the same treatment worked.

If you are thinking about buying a front load machine - do yourself a favor save your money, beat your laundry on a rock down by the river and you will get better results.

Rumor has it if I get 3 parts replaced in one year I qualify for Sears' lemon law and I get the machine replaced. I will keep you posted.

    Bookmark   March 27, 2008 at 10:45PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Yes good heavens don't use mostly cold water in these FL units. The problem is there are a few area that can trap moisture in these units. The drain trap is one and the slide soap unit another (i have a he3t). I was told NOT to use bleach on the boot period as it will ruin it. have to leave it open. The unit does not get all the soap out of a normal cycle and extra rinse cycle works better but there is still soap residue after that.. don't believe me put the waste water pipe in tub and look for yourself, even after an additional rinse. This adds more water and more power to the energy baseline. I was told the same to use the affresh.. to clean er up. The older FL units.. older i mean 3 or 4 years old.. he3t's etc only have four shocks so you better have it on concrete or raised with tile and no vinyl or it vibrates. The new stuff has 6 to 8 shocks i was told ie. samsung etc.

I think a campaign would be in order, and will probably happen with it starts to hurt sales and they get high returns, kinda like the HDTV initially they would sell you a set and send you out the door, after they finally were getting alot of returns with "this looks like crap" we started seeing the "HDTV experience deals" ... salesperson.
Now you do understand you have to have a HD signal to get a great picture..

anyhow, if they would lay down the maintenance on these before you purchase everyone would be miles ahead.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 1:43AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

We recently bought a new Bosch FL and had to call the factory repairman out. When he noticed we were using liquid detergent he advised us to discontinue using it. He said that the new liquid detergents have a wax base that builds up on the inside of the outer drum. He said that 85 percent of the new machines that are sold in the US have a plastic outer drum and the wax tends to stick to it. With powdered detergents this does not happen. The build up of the wax from the liquid detergents produces a smell in the FL loaders. Affresh will help eliminate the smell, but continued use of liquid detergent will produce wax build up and bring back the smell. You can also use a cup of distilled vinegar or lemon juice in an empty machine and then run the machine again (empty) to clear the machine out in place of Affresh.

    Bookmark   April 1, 2008 at 12:11PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Please allow me to post my opinion and experience on this stinky issue.

I am the owner of a HE3T washer, and I am really unhappy with it, mainly because of the smelly and moldy issue, that crept up on us unexpectedly.

My wife and I have 4 kids, so doing laundry is a daily affair, and not to be underestimated or procrastinated either...

I am on the verge of throwing that ugly beast out of the laundry room for good.
It is unbearably revolting to pick up an (alleged) clean towel to dry one's face just out of the shower, and "smear" moldy smell all over you.
The vomit factor is very high on this one.... :-(

However, I want to highlight a point, and that this issue is NOT an issue with ALL the FL (front loader) washing machines in general.
Maybe just US made ones...

Overseas, ( Italy ) where I grew up, FL are 99.999999% of laundry machines available on the market and this issue is completely unknown.
To put it simply, I am now 45 years of age, I have lived in Italy 28 of those years, and I have never, ever, seen or heard of moldy smell on clean laundry out of the washer. Never. If you knew my mother (she redefines the word "neat freak") you would understand.

Just the hint of a remote possibility of having mold in the washer and/or laundry, would bring that washer in the front yard in flames...

Seriously, I believe US manufacturers have gone wrong somewhere in the making of this machines. They either cut one too may corners ( quality of rubber, maybe ?) or are attempting to reduce the amount of water in the cycle at the point where the quality of the rinse cycle is not an issue with them, and us as consumers are not part of the equation.

I just came back from a one year of living in Italy with wife and kids, and the FIRST thing we notice, ever single time we go over there, is how much fresher and overall incredibly better smell of "clean laundry" they have from their washers. I know, we are weird... and on the contrary, as soon as we are back to the US, and to our $#@! HE3T, we pick up the moldy smell again.

The customer/user/consumer SHOULD NOT have to do any gimmicks or use any "special" tablets, in order to operate these washers, or any washer, for that matter, NOT A SINGLE ONE.
This washers are NOT cheap and they should just... well, work.

Living in Italy for the last 12 months, we used two washers, one that came with the apartment we rented, and besides a slower spin cycle, it worked as expected (put dirty clothes in, put detergent, push the button, wait, get wet CLEAN laundry out, END OF THE story.

Then the landlord needed his washer back, and for a "rent discount" he took that one back, and I got my old 12 years old Miele washer out of storage.
This Miele has a somewhat smaller load capacity than most, and it worked for a family of 6 for a long time.
Same for my mother's Candy ( Italian brand), and my sister's old Italian washer (San Giorgio).
That one lasted 16 years of day in and day out operation for a family of six.

It is just so frustrating, since I know that as a concept, FL do work very well, I have seen it work for decades... and one more time, we should NOT need to use "tablets" or do complicated procedures to have clean and good smelling laundry.

As I said before, millions of people overseas use FL day in and day out, without doing anything else other than 1) put dirty laundry in 2) select cycle 3) put detergent in 4) push button 5( get clean clothes out. End of the story. Kenmore, Sears, whatever, get your acts together !!

    Bookmark   June 30, 2008 at 2:08PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Hi italianguy,
maybe you forgot the fact that European FLs generally have much more powerful heaters than most US models and reach temperatures of up to 203 degrees. Of course, that helps eliminating mold and buildup problems.

Besides the temperature, I think the kind and amount of detergents used are another main factor in the mold development.
We have had our Bosch Nexxt washer for about 9 months now and don't have any problems with musty odors. Our laundry smells just as clean and fresh as the laundry we did back in Germany where I grew up. We used to have a cheap Hotpoint TL that was not able to remove musty and foul odors from towels and dish rags. I definitely understand the "vomit factor" of that problem.

Using small amounts of powdered detergents seems to work best. I have tried Tide HE and did not like it. It doesn't rinse well and creates lots of suds when slightly overdosed (at about a quarter of the recommended amount).

BTW, the HE3t is made in Germany, so I highly doubt that the materials used are much different from other washers made by Whirlpool/Bauknecht there.

    Bookmark   July 1, 2008 at 1:42AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I have a musty odor and 6 months ago I cleaned the filter behind the bottom panel as bigchiefm1 suggested. Make sure you have towels on hand to soak up the water that comes out of the filter. You don't want that on the floor of your machine. It worked then and I just did it again and the smell is gone. I also read that using powders eliminates the problem. It seems liquids can build up the residue that causes the problem. My filter had nothing in it but very smelly water and some yellow residue in one small area. I cleaned the whole thing with bleach and also cleaned the inside of the cylinder. Since I had nothing caught in there, it's very possible it's a buildup from the liquid detergent and fabric softener that I use. When I am finished with both, I am going to start using the powder and dryer sheets instead. It would be interesting if this really does eliminate the problem altogether. If I don't get the problem again after 6 months I will give a follow up post. Thanks to all who post here to help with our problems. Thanks also to bigchiefm1.

    Bookmark   April 18, 2010 at 3:50PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

For 5 yrs, I've done extensive 'maintenance' on my Maytag Neptune and it STILL smells of mold. 2 yrs ago, Maytag told me to use AFFRESH. IT DOES NOT WORK.

Can ANYONE give me a good recommendation on a good washing machine that does not have this mold smell and washes the laundry good without having the mold smell in the laundry?

PLEASE advise as I have put up with this mold smell for 5 yrs and it's caused all kinds of health problems.


    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 10:49AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

I too have an HE3T washer since 2001. I never had any mold/smell issues with mine. I do not leave the door open or wiped it out when I am done. I do use hot and sanitary wash a lot. I even took a permanent marker and marked on the soap dispenser how much detergent to use, as I am not the only one who does laundry in the house. I live in the mid atlantic states so it is humid here, and the washer is in a climate controlled room. From what I have read and this is my opinion, the smells come from overdosing detergent, FS, and not using enough warm and hot washes.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 11:56AM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Here's what I don't understand. I'm not sure if this is the case with the HE3t, but with my Duet (which does NOT have a clean washer cycle), mine was made before that; the detergent dispenser LOCKS shut when the cycle is activated, so how in the world would anyone add more water? I would think if you did it BEFORE starting the machine it would sense it and not add anymore, I dunno.

Here is what I do.........It's pretty cool actually but it works.....Turn machine on, select delicate cycle with warm water (that's as hot as the delicate cycle will allow you to get)....Let it fill up ALL the way until it has stopped filling (it will pause fill several times) once filled........Then PAUSE the machine (wait for the click of the door unlocking) .....Then.....Turn the dial to drain/spin......then select the "NO SPIN' option......Then hit extra rinse "three or four times" then you will see a C:00 (you will hear the machine making a noise briefly, I think it's the dispenser module)and the washer will add more water and the heater is activated and the tub will run constantly for an hour I think. I know the heater is activated because I can feel the outside of the machine getting HOT like the dryer is on............The only problem with doing this.....There is no rinse.......So once the drain spin from the first go around...You need to do it all over again to rinse (if you use some sort of strong chemical)......Honestly, when I do this I use either citric acid powder or white vinegar but my machine doesn't have a must smell. If yours does, I would use bleach.......

When cleaning the rubber seal......Get a clean washing rag.....put the rag in a bowl of water.....Put it in the microwave until its very HOT......Get some rubber gloves......take the bowl with rag to the washer and clean the seal..........Since that water is extremely hot it helps.........I don't have to do this very often at all.

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 4:52PM
Thank you for reporting this comment. Undo

Wow Mark, my dispensor door does not lock when the machine is on. Since I do not have a "clean" or "blky cycle" on mine, I have cheated and added water to the washer with a garden hose as it fills. The heater compensates for this and heats the water to the set temperature. I am currently having some small issues with my machine as it is over 9 years old. It doesnt like a full load of towels, and sometimes when it starts a cycle, the water doesnt spray into the right compartment. If I watch it, I can fix it. Im having a really hard time with the thought of replacing it, or fixing it myself. ID I pay someone to fix it, I might as well get a new one. An electrolux with the reversing door would be my best bet, but Im having a hard time with the price of them, so I am looking seriously at the LG HE toploader, at half the price. Time will tell, as my washer has never let me down in its cleaning performance, and 9 years later it still amazes me at what it can do. The new ones have shorten cycles, even the stain treat is shortened considerably. Mine adds 50 extra minutes to a wash, and it is well worth it. When I bought the thing, I knew The wash cycles were longer. I did my honework, and the results beat any top loader hands down in my opinion. I use the delayed timer, if I need something down now. I work a lot of overtime now, so I set it up to be done when I get home from work and pop it in the dryer while I have my coffee in the am, as I work night shift. All is clean and smelling fresh. Here lately, Ive done my friends matress pads for them as they will not fit in there toploader (Super capacity) maytag and they came out like new which shocked them. King size might I add and my washer is a 3.7 cu ft machine. I will be really sad to see it go if it comes to that, it has been faithful and great to me

    Bookmark   September 19, 2010 at 6:07PM
Sign Up to comment
More Discussions
Official Cheer HE Powder...Finally
I was so happy to find that P&G now offers Cheer...
Favorite detergents again, please.
What are your favorite detergents (specify liquid or...
Need help! Research New Washer, Bravos is totally trashed.
So confused, so many conflicting opinions. It truly...
How to access Program Mode in Miele W3038
After almost four years without a washer yesterday...
which compact washer/dryer?
I really wanted the Miele touchtronic washer/dryer...
Sponsored Products
Gold Leaf Serving Bowl - Medium
$79.50 | FRONTGATE
Safavieh Lyndhurst Collection Traditional Black/ Ivory Runner (2' 3 x 22')
Filament Design Wall Mounted Providence Wall-Mount 3-Light Outdoor Charcoal
Home Depot
Block Squares Flatweave Runner 2'3" x 8' - BARK
$169.00 | Horchow
42" Aluminum Finish Ball Hugger with Light Ceiling Fan
Euro Style Lighting
Mamagreen | Oko Lounge Combination 3, Steel
People viewed this after searching for:
© 2015 Houzz Inc. Houzz® The new way to design your home™