Front Loaders odor - possible fix !!

thewineheadNovember 5, 2007

OK I just joined the forum to post this message because I feel it's important enough for all to know and research.

I have been researching front loaders because I need to upgrade. I currently have the frigidaire models and they have been just fine. I need bigger ones though because my household is going from 3 to 5. I am down to the Bosch or the Samsung (like the silver, don't like the runors about service...).

Anyway I keep seeing threads about the odor problem. Mostly related to the LG's but also the Duet's. One of you posted an article about a product called Affresh (see link below).

It appears to be an oxygenating cleaner like OxyClean. I have always used liquid detergent because I got burned once by powdered detergent that didn't dissolve correctly and caused discolored spots on my clothes. I hate powder and will never go back. OK back to the subject...

I have been using OxyClean in my front loader ever since I bought it. I got a tub of the powder at Costco (I know! don't go there... LOL) I put a couple tsp in each load as a cheap bleach alternative and sanitizer (my boy is adept at staining his shirts I swear!). I have never once had any musty or moldy odors!. I shut the washer door all the time. I never leave it open to air out. I'll leave it that way for a week and wash the next weekend and no odor - period. I've been using my washer this way for a year and a half. I wonder if it's the oxyclean, or the combination of liquid detergent and oxyclean that I use that eliminates this problem for me. So anyone that reads this posting, that is having this problem, see if OxyClean fixes your issues.

Here is a link that might be useful: Affresh

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Hi WH,

Good suggestion. I recently bought some OC to try.

I've not had a problem with mold/odor with my FL washer because I leave the door slightly open after each use. This allows the water to evaporate.

No moisture = no mold

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 8:03AM
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I have the bosch 500 set, no odors... alway run the sanitary load last, leave the door open a bit and also open the detergent door when done... figure this "airs" and cleans everything out!

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 9:56AM
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I have read many accounts of people who leave the door open, and run cycles with bleach only etc.. and for some of them it makes no difference. I suspect this issue is soap scum that coates the hoses and housings in the washer and provides a home for the baddies. There is always going to be water in the lower most hoses and housings in the washer and it won't evaporate because it's contained in hoses and such.

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 2:50PM
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You are exactly right! Detergent / fabric softener residueÂs build up in machinesÂand yes.. water doesnÂt drain 100% out of hoses. I have a Duet FL and I starting experiencing a sour smell after time Â. ItÂs a long story to post againÂbut I switched to natural laundry soap, and leave the door open a little and I never had a problem again. Detergents do build up and leave chemical residuesÂ.this makes our clothes and machine smell sour. I know everyone isnÂt to natural cleaning/laundry but it helps 100%..even if you left your clothes in the machine over night.. they donÂt smell.. itÂs amazing what I have learned. For those who like using their regular detergents.. in the past what I found that worked was : One cup of bleach run on a hot water empty cycleÂafter cycle is finish, repeat with one cup of vinegar. This is a quick fix, cleans out machine and hose linesÂbut after a while, it does come back.. Ree

    Bookmark   November 6, 2007 at 4:54PM
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I am having mold/mildew/odor problems with my FL whirlpool duet! I have followed mfg instructions...clean regularly, use bleach, only use HE detergent (Tide liquid), never used fabric softners, leave door open and I still have issues. My machine is 3 years old..and is now creating health issues for my family as we are all being treated for mold allergies. When I called Whirlpool with my concerns they emailed me updated cleaning instructions to remove/prevent odors and sent me a complimentary package of the AFFRESH product. The product directions indicate to use 1 tablet per month in a HOT WATER/NORMAL CYCLE; if your machine has significant build up it recommends using all 3 tablets at once. I did this with no significant results. In addition I ran 2 HOT water/BLEACH cycles with no success. The mold/mildew still remain and the odor returned within 24 hours.
Whirlpool states that the more frequently you machine is used, the more maintenance that will be required. I do about 3-4 loads of laundry/day. They recommend that run a bleach cycle at the end of every day and dry all components of the washer at the end of every day. I do not have to do this for my dishwasher. It's like telling someone that they have to wash/dry their car every day before driving it the next. I am a very meticulous house cleaner and feel that these daily maintence routines are absurd for a "high" performance machine that is costly.

I am still attempting to get this issue resovlved through Whirlpool. In the interim I have logged complaints with the Consumer Product Safety Commmission (; the state attorney generals office and am seeking legal advice. I encourage others to do the same. Whirlpool knows that these issues are serious and yet do not seem to be proactive in protecting the safety of their consumers.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 8:52AM
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Try the cascade trick, but use the sanitary setting. Cascade is basically powdered bleach. If you have hard water in your area, it might be that you have calcium deposits inside the washer that are providing a home for growth of mold/bacteria. Vinegar will help, but you need something like CLR or lime away to really dissolve it. I also read in another thread by sparky823 that LG is now recommending people use a product called Whirl Out (which is for spas and I bet is super strength chlorine so watch out for the vapor...) to clear out all the bad stuff. If it were me, I would pull the panels off the washer and take a few hoses off and look at whats inside so see what I had to do. But thats me...I'm kinda handy like that...

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 7:47PM
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You probably read my earlier post..but this is what I have experienced...

I have a whirlpool duet washer and dryer, yes. .costly Machines. No one needs to have these mold and mildew problems along with health issues that go with it. They should take responsibility for their products. I have experienced the same problem, I had my machines about 3 ½- 4 years now. A few months back, everything smelled.. I was going crazy, washing, re washing I did the bleach and vinegar rinses .. I found it was a temporary fix. I was going crazy as I am a very meticulous person also, especially when it comes to the health of my family which includes two young children who happens to be allergic to mold and mildew. I wasnÂt smart enough to call and complain..

Then I started reading about residues left behind from detergents.. thatÂs actually when I started bleach and vinegar rinses trying to remove it. Long storyÂI decided to go natural in my laundry as I do with cleaning. .I bought a product called Laundry Pure. (It is a machine that hooks up to your washer, eliminates detergent, softener and bleach, puts sanitized water in you machine to wash the clothes chemical free) The rep told me to run the machine (Duet) empty about 3xÂs before I put a load inÂSo the first time I ran it, a dark blue liquid was going through the Laundry Pure machine. .I had no idea what it was or if it was normal. .so I called to ask.. I talked to tech support and the first thing he asked was if I used Tide.. and I did (HE) ..he then told me that was all the detergent residue coming out of the machine, to now run it empty about 5xÂs to get it all out.. I was sick! The Laundry Pure didnÂt work out after 6 weeks of use (long story) so I sent it back.. ever since , I have been using a true all natural laundry soap and never had the sour smell again. I think the Duet holds detergents and doesnÂt get out of the machine.. thatÂs why they build up and I guess I am on the right tract since they are recommending AFFRESH to clean it all out. ItÂs been months since I used regular detergent and I have to say what a huge difference it has made, not only in the machine, but in the clothes we wear.. Just as the chemicals build up in the machine. .it also does that to our clothes. .not healthy!

For your own piece of mind, switch to a all natural detergent, once all the chemicals are out of your clothes and machine, I am sure you will not experience any more moldy smelling clothes I hope this was some help, I wanted to share this with you because it really worked for me. Ree

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 8:19PM
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Go to Tide's website and read how many people there are complaining about smells and Tide. I think your problem is the liquid Tide. Also if you will use Borax in all your loads you will see that it will stop/help the smell and it won;t be back. I use it all time because I read that it will kill mold and has disinfecting effects.

If you get any of the Whirl-Out use 4 tablespoons in a hot wash. A guy that services LG said they used that at a training session and showed the before and after machine there and he said it cleaned out all the scum. You can get this at Home Depot and maybe Lowes.

I would also go to powdered detergent.

    Bookmark   November 7, 2007 at 8:56PM
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Researching FL washers. Have never had one before. We are installing on a second floor closet arrangement and need ot know how much clearance i need for leaving the washer door open to avoid the infamous mildew odors i hear about.
When looking at the doors of the washer at the store, i notice the inside glass of the doors is like a big bubble that protrudes into the washer and it seems the flow of air would have a hard time airing out the rubber gasket in the door as well as the washer this way. My question, finally... will it be sufficient to leave the door open just a crack(1 inch or so) or will it need to be open 5, 7?, 10? inches or more to prevent the mildew from starting?
Leaving it open too much will make it impossible to close the closet door, and it will block the hallway. I'll need to come up with a different laundry closet plan if too much of an opening is needed. I do understand there is more to it, such as the detergent, bleach, wiping out excess water etc.. but the plan of the closet is flexible at this point.
Thanks in advance for the help

    Bookmark   March 21, 2010 at 10:07PM
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Leaving it open an inch or so may work, but on some brands, it will want to close.

The farther open, the better, but it only needs to stay open a few hours after each wash load...

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 9:21AM
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I dont personally think that the manufacture of responsible for the mold/smell build up in a machine. You may hear a lot of Duet/kenmore owners complain about smell, but keep in mind, whirlpool was one of the first companies to sell them here in the USA, and they have the highest sales, so more people have them then any other manufactures product. I have a Kenmore elite that is 9 yrs old. I never had any issues, with mold, and bad smells. I do not wipe my seal dry after using it, much less leave the door open after I am finished. I have always used liquid detergent, Tide being the main one. I do not use clorine blean, oxyclean, or a bleach alernative. I do however wash in warm or hot water mainly and use my sanitary cycle quiet a lot. If you use too much detergent and fabric softener, yes you can get a buildup. Just like too little detergent will leave body oils, and soil behind, not only in your clothes, but washer as well. There are many owners manuals that I have read that clearly state, if you are mainly a cold wash person, use a hot or warm wash ever 5-6 loads. From pictures I have seen on this site, the mold is black, not green. Clorine Bleach does not kill black mold. I know this because I take care of swimming pools in the summer and if a pool has black mold in it, you have to treat it with a special algacide and scrub the pool. It usually grows in shady areas. After talking to several service techs, who do not work directly for the manufacture of the machines they service all say the same thing...Smelly moldy washers are due to the owners fault. I live in a humid state which should add to a mold problem, but I dont have it. I have heard that the use of powdered detergents helps to prevent and reduce this nasty build up that occurs in machines. All washer types can get it, not just FL, or He TL's. The older ones that had agatators do to. I recently took apart a friends Kenmore TL to replace the pump. The machine is 15yrs old, once the cabinet was removed, you could see the soap, black mold buld up on the outer plastic drum at the top of the highes water level line. The reason it doesnt smell is because I toploader is not air tight like a front loader. My friend was shocked when he seen this. Since then I have clean 3 other TL..all have that gummy moldy mess in them.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 10:29AM
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Hi Dee Dee,


- stay away from any frontloader without internal heater

- once a week run a hot (140°F at least) cycle. Use it e.g. for your white towels so you won't need those nonsense cleantub cycles. Also use oxy bleach if you use liquid detergent

That's enough to prevent mold. Both my washers have a deep intruding glass door. I leave them open just a crack and neve wipe the gaskets. Never had mold issues ( my older machine is 26 y.o.)

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 10:34AM
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Yep. HOT water and proper rinse does the trick.
Every washer has little water left in the bottom but if the water has residue left in, it will grow mold that will spread inside and smell.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 11:16PM
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Different uses for sodium percarbonate. One of the uses shown on the last page is mildew removal. I read somewhere that percarbonate has a mild disinfecting action -- in the wash it releases hydrogen peroxide and sodium carbonate. Sodium carbonate is simply washing soda. Using sodium percarbonate in the wash, due to its release of sodium carbonate, can offset some of your detergent use.

Always buy 100% pure sodium percarbonate, not that OxyClean crap that is 50% filler material. Get percarb at The Chemistry Store or under the Ecover brand (check I believe the use of percarb in the washing machine on a regular basis can only aid in keeping the machine fresh and free of molds.

    Bookmark   March 24, 2010 at 11:46PM
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