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smelly towels

Posted by jaybird (My Page) on
Tue, Apr 21, 09 at 13:58

We have a nearly new Sears top load washing machine. For the last several months, we have had a problem with newly washed towels smelling like a wet dog as soon as water hits them.
I am :
washing the towels after the first use
using Tide or Gain liquid in smaller amounts than
what is listed on the jug
rinsing with vingar
using no fabric softener
Can you give me any ideas...this is an embarrassing problem since we often have company :^(
Most sincere thanks for any assistance.
J


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: smelly towels

Do a search on this forum for "smelly clothes" and you'll find several threads discussing this problem. Here's a response I wrote a year or so ago on one of those threads . . .

I read all over the internet a year or so ago, trying to help my daughter solve her smelly towels problem. She made a few changes and no longer has the problem. She does at least one load a day, often more, so any water residue isn't sitting there for days on end. She'd tried hot-water-with-Clorox and no clothes, she made sure the seal was clean, and a number of other things.

The change that seemed to solve the problem was switching to Charlie's Soap. She'd been using regular detergent, just smaller amounts. Since switching, her towels are fine . . . it took a few washings, but that did the trick. I suspect that some of the ingredients in regular detergents just don't rinse out.

I went from a top loader to a front loader about 5 months ago. I started out with Charlie's and have never used anything else. I use the recommended amount of CS, plus about 1 oz. of fabric softener and as much white vinegar with it as will fit in the dispenser. No smelly towels, ever.

I do all my laundry in a day and then leave the washing machine door open till it's all dried out. I also make sure the detergent drawer is dried.

If you do a search on "smelly clothes" or variations, you'll find lots of recommendations for Charlie's. I'm sold on it . . . wish I owned stock!

Good luck!!

Arlene


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RE: smelly towels

Is your washing machine an HE toploader? They use far less water than conventional toploaders. I have a Maytag Bravos HE TL but have not had this problem.I have read that powdered (instead of liquid) detergent makes a difference. Baking soda or borax can also help prevent or kill odors.

To get rid of odor, you might also consider hanging them out to dry, then putting them in the dryer for about 5-10 minutes afterward to fluff them so they'll be soft.

I do not use fabric softener because it reduces the absorbency of towels, but I do use vinegar in the final rinse. I usually use Sears OxiClean HE powdered detergent to wash towels, and I've had no problem with odor. I also use Clorox if the towels are white, and I wash them in hot water. HTH


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Meant to add...

If your washer is not an HE TL, I highly recommend using Tide w/Bleach powdered detergent. That was all I used on white towels and clothes before I got my HE washer. I really wish it came in an HE formula.


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RE: smelly towels

I would suggest switching to powder detergent, and then starting with no more than 1/2 of the suggested amount of detergent and NO fabric softner, washing on the highest temperature the towels can take, with an extra rinse option if you have that. It sounds like you have liquid detergent buildup, which smells.

IF you have a HE machine, make sure you have HE detergent.

I personally use Charlie's Soap and find it works great for me in my machine, with my water chemistry. ymmv


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RE: smelly towels

Thank you so much for your suggestions. I have used Charlie's soap in the past, but it didn't solve our problem. I think I will try the borax/washing soda idea. My machine is just an ordinary Kenmore...no HE anything that I know of :^)
Again my thanks for your time.
J


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RE: smelly towels

Have you tried clorox bleach? Even if your towels are colored, you often can use it without effecting the color. Try using 1/4 the recommended amount, and be sure to dilute it properly or use your dispenser if your washer has it.

Joe


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RE: smelly towels

I would bet it is liquid detergent build-up. That is what was causing my smelly towels and after I switched to a powdered detergent and several washings with it, my towels no longer stink and are clean, soft and fresh.

Janet


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RE: smelly towels

I visited the link you provided, but did not see anything there to reference Tide and/or anything about liquid detergent build-up or lack there of.

If you have followed this forum for any length of time, you should have read the numerous threads about smelly towels and more often than not the person was using a liquid detergent and the most notable one was liquid Tide, the very one I used myself when I had the smelly towels and clothes problem.

True, it's also caused by over dosing with the detergent as well, but I have read that there is some sort of fat or oil in liquids that make it hard to rinse and thus leaving a residue on clothing and especially towels, since they are thicker and require a more thorough rinsing.

I'm glad you are having success with liquid Tide, but I have found that by switching to a powdered detergent my towels and clothes feel and smell so much cleaner than ever before.

Janet


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RE: smelly towels

I had a similar problem when Tide changed their formula about 2 years ago when I had a traditional TL. I switched to Charlie's Soap and a few washes later, my towels and washcloths weren't smelly anymore.

After I bought my new FL, I continue using Charlie's Soap with great success.


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RE: smelly towels

I had the "smelly towel" problem for awhile until I started washing them in hot water. I had tried different detergents but it didn't seem to matter. The rest of my laundry was fine, just the towels. I think it was a combination of soap residue and not hot enough water.


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RE: smelly towels

I have a Bosch set. I was having some issues with smells with towels/ clothes if they got left even for a little while. I switched to Method (clean water scent, i think- blue bottle) detergent and use a really small amount of borax (like 1/8 or 1/4 of a cup) for the towels or soiled items, it works great! The HE detergent is really expensive but this Method stuff lasts almost a year. I wash a fair amount of laundry but you only use a tsp or two at most. The combo of that and borax did it.
I also use Oxi-clean or similar for whites since I cannot use Chlorine bleach (i can only use non chlorine with the Bosch) But that Method stuff is the best detergent I've used. I was really surprised how much of a difference it made and using so little makes it easier to swallow the cost of a tiny bottle. I've had the same bottle since last year and it's still 1/3 full.
The borax with it makes the problem disappear. Worth a try, i think.


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even with cold water

Oh, i can even use cold water with it, it does fine, which is nice. I never use the superheat function on my machine, i don't have to. It gets so much cleaner with the method stuff. I've used it with a regular top loading Maytag too, it worked well even with the suoersized tub. I was shocked how much I liked it because my fiance swore by the stuff, but I was offended by the price. it is worth it though, if you have any issues with smell/cleaning properly.


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RE: smelly towels

I started to have smelly towels (and skin breakouts) after an SA8 formula change a year or so ago, and switched to Charlie's. That, plus the total removal of the last remaining fabric softeners from the house got rid of both problems in a hurry.

funkyamazon,

Why can't you use bleach in your Bosch? I have a Nexxt 500 and the manual says LCB is fine.


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RE: smelly towels

My manual is explicit about no chlorine bleach. I didn't want to chance it. I found I didn't really need it. I just found other methods- like using Oxi bleaches or Non chlorine bleach (basically peroxide) Or soaking in the bathtub or a sink, if necessary.

I think it degrades the rubber. I have the Axxis ventless model, not sure if they have changed their mind but I didn't think it was worth risking my pricey machine for a bit of bleach. I don't think the Oxi stuff works any less than the evil Chlorine stuff anyway. It's bad for the environment, your skin and seems hard on the clothes anyway.

I personally hate fabric softener, i grew up using vinegar for hard water and sensitive skin. My mom still uses it instead, even though all us kids are grown up now! We are fair skinned and I'm a red head so i know about the skin stuff!! No breakouts here!


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Charlie's

mysteryclock

you really like the Charlie's? I was curious about it. I'm wary of any soap. And it's compatible with the HE machines> Even better.


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Charlie's, bleach, etc.

Yes, I really like Charlie's, so much so that I bought the big 5-gallon bucket! I have psoriasis and occasional flare-ups of eczema, and I've only had one problem in the past year which is way better than the years prior. And both my boys' skin has been less itchy since we switched as well. I add a bit of STPP to my greasy kitchen towels to boost the washing power in our super-hard water (we're trying to rid ourselves of paper towels, so they get extra dirty), and use vinegar in the FS dispenser. About the only things I ever have to pretreat are oil stains on cotton or ground-in concentrated tomato stains (sauce, ketchup), both with a bit of blue Dawn.

I think they sell the small 2 1/2 lb bags at Whole Foods around here, so next time you're out give it a whirl. It is, of course, technically a "detergent" and not a "soap" but after years the name just stuck.

WRT LCB, I use it very rarely and only on all-white items, of course. It is hard on fabrics so it has to be something that just won't come out otherwise. I'm tempted to get some Lestoil to see if that might work better, but since it contains Stoddard Solvent (yikes!) I'm not sure it would be much more friendly to the environment, eh?

Oddly, my Bosch manual explicitly mentions chlorine bleach as OK and I have both a liquid bleach dispenser compartment and a "Bleach" cycle button on the front. Must be that "German engineered for the North American market" design coming through vs. the more euro-centric design of the Axxis. Very odd.

Here is a link that might be useful: Charlie's Soap


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RE: smelly towels

Chlorine bleach kills bacteria which other additives don't, so I don't think of it as 'evil'. I use it sparingly, but I do use it. I've seen medical bulletins which say E-coli is not killed in laundry without very hot water and/or chlorine bleach.


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RE: smelly towels

mara_2008,

You could also use Lysol concentrate - NOT the all-purpose cleaner, just the disinfectant - to kill off the nasty germs. Many people seem to think that just the mechanical action of washing in detergent + warm/hot water and heated drying is enough. But if I had someone really sick in the house with something I'd wear a mask or gloves for, then I'd probably go for the Lysol if I was washing something of theirs that couldn't be bleached.


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RE: smelly towels

Mara

While everyone has a different idea about germs and what is necessary in terms of anti-bacterial or anti-microbial products, I personally think Americans in general are a bit germ phobic.

i included a link to an interesting book section on microbiology- esp. page 139- it talks about disinfectants and anti-microbial products and how they can be bad for developing a strong immune system. It stands to reason that a normal, healthy, non immune system compromised person may not need some of these overly sanitary conditions. This is my personal opinion and that of a few good doctors I know. I do think knowledge is power, and everyone can come to their own conclusions but I grew up using slightly harsher chemicals than I use now and I'm quite healthy. I've been using very mild (like vinegar) cleaning supplies for more than 10 years and I almost never use the anti-bacterial soaps. I rarely get sick and I think it's attributed to my strong immune system rather than a bar of dial soap.

mysteryclock

i agree completely. If you have someone with mono in the house (i had that happen) then I use more strict guidelines. The hospital just told me to wash in very hot water, no other restrictions. And mono is a very nasty, very contagious virus. If hot water works on mono, other more fragile bacterias and viruses will likely not survive it either.

Here is a link that might be useful: Burton's microbiology book


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RE: smelly towels

funkyamazon, I have a dear friend in the Chicago area who has had two harrowing experiences with MRSA. Both times, different doctors told her to use Clorox to kill bacteria. I have also read medical bulletins - some from USA docs, some from European docs - which stressed the importance of hot water and LCB in killing E-Coli, particularly on underwear.

mysteryclock, Lysol concentrate (in the brown bottle as you said, not the all-purpose cleaner) is also a great suggestion, particularly if the fabric will not tolerate LCB.


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RE: smelly towels

Mara

Yeah staph is definitely a difficult one. I was just going on general viral/bacterial stuff, more day to day. Even with the serious case of Mono, when they released him from the hospital after 4 or 5 days, I was quite concerned with killing the virus. They just recommended very hot water, saying bleach wasn't totally necessary. I guess for extreme circumstances, yes some stronger measures are needed. But for day to day general cleaning, most of the time hot water and detergent will kill most things. E-coli, well, i guess everyone should just do what they need to feel safe. I believe many cases of E-coli are contracted by handling food/eating contaminated food, but I don't know the stats on that. Generally we are very safe here in the US, our water is clean, sanitation is among the best in the world and the few cases of these food borne illnesses that turn out very badly frequently originate in places like Mexico where the water is not clean, etc. Here in California much produce travels from Mexico since it's so close. I just watch what I get and eat mostly organic, so standards are pretty high.

I guess I'm saying we are lucky here in the US. I've traveled very extensively and the worst conditions in places like Cambodia and other parts of Southeast Asia are mostly due to water contamination. I got pretty sick in Cambodia and even the US doctors couldn't figure out what the bug was when I got back. I am healthy, so I recovered just fine, but there was suspicion that it was E-coli that made me sick. It was either a meal or the of bottle water that came with it that did it. I'd be interested to see stats on who gets ill from laundry, rather than food borne or other transmission of these illnesses. It's good to remember that this is a very safe, clean country to live in.


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RE: smelly towels

How much lysol to use. Also in a FL does it go in bleach or fabric softener dispenser. Should I dilute it. I also use vinegar and am very pleased. Although with my husbands work overalls I have a not so fresh smell. They are the fire retardent ones. They don't smell musty.just not fresh.


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RE: smelly towels

Here is some link for disinfectant http://www.ec21.com/ec-market/laundry_disinfectant.html

Also I saw somewhere that 1 cup of listerine in laundry load helps too.


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RE: smelly towels

funkyamazon, there was an E-coli outbreak in the metro area where my sister lives, about 5 years ago. Seems it was tracked to a theme park where toddlers were playing in water. At least one child died - right here in the USA.

cassie, I would think the Lysol disinfectant bottle (small, brown - not Lysol all-purpose cleaner) would tell how much to use in a load of laundry. I would think it would go in the bleach dispenser instead of the fabric softener dispenser - but, again, I would check the instructions on the bottle.


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Lysol

cassie225,

Below is the link to the Lysol page. They say:

"For sanitary laundry, simply add one cup of LYSOL Brand Concentrate to tough loads"

I would say you'd probably want to add to the main wash / bleach rather than rinse cycle since its purpose is to kill the nasty stuff and go away, and not really to linger on the clothes afterward. Not sure what that would do having it in the rinse. Again, I'd probably only use it on the clothes / items that had come into contact with something extra-nasty (that might not get killed by washing on on hot) AND that couldn't handle liquid chlorine bleach

Is the issue just with those overalls? You might try adding some baking soda to the wash as well. It is possible that something in the fireproofing is making them harder to wash, but you have to be careful there -- you don't want to wash OUT the fireproofing treatment by using something that is chemically a SOAP and not a DETERGENT.

Here is a link that might be useful: Lysol Concentrate


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RE: smelly towels

I love to use Pine Sol for freshening up laundry or brightening mixed whites that can't be bleached. Your clothes won't really smell like Pine Sol, just fresh and clean. It smells especially good when you use Tide powder.
I think the bottle says to add 1/2 cup. This is the Original Pine Sol, not the other flavors.


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RE: smelly towels

This worked for me after many experiments. I have a Maytag Compact Front Loader MAH2400.

Two manual cold rinse & spins then a Hot Heavy Duty wash with extra rinse setting. GAIN HE powder 1/2 small load recommended amount, VIVID 1/2 small load recommended amount, 1/3 cup Hydrogen Peroxide (all into detergent compartment, max amount of vinegar in the fabric softener compartment. One manual final extra rinse & spin.


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RE: smelly towels

I put baking soda in the wash load and that removes the odors from our towels. I think the measurement is listed on the box or at least on Arm & Hammer's website.


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RE: smelly towels

You'd be surprised at what you can actually bleach without problems. I regularly bleach my towels, and have used bleach in my carpet cleaner on even colored rugs. Do a spot test with a weak bleach solution first, of course, but it takes only a small amount of bleach to kill bacteria, and quite a bit of it before it will start to bleach out the dyes.
I've got a front-loading set and oftentimes towels do get that musty old water smell, just from being left laying around damp, etc (what can I say, I've got a hubby and kids who aren't always the most conscientious people when it comes to hanging up wet towels!). If I ever notice that familiar smell, I put about a tablespoon or two of regular chlorine bleach in my washer's bleach dispenser, even with colored towels, to kill the bacteria that causes that smell. Problem solved!


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RE: smelly towels

Lysol CONCENTRATE in the small brown bottle seems to have done the trick for me. (Available at ACE Hardware.) Liquid bleach works too (one tablespoon) but I'm reluctant to use it regularly on my colored towels.

With my regular amount of Gain powdered detergent and a bit of Oxy, I added two TEASPOONS to my compact 2.4 Maytag front loader's detergent compartment. In addition, I filled the fabric softener compartment with white vinegar. I used the longest and hottest cycle and did an additional manual extra rinse & spin at the end. After drying with a fabric softener sheet, there was a hint of Lysol smell to the towels but that is MUCH better than the the old sour smell.


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RE: smelly towels

I have not had a problem with smell but a friend of mine almost went crazy dealing with it with her LG FL. This was before we knew what actually caused it.

When my neighbour (who has a TL) told me her towels smelled when they got wet, I knew exactly what was causing it. She bought some Smelly Washer and it went away. I read good things about this product.

Even though I did not have a problem (I have always left my door ajar to air out the machine) I bought some and wash my machine with it monthly as a preventative measure. After I clean it, it sparkles (the glass is SO clean). You can check out what they say about what causes the smell and how to get rid of it (see link below).

I think it's a sure bet if your towels smell you have mold.

We never conquered the problem in the LG (it was before we knew about Smelly Washer). That friend now has Mieles and has not reported any issues with smelly towels.

Good luck!

Here is a link that might be useful: What Causes Towel Mildew Smell


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RE: smelly towels

Interesting to see this topic revived. Guess it's better than starting a new thread that could look like spam.

Perhaps there is a lot of YMMV in the case of smelly towels, but I assure you, livebetter, it is NOT a SURE BET that you have mold if your towels smell. Same machine, same operating procedure (leaving door open after every load), different detergents gave me different towel smells. Liquid Tide=stinky towels. Charlie's Soap=odor/fragrance/smell-free towels. It was not mold that made my towels stink: it was the residue from the liquid detergent. Too many others have reported the same results for me to worry that my FL had or has any mold.


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RE: smelly towels

Perhaps that is true. I'm not a "scientist" but I find it funny that detergent residue would smell that skunky. I would think the residue caused some mildew issue which was the source of the smell but .... who knows ... as long as you find a way to get rid of it.

I've used a vast array of detergents and never had a smelly towel issue so who am I to say. I know several people who have had the issue and it was always mildew related. 2 of the machines you couldn't even see the mildew but it was there and it STUNK!


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RE: smelly towels

Once in a while I have this problem with my towels. I have the Duets and from time to time the washer will get smelly. Usually it is from residue or lint collecting behind the rubber boot flap. The stuff accumulates and stinks, so I make sure to clean it out frequently. It is not the easiest thing to clean and annoys me. Other than that, with leaving the door cracked and frequent washes, the odor problem hasn't been huge.

My personal opinion on the towels holding odor, is because the machines just plain don't use enough water for them. Others here will disagree. I feel there should be a towel cycle that uses more water. If the towels were truly getting as clean as they should, which includes getting rid of the bacteria that causes odors, they wouldn't smell. It hasn't been an issue with fabrics that don't hold soaps, such as jeans, but towels by nature are absorbant. They need more water!

Bleach helps, as do extra rinses. I hate the lingering bleach smell though. Even extra rinses don't entirely get rid of it. I'm very careful about using small amounts of HE detergent. I use hot water on them. I've been running the towels through an extra, but shorter cycle without soap. So much for energy efficiency on that one.

I found that by hanging my towels on the clothesline it makes them very fresh. Sunlight (UV) kills germs. Sure, they're a little less soft, but I know that nothing is lurking in them, and it cuts down on dryer use. I tried the vinegar rinse after reading about it here, and it is amazing. Will continue with it. The towels are fresh even when dried in the dryer.

I bought a box of the Sears free and clear powdered laundry detergent last night, since it is so highly regarded here. Can't wait to try it. Perhaps it will rinse better.

The maufacturers of all these FL machines need to get the message that there is a problem with odors that needs to be addressed. I'm tired of them using the excuse that we are all such idiots that we are causing the problem. It's poor design, pure and simple. I good product wouldn't do this, and should not require this amount of work to try and prevent it.

Would you believe a Whirlpool tech (when doing a repair), told me that I should leave a fan running in my laundry room all the time, blowing across my washer. I looked at him and said he was nuts! Run a fan 24/7 for a washing machine?! Not only does that eat up power, but I have pets to worry about. On one side of their mouth (marketing and government regs) they lay the guilt trip about energy conservation, while on the flip side they are absolutely not practicing what they preach.


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RE: smelly towels

Too much detergent... too little detergent... liquid versus powder... no to fabric softener... yes to fabric softener... it's all a little confusing, isn't it?

I use the German Persil by Henkel. Let's start with its detergent recommendations under "normal" soiling conditions and a full 6-7 kg machine (just slightly smaller than your average 4 cuft XL sized American style front loader):

Soft water: 7 TBS
Medium soft: 9 TBS
Hard/very hard: 10 TBS

For half a load, lower the above doses by 1.5 TBS. This is all according to the German Persil web site. These numbers may be astonishing to some, especially those who are happily using 1 TBS of Persil in their large US machines.

I've said this in another thread, but I can't believe that detergent manufacturers are recommending people use 10 times the amount of detergent that's really needed to do the job. I'm using half of what's recommended for soft water, as I have a whole house softener, and even at 3 TBS i can see turbid water on the porthole without any suds. Clothes are rinsing just fine. I could probably stand to increase the dose without any problems.

I just took 1/4 teaspoon of Persil and dissolved it in a cupped hand with a few drops of water. I smeared it on my hands and then rinsed them off. Squeaky clean. Take the same 1/4 teaspoon of LIQUID laundry detergent and see if it rinses as well. I think you'll be surprised. If you can't rinse it off your hands quickly, chances are it's leaving a film inside your machine.

Also harmful is the inadequate use of detergent. This will cause soiling to be re-deposited onto your clothes and washing machine parts. This can obviously lead to "stinky towel" syndrome and rough/scratchy fabrics. Bath towels and clothing probably contain a fair amount of body oils. Imagine if those oils and other soils are not properly emulsified by the detergent. They end up back on your clothes or your washer's outer tub.

Now I'm hardly an expert, but it if you are having a problem then it's fair to say that there is something about the way you are doing laundry that is causing the problem. Let's take the machine out of the loop, since the problems don't appear to be related to any one specific machine. Narrow the variables as much as possible.

Here's what I would look at:

  • Detergent type and amount
  • Wash temperature
  • Fabric softener type and amount
Look at how you're doing things and change them. If you're using less detergent, try using more. If you're washing in cold or warm, try very warm or hot. If you're using the recommended dose on the box but know you have softer water, perhaps cut back on the amount of detergent. If using fabric softener, try using half the recommended amount diluted with a splash of vinegar. Or try eliminating fabric softener completely for a few wash cycles to see if the situation improves.

There is no magic bullet, no one machine that does everything right, and the human equation ends up being the most important one because you need to change what's not working.


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RE: smelly towels

I was struggling with stinky towels for 4 years after purchasing my Maytag 2.6 front loader. After trying just about everything, 2 to 3 tablespoons of liquid bleach did the trick (in the bleach dispenser). I was afraid of color fade but it's not at all objectionable. I do a couple extra rinses too. So, 2 tablespoons of liquid detergent (Tide) and 2 to 3 tablespoons of bleach and thats it for me, problem solved. I use Downy dryer sheets or liquid softener too.


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RE: smelly towels

I have never had smelly towels or any kind of smelly clothes ever, have used mostly Tide liquid for couple decades and Tide powder before that.
Right now I use the Tide Advanced Power HE from Costco which as bleach in it.

Everything including towels comes out smelling just a fresh as a mountain meadow.

Usually smelly anything is more often than not a mold/mildew issue which is 98% of the time a Front Loader problem moreso than a Top Loader although apparently it does happen to TL just far less often.

I have never used anything but TL.


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RE: smelly towels

"Usually smelly anything is more often than not a mold/mildew issue which is 98% of the time a Front Loader problem moreso than a Top Loader ..."

Could you please cite a reliable source for that assertion?


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RE: smelly towels

Wouldn't matter one tiny bit what I listed as it would of course be "unreliable" so wont bother.
You are perfectly capable of putting in "Front load washer Vs Top load washer mold issues" in Google, up will come about 495,000 pages concerning mold issues mostly with FL washers, you can read until your eyes fall out but wont matter because you will find them all unreliable.

All I really need to know personally is I see HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS of reviews and reports and news articles and class action law suits and on & on from every where on damn near every site you can name that shows pretty damn clearly that FL have far more mold/mildew problems than TL.

Denial of that is fine if that is what you choose, I could not care less.
I am stating my OPINION no more no less.
It happens to be the opinion of one hell of a lot of other people also.

While I admit just because hundreds even thousands say something, does not make it true in the least ( I mean how many MILLIONS believe the Earth is 6000 years old? and that is totally insane.) but sometimes people actually know what they are talking about.


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RE: smelly towels

" ...HUNDREDS and HUNDREDS ..."

I'm SO bored of that line.

As stated on a dozen other threads, you're entitled to your opinion. Just because we don't agree with you doesn't make us stupid, in denial, etc ...

Personally, I laugh at what you consider concrete fact but that's me. Law suits ... LOL ...

I too can find "hundreds and hundreds" of links that support my theory so perhaps it's you that is in denial.

I love this one I found the other day (from a UK site written by appliance repair professionals):

"This is a pretty common thing that we service guys encounter, the customer complains of a bad odour from the washing machine or washer dryer.
First let's start with a simple fact, there's no component that can fail to cause a bad odour from inside a washer.

Sorry, but it's not a fault with the machine and it will undoubtedly be from some form of external source and in this article we will explain what causes the problem, how to solve it and how to avoid bad smells from your washing machine."

Here is a link that might be useful: Smelly Washing Machines


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RE: smelly towels

I firmly believe that most of this smelly washer thing is because people just want to dump detergent into a washer and press a button then leave.

Bleach is to much of a hassle as is trying to figure out what the best temperature. Maintenance on a washer??? Are you kidding me!!! its a washer not a car! Why should I clean a washer isn't that what is spends its life doing...shouldn't it already be clean.

If you think like the paragraph above by all means get a TL washer they are far more forgiving when abused and misused.

Did anybody else notice this was a 2 year old thread?


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RE: smelly towels

@ Kappen
I firmly believe that most of this smelly washer thing is because people just want to dump detergent into a washer and press a button then leave.
^^^ Yes this! Front loaders are more sensitive due to the small amount of water that's used. The more water you have in your washing machine, the more insulated you are from errors in detergent dosing. This is simply a fundamental difference between the two technologies, and each has its merits as well as faults. Perhaps people who prefer "traditional" top loaders do so because they don't have to put a lot of thought into their laundry. There's nothing wrong with that, although that's not a choice I would ever make.

@ livebetter

The link you provided is educational, but it's also a European perspective. They attribute most of the issues to a fiberglass/plastic outer tub, cold water washes and use of liquid detergent. Okay, so far I can agree with everything except the plastic tub thing - almost all machines sold in the US have plastic/fiberglass outer tubs, but not everyone has mold, so that is not a cause in and of itself. They also blame liquid detergents because they are difficult to dose and do not contain chlorine bleach. Huh? I dose my detergents with a tablespoon - one tablespoon of liquid detergent is no more difficult to dose or measure than the same quantity of dry detergent. And I don't know of a single powdered detergent sold here that contains chlorine bleach, as the article is stating is required to avoid this issue. I would take this article with a few grains of salt.


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RE: smelly towels

Kappen writes: "They attribute most of the issues to a fiberglass/plastic outer tub, cold water washes and use of liquid detergent. Okay, so far I can agree with everything except the plastic tub thing - almost all machines sold in the US have plastic/fiberglass outer tubs, but not everyone has mold, so that is not a cause in and of itself. They also blame liquid detergents because they are difficult to dose and do not contain chlorine bleach. Huh? I dose my detergents with a tablespoon - one tablespoon of liquid detergent is no more difficult to dose or measure than the same quantity of dry detergent."

I agree with you that liquid detergents, in and of themselves, are not a cause of smell or mold. We have been using only liquid laundry detergents for the past 35 years or so, always in front-loading machines, and never have had a smell or mold problem. For much of that time, we used Tide liquid (not HE, with our previous machine), but for the past decade or so, we have used BioKleen All-Temperature (HE 3X). We did use about half the amount of Tide liquid suggested by P&G and we fill the measuring cap of the BioKleen All-Temperature liquid only halfway before decanting to the detergent drawer. We also regularly add a scoop (about 1/3 cup) of 20 Mule Team borax to every load; and we have never purchased and therefore never used any fabric softener.

But other than that, we have not engaged in intentional mold-avoidance procedures like running sanitize cycles (most of our wash loads are run at warm/cold settings), wiping out the gasket, or leaving the detergent drawer open. (We have never thought to shut the main door all the way until it clicks after removing clothes, but we have never left it wide open either.)

I think that there is little to be gained from speculating why some people have reported smell from or mold in their washing machines; but I am quite confident that the cause is nothing inherent in either the front loading configuration or the use of liquid detergent vs. powdered detergent.


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RE: smelly towels

@sshrivastava, I take almost everything I read with a grain of salt ;)

The main point of that article (that I appreciated) was how the machine is not likely the cause. It is external factors.

I'm not sure how different the issue can be between Europe and here? Water, detergent, dirty laundry ...

I think maybe liquid detergent might be an issue if you factor in other habits as well. Say, liquid + only cold water + fabric softener and never any oxygen bleach etc ...

I actually think the mold thing is a combination of errors not limited to one thing. Unless that one thing is never leaving the door open. My thoughts only ....

Until the last maybe ... two years I was liquid only without mold. I have started incorporating powder into my arsenal as I do think it behaves differently than liquid.

I often use oxygen bleach and vinegar which (I'm sure) help to keep my drum clean. Always leave the door ajar and pop out the detergent tray when done. Not one smell issue to date.


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RE: smelly towels

@herring_mavin I didn't write any of what you quoted as something I said?!? But I think you misunderstood what you did quote. As I read it, it just says that plastic tubs have a lot of places for mold to attach to and if you never use bleach or hot water you shouldn't be surprised if you have a problem.


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RE: smelly towels

Kappen: "I didn't write any of what you quoted as something I said?!?

I apologize. sshrivastava had used the Twittterform in one of her her posts, and I quoted sshrivastava's words following her "@Kappen" header in that post.

I apologize to sshrivastava, also.


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RE: smelly towels

We have a whirlpool HE front loader washer. We were told to leave the door open after the wash is done and take the clothes out asap. We have to run 2 cycles of bleach through the washer first though. Our clothes and towels come out smelling good now.


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