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Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

Posted by studio460 (My Page) on
Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 5:46

Prophylactic measures for front-loading washers: preventing mold, mildew, and bacterial growth.

A. TechnoFresh:

A chemical treatment which requires continuous use, providing a prophylactic approach to minimizing mold, mildew, and bacterial growth throughout the washer's internal plumbing.

The manufacturer's site has ample information in its approach (much of which I personally found to be very convincing), and if nothing else, provides an informative read. They also mention two other popular products, which unlike their own, are designed to be used periodically--so-called "shock" treatments: Affresh, and Purewasher (Smelly Washer).

B. Washer Fan

Another prophylactic measure: a small fan which attaches to the washer vent, thereby reducing the humidity in the washer, which I'm also considering (and, will probably buy for our new LG washer/dryer combo unit coming next week). In a recent "Washer Fan" thread, some commented that it was too expensive for what it is. I did a brief search of CPU cooler fans at newegg.com, and between all the soldering, shrink-wrap wiring, and other home-engineering required to make one myself, I think it's just easier to pop for the $60 and get an already-made (and, field-tested), Washer Fan.

Periodic treatments (after-the-fact, "non-prophylactic"):

1. Chlorine beach/sanitary cycle.

2. Baking soda/vinegar (i.e., changing pH).

3. Affresh (a product of Whirlpool USA).

4. Smelly Washer (formally, Purewasher)

After reading through some of the material on the TechnoFresh site, I searched GW and found one member with actual experience with the product. Below, I'll quote the two comments I found here regarding the product.

This post was edited by studio460 on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 6:10


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

Re-posted from "Kenmore Elite Front Load Washer Smell"
by aspazqueen:

"I had this problem I used a product called TechnoFresh. I have tried smelly washer it is OK, then my machine started acting funny so I got a new set. I use TechnoFresh in between 'Pure Clean' cycles. It is a great product and cheaper than Affresh."


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

Re-posted from "Kenmore Elite Front Load Washer Smell"
by biguggy:

"To aspazqueen
On reading your post, I had never heard of TechnoFresh before, I sent them an email asking where I could find a copy of the MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) for their product. Their response was to forward me copies of MSDS's for the ingredients. These are: -
Boric Acid
Citric Acid
Magnesium Sulfate
Potassium Sorbate
Sodium Benzoate
Sodium Borate
Sodium Percarbonate
Now what the percentages of these are I do not know, neither do I know how the acids will react with the alkalis when water is added, or what properties the resultant 'mix' will have.
The MSDS supplied for the citric acid notes that it is corrosive to aluminium, similarly for the sodium percarbonate. Sodium percarbonate is one of the main ingredients in 'Affesh' and the powdered 'Oxi' products. Now as sodium percarbonate reacts with water to form hydrogen peroxide, which is the cleaning agent and degrades relative quickly, and sodium carbonate (washing soda), which is hygroscopic and when damp/wet, very corrosive to aluminium once the required concentration is reached.
As far as I am aware the spiders fitted to front load washers in North America are manufactured from aluminium alloys.
Draw your own conclusions."


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

Preventing corrosion to your machine's aluminum parts:

So, biguggy's MSDS sheets gave me a bit of a scare. While I'm not attempting to shill for TechnoFresh, they do have an informative page about the caveats of potentially corroding the aluminum "spider" armature used on the drive spindle of modern front-loading washers:

http://www.technofresh.net/Shocking_Spiders/shocking_spiders.html


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

Additional prophylactic suggestions welcome! I think I may entertain the following practices for our new LG washer/dryer to abate any deliberate "culturing" of mold, mildew (fungi), and bacteria:

1. Use powdered HE detergents only.
2. Don't use liquid fabric softener (we don't now).

Now, the leaving-the-door-open thing--I don't like the idea of leaving the door open--it just looks lame (plus, I was planning on building a cabinet door to cover the washer, which will also add some sound-suppression). We will start wiping the seal dry after each wash, however.

Now, regarding the chemical reaction of aluminum with sodium percarbonate . . . I've just become a big fan of sodium percarbonate, and did my very first load with some last night--my socks turned bright-white! Jury's still out on this one . . .


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

The best preventative measure I found is washing on HOT and SANITARY settings regularly (at least once a week).

As to keeping the door open, my current washer and the LG I had before (now in service with my ex) were in laundry closets so keeping the door open at all times was not possible. What I did with the prior washer was to run a sanitary wash as the last wash of the day, then leave the door and detergent drawer open over night and close it the next morning. I had absolutely no mold or smell issues. My current LG is also in a laundry closet so I do the same but it also has a magnet that allows the door to remain a crack open (an inch or so). It doesn't get in the way of the closet door. So now I use that in addition to allowing the washer to dry over night.
With these measures I never had any need to use special cleaners or even run a clean washer cycle.
Do you know if your washer has the magnet? What model is it?


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

Leaving the door open is the most important thing you can do. Think about it - with old top-loading machines the top did not even create a tight seal when closed, and many folks left them open between loads. This allowed the machine to dry out. Yes, FL machines may be more prone to growth, but closing the door to prevent drying makes no sense. Ventilation and drying prevents mold/mildew/fungus everywhere. FL machines are no different.

I have a 5 year old Whirlpool washer that I leave the door open and once every six months or so run a Clean Cycle with a bit of bleach. That kills any small amount of moldy stuff on the bottom of the gasket, formed because I am too lazy to dry it when done. I have no smells and no growth that I know of.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

Our family has been using front-loading automatic washing machines for only three-quarters of a century without a single instance (that I know of, as my mother started using front-loading automatic washers before I was born) of smell from the washer, so the jury is still out, I guess.

We never have taken any measures specifically to address our non-existent smell problem, but we have had a -practice-, perhaps a -tradition-. in our family to add a scoop -- about 1/3 cup -- of borax to every wash load. If you can recall the days of cloth diapers and diaper pails, then you probably recall the main use of borax in many households. We have not had a practice of leaving the door open, per se,, but we never have closed the door until it clicked after taking the wash out, either: we just have left it ajar between wash loads all these years. (We never have had a cat to worry about getting into the washer, either.) And we wax our car, we wax our floors, and we wax our skis, but we never wax our clothes: no fabric softener has been purchased for our laundry in all those years.

Just sayin'.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

I've had my Electrolux front loading pair for a year and a half. At first, I wiped the gasket out religiously. Then I stopped doing that, because I just got lazy about it and there were no consequences, so I never started up again. I use Tide Total Care liquid most of the time, Tide Vivid powder for my whites. I run the clean washer cycle once every other month or so with bleach. And I do at least two hot washes weekly, whites and kitchen towels. No smells, no buildup, no problems. I think that the best prophylactic is to not use too much detergent (that was the hardest thing for me to get used to), and allow the washer to air out and dry for a few hours after use. If you are building a closet for your laundry pair, perhaps you can make it deep enough to accommodate leaving the door open an inch or two. It doesn't have to be wide open just a little to let the air in.

Of course, if you choose to go with a washer fan and Technofresh, that's your choice to make.

Best of luck,
Cj


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

Thanks for everyone's replies! From seeing posts from here and in other threads, I think three of the best (i.e., easiest) preventative measures are:

1. Use powdered HE detergents only.
2. Don't use liquid fabric softener (we've never used them anyway).
3. Perform hot-water cycles regularly (which I do anyway).

I didn't know any of this until I re-visited GW a few days ago. We were definitely using too much liquid HE detergent--we just didn't know any better.

This post was edited by studio460 on Tue, Jun 11, 13 at 23:11


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

izeve:

Thanks for your comments. Certainly, I can manage to leave the door open overnight at least once a month. We currently have a 2007-era LG front-loader (never noticed a magnet) which we're replacing with an LG 24" combo unit to make more room for base cabinets:

LG 2.3 cu. ft. washer/dryer combo (unvented)
model no. WM3455HW

http://www.homedepot.com/p/LG-Electronics-2-3-cu-ft-Washer-and-Electric-Dryer-in-White-WM3455HW/203218437?N=c3ot#.Ubeud-e1FQg


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

oregpsnow:

Thanks for your comments. Yes, top-loader doors weren't "sealed." Again, certainly, I can leave the door open periodically, and if that's a good enough tactic, I'm good with that.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

herring_maven:

I just read the "fishy dishwasher" thread in the cleaning forum--I guess I'm just paranoid now. Plus, I do want to properly care for our brand new machine from the get-go, since we knew none of this a few days ago.

We just started smelling our six-year-old LG front-loader. Of course, we were completely ignorant of all the common causes, and were over-dosing our machine with liquid detergent for the entire time we've owned it.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

cj47:

Yeah, I think it's cheap insurance (well, the TechnoFresh isn't that cheap). Plus, I really like the idea of the Washer Fan. The TechnoFresh treatments I'm still on the fence (due to cost), but I do want to avoid any harsh periodic cleanings, assuming the caveats on the TechnoFresh's site are valid. Reading others' stories of complete machine tear-downs (and, what they found inside) to perform a thorough cleaning is what's making me consider this product.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

studio460: "From seeing posts from here and in other threads, I think three of the best (i.e., easiest) preventative measures are:

1. Use powdered HE detergents only."

I'm going to call b.s. on this one. We use only liquid detergent -- for the last several years (going back to the turn of the century or before), Biokleen All-Temperature, but before we switched to that we used Tide liquid, and currently are alternating the Biokleen with sshrivas...'s recommended favorite, Vaska Lavender -- and (I repeat) we never have had an odor problem with any of those liquid laundry detergents. The best advice is not to use too much of any detergent, liquid or powder; practice moderation, grasshopper.

"2. Don't use liquid fabric softener (we've never used them anyway)."

Probably all fabric softeners should be suspect, guilty until proven innocent. Wax is wax, and if it is sufficient to coat the fabric to make it soft, then it is sufficient to coat the inside of the washing machine and leave the coating there after the laundry has been removed from the machine.

"3. Perform hot-water cycles regularly (which I do anyway). "

Probably unnecessary (based on years and years of using washing machines that lacked internal heaters and water heaters set to 120 degrees), but it cannot hurt, and may help.

Do not forget the borax. If borax can sweeten a full diaper pail, it certainly can handle the much lesser task of handling an empty washing machine drum.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

herring_mavin:

Thanks again for your detailed replies!

1. Use powdered HE detergents only.

herring_maven: "I'm going to call b.s. on this one."

Aw, really? This one really kind of made sense to me since the goopie Gain liquid I love so much seems to leave its snail-trail on everything it touches (which I imagined to be an excellent culture medium). I was kinda counting on this one change to be the chief prophylactic measure of the bunch (certainly, not over-dosing likely will be).

All "green-ness" aside, do you believe Biokleen cleans as well as your former, high-performing favorite, Tide liquid? Have you also tried Vaska? Both products seem to be almost universally well-reviewed (though, a few claim they don't clean as well as conventional detergents).

Also, are you still using the Ecover powdered product (sodium percarbonate) as well? I just started using the house-brand stuff in my unsorted laundry, and I'm sold--this stuff works great! I just thought a powder-powder mixture of detergent-oxidizer would make deposition simpler/easier. When mixing liquid-powder, I have to first, throw in a measure of sodium percarbonate into the drum (as recommended by the manufacturer), and deposit my liquid Gain in the soap dispenser. How do you get your Biokleen-Ecover into the machine?

2. Don't use liquid fabric softener.

I guess this means, "No," to dryer sheets as well? I wasn't planning to use either in our new washer/dryer anyway. Reportedly, with condenser dryers (as our new combo unit is), clothes come out feeling "softer" anyway.

3. Perform hot-water cycles regularly.

We do this anyway for whites, although we'll probably stop the "chlorine-bleach, sanitary-cycle," periodic cleaning routine since it doesn't appear to be good for your washer's seals and gaskets.

Thanks again for your comments!

This post was edited by studio460 on Wed, Jun 12, 13 at 4:47


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

studio460: "All 'green-ness' aside, do you believe Biokleen cleans as well as your former, high-performing favorite, Tide liquid?"

Yes. And the All-Temperature version is enzyme-free, too, allowing me to add enzyme (Biokleen Bac-Out) only when I need to, which is seldom.

"Have you also tried Vaska?"

Based upon sshrivas..'s unstinting praise of Vaska on this forum, we purchased two jugs of Vaska Lavender by mail-order (it is not available here in any brick and mortar store). It works well, and the very light lavender scent is nice, but it does not clean any better than Biokleen, and because of the mail-order hassle, I doubt that we'll get more when we run out.

"Both products seem to be almost universally well-reviewed (though, a few claim they don't clean as well as conventional detergents)."

We have not yet found a better detergent -- better for cleaning -- than Biokleen, and I think it is amusing that a detergent based on vegetable sugars is "unconventional" in contrast to detergents based on petroleum distillates deemed "conventional."

"Also, are you still using the Ecover powdered product (sodium percarbonate) as well?"

Yes. but we sort our laundry by color, so the Ecover goes only into about one in three loads that we do.

"I just thought a powder-powder mixture of detergent-oxidizer would make deposition simpler/easier. When mixing liquid-powder, I have to first, throw in a measure of sodium percarbonate into the drum (as recommended by the manufacturer), and deposit my liquid Gain in the soap dispenser. How do you get your Biokleen-Ecover into the machine?"

When we use the powdered bleach, we throw it into the tub at the same time as we put in the scoop of borax. The liquid Biokleen goes into the washing machine's dispenser drawer, the same way you do it. It is not complicated; it's habit.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

herring_maven:

Thank you again for taking the time to write such detailed answers! I forgot to ask you--what exactly is the Borax (sodium borate) for? How frequently do you add it, and how much? Our supermarket carries 20 Mule Team Borax--is that a good brand? Are you using it for its anti-fungal properties as a mildew prophylactic?


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

Studio460, it doesn't look like your new washer has the magnet thingy. But again, drying the washer out overnight should do the trick. Also, I'm wondering if the dryer function of your washer will do the job of drying it anyway, so you won't need to use anything else? Are you planning to dry each load in it or are you going to line dry?

I had a quick look at the manual of your new washer and the washer functions seem very similar to my prior LG FL (model WM2301, now discontinued). So the cycle named "Baby Wear" should give you a good heated wash with an additional rinse (it is basically the equivalent of ""Bright Whites" or "Whitest Whites" on other washers). Baby Wear is a stupid name for a cycle but I loved that cycle on my prior washer for washing bed sheets, towels, kitchen towels, etc. You also have an option to add more water to your loads which is nice. I really liked my prior LG FL. It wasn't overly complicated or gimmicky and it gave excellent wash results. The LG I have now performs very well too but I find the cycles overly complicated with TurboWash and Steam and other options. It's very hard to tell what each cycle does in terms of temperature, tumbling pattern, cycle length or number of rinses.

I think you will like your new machine and I wish you good luck with it.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

Sorry, one more question: Why do you choose liquid Biokleen over the powdered version? The Biokleen "citrus essence" laundry powder caught my eye--is that one okay?


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

izeve:

Thanks for checking on that for me. Duh! Your post just made me realize--a combo washer/dryer probably has far less likelihood of leaving moisture in the machine! I probably don't even need a Washer Fan--the machine has a built-in dryer!


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

studio460: "I forgot to ask you--what exactly is the Borax (sodium borate) for? How frequently do you add it, and how much? Our supermarket carries 20 Mule Team Borax--is that a good brand? Are you using it for its anti-fungal properties as a mildew prophylactic?"

I may be wrong -- I have not looked it up recently -- but I think that borax is sodium tetraborate. We use 20 Mule Team brand borax. (Not Borateam from the same brand.) We add about 1/3 cup borax to every load that we run through our washing machine.

Borax is a flux, a rinse aid (more detergent gets flushed from the clothes after the wash), and is a mild disinfectant. When our son was an infant, we used cloth diapers. The diapers, after they came off the boy, were rough rinsed with a flush in the toilet bowl, and then thrown into a pail that had borax in it, to keep until we did the laundry, usually several days later. Because of the borax, the laundry room did not smell (at least not a lot), and the diapers were ready to be washed right along with the other laundry when we got around to it. Borax has been used for that purpose for at least a century.

"Why do you choose liquid Biokleen over the powdered version?"

The detergent dispenser drawers of our recent washing machines have been designed for liquids only; you are not supposed to put powders into the drawer. Also, if you have a powdered detergent, it cannot act as a detergent for washing until it is dissolved in water; it is useless dry. The liquid form of Biokleen has a head start on being dissolved in water, and starts working as the water is filling the tub, already carrying the detergent mixed into it; the same cannot be said of powdered detergents, which take a few minutes to dissolve, and, after that, to get dispersed throughout the wash water.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

I wonder why the FanFresh and such options are restricted by manufacturers to the load cycles (at least that's what it seems like from the advertising for FanFresh and such). Seems to me the mold/mildew issues can be taken care of by the manufacturer by doing the following 2 things:

1. Drain hole for the gasket thru which any accumulated water will drain and would be vaccumed/sucked out by the same drain pump that drains the main drum.

2. For a period of 24 hrs or so after a cycle finishes, the same fan used for FanFresh and such can run to dry the drum/gasket out WITH THE DOOR CLOSED using an ancillary air intake that I suspect is already provisioned for use by FanFresh.

Not sure why these models aren't doing it or does anyone know if they already are? This should at least take care of the mold issue in the drum/gasket.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

Washer drain pumps do not pull an effective vacuum, with a very few exceptions many years ago, none of which I'm aware nowadays.

This post was edited by dadoes on Sun, Jun 23, 13 at 14:59


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

I have the Bosch Axxis - liquid is all I can use. I use exactly what it says (64 oz bottle did our family of 2 for a very long time. Mine is located in a closet. A friend suggested: 1) after last load wipe out the gasket, then take a small terry towel (or rag), tuck it into the bottom of the gasket, push the door to, as though to shut it, but leave it against the rag. The rag wicks any remaining water. I use perfume free detergent (Tide free, Arm & Hammer) and "free" dryer sheets. Have had absolutely no smell problem, and have had the WD set for four years.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

Thanks for your detailed replies, herring_mavin! I must say, I'm really happy using powdered HE detergent in our new LG washer. When only using powdered detergent/additives, the dispenser drawer stays showroom-new clean! No more gooey-green goop! I watched the first load, and it appeared that most or all of the powder had dissolved within about 60 seconds.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

But, now that we've returned our combo LG washer/dryer, we'll soon have new separate washer/dryer units. I'll continue to use powder-only detergents/additives to keep the drawer clean. And, I definitely plan to also buy a Washer Fan.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

studio460: "When only using powdered detergent/additives, the dispenser drawer stays showroom-new clean! No more gooey-green goop!"

I must say that I have no idea what you are referencing. Since we purchased our first washer that had a dispensing drawer in 1995 -- 17 years ago -- we have used only liquid detergents. (We had, in fact, switched to liquids sometime before that in our 1972 washing machine that had no dispensing drawer, but I cannot recall when we switched.) In the 17 years we have dispensed liquid detergents (first Tide, but within a short time we switched to Biokleen All-Temperature Liquid) via drawers, we have never, not once, never, ever, ever seen any residue in the dispensing drawer -- certainly nothing like gooey-green goop! Our dispenser drawer always has been showroom-new clean.

I attribute the spotless cleanliness of the dispenser drawer on our washer to the fact that every single time we do a load of laundry, the drawer gets washed thoroughly with the Biokleen detergent that we have put in there, as diluted by the wash water that passes through the drawer to deliver the detergent to the laundry in the main drum. The laundry detergent that we use, well ... you know, cleans; it does not deposit something that needs to be cleaned.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

We used to use liquid Gain HE, and that stuff leaves green gooey goop everywhere!


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

See, that's interesting about all these fans. European washer's don't even have a vent on the back of the cabinet so there would be no way of attaching the fan.

I think a problem is that many people will just use the Normal cycle with it's default settings. I often see people on YouTube turning the cycle know and they're all like "Look! Every cycle is already preset!" (-> so I don't have to think about doing laundry...). Many washer will even automatically default to the Normal cycle when the unit is turned on. And what does the Normal cycle give you? Minimalist amounts of practically cold water and a quick cycle time. No wonder all this mold cr@p comes up. My opinion.

Alex


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

I typically wash in either warm/cold (colors), or hot/cold (whites). Recently, I stopped sorting my clothes altogether, and started washing my clothes in one load, so I've been using hot/cold while experimenting with my "new" laundry additives (sodium percarbonate, Borax, etc.). Maybe years ago, I chose cold/cold when I wore nicer clothes!

This post was edited by studio460 on Wed, Jun 26, 13 at 3:14


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

herring_maven (or anyone that can answer this),

Hope I'm not too late posting to this thread.... I understand from your post that you use Biokleen laundry detergent. What do you use as a pre-treat for tough stains? (Food, oil, cosmetics, collars etc)? Have you found a green product that is effective? Many thanks for any and all responses.


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TechnoFresh

Read the whole post but still do not know if Technofresh works for smelly FL washer. Please reply if you have used it and give me your thoughts.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

GreenClean0804: "herring_maven (or anyone that can answer this), Hope I'm not too late posting to this thread.... I understand from your post that you use Biokleen laundry detergent. What do you use as a pre-treat for tough stains? (Food, oil, cosmetics, collars etc)? Have you found a green product that is effective? Many thanks for any and all responses."

Replying ten months later: We did use Biokleen for many years. Last year, Biokleen reformulated its detergents; they now are SLS-based, rather than grapefruit seed based. We switched to Vaska as our regular laundry detergent, and it works well. We still use Biokleen Bac-Out for pretreating when we have a need to pretreat.


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RE: Prophylactics for washer smell: TechnoFresh, WasherFan, etc.

I switched to a powdered detergent, wiping out the remaining water that is left on the bottom of the rubber gasket that is just inside of the door and leaving the door open after the last load. Seems to be helping as no more odor. Not sure what might still be lurking in the machine in all the places I cannot see but for now atleast things smell the way they should.


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