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HE washer and mildew/musty smell

post #1 of 45
Thread Starter 
I have ongoing problems with my HE washer and a musty smell. The clothes I attempt to clean in it come out smelling like old gym socks. I have an extended warranty on it and have had numerous repair people come and look at it. The latest one was here today and told me I have to run "sanitizing cycles" 1x/mo with 4 cups of bleach!

I have never heard of this. We don't keep bleach in our house, it's a toxic chemical. But I don't know what else to do. I have tried vinegar, TTO, oxyclean, etc., to no avail. Sears is refusing to honor our "lemon clause" because they "don't cover mold." We live in a very hot and dry climate and you really have to work to get mold to grow on stuff. Any suggestions?
post #2 of 45
This seems to be a very common issue with HE washers. The most common solution to this problem seems to be to leave the door ajar so it can dry out between washes.

Good luck
post #3 of 45
This is an ongoing problem with the front loader washing machines. Because they are water tight, mildew tends to grow in them.

I do the bleach thing every month. Usually I use this opportunity to collect all the rags that I use for cleaning and bleach them. I also use the extra rinse on almost every cycle and leave the door open in between washes. My DD is almost 8 yrs old, if I had a toddler, I would not feel comfortable leaving the door open.

Also, I take a towel and wipe around the rubber gasket periodically. Stuff tends to gunk up in there.

I would not recommend a front loader to anyone. Ugh. I actually had the Customer Service people from LG say to me that it must be something that we are introducing to the washer that is causing the mold, because the washer is just metal and rubber parts. Yes, we are putting dirty clothing into a washing machine, can you imagine that?
post #4 of 45
I live in a very hot and humid climate and just leave the door open on the washer when it's not in use. Our washer lives in the garage, so it's exposed to the humidity all the time. We've had the washer two years, and I've never run bleach to clean the washer. Mildew has never been a problem, nor has musty smells.

Now, for my shower grout I wish I could say the same thing... :
post #5 of 45
Do you normally close the door when the washer isn't in use? I'd never even read about the mold problems some people have, but when we first moved into this house, it just seemed logical to me to leave the door slightly ajar so it can air out.

I'd suggest using some bleach to get rid of the problem, and then see if you can prevent a recurrance with the open door. You don't need to buy a huge package- they sell the ones small enough for a single load of laundry. If you can't find something that tiny in the supermarket, try a laundromat. They usually have them in vending machines.
post #6 of 45
how often do you use it?

Cause I use ours at least twice a day. I leave the door open between uses.
We do not have an issue.
post #7 of 45
We have a top loading Neptune with the same problem. We leave the lid open all the time, it has pretty much gone away. We also run an extra rinse on all wash cycles.
post #8 of 45
Just a note to add-- four cups is a crazy amount of bleach. In our HE FL's manual, it recommends a half cup, and it's a large capacity. I think I do the sanitize cycle about once every three or four months, and leave the door ajar between cycles. We live in a moldy climate, but never have a problem.

The toxic bleach thing is a problem for me, and I'm wondering about alternatives, but it's a small price to pay for the water we save, imo.
post #9 of 45
Ditto to the leaving the door open between cycles.

And 4 cups of bleach is WAY off. That much bleach will ruin the seals/rubber parts in the machine.
post #10 of 45
I always just leave my door open too. I've got a toddler and it actually is better for us to have it open otherwise when he pushes all the buttons, he'd be starting phantom loads. He's never once tried to get into it and he's only on this side of the house when I am close by (otherwise we have a gate so he can't come over here).
post #11 of 45
I try to leave the door on our LG front loader open between loads. And I always make sure its open over night.

4 cups is an insane amount of bleach. I don't think most FL machines could hold 4 cups of anything, distributed between all the soap and softner compartments.


I would try the bleach and then see if you can't keep it at bay by airing it out and not letting laundry sit in the machine for long periods of time.

Good Luck!
post #12 of 45
Our machine has the same issue. It used to be only in the summer but now its all the time. My husband thinks it is our water. But this gives me something to try. I always leave the door open on my machine.

My HE machine manual said to use white vinegar once in a while.
post #13 of 45
I leave the door open until the washer dries out... usually a couple of hours. The only time I've ever had an odor problem is when my housekeeper put the used rags into the washer and closed the door and I didn't notice for a couple days :-/. But even that was taken care of by running one empty load with baking soda in the detergent cup and vinegar in the softener cup. (We normally use vinegar for softener anyway, and we use Bio-kleen for detergent, with the occasional booster of Borax, baking soda, or Oxo-brite.)
post #14 of 45
THis was something I was planning to come here and ask about

We have an HE washer from sears and it has the same problem. Ours was in our basement though and I'd often forget loads of laundry for days at a time, so I wasn't blaming the washer for this one. Now we've moved and we have a second floor laundry, so I'm hoping we don't forget as often as we did when the laundry was in the basement. I haven't had problems with clothes coming out smelling, just that the washer has a smell itself.
post #15 of 45
Oh, I thought of something else. Make sure that you are not using too much detergent. The manufacturer recommends using the HE detergent and the amount that you need to use is very small.

If you use too much detergent, it does not rinse completely out of the washer. I've been told that can lead to mildew growth.

I've asked my husband to take the washer apart so we can clean around the drum. I'm terrified about what kind of nastiness we are going to find there.
post #16 of 45
Quote:
Originally Posted by Milkymommy View Post
Oh, I thought of something else. Make sure that you are not using too much detergent. The manufacturer recommends using the HE detergent and the amount that you need to use is very small.

If you use too much detergent, it does not rinse completely out of the washer. I've been told that can lead to mildew growth.

I've asked my husband to take the washer apart so we can clean around the drum. I'm terrified about what kind of nastiness we are going to find there.
I think we have been doing this, but I'm not wiilling to take the washer apart (I would be too afraid I couldn't get it back together). Is there anything I could run in it while empty that would help strip out the extra detergent?
post #17 of 45
White vinegar should work for stripping the extra detergent. I have run some towel loads with vinegar. I put a few cups right into the washer with the towels, but I don't know if that is recommended.

One thing that I did was wet a rag with vinegar and wipe down all the surfaces in the washer. Around the door and the seal also.

Also, make sure that none of the drainage holes are blocked. Our washer is an LG and it has a rubber gasket with a few drainage holes. I've had to degunk them a few times.
post #18 of 45
This really makes laundry just too much work does'nt it? It makes me feel like this
post #19 of 45
I was doing some searches on this too and I found this website: www.smellywasher.com - which sells a product to remove the mold/mildew smell. I figured I would be a guinea pig and give a try. I'll let you know how it works.
post #20 of 45
We recently had front loaders put into our place and I put borax in almost all my loads and leave the door open between loads and the mildew smell doesn't seem to bad.

Just in case you want to know, I put 1/2 cup borax in with the laundry, but the soap and anything else I want to add to the load I put in the soap dish/cup.
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