HE washer and mildew/musty smell - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 45 Old 05-30-2008, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
 
myniyer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: sweatville, USA
Posts: 282
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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?
myniyer is offline  
Sponsored Links
Advertisement
 
#2 of 45 Old 05-30-2008, 03:43 PM
 
Denvergirlie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Foothills west of Denver
Posts: 2,042
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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
Denvergirlie is offline  
#3 of 45 Old 05-30-2008, 03:53 PM
 
Milkymommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: orlando, florida
Posts: 164
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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?
Milkymommy is offline  
#4 of 45 Old 05-30-2008, 03:57 PM
 
aprildawn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Austin
Posts: 1,714
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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... :
aprildawn is offline  
#5 of 45 Old 05-30-2008, 04:06 PM
 
Ruthla's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: Long Island, NY
Posts: 43,652
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
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.

Ruth, single mommy to Leah, 19, Hannah, 18 (commuting to college), and Jack, 13(homeschooled)
Ruthla is online now  
#6 of 45 Old 05-30-2008, 04:39 PM
 
boobybunny's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Posts: 2,219
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
boobybunny is offline  
#7 of 45 Old 05-30-2008, 05:03 PM
 
SleeplessMommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 5,113
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
SleeplessMommy is offline  
#8 of 45 Old 05-30-2008, 06:31 PM
 
snanna's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: In the Lovely Maritime Northwest
Posts: 451
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.

Pregnant and/or breastfeeding since May, 2004, with dd6, ds4, and dd born 9/11.
We homeschool.gif.
snanna is offline  
#9 of 45 Old 05-30-2008, 06:37 PM
 
ledzepplon's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Location: San Diego, CA
Posts: 5,627
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.

Wife to a wonderful dh and mom to four beautiful kiddos, dd (3/04):, ds1 (1/06), ds2 (10/08), and ds3 (7/10)
ledzepplon is offline  
#10 of 45 Old 05-30-2008, 07:56 PM
 
2 in August's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2006
Posts: 6,362
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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).
2 in August is offline  
#11 of 45 Old 05-30-2008, 08:33 PM
 
tracyhos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 491
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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!
tracyhos is offline  
#12 of 45 Old 05-30-2008, 09:54 PM
 
lucyem's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 2,254
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
lucyem is offline  
#13 of 45 Old 05-30-2008, 10:00 PM
 
Ironica's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Location: Los Angeles, CA
Posts: 5,441
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.)
Ironica is offline  
#14 of 45 Old 05-31-2008, 01:21 PM
 
mightymoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Mass. Confusion
Posts: 10,291
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
mightymoo is offline  
#15 of 45 Old 05-31-2008, 01:37 PM
 
Milkymommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: orlando, florida
Posts: 164
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
Milkymommy is offline  
#16 of 45 Old 05-31-2008, 01:39 PM
 
mightymoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Mass. Confusion
Posts: 10,291
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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?

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
mightymoo is offline  
#17 of 45 Old 05-31-2008, 01:50 PM
 
Milkymommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: orlando, florida
Posts: 164
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
Milkymommy is offline  
#18 of 45 Old 05-31-2008, 01:52 PM
 
Milkymommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2002
Location: orlando, florida
Posts: 164
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
This really makes laundry just too much work does'nt it? It makes me feel like this
Milkymommy is offline  
#19 of 45 Old 05-31-2008, 01:59 PM
 
mightymoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Mass. Confusion
Posts: 10,291
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
mightymoo is offline  
#20 of 45 Old 06-01-2008, 09:04 PM
 
AKchick's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Wherever we land
Posts: 115
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
AKchick is offline  
#21 of 45 Old 06-03-2008, 02:08 AM
 
rinnerin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: Oh look! A little plastic castle!
Posts: 612
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
We were having problems with our washer when we were using liquid detergent. We have switched back to powder and it's better, although we still leave the door ajar. We have an LG as well.
rinnerin is offline  
#22 of 45 Old 06-03-2008, 02:20 AM - Thread Starter
 
myniyer's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: sweatville, USA
Posts: 282
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thanks for all the suggestions. Our HE is in a hallway but is a top loader so leaving the door open is an option. I scrubbed out the inside with TTO, baking soda and vinegar and ran an empty cycle. It has improved a little, but still smells pretty bad. It makes me feel better to know that so many people have problems with their HE washers - not just me. Wish I hadn't gotten rid of my 1978 Maytag...
myniyer is offline  
#23 of 45 Old 06-04-2008, 01:32 PM
 
limette's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2008
Location: Canada
Posts: 2,424
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
What machine is it? The one we have was involved in a class action lawsuit for this problem although mine has never experienced it. It has to do with the rubber around the door. I can't remember off the top of my head what my machine is but it has the little crown emblem on it.
limette is offline  
#24 of 45 Old 06-04-2008, 01:40 PM
 
mightymoo's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2003
Location: Mass. Confusion
Posts: 10,291
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I actually ran an empty bleach load and then a bunch of times with vinegar (because I knew I had a lot of soap buildup probably) and the smell is gone. I also saw recommended somewhere using GLISTEN dishwasher cleaner on your HE machine to clean out all the leftover soap grime which can contribute to the moldy smell.


I've been leaving the door open, but I'm nervous about the children climbing in, though they could do that even if hte door was closed, they could just open it. I'm going to see if I can find a way to secure the folding doors in front of washer.

Mightymoo - Mom to DD (6) and DS (4)
mightymoo is offline  
#25 of 45 Old 06-04-2008, 04:51 PM
 
425lisamarie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: In the rain
Posts: 5,233
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
OMG I thought I was teh only one. I do NOT save water wtih this damn thing! My mom still has the old school washer that fills up, and I've never had to re rinse in hers. No matter what I do in mine, I end up rinsing and rinsing...and then every few loads I have to dump bleach and turn it on a long hot wash cycle.

Mine gets this nastyness around that rubberband part where the door shuts. Seriously I don't know how to keep that out, it's like it gets underneath it. Yuck!!!
425lisamarie is offline  
#26 of 45 Old 06-04-2008, 05:10 PM
 
phatchristy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2005
Location: Controlled chaos...
Posts: 9,037
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I've heard so much about this, there seriously seems to be a design flaw amongst certain HE washers.

We got our frontloader, and it's not the top of the line (It was about 3 years ago). We almost bought the extra large capacity HE Kenmore...but I'm so glad we didn't because it seems those exact models were the ones with all the problems. For some reason, no issue with ours.

But, I've met enough people with that problem, and many of them use bleach, but it doesn't seem to take out the smell.

Perpetually breastfeeding or pregnant ENFP mom to a lot of kids...wife to a midwestern nice guy...living in tropical paradise...pink cats and homebirths rock!

phatchristy is offline  
#27 of 45 Old 06-06-2008, 03:34 AM
 
Bird Girl's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2007
Posts: 1,289
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
It is a design flaw, but if only affects washers that don't have an onboard heater. Basically, because front-loaders use so little water, they are unable to get truly HOT water into the machine. (Try filling up a two-gallon bucket in your bathtub. Usually by the time the bucket is full, the water is only starting to become tepid. Because the water in the machine is always cool or cold, the old detergent combines with the oil on your dirty clothes to make a sticky goo that builds up in the machine. It not only leads to a musty smell, but it degrades the seals and gaskets inside the machine.

Front-loading machines which include an onboard heater must be run on the hot cycle every week or so. Yes, it wastes a certain amount of energy, but it keeps the guts of the machine healthy.

You can try to get hotter water into a no-heater front-loader by running the water in a nearby tap (sink or bathtub) until it's truly HOT, then starting the machine on the hot cycle. It might help.
Bird Girl is offline  
#28 of 45 Old 06-06-2008, 12:19 PM
 
4evermom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: PA
Posts: 8,752
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 4 Post(s)
I wonder if putting baking soda in with the wash would help. I've been doing that to get the musty smell out of clothes that doesn't come out with a regular wash (I just dump some in on top of the clothes). Our actual machine doesn't smell and we leave the door open.

Mom to unschooling 4everboy since 8/01
4evermom is offline  
#29 of 45 Old 06-06-2008, 01:08 PM
 
tracyhos's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 491
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bird Girl View Post
It is a design flaw, but if only affects washers that don't have an onboard heater. Basically, because front-loaders use so little water, they are unable to get truly HOT water into the machine. (Try filling up a two-gallon bucket in your bathtub. Usually by the time the bucket is full, the water is only starting to become tepid. Because the water in the machine is always cool or cold, the old detergent combines with the oil on your dirty clothes to make a sticky goo that builds up in the machine. It not only leads to a musty smell, but it degrades the seals and gaskets inside the machine.

Front-loading machines which include an onboard heater must be run on the hot cycle every week or so. Yes, it wastes a certain amount of energy, but it keeps the guts of the machine healthy.

You can try to get hotter water into a no-heater front-loader by running the water in a nearby tap (sink or bathtub) until it's truly HOT, then starting the machine on the hot cycle. It might help.
This is really interesting... I wonder if that is why I haven't had trouble. Our LG has a water heater thing in it. It has a sanitary cycle, where it heats the water way up ( I wanna say like 160 degrees??), and I probably do use that cycle 1 or 2 times a week. For sheets/ towels.
tracyhos is offline  
#30 of 45 Old 06-06-2008, 03:21 PM
 
kkfum's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2005
Posts: 322
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
we have a 6 year old kenmore he. it smelled in the beginning, but i also started leaving the door open after every wash. i have never had a problem with smell after this, unless i use too much detergent...the detergent i use is natural, so i think it can cause more mildew buildup than chemical detergents. even so, just leaving the door open works great. if you've been closing the door for a long time now, it's probably why you had such a horrible smell. now that it's cleaned out, you should be good to go as long as you leave the door open.

also, if it happens again, try using a couple of sprays of biokleen's bac-out. i use this for our diapers and dh's smelly tshirts and it works wonders on them.
kkfum is offline  
Reply

User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off