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Front loading washing machine odor!

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Showing 1-25 of 162 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jun 25, 2012, 10:55:30 AM PDT
Are there any front loading mashing machines that don't end up with that terrible odor? I know there are products, tide, whiirlaway, etc that you can use to try to mask the odor but curious if anyone has a recommendation for a model that does not have foul smell.

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 25, 2012, 11:10:00 AM PDT
We have had our front loading washing machine for about 14 months now. Prior to the purchase we had read comments about the odor in these machines. It appears to be a matter of bio-physics! You have living creatures in the water and in the air. When you shut the glass door you are creating an environment that is perfect for these bacteria to grow and reproduce. Knowing this, here is our solution: we wipe dry glass door and also the inside rim of the rubber seal and make sure it is real dry. Then we leave the washer's door open for several hours which allows for air flow to circulate and also to dry the interior, thus preventing those littlte creatures to reproduce and give out that foul smell. Remember, they love the humitidy. The lower the humidity (less than 50%, approx) the lower their rate of reproduction. We also have a dehumidifying system in place in our home that keeps the humidity at or below 50% at all times..... We live in florida, so high humidity is a constant problem, even in our closets! Try this, it will work. Blessings, rpcv

In reply to an earlier post on Jun 30, 2012, 12:18:24 PM PDT
Try using just bleach through a complete cycle. Then wipe dry the inside rubber gasket and empty the water out with each load. Leave door open to dry completely.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 1, 2012, 1:28:34 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 1, 2012, 1:30:38 PM PDT
dgg says:
Whirlpool W10135699 Affresh High Efficiency Washer Cleaner, 3-Tablets When the fellows installed my front-loading, HE washer, they made it clear that I should ALWAYS leave the washer door OPEN WHEN NOT IN USE. I do that, but often leave the laundry room light on so no one bumps into it when entering the room in the dark. Perhaps, ( in addition to OCCASIONALLY using the cleaner tablets) because of this routine, I have never noticed a bad odor from the washer.

Posted on Jul 5, 2012, 7:49:55 AM PDT
I have the same problem with our washer. However, it only started about four years ago when we moved. Obviously, the softer water has made a huge difference. I never notice the odor in the washer itself although. My problem is with the actual clothes themselves. Even if I move them immediately to the dryer, they have a soured smell. Any load washed with bleach is fine. I have cleaned the washer with bleach, but it always comes back. It is unrealistic to do this before every load of clothes not using bleach. I will NEVER buy one again.

Posted on Jul 5, 2012, 7:40:38 PM PDT
J. McFarlane says:

Front loading washing machine odors are caused by using too much or the wrong type of soap.

If you have an odor/mildew problem: Clean unit with a washing machine cleaner like Whirlpool Affresh. Adjust your soap usage to no more than 2 TBSP of HE detergent. This should eliminate most odor issues.


In reply to an earlier post on Jul 6, 2012, 5:59:29 AM PDT
Thank you so much - I just purchased afresh and it made a world of difference. I have always used HE detergent, do you recommend a particular brand? Looking forward to fresh smelling laundry!

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012, 6:13:09 AM PDT
L. M. says:
Kimberly, I have the same problem. Here is something I also found one day. There was a sticker that went through the wash and got stuck in the back of the washer between the grooves of it. When I pulled it out it had the dark mildew stuff on it. That is gross. There is no way to get that clean unless you take the machine apart. I paid a lot of $ for my washer and will have to live with it for a while. I am all for saving water but I don't think I will buy another front loader either. Maybe the top loader HE will work well.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012, 3:44:32 PM PDT
J. McFarlane says:
Stacy: I don't have any brand to recommend. My main advice is use a good name brand, HE detergent. Don't buy the cheapest detergent out there. Tide is reputable. My wife and I used Arm and Hammer for a while and loved it. Powdered detergent is less likely to create odor issues than liquid detergent. Finally, don't use too much detergent!!!! Odor and mildew issues are caused by leftover soap and fabric softener. Clean the washer with washer cleaner on the hottest wash selection and adjust your detergent usage to 2 or 3 TBSP of detergent and 1 TBSP of softener. Save some money on detergent and enjoy a better smelling washer too.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012, 3:45:01 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 7, 2012, 3:45:56 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 7, 2012, 4:35:05 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 7, 2012, 4:36:46 PM PDT
J. McFarlane says:
There IS a way to clean your machine without taking your machine apart.

First of all: Odor and mildew are caused from oversoaping (using too much soap). The average front loading machine uses about a quarter of the water a traditional top loading machine used in the past. Many detergent producers continue to recommend using about the same amount of detergent they always have, even though a front loading machine uses far less water. A good rule of thumb is to use half of the lowest recommended amount for an average load of dirty laundry.
The proper amount of detergent to use will vary depending on the hardness of your water (softer water, less detergent) the amount of water your machine actually uses (Bosch machines tend to be very efficient, and the amount of detergent needed more in the 1 to 2 TBSP range) and how dirty your typical load is (If you're washing for a family of active school-age country children your wash is probably going to be much dirtier than if you're washing for a retired couple who live in the city).

Now to cleaning your machine: Purchase Whirlpool Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner. If the rubber gasket has mildew on it, get W10306172. It includes wipes you can use to remove the mildew. Follow the instructions. It will remove all the odor causing buildup and mildew from inside the machine. You may need to do this twice if you have exceptionally heavy buildup. The cleaner will not damage the machine. If you have mildew on the rubber gasket, the tablets alone probably will not remove it.

After cleaning the machine, adjust your detergent usage to no more than 2 or 3 TBSP. If you have really soft water (less than 5 grains) you should use no more than 1 or 2 TBSP of detergent. Hard water (more than 12 grains) adjust you soap 1 TBSP for every 3 grains of hardness.

Also, adjust your softener usage to no more than 1 or 2 TBSP.

This should prevent the odor from recurring. You will probably have to clean the machine about once or twice a year, but you should not have the rank smelling odor and mildew problems you've been experiencing.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 13, 2012, 12:38:17 PM PDT
Cindy says:
I have an Asko. According to them it's a problem of not washing often enough in very hot water. For most of my laundry I use cold or warm water. I switched to washing towels in the hottest water temperature setting and since then never had a problem. I've had a front loader for 13 years. Asko said to just put some detergent in the machine on the hottest temp setting and let it run with nothing in it. That's a solution if you don't like to use very hot water.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 16, 2012, 12:51:53 PM PDT
Suzy Q says:
I'm having the foul odor problem on my towels from my top loading machine. Any suggestions or would the same answers apply from those, regarding the front loading machines?

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 17, 2012, 7:47:40 AM PDT
4u2 says:
I have owned a front loader washer for 10 years and have never had this problem. That is because I always leave the door slightly open when I am done using the machine and I always wipe down the door & rubber seal. Every now and then I also put my washer through a vinegar wash, just like I used to do with my top loader. NO odors in my machine--ever!

Posted on Jul 18, 2012, 7:00:47 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jul 19, 2012, 3:32:15 AM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2012, 8:05:58 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 18, 2012, 8:26:13 PM PDT
J. McFarlane says:
Suzy Q: In general, yes. Because top-loading machines generally use more water than front-loaders, you can use more detergent and softener with them before running into odors problems.
Even so, there really is no normal wash situation that would call for the detergent amount that are recommended at times.
The only exception are High Efficiency top loading machines. If your machine has an agitator, it probably is not a high efficiency machine.
If it is not high efficiency, use anywhere from the lowest recommended amount to the mid-level amount of detergent for your wash. Try to was in the warmest water possible for your load. Washing with all cold or mostly cold washes makes it more likely to has a soap buildup. If you already have an odor problem, purchase Whirlout, a powdered hot tub cleaner, and run two cups of the cleaner in an empty washer with Hot water and a large load setting. That should remove the odor causing sludge from the washer.
Alternatively, you can use the Whirlpool Affresh tablets, but I recommend doubling the amount of tablets for a top loader due to the increased water level.
Finally, save yourself some money and use half the lowest recommended detergent for your towels. Towels tend to be fairly clean when washed, and if excessive soap is used, the detergent doesn't rinse out properly and ends up staying in the towels even after they've been rinsed. If you find your skin is irritated depending on the detergent you use, the real problem is not the detergent so much as using too much. At the end of the wash cycle, your clothing has been rinsed once or twice and should be free from any detergent by then.

In reply to an earlier post on Jul 18, 2012, 8:23:04 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jul 18, 2012, 8:25:10 PM PDT
J. McFarlane says:
Sheepdogma: If I lived close to you, I'd buy your front-loader off of you for a fraction of it's price in a heartbeat. Leaving the door open between cycles and wiping the boot is a band-aid. The real issue is too much detergent or the wrong type of detergent used.
While it is undeniably true that front loaders have had more odor, mildew and washability issues than top-loaders, the problem is less with the front loader than how it is used.
Walk into just about any laundromat and you will see rows of front loading machines. They wouldn't be there if the were prone to having problems or didn't get clothes clean.
Residential washers are required by Uncle Sam to meet certain ennergy requirements. This forces the manufacturers to make machines that use less water and use colder water, among other things. One of the unintended side effects of using less water and colder water is odor, mildew and washability problems due to poor detergent performance.
You and I see a washer that doesn't work, and don't realize there is so much more going on here.
The machines have been getting much better, though, as the soap manufacturers have improved their detergents and the washer manufacturers have tweaked their machines for the new reality. If you bought a machine 10 years ago, the difference between that machine and a brand new one is like the difference between a 1981 Dodge Caravan and a 2012 Dodge Caravan. The industry is improving exponentially.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2012, 3:54:21 AM PDT
I've owned 2 HE washers (the original top load one that is still working 17 yrs later and my son & his wife have) and I have a front load HE washer & dryer I'd purchased new as well 4 years ago. I was forewarned about sour or foul odors that people have experienced and I can honestly say - neither one of my HE washers have smelled at all. I do not close the washer door after the laundry is done for a few hours (I close it when I see the glass door is dry). Also the particular brand of front load washer I have has a "Drain Hose" on the front behind a small plastic door. The installer that delivered & setup/installed showed me the drain hose compartment and there's also a small collection filter for small items or change that could go through the washer & is caught in the filter. He said that if we were going to be either away for an extended period of time, or if there could be the likelihood of the washer being exposed to freezing temps AND as a periodic maintence to just drain the sitting water and cleaning out the filter about every 3 months when I change my furnace/AC filter (unless I see that my son has tissues from allergies that hes left in pockets & they get washed - then I will automatically after finishing all the washing go ahead and drain the water and clean the hard plastic filter. IF your front load washer is equipped with a small drain hose & filter... I would recommend a 5 gallon bucket and a couple of old towels placed in the floor incase of any spillage. The water that drains out is gunky and has SAND too! Once the water completes draining - mine has a dark grey plastic filter that is right above the drain hose. That unscrews out and I take a scrub brush to it with hot water and the #1 brand of grease fighting dish soap to clean the soggy lint or anything else that it has caught instead of going thru the drain hose to the sewer. By letting the washer air dry after its finished with the last load of clothes and periodically draining and cleaning the filter (if your model is equipped with the drain & filter) i have NEVER had one hint of odors or funky smells. And when I do open the washer door the next laundry day it still smells April Fresh :) Good luck!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 3, 2012, 4:04:20 AM PDT
I would leave the lid open on your top load washer after the last load of clothes is finished to let it air out. When I had my top load washer and especially 17 years ago when I got my first HE (no center agitator) I would take an entire box of baking soda and pour into the empty washer tub and then add a quart of white vinegar. Close the washer lid (do not turn the washer on - yet) and let the vinegar & baking soda foam away in the bottom (which vinegar and soda will Ph neutralize anything that's causing the funky smell). Let it sit for at least 1 hour then run 1 Rinse Cycle on HOT... Voile' smell is gone :) HINT: Baking soda and white vinegar are great for cleaning & neutralizing odors from garbage disposals. Then toss 1/2 lemon down the garbage disposal, turn it on and have faucet on a very slow stream of cool water.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 6, 2012, 3:29:25 PM PDT
H. Strong says:
I had the same problem for 2 years I was ready to buy a new washer and then I read online that liquid detergents have a substance that coats the interior of the drum that causes the smell. I started a cycle with white vinegar and removed the smell, then purchased HE detergent in powder form and have never had a problem since. Over 1 year later and odor free, I hope this works for you!!!!!!

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2012, 3:31:12 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 3, 2013, 4:27:42 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2012, 3:33:23 PM PDT
Topgun88 says:
Open just slightly to let the air in.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2012, 3:38:48 PM PDT
[Deleted by the author on Jun 3, 2013, 4:28:09 PM PDT]

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2012, 3:40:13 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Jun 3, 2013, 4:29:23 PM PDT
Topgun88 says:
totally agree! You must use HE soap which seems more expensive but a little goes a long way.

In reply to an earlier post on Aug 10, 2012, 3:42:38 PM PDT
Topgun88 says:
I use Tide Fresh and clean. No Fragrance! It is the white Tide HE container.
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