Sign of the times. HE washing machine odor

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice, Tips & ' started by jimbo, Aug 12, 2012.

  1. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    I believe that on this forum and elsewhere, the subject of odor in new ( HE ) washing machines has come up. Plumbers may even get a service call, with the homeowner thinking it is a drain problem.

    Notice that TIDE and others now sell a dedicated WASHING MACHINE CLEANER product! Imagine that...you have to WASH your washing machine!

    The manufactures more or less concede the issue. The problem is they don't use enough water to rinse all the dirt and residue out of the machine, and front loaders because they are sealed get mold/mildew on the door seal.
  2. chefwong

    chefwong New Member

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    Soap is the issue as well.
    Front loaders do need front loading *less sudsing* detergent. I even cut my down by 1/3 even when using HE.

    It's also good practice to run more frequent HOT washers with bleach and a heavy load with front loaders. This helps to get maximum water fill to clean as much as the *tub* as possible.

    A forethought, as some machines are semi-tweakable, like my Miele, but if you can get in the service menu, increase as much water usage as you can IMO
  3. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

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    I have heard of people using white Vinegar for the problem.

    You can not get something for nothing and HE appliances are no exception.

    I will stick with old school. It works very well if you can keep your Tit out of the ringer.
  4. Chad Schloss

    Chad Schloss Member

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    i've has zero problems with my LG washer. 6 years now and no smell. I make sure to drain the water from the little hose at the bottom of the machine and clean the filter 2x a year and I make the last load that I wash whites with bleach.

    If people would do a 'tub clean' cycle as indicated in the owner's manual (a wash with bleach only) this would be a non issue. This is just another marketing ploy to make some money.
  5. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    My wife uses one of these. Never have had any odor problems.


    washboard.jpg
  6. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    This isn't really a problem unless the user doesn't pay attention or the installation is a poor one. First and foremost rule is leave the HE front loader's detergent tray and door open between loads. This allows is to dry out. You can also do the tub cleaning cycle (my wife has done it once. I haven't, instead just checking/draining the drain filter basket once or twice a year.) My in-laws don't even leave the doors open and theirs seems to do fine. If the location of the washer is such that leaving the doors open is a problem, then I wouldn't recommend a front loader.

    As I've related before the old style top loaders could develop a bad odor as well. I had that problem with a top loader when I lived in Georgia and the utility room was outdoors. A load was forgotten for a day or two once in mid-summer...and that washing machine stunk to high heaven despite various high temp & vinegar washes, mildewcide, etc. I finally cured it by disassembling the tub and connecting hoses and cleaning wetted surfaces by hand. An HE front loader would likely find this sort of outdoor install challenging in a humid & hot climate.

    However, the lower volume of water used in an HE means that the resultant washing temp (at least on "hot") is lower because there is a higher mass ratio of tub and clothes to water. Additionally, there is the not inconsequential dead volume of cold water in the pipe. That can make for less effective mildew killing where it is being relied on in hot loads. I doubt this matters much on "warm" because there is some temp. control being done. So for "hot" wash runs it is best to run a nearby tap until the line warms, then start the load. Additionally, there is usually an option for extra water and/or an extra rinse.

    If the towels aren't coming out sufficiently fresh from the washer in hot loads, kick up the water heater temp 5 F or so (assuming it isn't limited by a tempering valve at the water heater.)

    Our LG front loader is three and a half years old, in-laws Maytag front loader is about 6 years old. I don't miss the old top loader at all. And I like the savings on water/sewer and electric (primarily drying cost which doesn't show in the yellow sticker) from the HE. In fact, I'm at about break even on the cost of the washer with utility savings already.
  7. chefwong

    chefwong New Member

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    Vinegar AFAIK is not good on the rubber in the washer.

    I'm not sure on the various makes, but on mine, just to keep things in check, we run the whites on custom Extra Hot. In the *custom* setting, hot or extra hot, the water is maintained via the washers heater
  8. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

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    My Samsung has a silver ion disinfection option (it's supposedly good for about 1000 washes before you disolve the whole silver bar and have to replace it)...I run that on towels and underwear. It's supposed to kill close to 100% of bacteria and mold spores. I also leave the door open during the last dryer cycle, or overnight, whichever is required to ensure things are dry inside. It spins fast enough so that there's little moisture left except right around the door and seal and with that open, it dries pretty quickly. So far, it's odor free.
  9. chefwong

    chefwong New Member

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    Unfortunately, there are probably alot more *gunky* washers that one will probably ever know. Take a bright flashlight, peel back the rubber gasket and then shine it around the drum. The telltale sign would be the very minute you peel back the gasket, but also looking at the outer drum to see whether it's full of black buildup or not. One would never know just by looking at the gasket from the *front view*.
  10. Cookie

    Cookie .

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    People just don't realize how badly they stink.

    So, if hot water isn't used frequently enough, and some care given to the machine, bacteria & mold will grow. Tide is profitting by people's ignorance, which is huge.

    You just can't wash in cold water all the time, not clothing or your body. Once in a while, you got to care more and use hot water. Some makes require it more than others, like the way the front loaders are made.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2012
  11. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    Same, here ed zachery. For what ed zachery means, you can Google it.

    But, my wife does buy and use that product I think is called Affresh every so often. MY LG front loader is now 4 years old, no stinko.
  12. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    Who turns the crank on yours Don?:p
  13. Chad Schloss

    Chad Schloss Member

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    "For what ed zachery means, you can Google it."

    I used to knew ed zachery :) I also knew some ting wong years ago :)
  14. Hairyhosebib

    Hairyhosebib New Member

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    I have an LG front loader. First year model. I leave the door open. There is a lip in the door gasket. If you pull it forward at the bottom there is all kinds of gunk that builds up there. I have thought about getting a spray bottle that will spray a fine stream and filling it with bleach and water.
  15. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    What was the first model year of the LG?

    My LG has a drain hole in the door gasket, probably to prevent what you are seeing. The instructions say to wipe the gasket, but we stopped doing it when we realized it wasn't necessary. Leaving the door open has been sufficient.
  16. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

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    I do not use Bleach in my washer.

    I worked on washers for years and see the harm that bleach can do.

    People are getting lazy now a days.

    Many people are lucky to be able to waste water, when many have none to drink.

    My grandmother started out washing in the river.

    The water was cold but she had no mold.
  17. BobL43

    BobL43 DIY Senior Member

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    Don, your a poet and you know it. Just make sure to be careful of that wringer.

    Bison, my 2009 LG also has the notch in the fasket, but my wife does wipe it dry and leaves the door open too. When we first bought these machines, there wer lots of complaint on the Internet about the smell, and how to avoid it. We listened, and it works. But still, my wife uses the Affresh anyway.
  18. DonL

    DonL Out of the Trades

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    Your Wife is smarter than most. You must have trained her well. We know she is the boss tho.

    I got my arm in a wringer when I was small 5 years old or about, helping to wring out socks, guess I did not know when to let go.

    My Mother had to hit the ringer release after it sucked me in, and the roller was spinning close to my shoulder and I was bleeding. My mother never let me help wash clothes after that, Well until I got older, then I had to dry them too.

    I have always used a top loader because seeing the Cats go Round and Round would make me dizzy.

    I don't know how Cookie can do it.
  19. jimbo

    jimbo Plumber

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    Your signature thingy is on the blink....it says Mozilla/Netscape 5, and I am on IE
  20. Runs with bison

    Runs with bison Member

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    We had an old wringer in the dairy barn when I was a kid. I did some of the disinfecting and milker cleaning at the time. Loved to play with the wringer when it was time to dry the wash rags. I don't recall having it anymore when I was a teen.
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