Funky Smell in "Freshly Washed" clothes

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by homeowner, Aug 13, 2006.

  1. homeowner

    homeowner New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Location:
    Danielson, Connecticut
    The 20-year old washer died on us. The new one I bought is one of the new Kenmore HE4T front-loader High Capacity HE washers. Really great washer. Sounds like the booster engine on a cruise missile when it starts to wind up for its spin cycle. I think the old washer used as much as 42 gallons per load. This one uses something like 14.

    The very best news is the load it takes off my septic system. NO MORE damp or soggy soil in the front yard ever since I got the new washer.

    The Bad: My clothes smell like old vomit. Yeah. When I grab a "clean" polo shirt or T-Shirt and pull it over my head, I can smell a funky smell. My wife said she probably needs to change her fabric softener. I tend to think that no one sells fabric softener that smells like that so I'm not persuaded that this will be the fix. Does anyone know what might cause this? I'm wondering if the very low amount of water used to clean clothes in these HE washers results in clothes that end up smelling, . . uhhh, different.
     
  2. jwaldman97

    jwaldman97 New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 11, 2006
    I've noticed the same thing with our front loader. After switching soaps it's still there. I dunno??
     
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  4. Mike50

    Mike50 DIY Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jan 8, 2006
    Location:
    Southern California
    I have no idea-but I would add baking soda to your wash...
     
  5. Pewterpower

    Pewterpower New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Occupation:
    sales
    Location:
    Tampa
    We've noticed the same thing about the smell. It's not a bad smell, or a vomit smell, just not like the old washer.
    It also seems like it takes alot longer to do a load of clothes, too.
     
  6. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Joined:
    Oct 20, 2005
    Location:
    New Hampshire
    Nothing smells as good as sheets and pillow cases dried outdoors on the clothes line. My objective is to have outdoor dried sheets at least once a month, even in the winter. Try it; you'll like it.
     
  7. alleycat

    alleycat New Member

    Joined:
    Oct 29, 2004
    Location:
    Illinois
    we have a kenmore front loader, and ours smells too - I assume it is my well water, which is very hard and has lots of manganese. Every once in a while, I put vinegar in the little rinse cup, and sometimes I run it through a cycle on hot water with a 1/2 cup of baking soda and just a towel in the tub. That seems to help. Also, the rubber ring around the opening can get some nasty crud inside it, so try pushing the ring in and cleaning behind it. And I think I read somewhere that powdered detergent may gunk it up more than liquid.
    hope some of this helps.
     
  8. Mikey

    Mikey Aspiring Old Fart, EE, computer & networking geek

    Joined:
    Nov 8, 2005
    Occupation:
    Consumer
    Location:
    Hansville, Washington
    We've had the He4t combo for a little over a year now. I don't have a bad funky smell, but I agree that the clothes aren't as fresh smelling as they were in our old $300 washer :( . Thoughts: My suspicion is that any funkiness that might be there is amplified by the smaller amount of water. Also, if there's any funkiness in the water, that will be similarly amplified. It's important to get the clothes out of the washer ASAP. My wife left a load of her stuff in the washer for a couple of days and had to throw everything away it was so bad. Also, you have to leave the washer door open between loads or the smell gets awful inside. Bleach helps -- the problem isn't as bad with whites. Second rinse helps. There are a couple of forums on the Internet devoted to the He4T -- the reviews are mixed. I'll bet people with great water love them, those with marginal water have the kinds of problems you and I see.
     
  9. stowasser

    stowasser New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Something we found out when talking with an old appliance salesman/repair person-is that the front loading washer that are coming out on the market are not cleaning the clothes as well as the old spin ones. Remember ring around the collar ads, well its back! He said something about it not spinning with the agitator that it doesn't clean as well. Sounds like what he was saying is true!
     
  10. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Occupation:
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    Some early front loading machines had problem w/ mildewed seals if the doors were always closed and it couldn't air out. Maybe do an empty wash w/ A LOT of bleach and then leave door open between washes. See if it helps.

    Jason
     
  11. Pewterpower

    Pewterpower New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 25, 2006
    Occupation:
    sales
    Location:
    Tampa
    Good idea, but "homeowner" is talking about a brand new machine. Mine is only about a year old, and so is Mikey's. I'm leaning towards the "not as much water" theory.
     
  12. Cass

    Cass Plumber

    Joined:
    Nov 12, 2005
    Location:
    Ohio
    I have a Maytag and here is what I do for the smell. I add about 1 tablespoon or less of bleach into the bleach resoivoir for each load. This eliminates it. If I don't we do get the funky smell. I also noticed that in the summer more than winter if the clothes sit in the washer for any lenght of time before they go into the dryer that the funky smell gets worse and can get down right rank if they sit over night.
     
  13. Gouranga

    Gouranga Software Engineer

    Joined:
    May 10, 2006
    Occupation:
    Software Engineer
    Location:
    Gaston County, NC
    My wife started putting a little of that "Borax" stuff in with each load in our machine and that stuff cleared out ANY smell from the clothes. Now we do have an OLD machine not a new one but it may be worth a try.
     
  14. geniescience

    geniescience Homeowner

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    Occupation:
    ditto
    Location:
    humid summers hot, humid winters cold
    Needs little soap

    i use hardly any soap at all now that i have a front loader.

    i have also used bleach off and on. A bit.

    i have not smelt anything wrong. Nothing. I do leave the door open an inch. Makes sense to dry out the little bit of moisture left in the machine between washes.

    David
     
  15. silverfox

    silverfox Like to build Frank Lloyd Wright Houses

    Joined:
    Aug 7, 2006
    Occupation:
    Designer/Builder
    Location:
    Wisconsin
    wow....I was thinking of getting one of those cool front loaders. That's what I use right now when I go to the laundromat. Those work GREAT there. My washer and dryer is the old whirlpool agitator but it's moved out of the laundry room during this remodel. After hearing the many people complaining about the smell.....guess I'll pass on the new washer idea.
    Mike
     
  16. cols

    cols New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    Maytag had a "kit" to fix this problem ...... again, it's a shame DH isn't here...(I'm at work)....He's a major appliance service technician.
    I do know that he tells customers to
    ~use HE detergent
    ~use at least warm and preferable hot water, at least for your towels
    ~make sure you don't leave the wash load in the machine ... get it outa there as soon as you can
    ~I run "vinegar" loads to "clean out" my machine
    ~Use a little bleach, esp with towel loads

    It is a problem inherent in the front loaders. ;)
     
  17. Lakee911

    Lakee911 I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)

    Joined:
    Aug 23, 2005
    Occupation:
    I&C Engineer (mostly WWTP)
    Location:
    Columbus, OH
    I wonder if we should compile a db for those who have problems...maybe we can figure it out?

    Make
    Model
    Year Purchased
    Smell?
    Corrective action?
     
  18. cols

    cols New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 13, 2006
    :eek: EEK !!!! No, No !!! Don't do that. I NEVER have a smelly issue with my Maytag Neptune. It's the best piece of equipment I own. I'm talkin' of ALL the tools I use (and believe me, I have some "prized possessions)
    They are water efficient/detergent effecient and energy efficient. PLUS you tell me what other AW you can stick 22 feet of yacht braid rope into with no problems AND it comes out sparkling clean. I think everyone should own a Neptune ! ;)
     
  19. homeowner

    homeowner New Member

    Joined:
    May 13, 2006
    Location:
    Danielson, Connecticut

    In spite of the smell, I Strongly recommend the modern HE front-load washers. Mine uses 1/3rd the amount of water as my old (circa 1985) washer and it cleans 3 times as many clothes per load. If you do the math, that works out to using only 1/9th the amount of water for laundry. That took a Huge load off the leach field - which was my dominant consideration.

    I was surprised by all the replies that have had the same issue, though. My thought is that like any other engineering problem, this one has a cause and a solution. Just a matter of determining what the solution is. I do have "high turbidity" in my water supply. I have to change my whole house filter once every 2-3 weeks or I start getting orange water out of my faucets.

    I'll start with leaving the washer door open, cleaning the rubber seal frequently, and running a little bleach through with some cleaning rags to see what happens. Changing fabric softener did not stop the problem.
     
  20. geniescience

    geniescience Homeowner

    Joined:
    Nov 27, 2005
    Occupation:
    ditto
    Location:
    humid summers hot, humid winters cold
    I agree it will likely be the gunk in your water that is the root of the evil smell. In your water conditions, whatever soap and enzyme works best - a good track to follow.

    david
     
  21. Atlantic Canadian

    Atlantic Canadian New Member

    Joined:
    Aug 20, 2006
    Hi. First post, although I have been lurking here a while.

    We have had a front-loading Kenmore clothes washer for several years. We were plagued last summer and this spring by an increasingly-intense mildew problem. In addition to the pervasive odour in the laundry room, it added an unpleasant smell to our clothes if we neglected to take them out of the washing machine right after the cycle was finished.

    I had to call a Sears repairman in early July (the pump was jammed by a bobby pin and a hair elastic). He told me the odour problem is very common on these washers. His recommendations: use half of the recommended amount of HE soap, periodically remove the soap/bleach/softener drawer and clean out behind it, and run bleach or vinegar through the washer once a week.

    We followed his advice and the problem has disappeared. Bonus: we're using half the amount of soap and still getting clean clothes. :)
     
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