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Thread: Sign of the times. HE washing machine odor

  1. #1
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Default Sign of the times. HE washing machine odor

    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. #2
    DIY Senior Member chefwong's Avatar
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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. #3
    Jack of all trades DonL's Avatar
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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.
    Theory only works perfect in a vacuum.

    Cyber Security Protection for Windows C:\ > WWW.WinForce.Net

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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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. #5
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    My wife uses one of these. Never have had any odor problems.


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    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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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. #7
    DIY Senior Member chefwong's Avatar
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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. #8
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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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.
    Jim DeBruycker
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    DIY Senior Member chefwong's Avatar
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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. #10

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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 by Cookie; 08-13-2012 at 07:02 AM.

  11. #11
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chad Schloss View Post
    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.
    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.
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  12. #12
    DIY Senior Member BobL43's Avatar
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    Who turns the crank on yours Don?
    I am definitely not a pro plumber, but I am a pro crastinator

  13. #13
    DIY Senior Member Chad Schloss's Avatar
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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. #14
    DIY Senior Member Hairyhosebib's Avatar
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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. #15
    DIY Senior Member Runs with bison's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hairyhosebib View Post
    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.
    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.

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