Thursday, June 25, 2009

What's that smell?

April writing...'s my washing machine...and I HATE it. I love, love, love the smell of clean clothes, towels, sheets, etc. I have a Kenmore Elite HE3 Front Loading Washing Machine. I love it. I think it works great. There's just one little problem.

It stinks.

It smells musty, almost like mold. This really saddens me...because I don't want to put my clothes into something that stinks and try and clean them. Are they really getting clean??

The following is what I am tried (or some variation of these products) Bleach, Baking Soda, Vinegar, HE3 Specialized Washer Cleaner, Borax and even cleaning out the entire washer with a bleach/vinegar/water mixture, including the front rubber panel.

Here's my normal clothes washing routine. Sort Clothes, put load in washer with Liquid Detergent (either Tide or Gain) and add Liquid Fabric Softener (Downy). And Wash. Usually on the pre-determined settings. I am kinda unsure of my normal water temperature...probably warm.

So today I have been doing some MAJOR research on this subject. Here is what I am learning.

There are usually 4 main reasons for the smell:
1. Overuse of liquid detergents (guilty. I add more detergent in an effort to ensure my clothes don't stink. And I have always used liquid detergent.)
2. The use of liquid fabric softener. (again guilty. I love fabric softener. I rarely use the sheets. Guess I will be switching now.)
3. Using mainly cold water for washing. (not sure if I am completely guilty of this, as I said earlier I use the pre-determined setting. Guess I will pay more attention to it.)
4. Non-Use of the appliance. (I would say rarely does my washer sit for more than one week without use, and if it does...the door always stays open.)

Here's some more great advice I found on a forum during my search.

"We have a 5 year hold HE3 and have had ongoing mildew/mold problems and lost MANY towels to this issue...I had Sears out this morning because I have an extended warranty and had a nice long chat with the guy and got the low down.

First of all, he told me what I already knew, (and the only thing Sears will EVER admit to), the problem is really caused by overuse of detergent (especially non-HE detergent) and you should always use about ½ of what they call for even with the HE. BEWARE of HE concentrate--it is even worse. He said you shouldn't really even see suds when the washer is used. Also NEVER use liquid fabric softener. It causes a mucky slimy build up in placed you can’t get to (i.e. insider the outer ring of the inside tub, which would require 3 hours of maintenance to take apart, in the hoses, in the ring by the inner door (which should be cleaned inside and out weekly, as it accumulates mold, socks and other gross things).

Quick Fix: And this is all over the Internet too, get “Washer Magic” but it’s not available locally except for appliance repair stores. Use it 2 times on the hottest setting (Heavy Load, Hot water), one bottle for each load and it “should” clean the inner drum of the machine of any mildew present. Put it in like you would liquid soap. If you use it 1x a month, you pretty much assure yourself of no mildew issues. Expensive fix, though, at $4.99 an application every month.

(April's note - I have used this worked, but only for a short time. Probably because I only did one application and put it in the inside instead of where the soap goes, and then just went right back to my liquid detergent and fabric softener.)

Also, be sure to run a bleach load at least once a week to maintain the machine’s cleanliness.

(April's note - I only do bleach loads MAYBE once every three weeks.)

Then he told me “confidentially” the cleanest machine he ever saw was someone who use PINESOL (not the lemon scent, just the regular) and the machine was super clean. Be careful if you do this, though, as it contains ammonia and you wouldn’t want to do this any time near a bleach load to avoid potentially fatal fumes.

Really, the solution is to get the machine back to “new” condition as best you can and keep it clean from there with little soap and no fabric softener."

So there you have it. What I have come up with, during my research.

My first plan is to go get more Washer Magic and pick up some powder detergent tonight. I will give it a good clean and see what I get!!! If that doesn't completely satisfy my, then I think that I am going to give this stuff a try. It's called Smelly Washer $16.99 per bottle and lasts for a year. All the reviews I am reading are good...and the price is right.

What's your story? Hope this research helps you!!! Let me know!


- Sarah :-) said...

Oh wow - I am TOTALLY guilty. I always use a lot of liquid detergent. I didn't knwo it was abd and I LOVE the smell it leaves on my clothes. I guess I should tone it down a bit, eh? And pinesol... I'll have to give that a shot and mayeb run it on an empty load or something. Good thinking whoever came up with that one!

Brad said...

The most important thing you can do to prevent build-up of mold and mildew is to leave the door open for a while after every use. Many people do not want to do this, but this is the single best way to ensure the interior dries out.

Also, for the maintenance washes, use a half-cup of Cascade Complete powder detergent. The enzymes in the detergent will help to break down any nasties in the drum.

Roof Coatnigs said...

I am totally agree with Brad's opinion. I think he is saying quite right.

Nelly said...

According to my experiences if you can get your garment dry out in the outside, you can not smell anything. And the more fresh air gets inside the apartment the better the smell would be.

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