Stacey-Ann's Blog

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Mold in Front-Load Washing Machines

We bought our new front loading washing machine about 2 years ago.  In the past year I have begun to notice a musty odor coming from the machine.  I have a strong sense of smell so I am always smelling things that nobody else is smelling so I ignored it.  Eventually I begun to notice that the towels in the house also had a musty smell.  I thought that maybe they were not fully dry and then when I folded them damp it was creating that smell.  We would run the dryer cycle 2 sometimes 3 times and nothing seemed to make the towels smell fresh.  Now you can smell the musty smell just by walking into the laundry room.

front load washing machine

 

Imagine my horror when I saw on the news yesterday that these front-loaders appear to have a problem with mold.  The woman doing the story was experiencing the same problems we have and she found that there is mold under the rubber around the door of the machine and behind the soap dispenser.

 

Sure enough, when we checked ours there was mold in all the places she had indicated.  How gross is this!  I am washing the mold INTO my clothes.

 

The woman indicated that she wipes the machine down after every wash with bleach and then leaves the door open until it is completely dry.  What is the point of a washing machine that requires more cleaning maintenance than the clothes I am trying to wash?

 

We did all the recommendations and it still smells.

 

I have been reading more about it today and this is an extremely common problem.  

 

Other suggestions to remove the smell include:

 

 

  • Dismantle the entire washer and clean the drum regularly
  • Cleaning the machine with special cleaners sold at home improvement stores
  • Run the washer empty with bleach
  • Use only HE detergents
  • Use only powder detergents and no liquid fabric softeners
  • Run the washer with boiling water and vinegar
I am now going to implement the different suggestions to hopefully solve this problem.

 I am really annoyed because had I been informed of this I would have never paid MORE money to buy a front loadig washine machine that was going to be so high maintenance.  

 

If you or someone you know would like information about buying, selling, or renting a home in Prince George's, Montgomery,  Charles, Calvert, Anne Arundel, Howard, and/or Baltimore Counties please contact Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh of Century 21 New Millennium.

 

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Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh

Century 21 New Millennium

www.LiveinPGCounty.com

staceyannbaugh@gmail.com

240-481-3565 (C)

202-546-0055 (O)

 

FINALLY!  A DOCTOR WHO MAKES HOUSE-CALLS!

 

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Comment balloon 18 commentsDr. Stacey-Ann Baugh • October 30 2009 05:43PM

Comments

Stacey...

Here in Florida mold is an onging issue. It's not just limited to front loaders. After I do laundry I always run one cycle with nothing but 1 cup of bleach. It keeps the machine from having a mold build up.

Now, if I could just figure out how mold spurs grow on glass, I'd be good to go :)

TLW...ROAR!

Posted by "The Lovely Wife" (Broker Bryantnulls Wife) The One And Only TLW. (President-Tutas Towne Realty, Inc.) almost 9 years ago

Stacey,

Thanks for the blog.  We had to replace our washer a few months ago and my wife really wanted a front loader, but because of the cost, I talked her out of it.  We live in Oregon where it's damp most of the time, so now I can show her your blog and maybe I'll get out of the dog house.

Posted by Gary Swanson (Century 21 Harris & Taylor) almost 9 years ago

Hi Stacey ~ I hadn't heard of this but I do always leave the door open after a wash since I noticed water in the rubber rim.  Hope you get yours straightened out - that's a horrid smell.

Liz

Posted by Elizabeth Bolton, Cambridge MA Realtor (RE/MAX Destiny Real Estate Cambridge, MA) almost 9 years ago

The Lovely Wife - I have never heard of this issue even when I lived in Jamaica.

Gary - definitely show this to your wife and she'll thank you

Liz - we just found tons more mold under the drum

Posted by Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh, A doctor who makes house calls. (Century 21 New Millennium) almost 9 years ago

Dr. Stacey, (First and the last time...then it's back to just Stacey...no disrespect)  We also have a mold problem here in Alabama.  I have a two year old front loader (big bucks) and the rubber seal has some sort of mold issue (it has stained the rubber black and I can not remove it).  I'm going to check out the other areas that you mentioned...by the way I also leave the door open all of the time.  Thanks for this post, I'm sure a lot of people don't know about this.

Posted by Nick T Pappas, Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource (Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Huntsville AL) almost 9 years ago

I have had an LG front loader for two years now and have never had mold. I always leave the door open until it is completely dry after each use.  Also, every now and I use tea tree oil and vinegar and apply around the seals and in the drum and do a load with the same.  Every once in awhile I do take a microfiber towel and wipe around and inside the rubber rim, etc. as mold collecting bits of lint and debris can get stuck in and around the rubber surrounding the drum and doors. 

The biggest culprit, I have been told is to not let damp clothes stay in the washer. The clothes need to be removed as quickly as possible. If one has a front loader and they think that the clothes will stay in the washing machine for more than 15 minutes after the end cycle, schedule it for a different time.

I knew of this problem before I purchased it, but went ahead anyway as I wanted that  steam refreshing cycle, so was prepared. It is perfect for linen and almost any article that you need to have refreshed but not necessarily washed.  Also gets rid of animal hair if your pet gets to close to you on your next way out the door.

Posted by Michelle Viggiano, healthyhomeaz (Four Winds Healthy Home Carpet & Air Duct Cleaning) almost 9 years ago

One more thing, a great retail product to use to address the odor and refresh the situation is called Bac-Out by biokleen.  It is a plant based product with live enzyme cultures that is very effective. You could also use a bit of it during each washing cyle for awhile as well. I have used it for many types of situations and it is a wonderful non-toxic, effective solution..

Posted by Michelle Viggiano, healthyhomeaz (Four Winds Healthy Home Carpet & Air Duct Cleaning) almost 9 years ago

To Michelle-thank you for your input, I will give that a try.  Not sure that I would have known about any of this without Stacey and your help...much appreciated.

Posted by Nick T Pappas, Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource (Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Huntsville AL) almost 9 years ago

Stacey, back again, I checked my front loader....yuck!!!...I found mold and nasty stuff in places I didn't know existed.  Just ran an empty cycle with bleach...that helped, but there's still two years worth of cleaning to catch up with.  Now it seems I have something new to warn clients about that try to negotiate a washer & dryer into the deal!

Posted by Nick T Pappas, Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource (Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Huntsville AL) almost 9 years ago

Nick - please do not calll me Dr. Stacey again :-)  This is the grossest thing I have dealt with in awhlle.  I have had several recommendations from friends including Affresh, smellywasher.com, and something called Oil of Cloves.  Apparently, bleach only masks the smell but does not actually clean the mold.  Apparently, the real culprits are using too much detergent (we need less than what the bottle recommends), using liquid detergents and fabric softeners, and not using hot water.  Good luck.  I am off to get Affresh now.

Posted by Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh, A doctor who makes house calls. (Century 21 New Millennium) almost 9 years ago

Michelle - I will check out that Bac Out product - thanks for the suggestion.

Posted by Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh, A doctor who makes house calls. (Century 21 New Millennium) almost 9 years ago

Great info to share with buyers who are considering front loader purchases! Sounds like forwarned is forearmed ( and a great reason to do web research ;-) )

I haven't gone to a front loader yet as my other w/d are still too new and in great shape but I'll take this advise and Michelle's and file it away for future reference!

Posted by SarahGray Lamm, Realtor - 100K Hours of NC Real Estate Experience (Allen Tate Realtors Chapel Hill, NC 919-819-8199 ) almost 9 years ago

Stacey-Ann - That is awful, and something I was not aware of.  I still have my top loader, now I'm wondering when it comes to replacing it, if I want a front loader?  Good luck, I hope you can resolve this issue.  Please come back and let us know what worked for you!

Posted by Mary Douglas, REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado (United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado) almost 9 years ago

Sarah & Mary - I had never heard of this either.  I don't know that I would buy a front loader again knowing all this.  I was able to clean it and it smells much better so hopefully it will be ok.

Posted by Dr. Stacey-Ann Baugh, A doctor who makes house calls. (Century 21 New Millennium) almost 9 years ago

This is the first i've heard of this, and appreciate the head's up.  I'm glad you found out what wa causing the odor was and hopefully some of these solutions will work for you. 

Posted by Diane Rice, SFR, SRES, CNC ( Rice Prprty Mgmnt & Rlty, LLC, South Holland, IL) almost 9 years ago

Stacey, thanks for the additional info and here's a little infor for you.  If you have a tooth ache, to ease the pain before you can get into see your dentist...put just a little oil of cloves on the end of a Q-tip and lightly swab the area of the tooth that is giving you problems...this will ease the ache.  I worked in the dental field for several years, so I'm speaking from experience.  Caution: don't use too much as the taste is rather strong!

Maybe we should start a home remedy/cure all group...except that one probably exists already.

Posted by Nick T Pappas, Madison & Huntsville Alabama Real Estate Resource (Assoc. Broker/Broker ABR, CRS, SFR, e-Pro, @Homes Realty Group, @HomesBirmingham & Providence Property Mgmnt, LLC Huntsville AL) almost 9 years ago

Hi Stacey-Ann - I'm hoping you found the cure - I have been thinking about this from time to time since I first read your post.

Posted by Mary Douglas, REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado (United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado) almost 9 years ago

Hi Stacey-Ann!

I wanted to come by and say hi and let you know how much I enjoy your posts!

This is really gross!

Posted by Lesley Burton-Dallas, Environmental Consultant (Turtle Clan Global) over 8 years ago

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