Announcement

Consumer Reports will be performing site maintenance on the community until approximately 2:00 p.m. Eastern Time on Tuesday, March 25, 2014. The forums are open for you to view, but you cannot post new content during this time.

We thank you for your patience as we prepare to roll out our new forums.

Forums

Discussion: Washers > Smelly Washer
15 of 45
John, we have had a Maytag Epic Z for about three weeks and are pleased with its performance.  But I am now concerned that we may be using too much detergent.  You recommended amounts to use with softened water.  We use tap water which is moderately hard.  How much detergent should we use? (We currently use Kirkland Ultra 2x)
Message 137.16 was deleted
17 of 45
Stillwater...I purchased a Kitchen Aid Superba (now May Tag Epic ) washer/dryer combination over two years ago, and rarely have I experienced a stale smell (never experienced mold).  Yes, after doing washing I do leave the washer door ajar overnight.  You may want to try adding some OXICLEAN to every cycle...I think this will help.  As you know OXYCLEAN has the oxygen effect due to the hydrogen peroxide.  I have done no other cleaning of the washing machine...yes, an occasional cleaning of the rubbber seal and the dispenser trays, but nothing else.  Try some Oxyclean.
18 of 45

Amen!  Manufacturers (in our case Whirlpool/Maytag) need to take responsibility.  We purchased a Whirlpool front loader, Duet GHW9100LW in May 2004, driven by a desire to reduce the number of wash loads through the larger drum capacity that allowed us to reduce energy and water costs.  Within six to eight months our clothes took on a musty smell.  Whirlpool's recommendation to use hot water, multiple rinses and bleach cycles helped but did not eliminate the odor.  While performing Whirlpool's recommended periodic maintenance we discovered the growth of black mold in the sealing gasket, drain and in the detergent dispenser.  We have gone back and forth with Whirlpool for a number of years with the company taking the position that we are not maintaining the washer and my maintaining the washer contains a design defect and, had we known we were required to perform this level of maintenance, and the use of bleach, hot water, multiple rinse cycles, and special powders and tablets, we would not have purchased it.  All these "add ons" have far outweighed any water/energysavings and have done nothing, I'm sure, to reduce  polution levels.

Prospective buyers would be well advised to check "front loading washer odor" on 'Google". Unfortunately we were too late.  The forums containing complaints of mold and odor in these machines and reports of manufacturers turning a deaf ear is mind boggling.  Do the problems expressed by enough "customers" constitute the basis of a class action suit?

 

19 of 45

Your frustration is understandable.

Instead of asking about lawsuits--it would help readers of this forum to know your user habits.

What type of detergent was used and what amount.

This is so important-- most consumers are unaware---that this is the leading cause of musty / mildew odors and / black stains on the door gasket.

Do you have a well? Or chlorinated water?

Manufacturers are not helping matters much by having undertrained / underpaid Customer Service Representatives. 

Most forums--such as GardenWeb--are overflowing with complaints and *few* real solutions. Therefore, this leaves the impression that washer owners are doing NOTHING WRONG--the washer must be defective and the manufacturer continues to build a broken product,etc etc. 

The list of PO'd people keeps growing and growing with no end in sight.

Eventually someone suggests a class-action lawsuit---which is again understandable--but only serves to *enrich* the lawyers. Consumers receive little or nothing.

Using the correct type and amount of detergent has enabled the majority of consumers to use and enjoy their front washers. Sales keep growing year-over-year. Clearly not EVERYONE is experiencing odor.

Even HYBRID automobiles require an oil / filter change---and all of the other typical maintenance requirements.

 

20 of 45

Well, after reading this thread, and others, it's clear that I made a mistake in purchasing a front-loader. I had been seduced by the idea of being more efficient (water-wise and energy-wise), and instead, I got

1. Have to clean out gasket after every load
2. Have to leave door open (basically all of the time) to dry out washer
3. Have to pull out detergent dispenser tray to dump standing water (which, in my case also involves removing the half of the bifold door).
4. Have to buy other products just to clean washer, and run extra empty loads do to that.
5. Have to do lots of other unspecified maintenance, none of which is covered in my owner's manual.
6. More loads than with my top loader due to smaller capacity.

versus, with a top-loader

1. Nothing.

Gee, and people wonder why I don't read Consumer Reports any more.

21 of 45

Exercise free-will. Sell the front loader if you do not wish to continue using it. Buy a top load washer to replace it.

Using the correct amount of HE detergent is the leading cause of *non-smelly* washers.

 

Edited 11/27/08   by  John_Shipkowski
22 of 45
And how are we supposed to know that using the correct amount of detergent fixes these problems?  It certainly isn't mentioned in my manual, and I read it twice looking sepcifically for that information.  You've provided a great deal of highly useful information, but how is the average consumer supposed to get to it?

It sounds to me like the whole FL fiasco is a class-action waiting to happen.  If the manufacturers built their equipment properly, and documented everything that you need to do (correct amount of detergent, wipe the gasket, leave the door open, dump standing water out of detergent tray), then maybe not, but to me it seems like they are hiding the fact that their supposedly wonderful machines aren't all that they are cracked up to be.  People by FLs with the expectation that they will be as maintenance free as a TL, and that is Simply Not True.
23 of 45

<<<And how are we supposed to know that using the correct amount of detergent fixes these problems?>>>

************

Have you tried It ?? The correct amount of HE detergent will prevent gobs of soap scum from accumulating.

************ 

<<<It certainly isn't mentioned in my manual, and I read it twice looking sepcifically for that information.>>>>

************

A lot of information in the owner manual was lacking at first. S-l-o-w-l-y but surely--more and more info is being added into the manuals in current and future models. Too slow for my taste--but it's improving. 

*************

<<<You've provided a great deal of highly useful information, but how is the average consumer supposed to get to it?>>>

**************

It has been my hope that those reading it on this consumer forum will not only become better informed---but pass it on to relatives / friends / co-workers / neighbors etc.

**************

<<<It sounds to me like the whole FL fiasco is a class-action waiting to happen.>>>

**************

Perhaps--but you'd be "Barking Up The Wrong Tree" with the manufacturers. It's the DETERGENT INDUSTRY with their *incorrect* detergent useage instructions on the bottle / box of laundry detergent.



 

 

Edited 11/27/08   by  John_Shipkowski
24 of 45
Well, thanks for the information, but I think I've made my decision, and that is to bail out of this disaster-waiting-to-happen (while I can still return the unit) and go with what I know works and works well.  Maybe someday the equipment manufacturers and the soap people will get their acts together, but I suspect that it will take multiple lawsuits before that ever happens.

Based on your experience, can you recommend a good top-loader?
Edited 11/26/08   by  Michael_Shaddock
25 of 45
Speed Queen top load washers are very durable. For those looking to get a non-digital controls type washer--these have none at all.
26 of 45

That would be good, except that there aren't any dealers within 75 miles of my home ...

What about the Kenmore Elite Oasis or the Whirlpool Cabrio? CR rates the Cabrio highly, but then they rank the Frigidaire GLTF2940 as a best buy, and it's clear from other threads that that is questionable. I saw these two at Sears, and they seemed very sturdy (and I was amused that salesman was aghast that anyone with an FL would consider "downgrading" to a TL - "The worst front loader is better than best top loader").

Message 137.27 was deleted
28 of 45

Purchased a fron loading Whirlpool Duet Steam washer & Dryer here.

6+ months and ZERO problems!! No I don't work for Whirlpool.

Replaced a GE profile washer & Dryer. 1/4 the water & 1/4 the electricity. Love it!

I don't get what all the fuss is with most of the front loaders. I love ours and I can guarntee you they do a much better job cleaning the clothes.

Robert McHenry

Concord NH

 

 

29 of 45

Quite frankly I had forgotten about this forum until seeing the latest CR "Lab Test".  I'm sorry I didn't respond to you sooner. I'd also like to find out more about "recent lawsuits alleging mold problems ...", but let me answer your questions:

What type of detergent was used and what amount.  GAIN HE, but less than the amount recommended by GAIN due to production of excessive suds

This is so important-- most consumers are unaware---that this is the leading cause of musty / mildew odors and / black stains on the door gasket.

Do you have a well? Or chlorinated water?  City water with a Kinetico softener

Manufacturers are not helping matters much by having undertrained / underpaid Customer Service Representatives. 

Most forums--such as GardenWeb--are overflowing with complaints and *few* real solutions. Therefore, this leaves the impression that washer owners are doing NOTHING WRONG--the washer must be defective and the manufacturer continues to build a broken product,etc etc. 

The list of PO'd people keeps growing and growing with no end in sight.

Eventually someone suggests a class-action lawsuit---which is again understandable--but only serves to *enrich* the lawyers. Consumers receive little or nothing.

Using the correct type and amount of detergent has enabled the majority of consumers to use and enjoy their front washers. Sales keep growing year-over-year. Clearly not EVERYONE is experiencing odor.

Even HYBRID automobiles require an oil / filter change---and all of the other typical maintenance requirements.

The smell is only part of the problem.  There's the mold growth that's more distressing, frightening and hopefully not dangerous.  To combat mold growth we have periodically run cycles with bleach, we have cleaned the seals with bleach, vinegar and household cleaners.  I have cleaned the discharge filter.  We've had a plumber snake the drain line (just in case there was a blockage causing a backup into the machine) and check the discharge hose.  At Whirlpool's direction we strictly use hot water and double rinse every wash load.  I raised the water heater temp to such a high level we must be careful using faucets throughout the house.  Very hot water and multiple rinses defeats the reasons/purpose of buying this washer.  For the odor we bought an additive on-line called "Smelly Washer" and now use Whirlpool's "Affresh HE" powder monthly.  By the way, doesn't the fact Whirlpool is selling an additive speak volumes about there being a problem?   We leave the washer door open and remove the dispenser when washing is done.  The clothes still smell and the mold, while not as prevalent, is still present.  Special cleaning is still required.

Since Whirlpool is obviously not interested in addressing these issues I'm left with limited options.  Like you told another blogger, I can exercise my free right to get rid of this junk.  But now with Maytag part of Whirlpool I was begrudgingly considering buying something manufactured off-shore until I was advised by LG via email that their machines did not require special maintenance but now read they obviously suffer from the same problems.  Anyway, a front loader is a front loader is a front loader

I hope someone from Whirlpool is reading or following this thread or you work for Whirlpool since obviously I am not alone in experiencing problems and pursuing legal recourse.  In this case I won't mind enriching a lawyer.

In closing, I'm well aware that all motor vehicles require routine maintenance but purchase  vehicles knowing those requirements, not looking for surprises. 

 

30 of 45

I believe there is growing concern among subscribers about Consumer Reports.  This forum on front-loading washers provides an excellent example.  It appears that once the people at Consumer Reports have formed an opinion, i.e. front-loaders are good, nothing will change their minds.  Since these washing machines are "good",  then all the subscribers who complain must obviously be wrong.  The condescending attitude is that the consumers are not  using the right detergent, the right water.........or they are not cleaning the appliance  properly...........or drying it properly etc. etc. etc.  Consumer Reports, on the other hand, will not back down from their original assessments no matter how many subscribers disagree with those recommendations.  This makes many people quite upset as it readily appears that Consumer Reports is no longer taking their subscribers' honest concerns seriously. 

And in addition, the flip comment to just "exercise freewill" to the blogger who stated that she wasn't reading Consumer Reports anymore....was not called for, especially on a blog that could be read by potential subscribers.

Perhaps it would be wise and prudent to have the editorial department review staff comments on this blog before such remarks are sent out into cyberspace and possibly and unintentionally offend some of  your readers.

31 of 45

Front loading-washers are dangerous, perhaps even lethal! 

Did you realize that if a child climbs into a front-loading washer, and if someone accidentally starts the machine...the door will lock and you can't open it until the wash cycle stops??  Not only that, but the glass in the door is so thick and so strong, I don't believe you could break it to release any child caught inside.  I would rate front-loading washing machines as completely "unacceptable" based solely on their potential to harm children.  I am surprised,  perplexed and dismayed that Consumer Reports has not come to this same conclusion.

32 of 45

>>Did you realize that if a child climbs into a front-loading washer, and if someone accidentally starts the machine...the door will lock and you can't open it until the wash cycle stops?? 

 

....they do have an electrical plug don't they?

 

Edited 3/1/09   by  howard_lester
33 of 45

Perhaps they haven't rated them as completely unacceptable because what you've said simply isn't true.

I have a front loader and three children (although only one of them is small). Even if my daughter managed to contort herself into the machine, there'd be no way for her to close the door on herself - it has no handle.

Assuming two children were involved and one climbed in and the other managed to get it going (requiring that the door be closed and that multiple buttons be pushed), then it is simply not true that it cannot be stopped; most new machines have a pause button that allows the door to be opened at any point during the load. It may take a second or two, but you'll hear two clicks and the door will unlock.

Honestly, I don't see why this risk is any different than any  other major appliance. A child could climb into an oven and be cooked by another child as well; that doesn't mean we don't use them. A child can be badly burned by an iron, and yet we use those. Houses are built with stairs. Young children require close supervision to prevent them from being harmed.

34 of 45

Yes, they do have an electrical plug.  But I would still have two concerns.

1.  Is there easy access to the plug in case of an emergency?

2.  Does simply turning off the electricity actually unlock the door?

From what I have read, these are very heavy machines and are sometimes

bolted to the floor because they shake so much.  If the plug was located behind

the washer near the floor, it might not be possible to reach it during an emergency.

Also, I really do not know if unplugging it would allow the door to open.