SHOP BY DEPARTMENT
stockwatch_gw

Front Loader Washer = No Mold; Does One Exist

stockwatch
11 years ago

I think I finally have gotten tired of looking at the mold around the gasket of our Whirlpool Duet that we purchased at Lowes back in 2007. I have talked with Lowes about replacing the gasket (as many of you all know, it is apparently not under warranty) and figure with the costs to repair, I might as well buy a replacement (yes, I have tried blease, Affresh, etc. to no avail).

The world has changed with much more marketing gizmos and an abundances of other suppliers.

Question for all of my wise forum family members.

Have you found a front load washer that survives the no mold test or is this just a pipe dream?

The salesman at sears told me that in his "expert" opinion, Samsung model that happened to also be the most expensive does the trick. You just need to remember to keep the door cracked.

Comments (69)

  • livebetter
    11 years ago

    OT but ..

    water softeners in dishwashers are gimmicky?

    If the water is soft (i.e. does not contain calcium particles), the detergent will work more effectively and there will be less streaking on dishes. Hard water can also block the washer jets with lime scale and cause deposits on heating elements, which will reduce the cleaning efficiency, increase electricity costs and shorten the life of the machine.

  • sshrivastava
    11 years ago

    Andersons said: This is no more gimmicky than Miele's you-must-use-this-detergent-only stance or requiring water softeners in dishwashers, etc.I disagree with this. I read through Miele's literature and manual, nowhere do I remember seeing anything regarding using a specific detergent. If it's there, the impact was totally lost on me. In fact, the manual simply says to use an HE detergent and to follow the detergent manufacturer's instructions. I feel this is insufficient as compared to what you'll see in an Asko manual, which goes into far more detail and actually recommends specific detergent brands. Miele does make its own brand of detergent, but it's not really pushed on the consumer.

    Regarding water softeners in dishwashers being gimmicky, that's absolutely not the case. Here in Arizona where we have extremely hard water, my Miele La Perla performs flawlessly. It softens the incoming water to 0 hardness and then mixes it with an appropriate amount of unsoftened water to achieve the optimal hardness level inside the dishwasher. Without this softener I would have to use dramatically higher amounts of detergent and probably still deal with some hardness issues - lime scale, film on dishes, cleaning performance, etc. This dishwasher is intelligent and a perfect example of Miele's research being put to good use in an almost flawless product.

  • Related Discussions

    Front load HE washer? Top load HE washer?

    Q

    Comments (7)
    I have a top loader. I will never buy an HE washer again. I don't have a mold or smell problem but the washer just doesn't fill with enough water. Nothing comes clean, and if I put one towel or one pair of jeans too many in, the top layer of clothes are still dry at the end of the cycle. And I've had a repairman come out 3 different times in 2 years. He suggested I add water myself, using buckets filled from the bathtub. He said lots of people do this.
    ...See More

    Buying new washing machine - front or top loader??

    Q

    Comments (37)
    Hi guys. I'd thought I'd join this even though I'm s bit late. I live in the UK and the majority of homes have front load washers. They do actually clean a lot better and rinse better and spin better. Yes program times are a tad long but that's how they made it cheaper to run. Instead of the drum sitting still for 20 mins while the water heats up it carries on washing while its heating. im totally obsessed and particular with my laundry. My neighbour put sunglasses on the other day as my whites were blinding her from the washing line. I have never needed a stain remover I've never needed laundry bleach. Grass mud curry oil etc etc all come out first time. Tried a top loader while on holiday was amazed that they don't heat the water and only do 1 or 2 rinses my clothes were like cardboard. Never had a problem with mould or smells. And because the front loader has s heater in it I can wash towels etc on (uk ) 95 degrees I do my bedding on 60 degrees and also my whites and coloured and light coloured stuff goes on 40 degrees sorry to bore you all with my rambling regards Dave x
    ...See More

    mold on rubber seal of washer

    Q

    Comments (5)
    Thank you! We are having the rubber ring replaced by a local appliance company. They told us it's a common problem, and as a result, the new replacement ring will be black; not so one cannot see the mold but because the new rings have been treated to they will never have mold.
    ...See More

    Mold issue with front loading clothes washer - would you buy one again

    Q

    Comments (80)
    After doing a lot of research, my first choice would have been a Speed Queen washer and dryer set, however we didn't have any local dealers, and besides that the cost put it over my budget. My second choice was a front load LG set that was on sale, which I have now had for over a year. I am very happy with it; no complaints, and most importantly, clothes come out clean. I do wipe around the rubber seal and dry the soup dispenser when I am finished with the laundry. There is a small access door at the bottom of the washer which is where a small drain hose and lint filter are located. I periodically clean the lint filter and drain any standing water in the small hose. It's easy to do and takes very little time. The washer door is designed that it can be left open slightly ajar so that the interior can dry. I also do not use liquid fabric softeners. After a year of regular use I have had no issues with mold or mustiness. My LG washer still looks like new and functions well. I am hopeful that with proper maintenance it will provide me with many years of good service.
    ...See More
  • andersons21
    10 years ago

    Well, I didn't say it was gimmicky, I said it was NO MORE gimmicky than Whirlpool advising a monthly cleaning cycle for their FL washing machines.

    And I was comparing Whirlpool's advice with Miele's requirement for softeners and certain detergents in their dishwashers. Am I remembering incorrectly? Maybe that was the Bosch.

    Once again, I'm not saying either is gimmicky. Both are recommended for a reason.

  • twebbz
    10 years ago

    I always keep the door of my FL open a bit when it's not in use. No mold issues ever.

  • asolo
    10 years ago

    Has anyone kept track of the geographics of mold complaints? Wondering if those that live in the SW or at altitude have fewer problems compared with SE and other more humid climates. Suspect they must. Never seen a breakdown....if one exists.

  • lc96
    10 years ago

    Live in humid Seattle, Miele, and Bosch before this, no mold ever. Door always left open. Costco detergent, occasionally Persil.

  • asolo
    10 years ago

    Thanks. Lived in Leschi/Madrona area for 13 years. Love your city.

  • stbonner
    10 years ago

    I live in Coastal South Carolina. The only place more humid than here is the jungle. I have a Bosch washer and dryer, and no problems with mold.

  • jlosc
    10 years ago

    The OLD front and top loader washing machines NEVER had the mold smell problem (I'm talking about over 10 yrs ago). I'm pulling my hair out with my smelly washer. I paid top dollar for it and it stinks up my whole house. It is DISGUSTING that the manufacturers cannot make a machine that does not smell like this.

  • gates1
    10 years ago

    Jlosc, what kind of washer do you have and what products do you use to wash in?

  • jakvis
    10 years ago

    jlosc,
    Actually the old front and top loaders from more than 10 years ago did have this issue. The internet has now provided a forum for a very small amount amount of people to make a very big deal of something that is limited to less than 1% of the users.
    But as repeated in almost every blog and forum, if the user washes with hot water washes on a regular basis, uses the proper amount of detergent and fabric softener, the issue doesn't exist.

  • sshrivastava
    10 years ago

    A Ferrari is only as good as the driver behind the wheel. If you're going to drive like grandma, it's not really the vehicle's fault is it? Is it really the manufacturers that make machines which smell, or should the blame fall more on the side of the consumer who doesn't want to learn how to properly use their new, efficient machines? Ten years ago your top loader filled with 20 gallons of water each time, so the scoop of detergent you were putting into it was properly dissolved in all of that water. Today that same load of laundry is washed in 5 gallons of water, yet people still think that they need to put in a full scoop like they did 10 years ago and are shocked that they can't rinse all the sudsy crap out of their clothes and machines.

    I do blame washer manufacturers for catering to the dumbest lowest common denominator consumer who can't educate him or herself out of a paper bag. I give Asko kudos for devoting a section of their user manuals to water hardness and proper detergent dosing methods. Even Miele has crappy instructions, simply saying "follow the detergent manufacturer's recommendations." That's total and complete bull coming from a company that does so much research. I take Asko's instructions to heart and scale their recommended dosage to the capacity of my current machine, which comes to 2-3 TBSP per large load, half that for smaller loads. Results have been excellent.

  • sshrivastava
    10 years ago

    jlosc, in re-reading my message I realize it may sound like a response to your post, but I was not referring to you specifically in any way. I'm just speaking to the trend I've seen over the last few years for owners of new FL machines to want a simple, set-it-and-go mentality. The margin of error shrinks proportionally with the amount of wash water used. This requires a greater degree of knowledge on the part of the consumer in order to operate the machine properly, dose effectively and diagnose issues when they arise.

  • asolo
    10 years ago

    The most useful analogy I've encountered is the one that says clothes washers have become like dishwashers. We put the load in, choose the cycle and the machine does everything else. Like dishwashers, we have to use non-sudsing detergent and we have to decide on the amount to use based on load, soil, and water quality before we start the machine. If we use too much, too little, or the wrong kind there are consequences.

    Most of us are long-accustomed to thinking this way from our dishwasher experience. Seems to me the transition in thinking to a clothes-washer that works almost the same way should be easy enough. Alas.

    Of course I also notice from the appliance forum that lots of folks can't figure their dishwashers out either. Double-alas.

  • dadoes
    10 years ago

    Another aspect is people who don't sort according to fabric type and don't use the appropriate cycles ... instead tossing everything in on "normal" because "that's what I did with my old machine and everything came out fine." Sorting may often be done by simple color -- darks and lights -- possibly putting dark denim jeans with navy polyester/knit slacks, which two kind of items have completely different washing needs. This situation is often exacerbated by the super-large capacity of the latest frontloaders ... the machines are touted as taking a huge load, which prompts the consumer cut back on sorting, putting everything together, so as to create those very large loads.

    Folks need to understand that the new-fangled machine with all those cycles and options isn't your old washer and usage habits need to change accordingly.

  • livebetter
    10 years ago

    @dadoes brings up a good point. I have considered getting the smaller European size machines but wonder how I'll clean my king size items.

    Can you do really small loads in a Miele W48XX?

    I would think multiple smaller loads would be better for laundry needs (except when one wants to wash a large item).

  • steveomc
    10 years ago

    It might be a good idea to see if the water is completely draining, a slightly slow drain or clogged filter might be leaving a small amount of water in the bottom of the machine, if your drain is high or drain hose is slightly bent, it could cause some of these problems.

  • asolo
    10 years ago

    steveomc...

    With respect....there are no machines extant to my knowledge that do not leave a small amount of water in the bottom of the machine after every cycle. Dishwashers, too. Drain hoses are REQUIRED to be high, for heaven's sake.

  • farmgirl_2010
    10 years ago

    Always, always, always leave your door open just a bit. This will allow air to circulate inside your machine and then there should be no mold problem.

  • fordtech
    10 years ago

    Some machines have ventilation built into the doors to the outside.

  • asolo
    10 years ago

    "Can you do really small loads in a Miele W48XX? I would think multiple smaller loads would be better for laundry needs (except when one wants to wash a large item)."

    You can do small loads in ANY of the new machines. They don't care. They adjust water volume, etc., to accommodate. All you have to do is put the right amount of detergent in.

    No matter how large your machine's capacity, there will always be something you have to wash that's too large to fit. Laundromats and commercial laundries are still with us.

  • hisown
    10 years ago

    I think some of you are over-thinking this. I have my second Frigidaire front loader, and have NEVER had any mold on either machine. I just leave the door wide open when it's not in use.

  • mrjms
    10 years ago

    I purchased a Maytag Neptune front loader washer and dryer May 1999. This is the second model Maytag came out with. To date, I have had no problems whatsoever with either machine, no mold or mildew. After each wash, I turn off the water, wipe out the boot, and leave the door open until ready to do the next wash. Detergent used is either Wisk liquid or Sears powdered with Oxyclean. I do hot, warm and cold washes. I use downey for all loads. Common sense: You HAVE to leave the door open after finished washing to allow air to dry out the machine. Mold and mildew thrive and grow in dark, damp environments.

  • gates1
    10 years ago

    mrjms,,,,,good post there and one of your key statements is that you wash in all temperatures which helps prevent the build up in a washer. Sad part is, this build up takes place in conventional washers too, between the drums, it just doesnt always smell bad, usually it smells like detergent buildup when you open the lid. The lid is not air tight so it prevents mold growth. I tore apart my friends Toploader and he was shocked to what we cleaned out of the outer drum. HE washes mainly in cold water. It was a brown thick build up all over the top half of the drum, took lots of hot water and a strong spray cleaner to get rid of it.

  • 071203
    6 years ago

    everyone seemed to miss the original point. The issue of mold is real. First, if the machine is even slightly out of level the residual water will pool in places. This is common in basements where the floors have been poured with fall towards a floor drain. In some machines this risk is higher specifically because of the design. Some gaskets have folds in them that trap water, some designs are very different and allow water to shed better. And old gasket also breaks down and is more susceptible to mold. So it's fine for the first four years or so and then suddenly you can't get rid of the mold. It does also permeate the interior beyond what you can see. The other condition is related to where you live. Dry climates will likely never know this mold issue. Units that are in the upstairs of conditioned homes are also better off. But if you live in the south and have your machines in the basement, you really have to have a dehumidifier in addition to religiously leaving the door open. Even then I think some machines are just more prone as a result of design. It has everything to do with conditions unrelated to the operating features or detergents you use.

  • emaemes
    6 years ago

    I've had two front loaders, and I've never had a mold or smell issue. I always keep the door and soap dispenser open, when not in use. I've noticed that many people don't do that, and I've gotten calls from friends complaining about this problem. It definitely has worked for me.

  • gatesmannc
    6 years ago

    I had a kenmore HE3T front loding washer for over 10 yrs, washed mainly in warm and hot water. I used the sanitary cycle at least once or twice a week. In ever once had a mold or odor problem with my machine. I didn't wipe the gasket down or leave the door open when I was finished. Using too much detergent, and fabric softener along with cold water washes enhances the mold odor issue.

  • qofmiwok
    4 years ago

    This is an old post but still shows up on searches. I think most people just do not know how to look for the mold under the gasket. It is probably there. Sure, you can "minimize" with various methods, but the only foolproof way is to dry the gasket off each time. Unfortunately my house is a vacation rental part of the year and I have no way to force people to leave the door open or to dry off the gasket. So we have begun replacing it every year.

  • fordtech
    4 years ago

    Well if that works for you thats great, but its really overkill. For example that annual replacement on a Maytag Neptune would cost about 300 dollars if you pay someone to do it.

    Regular maintenance trumps overkill IMHO. Ive only replaced my seal once in almost 12 years and that was just because I was refurbishing the machine anyway less than 2 years ago.

    Now a vacation rental makes it a quasi commercial machine so maybe overkill is necessary. But the average home owner just doesnt need that kind of annual expense, just proper usage.

    Of course thats just IMHO

  • emaemes
    4 years ago

    Hi, I am on my third front load washer. My first, a Bosch. I moved and bought an Asko front load stacked washer and ventless dryer (only ventless allowed in my building). The dryer broke and was too expensive to repair.

    i then purchased a Bosch front loader with ventless stacked dryer.

    i've never had an issue with mold. It has always been my habit to leave the washer door and the soap dispenser, open. In the new Bosch, the gasket, or whatever that rubber thing that seals the washer doo is called, , collects water. I dry thoroughly and leave the door open.

    i do a lot of laundry. Occasionally I do a cold water wash. Whatever. I've never had a problem and I would go nuts. I'm a clean freak and that is a no no.

    BTW, when I had a top loader I did the same thing.

    just thought I'd share my experience with you. Emaemes

  • qofmiwok
    4 years ago

    fordtech, easy for you to say. You obviously are not severely affected by mold as I am. I spent 10 years barely able to get out of bed due to illness from it. Most people have no idea how devastating it can be.

  • User
    4 years ago

    As someone suffering from a mold/mildew problem in a front-loader washer, I have to say after reading these posts that the typical user here is full of obnoxious hubris. "Well, I have that washer and I don't have a problem, so you must be the problem."
    Absolutely unhelpful. And I realize this post was from 6 years ago, but if it comes up in Google search top 10, people are still reading it. Front-loader washers have mold problems. I don't care if you don't think it's there... you are probably wrong. There are articles after articles posted at this point and even class action lawsuits.

    And in response to the "cost" of maintaining, it is alarming how much a door boot (gasket) costs and at the point of a 5-10 year old machine, it is not worth buying a boot and replacing it.

    Finally, if you are one that has said "Well, I leave the door open and the tray open and I never have a problem" - You are doing something that you shouldn't have to do in the first place because there IS a problem. DUH.

  • suburbanmd
    4 years ago

    Look at my posts from back then, and you'll see that I'm sympathetic to what you're saying. I do believe there are some bad front-loaders.


    That said, have you tried all the recommendations to avoid mold? Keep the door ajar (sorry). Do frequent hot washes, and the rest mostly warm. If the hot water supply runs cold for a while when the cycle starts, run a nearby faucet to flush out the cold before starting the machine. Use powder detergent instead of liquid. Avoid really cheap detergents, and use an effective amount of detergent, not the miniscule quantities recommended by some people, even technicians. Avoid fabric softener. If you've cleaned the machine, then followed these recommendations, and mold comes back, then maybe your machine is hopeless.

  • suburbanmd
    4 years ago

    One more thing: Avoid the "normal" cycle because it generally uses the lowest temperatures and least water.

  • dadoes
    4 years ago

    "Shannon Pringle: I use a measured tablespoon of tide ..."

    Tide liquid or powder? Liquids are known to promote mold accumulation with some water conditions. And 1 tablespoon may not be enough for every load.

  • livebetter
    4 years ago

    You need enough detergent to actually suspend dirt and allow it to wash away. If body oils etc deposit on the outer drum you can get biofilm that mold thrives on.

  • littlegreeny
    4 years ago
    last modified: 4 years ago

    Shannon, it sounds like your water chemistry plus liquid Tide might be the issue. First, I'd try switching to Tide powder and see if that solves your problem. My SIL was using liquid Tide and had issues with FL stink. She switched to liquid All and the problem disappeared.

  • Shannon Pringle
    4 years ago

    Sorry I wasn't clear, I use powder because of the previously mentioned reasons/research. I've landed on a tablespoon because I notice suds around the gasket if I use more. I have done a lot of experimentation, different detergent, borax, baking soda, washing soda.

  • littlegreeny
    4 years ago

    Shannon, try running the clean cycle with no laundry or any cleaners, bleach, etc. If there are suds, you have residue which can cause odor issues.

    Do you use any laundry boosters? Borax is a great natural booster and may actually help keep the mildew smell at bay.

    As a last resort, you might need to do a strip of your laundry to get rid of the excess detergent and hard water residue and start from scratch.

  • dadoes
    4 years ago

    I use 3 to 5 tablespoons of Tide HE powder in my HE toploader. Well-water, no softener, but I add STPP. Some mild to moderate suds during the wash period is not to be considered a problem.

  • mamapinky0
    4 years ago

    As far as **noticing suds around the gasket** HE detergent is not suds free...some suds is not an indication that you've used enough. I have soft city water I use between 3to 5 T as Dadoes does. Yes I'm going to have some suds but that normal unless your using Rosalies Zero suds detergent.

    As others have said if your not using enough detergent your machine will get the grunge. I would follow your manual as for a clean cycle using bleach. Also use bleach water to scrub the gasket.

    My Duet is yet young. A yearold, but I do tons of laundry and it looks and smells as sweet as it was new.

  • ci_lantro
    4 years ago

    Is the washer in a humid basement? Do you run a dehumidifier?

    Have you tried cleaning the washer & gasket w/ a quaternary disinfectant?

  • Shannon Pringle
    3 years ago
    Hey! I know it’s been a long time, but someone liking my first post reminded me to update. Because of some of the comments above, I started using more detergent and oxiclean, and by-golly it worked! No more stinky clothes!
    Of course, right after I got it sorted out, we ended up putting that washer and dryer in our rental and I am now using some old school top loader while I remodel my basement, while my brand new Samsung washer (couldn’t find any bad reviews anywhere) waits in my garage, still in its packaging, just ticking down its warranty time.

    Anyway, I wanted to say thanks for the help!
  • HU-381178092
    8 months ago

    This has been really helpful - thank you! I think i'm off to buy a top-loader now as we discovered today that mould is ALL OVER the inside of the rubber part (I only thought it was a small portion!) of my machine :( My new integrative doctor tested me suspecting mould poisoning (really expensive and came back positive) because of all the really nasty symptoms that I have had (that I went to her about) and have gotten worse the past 9 years! Now I'm having to start mould elimination diet/treatment. The symptoms are real (including nasty neurological ones - including tremors) and we've been thinking all along that I have MS! :/


    Don't have mouldy washing machines folks, PLEASE get rid of them - don't even pass them on!!!


    Have a read if interested:


    https://healinghistamine.com/blog/the-mold-histamine-link/

  • dadoes
    8 months ago

    HU-381178092, don't be fooled into believing that toploaders can't accumulate mold. They absolutely can. Here are some pics of a few I've cleaned up.









  • anoop
    8 months ago

    @dadoes What would cause that mold? Is it something in the water that makes mold formation more likely? When I live in NC, I don't remember every worrying about or encountering mold. Since moving to CA, every apartment or house I have lived in seems to be very susceptible to mold.

  • doreycrouse
    8 months ago

    dadoes, thank you for posting that!

    I have used TL machines that smell far worse than my FL!

  • vinmarks
    8 months ago
    last modified: 8 months ago

    I had a top loader that looked worse than the pics dadoes posted. We had to bring the whole tub into our shower to clean it. It was caused by me not knowing much about laundry and washing machines. They had cold water detergent so hey we don't need warm or hot washes. Never used bleach because we had no whites. I don't even know if they had washing machine cleaner back then or not that I knew about so never did any kind of clean cycle on the washer. Now I know better.

  • fordtech
    8 months ago

    A hot wash a week will keep the heebie Jeebies away. I use powder detergents and no fabric softner in the wash. I started this method 15 years ago and have not had a repeat of the goop that formed in my front loader when I used exclusively cold water and liquid detergent and liquid softener for 4 years. It was a horrible mess you dont want.