Does you washing machine smell like stinky feet? If you have a front loading machine, I bet you have that moldy smell . Not yet? Your machine is too new? Just wait. After the one year wedding anniversary of the date you bought your washing machine, you will be blessed with a bouncy mold issue. (Birth control doesn’t help here. Sorry.)
For seven, long, agonizing years, I have tried everything to get rid of the mold in my Whirlpool front loader. Here is my laundry list of attempted fixes:
- Leaving the door open
- Used vinegar
- Used borax
- Using soap nuts(supposedly detergents cause the problem.)
- Wiping the rubber rim constantly
- Cleaning the drain tube that the water goes into the plumbing (gross.)
And then I committed the worse unimaginable act. (Cover your ears.) I used bleach. (I had to. I’m sorry, Planet.) I was desperate…
But nothing helped. Are you in my boat?
Anna, I am so with you.
What Causes this Gunk?
“Because of the low water level, wash residue such as grime, dirt and even skin flakes, along with water softeners and detergents do not always fully drain out of a front-loading washer. Using cold water for most loads can also add to the problem. Residue can build up in the rubber door gasket, soap/softener dispenser or other parts of the washer and over time, mold can begin to form or the washer can take on a smelly disposition.”
Hitting Washing Machine Rock Bottom
Sometimes, you have to hit rock bottom to find a cure. Well, I hit rock bottom when all of our clothes smelled especially the boys’ polyester clothing. Why do smells cling to polyester? Mother Earth’s cruel joke? (“Wear petroleum. Smell like mold,” says Mother Earth.)
The lowest of the lows? When my kids’ friends tell MY KIDS that their clothes smell. Well you might as well have an “L” branded on my forehead.
I spent hours literally searching the “how to sites,” and “house forums” to discover that I was in good, smelly company. A group that no one wants to put in their Linked-in profile.
Believe it or not, I even thought of taking my machine apart. If anyone knows me, this would have been a really, really bad mistake. Handy, not. Completely insane at this point. Um, yes.
Just Take One Pill Says the Mad Hatter
One day a PR person of Affresh approached me and asked me to try their magical pill. Just take one, they said, and your washing machine woes will disappear. (Affresh is made by Whirlpool.) Yah, do they think my life is an Alice in Wonderland series? One pill makes you big and another will make you small?
To sweeten the deal they gave me Grit Grabber sheets which resembles a dryer sheet. The sheet cleans the mold off the rubber gasket around the washing machine.
I scoffed and thought how toxic can this be? Even my washing machine tech was pushing the stuff. (Washing machine crack?) Especially, after he opened the bottom of my washing machine and showed me the water just sitting there and three really moldy coins. A couple of pencils and other miscellaneous stuff. (Talk about wanting to throw up.)
You Got To Have Faith
You know I had to be desperate when I didn’t even look up the ingredients. Desperate times means desperate measures. The tech warned me that I might have to use three of the tablets since my washing machine already smelled. You can only get away from using one pill as monthly maintenance, not when your washing machine already stinks.
And three I used. Did it help? Kind of. In a couple of weeks, the smell was back. Was I impressed. Not really. Why was the smell back in less than a month?
Plus, after my desperation calmed down and I was able to think more rationally. I took a look at the back of the package. The product is made of sodium percarbonate and sodium carbonate. The package carries a warning about ingesting it or getting it in your eyes. Hmm. Would I want to have a product around like this even it worked?
I remember a couple of years ago, another washing machine tech told me to use Tang. How many of you remember Tang?
What was my thoughts on the Grit Grabber? Some chemical in the sheets stung my fingers since I didn’t wear gloves. Also, I don’t like the disposable idea. Does a landfill need my Grit Grabber with mold?
Advice? Wear gloves when using this sheet if you really want to try it. I probably could accomplish the same thing with a little bit of vinegar and a rag. Thoughts?
Stuff is Expensive too.
The product comes with 3 tablets and costs about $7. So for about $2.50 a month you might have a better smelling washing machine. Perhaps if your machine isn’t as old as mine these tablets might work. I unfortunately didn’t love the product. However, it may work for you.
One Last Resort
I am going to revisit checking the drain filter and clean it thoroughly. The tech cleaned it but I am wondering if there is another issue. So instead of giving advice, I need help.
Smelly ( and now friendless…) in New Jersey
Join the Conversation:
- How have you successfully cleaned your smelly front loading washing machine?
- Have you used Affresh or anything similar? If so, has it worked?
- Do certain clothes smell worse than others?
- Would any of you use Tang or unsweetened lemonade drink to clean your washer?
- Have you taken apart your machine?