I have an older Whirlpool front-load washer that's stinky. I periodically clean it inside and out (including the folds in the seal) but the smell keeps coming back. Last time this happened, I took the machine apart and found mold in the drain hose; replacing it fixed the problem. But now two months later, it's back again.

Is there any way to fix this problem permanently, or should I break down and replace it? If so, is there anything I can replace it with that won't simply exhibit this problem again?

  • Do you leave the door open when it's not in use? – JPhi1618 Sep 10 '19 at 15:00
  • Do you use washing machine cleaner on a regular basis, say, monthly? – Andrew Morton Sep 10 '19 at 15:00
  • Have you checked the washer's drain pump and screen to ensure they're in good working order (and not contaminated)? – Greg Hill Sep 10 '19 at 15:25
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    This is common in front load machines, there have been class action lawsuits against several manufacturers for issues like this. – thesnow Sep 10 '19 at 15:25
  • We leave the door open when it's not in use and I have checked (and cleaned) the pump and screen. We don't use washing machine cleaner on a monthly basis though, maybe we should. Does it actually work? – iLikeDirt Sep 10 '19 at 15:42

Thanks to comments posted here, I looked at the list of washers that are on the class-action lawsuit lists of affected units and mine is. So I guess it's time for a new washing machine.

  • Posting links to the information you found might be helpful to others. – JPhi1618 Sep 10 '19 at 18:15

What about a serious amount of chlorine bleach in the detergent dispenser and in the bleach and "conditioner" dispensers then run on a hot cycle?

What about remove mildew smells front loader washer?

EDIT One possible cleaning/mold killing procedure would be to pour bleach solution backwards through the water outlet hose. I can't exactly figure out how this would be accomplished, but just putting it forward as a possibility.

Would the bleach come in contact with all the surfaces where mold is growing? This would be some considerable trouble, but would be cheaper that scrapping a functioning washing machine.

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    Tried that, didn't help at all. – iLikeDirt Sep 10 '19 at 17:17
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    If the mold is growing in some tubing in the front loaders, does that mean that the mold is in an upper inside of the tubing that the liquid does not reach when it is pumped out? Could it be that the extreme water saving design of the modern front loaders does not sweep out the entire inside of the tubing? – Jim Stewart Sep 10 '19 at 23:49

Another place that mold can grow in a front loader is in the tray that holds soap. On ours, the tray was removable. We had to periodically remove the tray and scrub (with a blue, non-abrasive scrub pad) both the tray and the slot it fit into in order to remove abundant growths of mold. We learned to remove the tray from the washer, when not in use, so that the tray and slot would remain dry and not grow mold.

Finally, the machine gave up the ghost altogether; I've replaced it with a top loader. That's another possible solution, but an expensive one.

  • What is there about the "modern" front loader (compared to a modern top loader and to the older generation of front loaders) that allows mold to grow? Also is there a mold growth problem in the heavy duty front loaders found in commercial laundromats? – Jim Stewart Sep 10 '19 at 23:45
  • @JimStewart I don't know, and my personal experience is, I am sure, not universal. Personally, I've used in my life three top loaders that did not grow mold, and two front loaders that did; keeping the soap tray dry was helpful for one of them. – Wayne Conrad Sep 12 '19 at 2:13

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