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Sunday, February 27, 2005

Mailbag: Kenmore Front-load Washer Stinks

kenmore front-loading wrote:

I have a Kenmore front-loading washer I purchased in 2001. About two months ago we started noticing brown and black stains on the clothes. Upon further inspection, the boot around the door was disgusting so I replaced it. Two loads later, same issue, staining on the clothes that will not come out! I talked to another technician and to some one at Proctor and Gamble (we use Tide He) and they both said that there is a mold issue that lives around the outside tub. Problem occurs because we don't use enough hot water washes and/or bleach. This is both true. We mostly use warm water and rarely use bleach. When we do use bleach we use the color bleach. We tried using a hot wash with vinegar and also a hot wash with bleach, both without clothes. Seemed to work but three weeks later we've got the stains again! What is going on, Sensei? I have never seen this problem before, ever. ?????

Message sent from IP:

Fun fact to know and tell: we've had this same washer (Gibson brand, same manufacturer, Frigidaire) for seven years and have never had a mold or smell problem of any kind. In fact, this washer has been trouble-free and we're a family of five, running it every day, sometimes three times in a day. No problems. Zero, zip, nada. We also leave the door wide open between uses so the washer can dry out.

Now, learn some of the Samurai's personal hygienic practices. I always use bleach on my skivvies (boxer shorts and white undershirts). It's a habit left over from my Navy days. If you're not bleaching your skivvies, you're wearing poopie germs on all your clothes and you are a dirty man. Remind me never to shake your hand if I ever meet you.

Here, now, I present Samurai's 14th Law of Appliance Repair: Nothing kills like chlorine.

Bleach: it's what's for dinner.

Samurai Appliance Repair Man cast these pearls at 02:12 ET.  [permalink]
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our frigidaire front load is 4 years old and now has a banging sound when going into the spin cycle. i checked the sprocket and bearing and they seem okay. i had the belt off to do the test. someone else thinks it could be a broken tub support but i have not been able to check at this time. any suggestions?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at March 04, 2005 10:17 AM  

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at March 05, 2005 3:42 AM  

I have a Kenmore Front-Loader and had a smell as descrbd. I took out the soap dispenser (depress the tab on the left side of the dispenser. The entire interior was black over the area of the fabric softener dispenser. The dispenser itself was also black at the back (where I couldn't see if it was not completely out of the machine. Bleach, qtips, a toothbrush and2 hours later, it's clean. No smell. I now remove the dispenser when I'm not using the machine for a while.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at April 03, 2005 7:48 PM  

Back to the banging sound in the Kenmore Front Loading washers! My pulley fits on quite good and tight. I've taken the whole thing apart and the bearings in the back shell sit fine, rotate fine and are very secure. (AND NO LEAKING WATER OR RUST IN THEM THANK GOD!) The problem is when the pulley is put back on the drive shaft and everything is bolted back together there is still some play. Not play from the pulley wheel being loose on the drive shaft. Play from the whole unit. If you push in and out on the pulley there is a couple of milimeters of play. It's like the pulley isn't holding the metal tub snug against the bearings. And voila I get a wicked racket during spin cycle. I've almost overtightened the bolt and washer that attaches the pulley wheel in order to get rid of this play but alas tightening doesn't help.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at May 22, 2005 12:52 AM  

I also have a front loader...after 2 years I noticed black oil looking stains...I found there was black sludge in the rubber door gasket...after using a lot of cleaner and several wash cloths I think all the sludge is gone....still getting a few black stains so I am going to try the dispenser fix now.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at June 08, 2005 8:59 PM  

I also have a mold problem. My front load washer is a Kenmore HE3. Two repairmen and several store personell told me it was a bad design. I ran bleach through the machine, vinegar, used the HE soap, still had the problem. Sears gave me a full refund and replaced the machine. I would suggest you contact the store manager about this issue. Leaving the door open (as they told me to do) could result in a child being suffocated. I refuse to leave the door open. Plus, why should we have to do that?

As far as Mr. "you should use bleach on your underclothes", we've (all of us who have written in) have used bleach and it doesn't get rid of the mold. It is disgusting and it is not only under the dispenser and on the door gasket, it is beneath the basket as well. Replace it. Make Sears stand good for this. It should be recalled. It is a major health hazard to those of us who are allergic to mold!!!!

By Anonymous eyemntrouble, at June 29, 2005 5:20 PM  

Hey, Mr. Eyemntrouble, you're not even talking about the same washer as the rest of us. This entire post is about the Frigidaire-built front loader (also sold under the Kenmore label). The Kenmore HE3 washer is built by Whirlpool-- whole different animal. Save your whining for the right post.

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at June 29, 2005 6:37 PM  

Thank you, Samurai for the last post. Maybe Mr. Eyemntrouble bought a lemon and didn't purchase the Sears master protection agreement (that would replace his lemon) so now he's stuck with a piece of junk (??) I own an HE3T washer that works great (and yes, I do leave the door open after the wash cycle is complete so it can air out...just makes sense to do this on ALL front load washers because (by design) they always leave some standing water under the basket)...

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 17, 2005 2:14 AM  

As eyemntrouble comments, leaving the door open is very dangerous. Unbeknowst to me, a young kitten climbed into our Front Load Kenmore while I went to retrieve additional items to add to the clothes already loaded. I did not know she was in there until the wash was complete/ As you can imagine, this is a horrible way to lose a pet.

Oddly enough, I am now facing another kitten/washer dilemma. A feral kitten became trapped in our house, and took up a hiding space bedhine the washing machine. I took off the front panel at the base to see if the back might be open in order to reach her (it was not). However, i now think she might have climbed up into the washing machine through the open front panel. I am considering starting the machine to scare her out, but I have no idea if there are moving parts that could harm her. Just waht is the anatomy of a Kenmore Front Load Washer (Stackable variety)?

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 17, 2005 6:39 PM  

This post has been removed by a blog administrator.

By Anonymous Anonymous, at July 28, 2005 9:43 PM  

F/dU Door Unlock Error

A Door Unlock Error occurs if the door cannot be unlocked. It will try to unlock the door 6 times before displaying the error.


Door Lock Mechanism broken.
Check Door Lock/Switch Assembly for foreign objects
Check Wire Harness connections to the Door Lock/Switch Assembly and Central Control Unit (CCU)
Door Lock/Switch Assembly Failure

To open, remove the lower panel (3 Torx screws), reach up and pull the ring on the bottom of the lock.

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at July 29, 2005 6:42 PM  

what ring ;P
My lower panel had 2 hex screws and I cant find the paper work
removed the lower panel but could not find the ring and my xray vision is also malfuntioning

TC Carr
Beaverton OR

By Blogger DaPenguin, at September 01, 2005 9:35 AM  

I bought a Kenmore/Frigidaire around 1999-2000. It had a d.c. brush-type (series wound) motor. I also recommended it to my ex, both brothers, and a friend. My ex had two motors replaced (under warranty) and a bad tub bearing, whereupon she got rid of it. One brother developed a bad tub bearing (he has the a.c. motor). Mine just developed a bad tub bearing. I've since read that this is a common problem with these. I know others who have had great luck with them. I'm about to get a Duet or a Kenmore Elite He3 or 4 (by Whirlpool).

By Blogger John, at June 17, 2006 2:44 AM  

Somewhere in the 1999 to 2000 vintage, Friggidaire had to go screw up a perfectly good machine by making some modification to the drum bearing so they could save $0.12 per unit in manufacturing cost. The units built prior to and since this time frame have been rugged, well-perfomring machines. I have no documentation to prove this, just my field experience as technician in people's homes.

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at June 20, 2006 9:21 AM  

The Duet is a nice machine but is not a panacea-- it has it's own achilles heel which is starting to rear its ugly head these days: drum bearing problems, rear pulley problems, and lots of control board problems.

By Blogger Samurai Appliance Repair Man, at June 20, 2006 9:22 AM  

We have a Kenmore Elite He3 washer and are now going on our 3rd tub boot (bellow). This flexible piece seems an easy break item from wear/fatigue or washed item snagging and ripping (metal pieces such as buckles, zippers). Replacement cost for parts (front clamp, back clamp, boot/bellow) is about $100-$130, if replaced via service call is $250-$300. As a data point we have a family of 7 and have had the machine for about 3 years. A neighbor with the same machine has also experienced boot failure, I'm surprised to hear all the glowing reports on this machine with no mention of this weak point.

By Blogger j.pasik, at June 06, 2007 5:40 PM  

Quick question about the issue that J-pasik raises. We recently moved and noticed a small divot taken out of the boot which is causing the washer to leak under the door. Does anyone know of a product that I could use to fill the gap that would not compromise the seal? I tried a 2 part epoxy, but it hardened and doesn't keep the seal intact. Am I stuck buying a new boot or can someone recomend a product?

By Blogger amy, at June 12, 2007 10:42 PM  

I have a small Maytag Front Loader and I get the mildew smell sometimes, and that's why I found this awesome blog. (book marking it now)My 2 cents: My washer is only 2 years old, had a problem with the mildew smell. I have been guilty of leaving clothes in the washer and then the clothes smell too, and the smell won't come out of the clothes, towels especially. Here's what I have done to combat this...first wash I run, I do the whites and bomb them with bleach. Second load do the "kitchen/garage towels" and bomb them with bleach. I have decided to be more diligent about NOT leaving clothes in the washer, I can't stand mildew smell, and I am going to try taking out the detergent drawer and cleaning it. I can't leave the door open, I have a kitten and the horror stories above freaked me out. Not only that, my townhouse was designed flawed with the washer closet in the dining room and I can't leave the door open since it looks bad and sometimes there's the freaking smell of mildew.

What I was hoping to find, and I am going to try anyway...was recommendation or recipie for a cheesecloth or mesh bag filled with baking soda or even (cat litter?) to absorb moisture while the door is closed. Just thought I'd pass that on to see if anyone has ever tried that or bought or made something like that...thanks.

By Blogger Kathleen, at July 17, 2007 8:36 AM  

i never seen a washer sold with mildew, if you get it, its because you are growning it. take away what it likes and it leaves :)

as far as frontloaders being a bad design, ive seen plenty of top loaders with mildew... go figure :)

By Blogger DCDCCCDC, at September 16, 2007 10:14 PM  

I have an frontloading Kenmore bought in March of 2007. We just started having the musty, mildew smell. Just FYI, most front loaders have a monthly maintenance cycle that you are supposed to run. I have done it and still the smell is slightly there.
So...I called Kenmore and the tech I spoke to said they have been receiving MANY complaints about this. Many culprits are:
- you really should leave the door open, the moisture will cause mold.
- the smell is a build up of the soap residue from the he detergent. ALWAYS use he detergent NEVER he compatible.
- always run your monthly cleaning cycle.
I was told by this tech that they Maytag developed a product called Afresh that will clean the build up and then that will get rid of the odor.
Basically your washer drum and gasket at the door opening gets a soap scum build up that you usually cannot see. If you spray some soap scum remover on paper towel or rag and wipe the gasket and drum you will be amazed what you wipe off and you. And it stinks really bad. Hope this helps anybody with the smelly washer syndrome!!!

By Blogger Virginia, at November 24, 2007 2:40 PM  

I have a Kenmore HE 3 Elite washing machine that I purchased 2 yrs ago. I just moved to a new location at after I started my washing machine at normal cycle for 45 minutes it stopped at 23 minutes with an error code of H F. Repeated attempts to start the washing machine produced the exact same results and the H F message. What does this mean?

By Blogger Lia, at March 23, 2008 11:39 AM  

Lia, I haven't had your specific trouble with My HE 3 washer, but I thought I might be able to help you out. Do an internet search on HE3 and the error code and you'll come up with more boards with answers to your specific problem. I found a great thread on the Kenmore HE series washer problems on applianceblog dot com under appliance blog forums>appliance repair talk>washer>Sears Kenmore. I hope this helps!

By Blogger Cheryl, at April 26, 2008 10:23 PM  

We bougt our Frigidaire Gallery model# FTW445GES1 washer on 09/04/1997 from Sears. It was $799.99 at that time.
This was a replacement for a 1988 Gibson (also made by Frigidaire) Front Load washer that our mover dropped; which cause it to act rather strangely and so we replaced it almost 1 year later. Our Gibson Front Loader came with instructions that clothing needed to be conditioned when changing from a top load washer to a front load washer, soap residue was reportedly a problem from top loaders. They recommeded the first time that clothing was washed in a front loader to wash without any laundry detergent to condition the clothes. Needless to say there was plenty of suds in the washer from the clothing, anyway. They furthermore recommended that you run the washer empty with 1/3 cup clear ammonia, in the hottest wash available once a month to condition the machine regularly. It was also recommended to leave the door slightly ajar, so as to prevent mold and mildew from forming in the wash tub. We have continued to do that with this machine even though the owner manual did not make these suggestions in our 1997 machine.
The only problems we have ever encountered with our washer was to replace the door lock solenoid, two different times under warranty due to a humming/buzzing sound. It still does that on some occasions. We had to remove a toothpick from the drain pump, it was causing the machine to make a loud noise on spin cycle, once remove the machine returned to its normal quiet operation. We have washed everything imaginable in our machine from rugs to dog beds with no problem. You also need to clean the dispenser drawer occasionally and pour out the excess water to keep it from molding or mildew. I think most people have either overloaded or oversuds their machines at some point as we've hade none of the other problems mentioned. We couldn't be more satisfied with our machine. It continues to perform as quietly as when it was new. We only wish everyone could have the same satisfying experience that we have and continue to have.

By Blogger TightwadConsumer, at September 03, 2008 4:27 AM  

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