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.


11 thoughts on “Mailbag: Kenmore Front-load Washer Stinks

  1. Anonymous

    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?

  2. Anonymous

    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.

  3. Anonymous

    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.

  4. Anonymous

    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.

  5. eyemntrouble

    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!!!!

  6. Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    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.

  7. Anonymous

    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)…

  8. Anonymous

    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)?

  9. Samurai Appliance Repair Man

    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.

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