Mold in Front Loading Washers: Care and Class Actions
We bought our house in 2004 and I put in a top-of-the-line LG washer and dryer. I think, on sale at Fry’s, they were about $1200 each. I was deciding between Bosch and LG because I wanted “quiet” as they are quite close to my kitchen where everyone dwells. I regret not choosing the Bosch–I can’t totally remember why I didn’t–but Bosch has endured some mold complaints too though not nearly as many as LG, it seems.
Mold In Front Loading Washer: My Experience
We have been fighting a disgusting mold problem with stains on the plastic rim or gasket around the door. I called LG about a year ago and they told me to just use bleach and keep the door open when not in use. Oh, and to wipe the entire washer down after each use. What? The gasket has folds that you have to squeeze a towel into or use a Q-Tip. That’s not a practical way to fly.
At least once a month, I accidentally leave a load in overnight. I’m busy and I forget. Or, sometimes I forget for a an hour or two. This has to be semi-normal behavior. Keep in mind that until May of this year, this was my vacation house. The washer wasn’t used all that much and was wiped down before we left for long periods of time. The mold problem has gotten much worse over the last few months since we’ve used it regularly. My husband finally took notice and is not happy.
I Called LG About Our Front Loader
A year or two ago, I did call LG (click for number to support line) to complain. The woman at the time was very nice and told me that the problem could be solved by using a bleach and water dilution on the washer gasket. In my case, that didn’t help so much. The mold quickly comes back because there are too many small crevices for the mold to breed in. The water pools up at the door after each wash.
The woman also told me (which they denied ever mentioning, today) that this was more or less a design flaw that has since been rectified in later washer models. But, there was nothing they can do because the washer was out of warranty. La Jolla Dad called today and was told the same thing–wipe it down and use bleach. They denied mentioning the “design flaw” probably to avoid compensation.
Front Loading Washer Class Actions Lawsuits
I’m allergic to some kinds of mold, not to mention the thing stinks so we’re replacing the washer with a different brand. As I was angrily researching a new washer, I noticed that mold in a front loader is common in particular brands. In fact, there are many class action lawsuits brewing about it:
People are kicking up a fuss about mold in the Kenmore Elite front loading washer but I’m not sure if there’s a class action. There are also other class actions for washers that have perpetual error codes and other issues. Obviously, do your research before you join one.
If You Have Mold In Your Washer
The first thing you should do is contact the manufacturer. Odds are, you’re out of warranty though. Some people have reported success with a product called Affresh High Efficiency Washer Cleaner. The manager at LG said to use it over and over and over again “until it hurts” but that it may not work for everyone. Affresh has helped us manage the mold, until we decide what to do. It does work, but it’s not going to cure the problem, possibly because our washer is dire. I’ve also tried Washer Magic with no success.
If there is mold in the gasket, you can also try replacing the gasket. That’s not really going to solve the problem unless you’re really diligent about maintenance. I’ve read that once the mold appears, it’s really hard to totally get rid of, which has been my experience.
Why Does Mold Build Up In Front Loaders
Front load washers typically use less water so the dirt, grime and detergents do not always fully drain out. Using cold water versus hot can also exacerbate the problem. Hot water (less efficient) kills bacteria better than cold. It is SO DIFFICULT to fully dry my LG front loader after use and it isn’t practical to leave the door open, due to it’s location. You also MUST use low sudsing HE detergents or cut back on regular detergents. Leftover suds are tough to drain and contribute to the mold problem.
Hope this info can help if you have mold in your washer. If you have a washer that you LOVE, I’d LOVE to know about it.
*Photo credit: istockphoto/Alfaproxima