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, we paid 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 remember why I didn’t—but Bosch has endured some mold complaints too though not nearly as many as LG, it seems.
Mold in a 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? You have to squeeze a towel or cotton swab into the gasket’s folds to clean it. Doing this after every wash cycle isn’t practical.
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 use bleach and keep the door open when not in use. Oh, and to wipe the entire washer down after each use.
What? You have to squeeze a towel or cotton swab into the gasket’s folds to clean it. Doing this after every wash cycle isn’t practical. At least once a month, I accidentally leave a load in overnight. I’m busy, and I forget. Or, sometimes I forget for an hour or two. This has to be semi-normal behavior.
Until May of this year, this was my vacation house. The washer wasn’t used regularly and was wiped down before we left the house for long periods. The mold problem has gotten much worse over the last few months since we’ve moved into the house and used the washer regularly.
I Called LG About Our Front-Loading Washing Machine
A year or two ago, I did call LG (click for the support line number) to complain. The LG representative I spoke with was friendly 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 returns because there are too many small crevices for the mold to breed in. The water pools up at the door of the front loading washing machine after each wash.
The representative also told me (which later LG denied ever mentioning) that this was 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.
My husband called again and was told the same thing—wipe it down and use bleach. They denied mentioning the “design flaw.”
Front-Loading Washer Class Actions Lawsuits
I’m allergic to some types of mold, not to mention the washer stinks so we had to prematurely replace it 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, at the time this post was written in 2009, there were many class-action lawsuits brewing about it:
People kicked up a fuss about mold in the Kenmore Elite front loading washer as well. There are also other class actions for washers that have perpetual error codes and other issues.
Do your research before you join a class action.
If You Have Mold in Your Washer
The first thing you should do is contact the manufacturer. A resolution will be difficult especially if you’re out of warranty.
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 again “until it hurts” but that it may not work for everyone. Affresh has been the best solution for helping us manage the mold. It does work, but it’s not going to cure the problem, possibly because our issue is serious. 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 going to solve the problem though unless you’re diligent about maintenance. I’ve read that once the mold appears, it’s hard to completely get rid of it, which has been my experience.
Why Does Mold Build Up in Front-Load Machines
Front-loading washers typically use less water so 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 water does.
It is SO DIFFICULT to fully dry my LG front-loading washing machine after use and it isn’t practical to leave the door open, due to its location in the house.
You also MUST use low sudsing HE detergents (we currently love Tide HE pods) or cut back on regular detergents. Leftover suds are tough to drain and contribute to the mold problem so fewer suds overall is better.
Hope this info can help if you have mold in your washer. Since this post was written, we’ve switched to a Samsung top-loading washing machine and have been mold-free.
*Photo credit: istockphoto/Alfaproxima