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how to get rid of mildew smell from front-loading washing machine

  • Last Updated:
  • Oct 11th, 2018 2:48 pm
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
5209 posts
4168 upvotes

how to get rid of mildew smell from front-loading washing machine

I have this musky smell coming from a front loading LG washing machine no matter how much I cleaned the drum and I would leave the door open so it air out. I'll start off by acknowledging I did NOT read the manual (I take full responsibility for this so I really don't need a lecture lol) and thus have never drained the pump and suspect previous owners didn't, because it had this stench when I took possession. I finally read the manual and realized I was supposed to be draining and cleaning the pump/filter at least once a month so you can imagine the wretched smell when I did. I spent several hours cleaning until the water ran clear - used a tooth brush and long drain brush with bleach. I ran the machine on clean twice, once with bleach. I've used vinegar and tea tree oil. I have ran 3 loads of laundry and while the clothes don't smell, there's still a mildew-y smell from the machine. I should mention that when I drain the water from the pump it's clear and does not smell - the smell is from the drum itself. After a load I spray the drum and door with a mixture of water, vinegar and tea tree oil and wipe down...the smell is gone but when I go back and check the next day it smells again. I've followed all the steps on this site except the inlet filter: https://www.lg.com/us/support/product-h ... aintenance

Is there anything that I can do eradicate the smell for good or is the damage irreversible?
37 replies
Deal Expert
User avatar
Feb 11, 2007
17391 posts
19483 upvotes
Oakville
TSP is the first thing that comes to my mind, assuming it's safe to use in the washer.
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

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Member
Dec 17, 2015
458 posts
154 upvotes
Burlington
YouTube it. Baking Sosa and vinegar, put on hot wash cycle. May need to repeat.
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2011
6933 posts
3903 upvotes
Mississauga
We’ve been using front load washing machines for almost 20 years. We always leave the door wide open after the loads are done. Never had a smell issue.
Deal Addict
Mar 3, 2018
2289 posts
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GTA
Going forward consider using pods in the drum directly rather then liquid detergent in the tray.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
5209 posts
4168 upvotes
mrweather wrote: We’ve been using front load washing machines for almost 20 years. We always leave the door wide open after the loads are done. Never had a smell issue.
Yeah I think that's better than leaving it ajar. I'm assuming you drain and clean the drain pump? How about the rest of you? I wonder how many people know they're supposed to do that (assuming people are like me and don't bother to read the manual).
Deal Addict
Aug 22, 2009
1594 posts
1196 upvotes
Dry the seal around the door when you’re done.

Leave the door open when it’s off

Use less detergent
Member
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Sep 25, 2003
284 posts
78 upvotes
Scarborough
Try running tub clean cycle with a product like Affresh washer tablets if bleach is not working. You may need to repeat a couple of times if smell is still there.

I would also recommend avoiding liquid detergent and switch to powder detergent instead. With monthly tub clean maintenance, and keeping your door ajar after each use, hopefully the musty smell does not return.
Deal Expert
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Feb 11, 2007
17391 posts
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Oakville
Alex360 wrote: YouTube it. Baking Sosa and vinegar, put on hot wash cycle. May need to repeat.
Eh... baking soda and vinegar would just make water and CO2, which won't do much, and worst case scenario if you put a lot in could pressurize your washer with CO2 and leak or blow hoses off (not sure if there's an air vent at the top of side load washers but I would imagine there are).
If the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy.

Selling 18x8 Winter Wheels/Tires 225/60R-18 for Audi Q5, A5, Mercedes, PM for info, lots of tread.
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Deal Fanatic
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Oct 19, 2008
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GTA
Remove the door seal gasket, clean all the crap underneath it.
Deal Addict
Aug 30, 2011
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Ottawa
mrweather wrote: We’ve been using front load washing machines for almost 20 years. We always leave the door wide open after the loads are done. Never had a smell issue.
Same here. Never heard about draining anything, and won't start now Smiling Face With Sunglasses
Deal Fanatic
Aug 29, 2011
6933 posts
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Mississauga
hierophant wrote: Yeah I think that's better than leaving it ajar. I'm assuming you drain and clean the drain pump?
Nope, never drained or cleaned the pump. I think key is leaving the door all the way open. There’s not enough airflow when the door is slightly ajar.

Yes, it’s not particularly asthetically pleasing leaving the washing machine like that but unless you can see it, who cares?
Newbie
Jul 25, 2018
9 posts
3 upvotes
Ok - clean with a fresh tabs then never use liquid detergent again. Buy powder only. This makes a huge difference!!! Just make sure powder is HE. After switching to powder it might take a little bit for the smell to go away. I dont know why liquid is so popular - we always had powder growing up.
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Oct 19, 2008
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mrweather wrote: Nope, never drained or cleaned the pump. I think key is leaving the door all the way open. There’s not enough airflow when the door is slightly ajar.
Can't argue if its working for you but many machines would be clogged up if the pump filter isn't cleaned. The key is not every machine is the same, there was a class action law suit against Whirlpool over mold growing on the crap rubber gasket on their front loaders. I took a gasket off my wife's friends machine, there was a small mark on visible side of the gasket she was always rubbing with bleach as the machine stunk. On the back side of the gasket there was 1/4" thick moldy crud growing.
Its a bit of a job to remove the gasket on these machines but worth the effort if smell is recurring after cleaning everything as OP has done.
Deal Guru
Feb 9, 2006
12441 posts
7033 upvotes
Brampton
Put 1 cup of oxiclean and run 1 cycle on the hottest setting.

Be prepared to vomit at the crap you'll see come out the drain.

Oxiclean is like bleach but it also has the bubbling action to help lift the mildew.

I also just leave the door open to air out.
Deal Addict
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Dec 12, 2006
4343 posts
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Messed Up Area
You could try do a cycle using concrodium, then next do a cycle with just clean hot water. Also clean the detergengent/bleach dispensor with it.

Mildew smell is hard to get rid of if left neglected, surprised your clothes don't smell like it.

I'd look at drain pipe for smell as well.
[OP]
Deal Fanatic
Feb 4, 2010
5209 posts
4168 upvotes
Zamboni wrote: Remove the door seal gasket, clean all the crap underneath it.
How easy is it to remove and put back? The LG website says to clean the tub once a week for 3 consecutive weeks if the smell continues so I'm going to try that first before doing anything else, as I've already tried all the LG recommended things. I didn't see anything about removing the seal gasket so I'm kind of hesitant to do that in case I create a bigger problem.
Deal Fanatic
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Oct 19, 2008
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GTA
There's Youtube vids for most front loaders, have a look. On Whirlpool I did the whole front panel was removed holding the door, its a 2 beer job. Lot of similar screws to keep track of, take pics as you take things apart & stick screws back into holes as parts are removed to keep track as many are different lengths.
Can you work a damp rag up under the gasket seal with your fingers from the back (drum side)....might give you an idea whats going on.

Deal Guru
Jan 25, 2007
10699 posts
6007 upvotes
Paris
I had this issue years ago and found this: washerfan.com. Newer whirlpool units have something similar built in vs passive air flow mine has. I bought a computer fan and a piece of 2.5” plumbing Union just happened to fit perfectly over my passive air input and its been running ever since.

Still need to clean the pump monthly, but this helps a lot. We only vinegar/baking soda once every 3 months now.

Tea tree oil did clear up the issue along with baking soda when the stench started.

Edit: I might have spent 10 bucks.
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Sep 8, 2007
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Way Out of GTA
Throw it out. Get a top loader. Problem solved.

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