11:32AM | 08/25/07
Member Since: 08/24/07
3 lifetime posts
I have a Sears Kenmore Heavy Duty washing machine which is 10 years old. Lately, no matter what I do (extra liquid detergent, bleach, even extra Downy), the clothes just don't smell they've never been washed. A few times, after drying them I've ended up putting them back in the washer and re-washing them and then re-drying them! I checked the instructional booklet that came with it and the only filter is deep within the unit and I would have to completely tear apart the thing to get at it to clean it! After 10 years of washing, there has got to be "gunk" somewhere that is causing mold, etc. I hate to buy a new washer just because of this.....of course, maybe that's why they put the filters where they sell more! Any answers??


09:23AM | 08/26/07
Member Since: 11/11/02
2293 lifetime posts
** clothes just don't smell fresh. **

Odors in washing machines often come from undissolved detergent and/or fabric softener build-ups on internal parts of the machine's. Those build-ups can also foster mold and mildew growth which can make smells even worse.

Such build-ups often result from washing in too cold of water or using too much detergent for water hardness. Detergent manufactures have designed their products to dissolve in water temperatures 70°F and above. If you do a lot of cold water washes, that is quite possibly the cause.

** there has got to be "gunk" somewhere that is causing mold, etc. **

Yes, although just the "gunk" itself could be the cause of the odors however any mold or mildew would make it worse.

** I would have to completely tear apart the thing to get at it to clean it! **

That is usually what is required, yes. Build-ups are common under the agitator, on the outer tub, the balance ring on the top of the inner tub and the outer tub's top splash guard. If your washer model has a filter (not all do), it could also be affected although the other things I mentioned are usually more likely to be the major problem due to the area they cover and the greater amount of build-ups which can form on them.


Dan O.

The Appliance Information Site



05:15PM | 08/26/07
Member Since: 08/24/07
3 lifetime posts
I was afraid that's what I would hear... Since it only has an "internal" filter, I am actually curious what's there.. Now to figure out how my husband and I will go about it....wish us luck... :-(

Thanks a lot for your time!



03:59PM | 08/28/07
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
Running an empty load with hot water and four gallons of distilled white vinegar run and extra rinse cycle, then run a load or two with hot water and two gallons of distilled white vinegar.

Watch the discharge and see if it is at all foamy (especially the rinse).

Repeat until no more foamyness.

Then take an old cotton terry washcloth and wipe the top of the basket just under the top of the machine, along with a soft toothbrush, dipped in more distilled white vinegar.

Also check your manual, often the agitator can be removed easily - do so and clean the underside, etc.

Rinse all down with fresh water, then run the machine again with hot water and Arm & Hammer brand "Washing Soda"

Run the machine a final time with cold water.

The worst case is that you will have washed away all of the internal build-up in your basket of detergent, liquid softner, etc. Best case is that you may also clean out your pump etc.

One more thing - make sure you have the correct drop in your discharge hose - if you have it stretched too far you'll be suctioning back your discharge water during the spin cycle.


04:02PM | 08/28/07
Member Since: 01/30/05
361 lifetime posts
When was the last time you replaced your supply hoses? If you have the black rubber type 10 years is a long time - they could be decomposing. If you have the braided SS type you might need new washers/screens wouldn't hurt to check them as well.


09:12PM | 08/28/07
Member Since: 08/24/07
3 lifetime posts
Thank you so much for that tip.... I will try that before deciding to dismantle my washer....although I would just love to find the filter and see what might be lurking there.. I did, in the past, try running a hot wash with bleach which helped for a while.. Thanks again - SS


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