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Class-action suits clean up front-loading washing machine odor problems

Posted September 27
Updated September 28

Front-loading washing machines are popular among consumers, and with good reason.

Consumer Reports tests show they often perform better than top loaders – they're more gentle on clothes and more energy efficient.

But front-loading models are often ridiculed because of the moldy smells many produce. Odors associated with front-load washers are so much of a problem that several class-action lawsuits have been filed.

"The issue started out as mostly online chatter about moldy odors, but it turned into multiple class-action lawsuits involving more than 6 million front-loading washing machines," Consumer Reports' Dan DiClerico said.

As a result of the lawsuits, owners of front-loading models that they aren't happy with do have options.

Anyone who previously owned or currently owns an LG washing machine sold between 2002 and 2006 that has mold issues may qualify for a $35 settlement or a $105 rebate on a new LG washer. Check online to see if you're eligible for a settlement from LG.

Another lawsuit involved Whirlpool, Maytag and Kenmore machines made by Whirlpool between 2001 and 2010. Owners may qualify for a $50 settlement or a 20 percent rebate off the purchase of a new washer or dryer. Check online to see if you're eligible for a settlement from Whirlpool.

For those not ready to buy a new machine, Consumer Reports recommends the following to prevent mold and mildew:

  • Leave the door ajar between washes
  • Remove detergent buildup from the dispenser
  • Sanitize the machine once a month by adding bleach during a hot-water cycle run without clothes

"Manufacturers claim they've resolved the problem by improving the door gasket and adding a tub clean cycle," DiClerico said.

1 Comment

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  • Aiden Audric Sep 28, 10:00 a.m.
    user avatar

    My method:
    - wash colors
    - wash whites with bleach
    - dry the door and seal with one of the whites (there's always a rag of sorts in there)
    - prop the door open with something like a folded kitchen towel.

    I found that the "sanitize via bleach-only cycle" and commercial "kills the stink" products were useless.

    Wipe it down, prop the door and you'll be fine.