Kenmore Washing Machine Complaints

This is a page about Kenmore washing machine complaints. When your appliance does not work properly or last as long as you expect before needing repairs, you can wonder whether it was a defective design.


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November 3, 2006

I have had my HE4T Kenmore for 9 months and wish I had kept my old washing machine. After using it 2 times my husband complained that the towels stink and don't smell or feel like they use to. I paid a ton of money for this product and it isn't worth a ****! Does anyone know of a class action lawsuit for this machine? I am almost tempted to buy a reliable top loading machine again.

I paid so much money for this machine and the smell is so bad I wouldn't even give it to my worst enemy. My clothes don't even smell fresh either. I have kids that complain also. There is definitely something wrong! I never had any of these problems until I purchased this washing machine. I also have the matching dryer which has not caused any problems.


October 7, 20110 found this helpful
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2nd time in 7 years our HE4 110 (Whirlpool) front load $1,200 washer is throwing an F code. This time F2. The cycle starts but will not finish and is difficult to stop the cycle and get it drained and door open. A circuit board replacement fixed it the first time, and now (1 year and 8 months later) it appears to be circuit board issue again.


1. Smell: According to the repair person, liquid HE detergent manufacturers removed phosphates from the product and made up for it with animal fats that turn rancid after awhile and can even destroy the drum bearing.

Although the book and DVD that came with the machine say use "X" amount of detergent, the service guy says that's way too much and to use only a table spoon at most of powder. I've done that and the smell got better. A year ago I changed to 7th Generation HE liquid detergent (again limiting the amount per load to about 1-2 tablespoons), because it is plant based surfactant. The laundry smells even better.

The repair person said if cleaning the machine to use cleaning tablets and/or vinegar, but not to use bleach as a cleaner.

2. Machine Quality and Repair Issues: I think the first repair after about 5 years ownership cost $350 for a Sears Protection Agreement (1 year) which allowed a parts & labor repair up to $500 or a $500 refund toward another washer. A local repair person told me he couldn't repair the machine for $350 and it was a good machine that should be repaired for that price.


Now, I'm seeing reports of spider failure due to incompatibility corrosion of the aluminum to stainless steel construction and also inner drum screws wearing through the plastic outer washer drum.

Now that the last Protection Agreement has expired, I'm not sure I want to pay for another to replace the circuit board and then later have my 2nd floor laundry flooding the house because of a drum leak and then have to replace that also.

I'm going to have to look into the inside and/or consult Sears and/or my local appliance repair person to determine if spider, bearing or drum failure will likely be an issue on my machine before I put any more $ into this apparently poorly designed, but expensive washer.

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October 14, 2009

I have had my HE4T Kenmore for 9 months and wish I had kept my old washing machine. After using it 2 times my husband complained that the towels stink and don't smell or feel like they use to. I paid a ton of money for this product and it isn't worth it. Does anyone know of a class action lawsuit for this machine? I am almost tempted to buy a reliable top loading machine again.


I paid so much money for this machine and the smell is so bad I wouldn't even give it to my worst enemy.

My clothes don't even smell fresh either. I have kids that complain also. There is definitely something wrong. I never had any of these problems until I purchased this washing machine. I also have the matching dryer which has not caused any problems.

Kim from NC


Kenmore HE4T Washing Machine Complaints

Have you contacted Sears about the problem? They should be able to help or even replace it. All of my large appliances are Kenmore (some 30 + years old) and I have never had a problem with them. (11/03/2006)

By DL1052MCD

Kenmore HE4T Washing Machine Complaints

I love my Kenmore front loader machine. It's my favorite appliance in 26 years of marriage. A few suggestions:


  1. you are supposed to leave the door open for a little bit after doing a load to air out the washer
  2. there is a routine, monthly maintenance that is required, you run bleach through the machine with a special cycle.
Check your manual, you'll find this information in there. Good luck. (11/03/2006)

By Sheryl

Kenmore HE4T Washing Machine Complaints

I have the HE3 and had the same problem. A Sears repairman was out to fix my dryer and looked into my washer. He asked if I was getting smelly laundry. I was and he said that I was using too much soap. He said that when they designed the soap cups for these washers the soap on the market wasn't as concentrated. He said to use less than half recommended or better yet if using powder only 1TBS. I have done this and no more smell, clothes come clean.


He said to rid the washer of the smell and soap residue I should run a cycle on hot with no clothes and 2TBS of automatic dishwasher soap. This worked great no more soap scum on the inner flap and best of all no more smelly laundry. Hope this helps you.

Laura (11/04/2006)

By Laura

Kenmore HE4T Washing Machine Complaints

We had the same problem with our washer. After trying bleach, baking soda, vinegar and other washer cleaners we sent for a cleaner from After using just 3 tablespoons the drain water went from green to clear. It's been over 4 months and still no mildew smell from towels or washer. (12/04/2007)

By Lisa

Kenmore HE4T Washing Machine Complaints

I too purchased a Kenmore HE4t washer and dryer. We used to have a Kenmore top loader. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would give our washer a 9.5 and the gas dryer a perfect 10. I encouraged another friend to buy one on my recommendation and the only problem he had was with the 0% financing for a year. I had the same problem. We too have the moldly smell, buy only if we leave the door closed. We just get in the habit of leaving it open an inch or so. That is a minor inconvenience. It's not perfect, but we like it alot -purchased it in 2004.


By Deide

Kenmore HE4T Washing Machine Complaints

I have the HE2t. I bought it last week. Today I got an error message that was just an F. I'm running it through again.

I was delighted to find out that my favorite detergent is HE compliant. It's Nellie's Laundry Soda and can be purchased online or at some health food stores. You use very little of it and my very allergic family has had no problems since we switched to it. It uses sand, not just soap, to clean and it rinses clear, even in very hard water.

After this load completes, I will fun some through with vinegar and washing soda in lieu of bleach. I hope I luck out with this unit. My heart goes out to those who are frustrated with theirs. A washer is a significant purchase. (01/08/2008)

By Lorna

Kenmore HE4T Washing Machine Complaints

I too have a Kenmore HE washer and was ready to load in the back of the pickup and toss it off the tailgate at a high rate of speed I am so disgusted. Anyway, in talking with my hairdresser she informed me of info she heard re: these front-load washers and stated there was some solution that Home Depot and possibly Lowe's sells that is supposed to eliminate these smells from the washer (I too have tried baking soda, bleach, vinegar, etc. to no avail).

So I purchased tablets called "Affresh" at Home Depot for $6.99, threw one in an empty normal cycle, then washed a load of clothes in the next load, and lo and behold, no smell. Apparently you do this same empty-load cycle w/a tablet once per month so one package will last you three months (as there are 3 tablets in each package).

I have also heard that Tide HE is a bad detergent to use which could be exasperating the problem. My sister switched to Wisk HE and says her laundry is much better. So I'm throwing

out the Tide HE and buying Wisk HE along with these once-per-month tablets and hopefully going

to save the $2,000 I was going to spend on an LG machine.
Jan in Phoenix (02/03/2008)

By Janet Morris

Kenmore HE4T Washing Machine Complaints

I too have this hunk of junk. I have read around and taken people's suggestions and implemented a few of my own. SmellyWasher did not work for us. I sprayed the "boot," the dispenser, and the inside of the washer with Tilex, it's suppose to kill mold and mildew.

Didn't use a ton, because I didn't want a lot of bubbles everywhere. I let it sit a few hours and then ran a cold water wash. I ran a half cup of Electrasol dishwashing soap and a warm water cycle.

I have discontinued liquid soaps, as I saw more mildew in my dispenser when I used them (they're slimey to begin with). I also rarely ever use fabric softener as Downy produced tons of mildew and slime in my dispenser. I switched to using Snuggle once in a blue moon, I normally use dryer sheets.

This has significantly cut down, but not stopped the problem, I'll catch a whiff of mold, but I'm not seeing it build up in dispenser or boot anymore. I really think the liquids promote the slime and mildew. I've also been told by repairmen that the detergent companies have us using about 2-3 times the amount of soap that would already work which is bad for our environment, clothing, and wallet. I use a large tablespoon of powder detergent and the same for the fabric softener (if I use it at all.) and I have two boys and their clothes do get clean. Good luck. (04/15/2008)

By ryan

Kenmore HE4T Washing Machine Complaints

Our washing machine was giving draingage error codes and had a bad smell. After searching the internet, I finally found a site that told me that there is a filter on the water pump that may need to be cleaned out. It's really easy to do and I'm really suprised that the manual doesn't say anything about it. When I opened the filter up, I found 3 toddler socks in it covered in "Gunk". I removed them, cleaned the filter out, and ran it. The machine started working great and I haven't noticed the smell since. The only trick is that you have to have a set of star drive screwdrivers to remove the front lower panel, and a shopvac to empty the water from the hoses and pump before opening it all the way, or you will get water everywhere.


By Jonanthan

Kenmore HE4T Washing Machine Complaints

When the Kenmore HE4T throws a F11 error, it can be fixed for not a lot of money. Check the posts in Search for the Kenmore HE4T error messages. My HE4T starting to throw the codes and 5 relay replacements later, seems to be working like brand new. It looks like you can only get about 3 to 4 years (at 5 loads per week) from 3 of the 5 relays on the main control board inside the top of the washer.

The board was designed for the European market and I think the lower US voltage has a lot to do with this problem. The contacts begin to carbon up from constant DC switching. Again, follow the instructions in the website to repair. Be patient about removing the plastic covers and the circuit board from the plastic housing. Replace all 5 relays on the board just to be safe. When you remove the old relays, be careful not to damage the wire connections on the board. The board itself is high quality, so you can dismiss comments about poor solder joints and edge connections coming loose. It's just worn out relays. You can get new ones from Newark Electronics part numbers 24C0595 (3) and 35K4530 (2).

In total, the repair will cost you less than $30 which is a lot cheaper than spending hundreds on the board. As to why Whirlpool didn't use solid-state relays (which would outlive the mechanical components) for this application? That's because Whirlpool was able to cut at least $10 off the HE4T mfg. cost. Guess they measure mfg. costs a lot better than customer satisifaction? (11/16/2008)

By Kenmore HE4T (Whirlpool Duet) F11 Errors

Kenmore HE4T Washing Machine Complaints

I am pretty sure that with the f and DL codes, you have a draining issue. What I have found, because of many kids leaving stuff in pockets or throwing stuff in dirty clothes, that the drain will get clogged up with stuff and plug the drain. That is why your stuff is starting to smell. There is water that is sitting in the bottom of your washer. If you remove the bottom panel, which there should be just two small hex screws on the very bottom left and right of the panel, then it should just pop off. When you open it up, you will see what looks like a gas-cap.

Mine is white and it should be right in the middle on the bottom. Turn the cap a hard left and pull out the plug. Be prepared with lots of towels, because if it is clogged, there will be on out pour of water and it will stink. It made me gag a few times. Just clean that off that cap-plug and put it back in. If that doesn't fix it, take off your drain hose and flush it out good with a pressure washer or a hose, making a strong stream, and that may help the problem.

Also, just another tip. Pull back the rubber stop at the bottom that meets up with the drum after every cycle. Especially if you have kids. This machine likes to eat socks. If they go under that rubber stop and are not removed, they will eventually fall down under the drum and go into the drain system. You can then remove them by pulling that cap off and cleaning it out as I described above.I hope this helps somebody.

I paid $80 for the advice and for a service tech to come show me what was going on. Now I check that drain every couple of weeks to make sure that it is clear. $80 is a lot of money for something that literally takes 5 minutes and no expertise at all. Just need a socket wrench or a very small wrench. (02/08/2009)

By Amy

Kenmore HE4T Washing Machine Complaints

I bought my He4T in 2005. Failure code F11 started last week. Since someone mentioned of bad contacts (not relays), I removed the circuit board, the contacts were not gold plated so would be prone to fretting. I sprayed W2 on Q-tips and cleaned the contacts on the board. Then use the fine surface of a block nail file (looks like a stick of butter) lightly scratched the contact fingers on the boards. Re-cleaned with W2 using Qtips. Also spray W2 on connectors that plugged to the board. First load ran without any error. You may want to do this first before replacing relays. (05/04/2009)

By vinh

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