I need help getting that Funky smell out of towels. No detergent seems to do it.It seems like as soon as they get wet they smell dirty. I've tried Oxy Clean, Febreze for Laundry, Vinegar, Pinesol & several different detergents. All suggestions are appreciated.
What works for me is borax or Borateem. Follow the directions on the box. It gets rid of odors that other things miss. Also, hanging them in the sun for a while will help. (02/27/2001)
All you need to do is wash your towels in hot water with 1 cup of baking soda! I do this for towels and beach wear that has sat in the beach bag too long! Works like a charm! (03/02/2001)
By Diane - Muskegon, MI
My thought is how the towel has gotten to the "stinky smell" to begin with. Are you putting the wet towels in the clothes hamper while still wet so they can mildew before you wash them? In all my married 46 years, I have not had this problem. We make sure the towel is dry before we put it in the hamper to be washed. Some of my recommendations would be to use vinegar, ammonia etc. in the rinse water. I think the problem to address is how you are treating your towels after each use. (03/03/2001)
My towels are really big and my washer wasn't washing them very well. They wreaked, even the washcloths. When my washer finally gave out, we got a smaller capacity one given to us. No more smell. Might be that the washer just can't handle so many at a time. Try cutting load in 1/4 or 1/2 and add vinegar to rinse. Mine smell clean now! (03/03/2001)
I found that by adding a little of ammonia, and a couple of tablespoons of baking soda to the load, no more odors. Just don't mix ammonia with bleach!(03/04/2001)
I've had success using either borax or washing soda in addition to detergent (I use Tide at half the recommended amount), and hot water. The combination seems to zap the bacteria that cause the stinky odors. (03/04/2001)
Are the towels sitting in the machine after they are done washing? One hot summer day, I washed a load of towels and forgot about them. I hung them out the next day, but when I went to put them away, I noticed they had a sour smell. There was no mildew stains, only the off smell. If the weather is hot, this would probably happen pretty fast. (03/20/2001)
I've had good luck with adding baking soda to the laundry detergent. You could also try sprinkling some baking soda in the bottom of your clothes hamper or basket where you store dirty clothes waiting to be washed. (05/18/2004)
I have the same problem as you. My towels always smell musty. I've tried many different detergents(in hot water) and they never smell fresh. The only thing that did work was fabric softener and it just covers up the smell. I want to get rid of the smell and have clean towels. I'm on a well. Are you? Maybe the hard water is causing it. (08/11/2004)
By Carol M
Musty smells are caused by damp. You need to pinpoint at what point are they getting and staying damp? This could just be damp in the air in your home. It happens generally in older badly ventilated properties. As mentioned, I think you need to put less in the washer to begin with then hang them straight out and make sure the cupboard you store them in isn't damp at all. By damp I don't mean wet, I mean is it musty in the cupboard? You could get some silica gel crystals or one of those trays of humidity soaking cells and put them where you store the towels. I'd also recommend opening your windows as often as possible because it sounds like you might need more fresh air circulating. You might also want to try drying your towels on a radiator till they are totally bone dry. If they then smell when you next get them out of the cupboard, that's your problem and you'll need to clean it out, air it and dry it out totally, or find somewhere else to put them.
I hope that helps some. (08/14/2004)
I once had this problem. Now I always add a 1/4 cup of vinegar to the rinse cycle of my washer - I put it in the softener dispenser. This works great.
I also threw away all my wash cloths and gradually bought WHITE ones. Now I bleach them and they smell great - so clean. Walmart has bundles of white wash cloths for a very reasonable price. I think they come in bundles of 18 or 24 for less than $10.00 When they get stained I throw them out or use them to wash the car or other tasks around the house. I buy a new bundle every once in a while with the money I save using coupons. (08/19/2004)
By Susie Sims
My towels smell fine after I wash them, but as soon as they get wet they smell musty. This only started after I got the new whirlpool front loader that cost a fortune.I have tried everything nothing has worked!! I also live on a well but we have a water softener. (09/15/2004)
I have the same problem with all my laundry - not just towels. I thought it might be many of the problems listed - wet laundry, too much time in the washer before moving to the dryer, etc. But I think it DOES have something to do with our front-loading washer. I NEVER had this problem before!! I ran a cycle with bleach and cleaned out the rubber bumper with bleach and it helped a little, but not completely. I'll try some of the suggestions above, such as Baking Soda. What a drag!! (09/16/2004)
I have noticed the same thing with the front loaders. I have a water softener and done all of the suggestions above, like bleach, borax, pine sole and baking soda. Stood there by the washer as the machine was done spinning and placed them into the dryer. I still found the smell. The only thing that I have found is leave the door open a bit to get fresh air in the drum, when you are done with the laundry. Let the wash drum dry between wash weeks. It appears that the washers hold water somewhere and the water turns sour and stinky. In turn the next item to be placed in the washer smells bad. I suggest leaving the door open a bit and let the the drum dry, and see what happens. I have noticed that the smell is gone.
Best of luck (09/16/2004)
I've stopped buying thick washcloths. When it's humid they never dry out completely from day to day and the stink ensues. I'm hand washing one right now. Hot water and soap, then rinse, then soak with hot water and baking soda, then rinse, then soak briefly with a little bleach, then hot water soak. My hands still stink with the sour smell. This is way too much effort for a washcloth! (I live in an apt and didn't want to put it in the hamper and have the stench infiltrate the other laundry.) (09/17/2004)
I too have a front loader- the musty smell there went away when I started using HE detergent. That is a must. Just using less regular detergent will NOT work. My current problem is that I recently went out and bought the thickest towels I could find. Apparently I have left them wet or damp at some point, now they smell terrible!! I can't bleach them, they are dark colored. I will, however, try the baking soda and see how that works! (10/16/2004)
By Anne R
This is an old topic, but maybe still relevant.
I dry my towels outside if at all possible. They do turn out kind of stiff, but I prefer that to the mushy softness of ones which have had too much fabric-softener. I do think a fabric softener "build up" on towels makes them "soggy". If you can't dry outside, then eliminate the fabric softener, or just use dryer sheets. (11/24/2004)
That's it! I knew it was the front-loading machine! I have wondered if I even like how it cleans period -- even after the amount of money I spent on it. I thought I would try a small amount of bleach in the water every few washes. It kills the bacteria that is in the towel. Just washing it does not kill what's in the towel and so it's just keeps coming back. Also, the suggestions of drying the towel before putting it in the hamper is a good one. Not letting them sit wet in the washer for very long is a no-brainer, but putting them outside -especially in the summer -- till they are almost dry is great. Then you can dry them for a few minutes to remove the stiff feeling. Seems to have made a difference for me! (01/14/2005)
By Dee Dee J
I wouldn't be so quick to blame your front loader. I have a regular top-loader, and I've been on a quest for ever to figure out how to get that smell out. I even searched through this forum and nothing had worked - until now!
I'll tell you the combination of products I used...
*Tide with Bleach (which on it's own did not work)
*1 Spray n' Wash tablet (I believe this to be the key ingredient!!)
*Downey in the rinse
I had never thought to use the spray n' wash tablet, but then they caught my eye, sitting up there on my shelf. It couldn't hurt, and hey, if it could lift out a stain, why not a smell?? Well, it worked. My towels finally smell nice! Yay!
Good luck! Hope it works for you too! (03/15/2005)
A cup of Odoban in the rinse cycle will solve the odor problem and disinfect without bleaching. I specifically buy Odoban for the purpose of washing towels because I want them disinfected but cant bleach them cause they fade. Don't like to use fabric softeners cause they cause towels to be less absorbent. I get Odoban at Sams. (05/11/2005)
I have a huge family and we just don't have room to hang all the towels and wash cloths to fully dry after we all shower. I wash the towels everyday, but they still have the musty smell and I have tried lots of stuff and just can't seem to shake the smell, as soon as they get wet it is right back. Bleach does work but my towels look awful after just a couple of times. I am gonna try the baking soda and see how that works. (05/20/2005)
20 Mule Team Borax is the only thing that can really sweeten the laundry in my experience. ARDIS (05/22/2005)
By ardis barnes
I had the same problem. All the towels had a VERY bad smell. It intensified after every wash too! (No other laundry does it though...funny!) I tried the ODOBAN that someone else already mentioned. It is awesome!!!! The towels smell heavenly fresh again! OdoBan is not just a deodorizer, it is also kills 99 % of all germs. Only available at Sam's Club. I also have a water filter, which takes all the chlorine out. Good for the drinking water, but obviously no chlorine means "germy" laundry!!!!! Try the OdoBan, what a difference! Many Thanks to the person who had this idea earlier! (06/12/2005)
Our Whirlpool Duet Washer/Dryer, between the 2, have produce a musty and/or burnt smell in our towels (mostly).
After reading your issues my wife pulled back the Door Seal on our Whirlpool Duet Wash Machine and discovered two socks that looked to have been there for quite some time. Also there was red mold and some lint built up. She is wiping it down with a bleach solution right now. Thank you all for your comments! Sincerely, (06/18/2005)
By Whirlpool FrontLoad Owner
I have tried pretty many combinations - Baking soda, vinegar, Tide w/Downey - even Simple Green. For a fabric softener, I use Downey and fabric softener sheets in the dryer. Nothing has eliminated the stinky smell on my towels and wash cloths. They are not put in the hamper wet and they are not left in the wash machine for any length of time to cause them to smell. We have a Maytag top loading wash machine. Have only used Maytag washers and dryers . So I don't think it's any particular machine. The Queen of Clean recommends cleaning your machine periodically. Fill tub with hot water and 2 cups of bleach - let go thru cycle but not spin cycle. Fill again with hot water and 2 cups white vinegar and let go thru cycle but not spin cycle . this might help some of you - it could be a start . I have picked up some suggestions that I will surely try. One of them being Odoban. Thanks for the help (06/18/2005)
I tried the bleach with a Spray and Wash tablet yesterday and they seem to smell a bit better. I also did a smaller load that normal, but with a full load of water to allow for better agitation and better movement in the dryer.
Next time I will try the baking soda.
I ALWAYS use good quality liquid fabric softener and still developed the problem, so I don't think that using fabric softener helps much. In fact, I think overuse of it might make it worse as it gives bacteria a breeding ground. (06/19/2005)
This machine has a design problem. There are just too many complaints. So now the question is how do we get a fix from the mfg.. I will call them and ask for one. If I don't get a fix I think a class action is in order. (07/02/2005)
By chris a
We have a top load. the smell started with the dish clothes but is now in most of our thicker towels. I have read some of the suggestions and will try them. (07/27/2005)
We bought our Duet in April 2004 and was wonderful until lately, when I started smelling something like stagnant water and my towels started smelling. I was embarrassed when my sister came down and noticed a smell coming from the laundry room, she said "What's that smell", she's the one who pointed out that it was coming from my washer....too much money to be going through this, trying to figure out what to use, how to clean a "washer" and what not to use.....look at all these complaints! And no, we don't put wet towels in the hamper....and if we did, this washer should be able to clean them! I'll never spend $1,000 on a Whirlpool product again! (07/31/2005)
Finally I find I am not the only one experiencing this problem with stinky towels. Without doubt, it is related to my front loading Whirlpool Duet washing machine. I thought I was washing too many towels(8 to 10) but even washing only five the smell was bad. I looked in the manual for trouble shooting and checked all the hoses and I found within the front lip seal there was a sock that had been there for some time with a terrible odor. I claimed victory. The next load or two seemed better and I thought the smell would work it's way out with usage. I have a family of 8 so the machine gets a lot of usage. I have never had problems with smelly towels before this machine. I have owned the machine for 9 months and started experiencing problems with it about 3 months ago. I called the OEM and the customer representative asked if I had used the HE detergents. I have not used the HE detergent however I have used 1/2 of the normal amount of regular detergents. The manual does not indicate I will have mold problems if I do not use the HE detergents, only that the HE will clean better and not be as sudsy. My machine has gone into the "SUD" mode only once since I have owned it and that was when I put 3 times the detergent in to see if it helped the towels smell any better. The towels are so bad now most everyone on our home would rather air dry than use one. I've joked with my husband that I believe if I purchase a new towel for each individual to use for two weeks and then throw it away that it would be even more energy efficient and smell a whole lot better.
After reading these posts I will definitely be buying a membership to Sam's for the odor product.
I am very disappointed in the Whirlpool Duet Front Loading Automatic Washer. (08/02/2005)
I'm a servicer for whirlpool and I have found that the reason the washer starts to smell is because soap suds left in outer tub after wash is complete. Your not able to see them or get to them because their in the outer tub. The suds build up and start to mold and smell. The reason for the suds is using to much soap.
To keep this from happening, you need to use a 1/3 amount of tide as is recommended on the product. To clean your washer out, pour 2 cups of bleach into tub and run on whitest of whites. Then run through the same cycle without bleach and problem should be fixed. You might also leave the door open 45 min's after done with washing to let inside dry out. (08/03/2005)
By buddy / DALHART TEXAS
I used to have this problem, until I went with all white towels and started using Bleach on them. Now I never have a "stinky" towel! (08/03/2005)
FABRIC SOFTNER could be the culprit!
I learned from the Fisher & Paykal website (http://www.fisherpaykel.com), in their laundry area, that FABRIC SOFTNER, when used in COLD or WARM wash water actually leaves a WAXY FILM on the surfaces of your washer. It doesn't collect on the INSIDE of the drum as your laundry wipes it off, but that film can accumulate on the outside of your drum, as well as other parts in contact with the fabric softener-treated water. Over time, this film adds to itself with bits of lint, dirt and debris and eventually begins to hold moisture for extended periods of time. This SLUDGE is perfect breeding ground for MOLD and MILDEW! All it may take is one load to go sour in the washer to begin the formation...
Think about it! Doesn't that fabric softener dispenser get NASTY after a period of time? If it leaves deposits on your laundry after cleaning (its intended purpose), it is likely it will leave deposits in the uncleanable areas of your washer as well...
Front loaders, especially the Whirlpool Duet, seem especially prone to this, where the infestation usually STARTS from a dirty, wet gasket.
So, now that I have my new BOSCH Next front-loader, I have swore that not a drop of liquid fabric softener will ever enter that washer, even though there is a dispenser for it. Plus I will leave the door cracked open and the top soap lid open to allow air flow and a path for evaporation. I hope that will stop any SMELL problems brought about by mold or mildew by keeping mold and mildew out of the washer in the first place. I love a front-load washer and will always use one... but it may require a laundry re-education for some as most use it like those ineffective, inefficient top loaders.
Don't look for washer manufacturer's to address this problem anytime soon as the MARKET demands dispensers and wash cycles geared for fabric softeners, there is no changing this until the word gets out. The true solution is for a better, more washer-friendly softener to be invented... or just use dryer sheets as I am now doing.
I've had a Kenmore Elite HE3 (front loader) for about two years now. Our towels have been smelly for about the last year, but it's getting worse. I always leave the door wide open and the drum itself does not smell bad. Once I wash a load of towels in hot water with regular detergent, they smell fine. After the first use, they smell horrible. Almost like a nasty chemical burn smell.
I can pull back my seal around the outside of the drum but it looks clean. I reached around the edges and it all appears to be clean as well. I've always used Downy in the fabric softener compartment. This source of the smell must be collecting somewhere else.
I'm running the washer on 'Whitest Whites' with a cup of bleach in the drum right now. I'm going to buy some Tide HE today and wash our towels again and see if that helps. Are there any other suggestions? (08/10/2005)
Whew! Talk about stinky. Our towels smelled like mildew and almost like cat urine sometimes as soon as you started drying off with them. It was disgusting! Thank you for this website. This is what I did to fix my problem. I first cleaned my washer. I checked the lip of my washer and found black goo and mold. I used a spray bottle of bleach to get all the unreachable spaces. I ran my washer on hot water and a cup of bleach as a super size load, power wash. Then again with just water. I repeated this including spraying the goo with bleach several times. I think I even did a few cycles with bleach and a cup of baking soda and vinegar. I kinda combined all that i had read and tried it all. At last the washer is clean. Then, I changed from Arm n Hammer laundry soap to "Tide with a touch of Downy." I now wash the towels and my husbands sweaty gross clothes in the Tide along with a cup of white vinegar and a half cup of baking soda. After a couple washes, we are now using our towels up to three times before they start smelling used. The towels and my husbands sweaty clothes actually smell good! It's all really crazy that we all have this problem. Hope this helps someone out there. Thanks to all of you for your remedies using Tide, vinegar, baking soda, cleaning the washer with bleach, etc. Our house is smelling good again! (08/10/2005)
Glad i found this site, every day since our new duet washer, I get out of the shower towel dry, and then "that smell",,, you just gotta love this $1300 smelly towel making machine, where is whirlpool after the sale? (08/11/2005)
They say 1/2 a cup of baking soda in the rinse cycle (in wash cycle if you use liquid detergent)should take away the smell. I haven't tried it yet though. Ask me tomorrow. (08/14/2005)
By The Big Kid
FABRIC SOFTNER seems to be the culprit. What Kdrennon I also have done- it seems to have cleared up the smell. I got away with 2 to 3 cups of Bleach and spraying the unreachable places as well. Try to get all the black/ brown pasty build up from right under the lip of the tub. I used a qtip to get mine. Its the area outside the tub ( not just the rubber seal , that as well needs constant cleaning.) Then of course clean the rubber seal on top and behind. My service man said don't use Softener if possible. He said its very common and it would really help if you use half the detergent your using and no softener ( I however like the smell of softener so will continue to use it but plan on weekly running a couple of cycles of super hot water on the longest cycle with about 2-3 cups of bleach, directly put in the tub, I splash it around the walls when I put it in there) to keep the mildew - mold from building up ( with no clothes). I also keep my washer door open. Hope this helps. Take Care and good luck (08/14/2005)
Have you tried baking soda? I think that helps a little if used in hot water. Also for white towels you can use bleach and that kills that smell also. I notice the more expensive thicker towels get that smell worse than cheaper ones. It's almost like once the smell arrives there is no getting it out! (08/17/2005)
We have the Calypso which is I believe the upright version of the Duet. Terrible. Really expensive and does a terrible job. We hate both the washer and the dryer. These things are the last whirlpool products we buy. But I digress.
I'm glad I found this forum. I thought it was just me. My wife was blaming me for not showing properly. One use and our towels stink. I appreciate all the suggestions and will try them immediately. And yes I stuck my head inside our washer it smells awful. That's step number one.
Thanks for the help everyone.
By Alan Youngblood
I hate my Whirlpool Duet. I am thinking about filing a class action lawsuit, if there is not one filed yet. My towels stink so bad that most of the time I am left standing in the shower dripping dry because I don't want my skin to smell bad! Before I bought my Whirlpool I had a Maytag Neptune front loader and that was only 6 months old and I gave it away because it too stunk like mildew! I have tried bleach, baking soda, vinegar, I never use fabric softener anymore and use very little detergent. I will try the ODOBAN. If there are any other suggestions please let me know! (09/26/2005)
Wow, I never expected to find this forum when I performed a google search for "Smelly Towels". I'm glad to see that I'm not the only one having the problem. My wife thought that I was crazy and that the smell was a figment of my imagination. I sometimes have to go through 2 or 3 towels out of the shower to find one that doesn't stink. I'm sure they all stink, each subsequent towel just gets a little less wet, and thus a little less smelly. The smell doesn't seem to appear until they get wet. I laughed pretty hard reading through all of these posts. Now, I know it's not just me. I agree that Whirlpool should resolve this, I have never had this problem with any previous washers. You expect your clothes clean and fresh when you wash them and you don't always get that with the whirlpool. It just makes 'em smelly! (09/27/2005)
By Rob Bennett
I am also a 9 month owner of the Whirlpool duet and approximately 3 months ago my towels started smelling like mildew as soon as they became wet. I have never used fabric softener and have always used the manufacturer's recommended HE detergent (Tide). When I am working out at the gym, as soon as my shirt becomes a little moist the mildew odor begins to permeate. Any suggestions to resolving this problem would be greatly appreciated. (09/28/2005)
By Dennis M.
I'd love to see us all call Whirlpool and complain - Have we all? Maybe they'll do a recall ? I doubt it but it won't hurt - I'm calling (again) tomorrow - and If one more person asks us if we're using hot water I'm going to scream - we're not stupid - just tired of these expensive machines and their smell... Besides - I've used cold water on most of my clothes for years - with cheaper machines - and never had this smell... DF (09/29/2005)
Has anyone tried Borax? I've used it with towels and my husbands workout clothes and it seems to work okay for a while. The stink in the towels comes back after the second (or so) use, however. Just wondering if anyone else has tried this. Perhaps it's just time for new towels... (10/05/2005)
YES! ALL of our laundry smells like mildew now, 6 months after purchasing our Whirlpool Duet. It is beyond nasty, especially when the clothes are left to sit in it for any length of time. My family includes five kids and they are all complaining! I was told to keep the door open...it is in our main thoroughfare to the back door,used all day. There won't be a door there if I leave it open! The customer service is just running me around and I would LOVE to join a class action suit if anybody knows of one being filed. I am pining for my 10 year old Kenmore!! (10/10/2005)
I am SO glad to have found this forum... very frustrated with new Whirlpool Duet. Eight months old and STINKY. Can't believe we paid this much for a machine that stinks - literally! I cleaned out the dispenser compartment today and it was DISGUSTING. Does anyone know if whirlpool has made any kind of statement/response to this problem? (10/11/2005)
I to was plagued by a mildew or mold smell, especially in towels, worse when they got rewet. And I tried (like you) all of the above. Then I tried Hydrogen peroxide (3%) 2 16 oz bottles per large laundry load. They cost 50 cents a bottle and it is color safe. Well, it removed the smell completely, once and for all! I did every towel in the house and all cotton rugs too.
I reminded my husband that wet towels do NOT belong in a heap on the floor, especially in Florida! Maybe I can prevent a reoccurrence. But now I keep 4-6 bottles of Hydrogen peroxide 3% in the laundry room.. It removes blood better than anything else and can be used on most fabrics and all colors. (10/18/2005)
By Cat Somerville
One word: Odoban (available at SAM's Club)(b)(/b) - Hat's off to the earlier post that recommended this stuff.
We've had our Duet for about 2 1/2 years and had never cleaned it. I only recently began noticing the towels would stink after one use. I asked my wife to use more fabric softener to eliminate the smell but no luck. Then I stuck my head into the washer and found the real culprit.
After finding this web site, I tried everything else (pine-sol, bleach, vinegar, dishwasher detergent) and couldn't get rid of the smell. I did first have to use a little elbow grease and paper towels to thoroughly clean the gunk from the gasket and inner door. Then I ran a 'Soak' cycle with hot water after pouring a cup of Odoban into the tub. After that was complete I ran a 'Whitest Whites' cycle with a cup of Odoban in the tub and more Odoban in the detergent dispenser.
Incredible! No more odor! (10/22/2005)
WOW! The internet is sure a great way to solve problems that you think are only yours. My wife complained about our smelly Duet washer (only 9 months old) and I googled "smelly Duet" and found this site as well as a few others others. The fix for us was a Q-tip, Odoban from Sam's Club and filling the liquid detergent compartment no more than 1/3 full regardless of the type of detergent used. Clothes still come out SUPER clean. We were having all of the problems stated on this page. Even found an old sock behind the rubber seal and thought the problem was solved. The solution of using the Odoban from Sam's Club worked perfectly. We poured a bout 2 cups in the drum and ran it on Whitest Whites. Next we ran a Soak cycle. We also took a Q-tip and placed it in the gap of the drum behind the rubber seal and turned the drum by hand to see what we found. We did find a brown wax like substance but it had no smell. Not really sure if it was soap/softener build up, grease or a type of mold? Reading posts by Lesaitn is may be soap/softener build up. Great to know that there is a fix! Good luck to all. (11/03/2005)
My wife and I had the same problem. We had towels that were 10 years old that never smelled musty until our Duet Washer was about 1 year old, then the smell began. I searched the internet to find if others had the problem and it appears we were not alone.
But there is good news. We found a fix. My wife put a few table spoons of 20 Mule Team Borax (power) in with 1/2 a cup of Arm & Hammer Fabricare (also powder). The Arm and Hammer Fabricare box says: "Advanced Detergent + Baking Soda Deodorizer with color safe Bleach".
One time through the washer took 100% of the musty smell out of the towels. After reading all the blogs on this problem, we were very surprised it worked so quick and easy. (11/05/2005)
By Ron Mellema
I am so glad I found this site. I just got very irritated with my husband for commenting on the load of towels I just washed that smell sour. I've had my washer for 3 years and have tried every thing from baking soda, borax, vinegar, and even pine-sol. None of these have worked permanently. So, at least now my husband will know it's not just me. But I will say that keeping the door to the washer open is a must. It just stands to reason, this washer has a tight seal, the water would leak out the door if not. So, if you close it right after washing the moisture from the load will be trapped and of course cause mildew. I think my problem with the towels starts more from not getting them in the dryer quick enough. I live in a warm, humid climate, but sometimes get distracted with things and my wash might sit several hours. Again, I think the tight seal on the washer causes it to sour quicker. I am definitely going to try the Odoban. I did check the inside of my drum where others have said they found brown goo, I don't find any of that, so I'd guess keeping the door open might have helped that. It doesn't have to be wide open, just even an inch so some air can get in. (02/23/2006)
I loved finding this website and showing my wife that others have this same problem. Though it seems most of you have a problem with the specific washer you use. I have a Kenmore that we have had for 15years. The towels smell great until you go to use them. Some of the towels I can use for a week before ever smelling something wrong, others with one use they are bad. Not to mention that any towel my wife uses never smells. I am going to try a number of the ideas most of you have on here and see what happens. Thank You!! (02/25/2006)
I am surprised that I am not just making the stinky towel syndrome up. Now, I know it exists! Wow! Thanks for all of the suggestions. I will try every one of them!( (03/11/2006)
Wow! What a great site this is! Ran the kitchen towels and dishcloths through a wash in the musty Duet with 2 cups Hydrogen Peroxide and a homemade laundry soap (non sudsing) from eBay. No more stinky dishcloths! They're easier to wring the water out of as well. Then ran all the bath towels and wash cloths through a cycle using the new soap and a cup of Odoban in the rinse. The towels now absorb water rather than move it around. No more stinky towels, either. Since we have HARD water here, I'm going to run a one-fourth cup of citric acid through an empty wash in case the hard water deposits are on the outer drum. 3 TBS of citric acid will clean a dishwasher and remove hard water deposits from glasses so I figure it'll do the same for the outer drum. I've also ordered some Charlie's Soap as mentioned elsewhere in this site. And of course, now I crack the washer door just a bit when laundry is done. Thanks everyone, for the great advice. It's working! (03/13/2006)
By e.l. booth
Whirlpool duet washer makes clothes smell like mildew. Someone start a class action. This should not be happening. Only 1 year old. I'm upset I spent so much. (03/23/2006)
By Sue Hinton
We just bought a big bottle of odorban at Sams club for about $10. It was on an endcap near the cleaning supplies. (04/09/2006)
By Alan Youngblood
Wow! I thought it was just my household that had this problem. We have the Kenmore Elite front loaders - like you - spent a fortune - and my towels smell horrible after washing/drying them. I recently had guests stay at my home - I had to pull out the beach towels from last year - they at least had never been in this machine and definitely smelled fresh. I actually dread using the towels. I even ran out and bought more towels - thinking that the problem was that my towels were two years old. Nope - same smell. I'm off to clean my machine and hit Sam's Club tonight! Thanks a bunch for everyone's info. (04/12/2006)
I'm so glad I found this forum. My stinky towels have been bothering me for awhile. We moved into a new house 1 1/2 yrs. ago & I was so excited because I got the Duet. I couldn't figure out why our towels & even dish cloths were smelling because they never did in our old house that was built in the 50's. I thought it had something to do with our closets. Now I know I'm not losing my mind & we're not the only ones out there with this problem.
I did a google search for ODOBAN & found the concentrate at Sam's Club & the Ready to Use at Wal-Mart. I'm guessing since people have said it's available at Sam's they're talking about the concentrate. Am I right? Is that what you're using in your washers? Just want to make sure before I go out & buy some. Anyone used the read to use for anything?
What a great forum to have. Thanks! (04/14/2006)
By Shelley (MN)
Wow, thanks for the great advice! I was just about to throw out several towels and washcloths. I am so tired of the sour smell they have. My regular clothes do not have a sour smell, just some of my towels and my sheets. They are perfectly good and I hated to throw them away, but I cannot take that irritating odor anymore! Off to buy some of the recommended products! Thanks! (04/14/2006)
I have the same problem. When I called the repair number they told me to use vinegar or bleach with hot water and also to leave the door open when not in use. I pretty much have to do this at least once a week. But my laundry still smells bad. No one would help me regarding a return or exchange. Our washer and dryer are located in our garage and they said that the humidity (we live in South Carolina) might be the problem. What sucks is that every time you get out of the shower all clean you have to use a disgusting smelling towel to dry off and the smell stays with you. I am so disappointed. We can't afford to buy another washer. My 2 year old gets to have stinky clothes. I will never buy another Kenmore appliance. (05/06/2006)
I'm all for anyone who wants to put together a class action lawsuit. I wouldn't know how to start it. If anyone has a phone number for Kenmore let me know. I will call them every day. I'm going out to Sam's to buy Odorban tomorrow. I am so glad to find out that I'm not alone with the stinky towel problem and that it's not just a lemon machine, although for the price I am beyond disappointed. (05/06/2006)
I am happy to learn that there is a solution to the problem of stinky towels. Never did I think it was related to using a front-loading washer! I have a Maytag Neptune. I should have suspected that there were problems when I received a $500 certificate good toward the purchase of another Maytag. Robert (05/19/2006)
We have a 10 year old Kenmore washer and I didn't think it could be the washer causing the smell, but maybe it is. It is only on some of the towels though.... our clothes smell fine. Odorban worked a couple of times, but some are just too bad to get the odor out of. And we have new towels to boot. (05/22/2006)
We have a Bosch 3200 front loader, it took close to a year and we were having a mechanical/burnt smell, especially when the towels and washcloths got wet or rewet. Odoban fixed the problem, the towels are soft and smell good again. I would like to know what the cause was, They didn't have a musty smell just a nasty funky smell. Im also wondering if it could be Algae, I was looking at a gallon of pool algaecide and the chemicals look real similar, I thought about trying it, but it has some bad warnings on the label.... For now Odoban... (05/28/2006)
I thought I was just crazy! My towel have stunk since I have had my front loading Kenmore. I had no idea. I thought maybe I was not drying the clothes completely. Then I started putting them on extended dry times. --- No luck. The smell is only noticed when the towels get wet again - like when you are drying off!!! I spent a lot of money on this washer and dryer. I can't afford to buy another one now. Still these off on my Sears card!! (05/29/2006)
We are attorneys contemplating a class action against Whirlpool due to design defects in the Duet Washer. Among the problems we are addressing are the "stinky towels" listed here. Please feel free to email me at email@example.com with your contact information or particular Duet stories and I will call you to discuss your personal Whirlpool experiences. (06/01/2006)
I read all of your posts and found odoban at our local wal mart. I was excited to use it on my towels. It was in a spray bottle and didn't have any instructions about adding to the wash so I sprayed about 5 sprays into my wash while the water was running in. I've got one of the first Maytag Neptune washing machines. When the cycle ended and I opened the door to the machine it was FULL of soap suds. I've never had so many soap suds stay in the washer like that before. I had to run the towels through 5 more cycles with only water to get out all of the soap. I'm VERY aware not to use too much soap ... I only put about an inch (if that much) in the bottom of the cap so I don't think it was because I used too much laundry soap. Did I get the wrong type of odoban? Is there more than one kind? I think I'll purchase some hydrogen peroxide to try on the towels too. Any other suggestions would be great!
I've been told by a washing machine repairman to sprinkle some powder dishwashing detergent into the front gasket of my machine, set wash to HOT and pour a cup of bleach in the running water as it is filling on a cycle with nothing in the machine. I've only done this once since he told me but I think I'll have to do it more often to keep the mold out of my washer. I don't notice any smell in my laundry or in my clothing/linens ... only towels after they get wet when using them ... peee uuuuu! (06/04/2006)
Use TSP, trisodium phosphate, you can find it at home depot, any hardware store. Throw it in the wash (with no clothes of course) PROBLEM GONE, use it every 2 months, this works for me. (06/06/2006)
I love the internet. What other resource do we have for things like this? Who would think that you could actually type in "stinky towels" & find a number of solutions to a stinky problem? I'm off to Wal-Mart to get my hands on that Odoban. By the way, the problem is certainly not exclusive to a front-loader; mine is a top-loader Kenmore. thanks. (06/09/2006)
I have the Kenmore Elite HE3. My laundry doesn't smell after they wash, but the inside of the washer has a sour smell to it. I keep the door open when I'm not using it, but the smell is still there. What isle is odorban in at Wal-Mart? (06/09/2006)
Note: TSP (trisodium phosphate) is also in Scope Mouthwash. American Red Cross gives it to you for eliminating smoke from your laundry, AND IT WORKS! One capful for medium load, two for heavy to large loads. (06/10/2006)
Well folks, her is the deal. Until now I have never wanted to puke as a result of my own supposedly clean towels. They have always smelt clean to me; that is until my Kenmore Elite piece of %&*# washer. I am convinced the old smelly water does not get completely washed out of them. We had the GE brand and they were certainly not as attractive as the Kenmore but they never left my towels smelling like a dead wet cat left in the gutter.
I lived in Portugal for almost 18 months and folks they have nothing but front load washers, never had smelly clothes.
Class action law suit you bet. Cascade with hot water will get you through two to three loads before that cat comes back. Just a bandaid like every suggestion here.
Top loads don't have this problem. Probably because they get the towels clean. Good luck all and thanks for the info. (06/10/2006)
I've had my LG frontloader 1 year and after years of smell-free towels they are stinky. My washer smells the same way that my wet towels do. I think the only reason my other clothes don't stink is because I never "re-wet" them while using them like I do towels. After reading that some folks are having the same problem with top loaders I wonder if it's just some new design or something that is catching "gunk" and molding it inside. By the way, I don't think it has anything to do with fabric softener because I have never used it, unless the softener just adds to the amount of "gunk." I'll try Odorban (or is it Odoban) but I think it's a mold problem in may machine. Thanks, everyone (06/13/2006)
Well this is obviously not in any of our heads, all of the stories are very common. I really think this is a HUGE problem and as costly as these machines are, we should not be having this problem. I was so excited when I bought mine, because it came so highly recommended and I really thought that this would last me a good many years. I think class action suit is in order, just so we can get another machine, forget all of the expenses we have all already had with all of the "remedies" we have tried. I just want the order to stop.
My poor husband goes to work and if he sweats, he smells so bad that he knows others can smell him, it is his shirts. Our house has been experiencing this for some time. All this time I thought I was doing something wrong, never once did I think it was the machine until a friend said they were having the same problem too.
Let me tell you my experience recently that absolutely led to another source of "smell". Our washer was not draining properly, we even had water leaking on the floor. I tried all the drains, everything seemed to be fine. I had a repairman come out and he knew immediately what it was, and kind of laughed because he sees it all the time. Turns out that under the drum (you have to take the screws out of the bottom front, take that front bottom panel off, unplug first, take the screw out of the ground wire, and there is a lovely filter in which you will need a pan to put under it before you unscrew it, but unscrew it and empty it out. It catches things, i.e. gum wrappers, stick pins, bobby pins, lots of lint). The smell is awful! And it cost me $115.00 to find this out.
No where did I find that there was this filter. He said to check it every 3-4 months. Make sure every 5 washes or so that I run a whitest whites load with a couple of cups of bleach. Now I still have an odor but not as much as before. I will be going to Sam's tomorrow and get some odorban. Thanks for making me feel a bit "normal" after reading all of your issues too. (06/13/2006)
I have a LG frontloader washer that I have known to be the culprit of my stinky laundry, and my husband just keeps telling me I am wrong. THANK GOD I FOUND THIS FORUM! I was beginning to think I might really be doing something wrong. The true travesty is that we have all bought these expensive, energy efficient washers of poor quality and have to figure out what the "magic potion" is to get clean smelling laundry. These washing machines are a disgrace and too darned expensive to replace. It's frustrating. I'll try some of these magic potions that you guys have shared. I'm calling LG to complain. (06/19/2006)
Try running a load of towels with a cup of vinegar, with your laundry detergent. The Purex laundry soap with Renuzit in it helps too. (06/19/2006)
We also have an LG Washing machine which we purchased last December - we're having the exact same problem. I've tried the peroxide and it worked the first couple of times but I washed them yesterday twice using peroxide and finally resorted to bleaching them. I talked to LG and they said they haven't heard of this problem?
Someone above posted about Odoban being at Sam's Club - is this in the States?? I went to Sam's in Canada last night and they had no idea what I was talking about.
Any help would be appreciated.
Editor's Note: I can't see any retailers in Canada. Here is a link with their contact information. Maybe they could help. http://www.odoban.com/OdoBanRetail/ContactUs.html
Also, they do sell it through Amazon.com (06/23/2006)
We purchased an LG front loading washer for $1200 several months ago. It worked great for a few months then all the clothes, but mainly the towels, began to have a musty odor. We have tried many things; bleach, vinegar, leaving the door open, different detergents, and we still have musty smelling clothes. We called the seller and so far they have been of very little help. I'll try the odorban. I have used top loading machines all my life and have never had this problem. It is ridiculous that after spending so much for the washer that you would have to do something special to keep the clothes from stinking. (06/24/2006)
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