07 March 2011

Washing machine smells? It could be you!

This is a subject that we have covered before but it is worth considering again. Many people (including myself) have noticed a degradation the quality of washing machine performance accompanied by troublesome black mold growth in many parts of the machine.

Did you know washing machines smell more than they used to? And, did you also know, it’s probably partly your fault for being energy-efficient?

Grease, slime, bacteria and black mould build-up inside washing machines, caused by low temperature washes, can cause offensive odours and even rot your machine. So congratulations; your low heat, low energy, environmentally friendly wash cycle just might have killed your washing machine.

The ‘rot’ actually set in during the 1980s, before liquid detergents were invented and when detergents started to become more environmentally friendly. It seems that the worst cases of this slimy grease occur after using 40 degrees or lower washes almost exclusively. Cooler washes, combined with poor quality detergents, not using the recommended quantities, or using bleach-free, colour-friendly detergents, can seriously rot washing machines inside.

Today’s washing machines commonly suffer from a build up of unwanted deposits and bacteria that encourage bad smells, rots hoses and gaskets, corrode aluminium drum spiders and block the pressure system, resulting in overfilling or spin failure.

This is actually why many manufacturers recommend a regular, 90-degree maintenance wash, with an empty machine on its hottest cycle and the right detergent added. If you normally use a washing machine detergent that doesn’t contain bleach, then buy some detergent that does, and use it for your maintenance washes (don’t use household cleaning bleach though – it’s equally bad for your machine). Soda crystals, poured directly into the drum on a hot wash is another solution.

To check if your washing machine is being badly affected, carefully examine the inside of the door seal for slime and grease. Pull the lip in front of the drum and look underneath on lip of the tub. The lack of a a proper u-bend water trap can cause smells too. Make sure your washing machine doesn’t pump into a drainpipe with a direct run to a drain without some sort of u-bend.


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