Author Topic: Mold and the Front Load Washer  (Read 1289 times)

Offline TechnicianBrian

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Mold and the Front Load Washer
« on: July 11, 2008, 07:59:01 AM »

The front load washer has really taken hold in the market place and with the interest in conservation and energy costs ever increasing, the traditional top load washer looks to be heading the way of the Dodo. But with this change in our purchasing habits, a new problem has arisen that continues to cause problems for our customers, us technicians, and even the manufacturers of these new washers. A simple fungi called mold.



The Problem
If you have worked on front load washers for any length of time, you have most likely seen the black moldy door seal, or experienced that nice oder emanating from the tub when you opened the door. In many cases, the seal is so bad that it requires replacing along with a talk with the customer about how this problem occurs. But the various manufacturers have been working hard to tackle this problem head on (I am sure they are tired of paying for the warranty calls) to the point that most front load washers include a cleaning cycle as part of the customers maintenance routine. Whirlpool / Maytag has also gone so far as to include Affresh tm tablets with all their new products trying to encourage good washer hygiene. Now I know the Internet alone has plenty of suggestions on how to rid your washer of mold, and how to prevent it in the future, but I wanted to offer up my take on the problem, and how I go about dealing with the issue with my customers.

Making Mold
To start with, mold requires two things to be happy and healthy and washers are home to both, heat and humidity. The front load washers (unlike their top load distant cousin) require a door that is water tight in order to, well keep water from leaking out all over the place. Because of this seal, there is no air exchange within the washers tub as long as the door is closed. Without air movement, the moisture that remains (there is always some water in a washers sump) will evaporate as the temperature increases and now you have humidity. Add some organic matter from our clothes or to much detergent and you now have yourself a do-it-yourself mold farm. And because we can't see mold (they are way to small) we only start to notice a problem once the entire colony shows up. Some people think the problem is the result of an uncleanly home, but I assure you, I have seen them show up in the most tidy of homes. It's simply a matter of old behaviors.

Old Habits
When we were done with a load in our old top load washers, we would leave the lid open to dry out, or if we closed it, it wasn't sealed from air movement. But with the front loaders, we shut the door when finished because we get tired of running into it when walking by, or we want to keep the cat out, or whatever. But if we want to stop the mold farming, we need to change our behavior. I have owned a front load washer for over 4 years now and I assure you, the door seal looks as clean and new as the day I installed the unit.

My Secret, spread the word
I follow a process of leaving the door open after I wash clothes. No cleaners, no tablets, no bleach only cycles, no vinegar, or any other suggestion from the elders. Just leave the door open. Front load washers have a vent outlet that allows air to escape during a cycle to prevent excessive pressures on the door and seal. If the door is closed, air cannot flow in and out of the same vent, but if you open the door, now air (and humidity) can be exchanged with the outside resulting in the door seals and the tub itself drying out and preventing the mold from taking hold. So if you own a front load washer and want to prevent mold from making an appearance, try leaving the door open after you wash. I think you will be please with what doesn't happen to your washer. If you already have mold present in your washer, start leaving the door open after a wash and you will find the mold will stop growing, and the colony will be easier to remove once their world has dried out.



Offline Repair-man

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Re: Mold and the Front Load Washer
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2008, 08:12:27 AM »
S-s-s-s-h! Don't tell everyone....those tablets are selling well right now :)

"It's only expensive if someone else fixes it for you" -
The Virtual Repairman   www.repair2000.com

Offline TechnicianBrian

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Re: Mold and the Front Load Washer
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2008, 11:44:33 AM »
I know what you mean.  Our techs have started carrying them on their vans and making a nice commission to boot.  No worries though.  Customers rarely listen to the advice that works.

Brian

Offline Penguin45

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Re: Mold and the Front Load Washer
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2008, 01:24:16 PM »
Standard UK practice is a monthly service wash.

A dose of a whites biological washing powder, then 90/95c wash. Customer must not use any "Quickwash" or "Economy" options. Very effective if performed regularly (monthly).

Leaving the door open is good, wiping out the bottom of the door seal after a wash is good, cleaning out the drawer and box weekly is good.

Getting the customer to dose the machine correctly is very important as well - round here, our water is very soft and everybody over-soaps, so we get a lot of depositing under the drum. If you tell people they're wasting money when they over-soap, the message usually gets through.

Cheers,
Penguin45.

 

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