My husband washed clothing on which a chemical used to clean firearms had been spilled. An odor of the chemical has been left behind in the washer and its contact with other clothing may be causing a reaction on my skin. Is there any way to clean the washer and remove the chemical completely? We have tried running cycles with hot water, vinegar and bleach. I fear that even if the smell is removed, there may be traces of the chemical left within the washer, that will continue to pass onto other clothing.
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Use warm water and powdered detergent. Leave the door open in between cycles and it will be clean as a whistle in a week... Powdered detergent is HE also, don't believe the hype, stop wasting your money on useless chemicals to rinse away the garbage chemical soaps you are being ripped-off by... Hopefully, the liquid detergent hasn't corroded the washtub and drive shaft so badly it is oozing slime!
There will always be some residual water left in the outer tub after draining. This is normal for most washers. Purchase a container of Oxy-clean and cycle the washer a few times using hot water settings with a half-cup of Oxy-clean added to each cycle. This will help remove any organic matter left behind that might be causing odors.
The first thing to do is to CHECK IN AND AROUND THE RUBBER DOOR BOOT (called a bellow) for small articles of clothing (like socks and underwear) that may have gotten lodged in behind the rubber. Pull the rubber back where it meets the wash tub and look behind it. It is common for small items to get stuck here, become forgotten and start to mildew. You should check this area after each wash and clean it periodically to get rid of the formation of soap scum, mold, and mildew. HINT: When you get ready to wash a load of towels, take a dirty towel and clean the door boot thoroughly (including the areas behind the rubber). Immediately place the towel in the wash and run it on a sanitary cycle. This way you eliminate the need for cleaning rags.
PERIODICALLY RUN THE WASHER ON A CLEANING CYCLE. Place the washer on the hottest setting you have (usually a Sanitary cycle) with nothing but bleach in the wash tub. Some newer models actually have a "Clean Cycle" available now just for this purpose. This helps keep the wash tub, drain lines and pump sanitized.
CHECK AND CLEAN THE DRAIN PUMP FILTER. Accumulations of debris in the drain pump filter can also cause odors. HINT: If you own a shop vac, pull the drain hose from the standpipe at the wall and pull a vacuum on the line. This will drain any residual water left in the tub, pump and drain lines BEFORE you remove the drain pump cover. This will prevent a messy clean up later.
LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN IF POSSIBLE. When not in use, leave the door open to allow the tub to air out and to keep mold and mildew from forming on the door bellow. I know this may not be desirable in some households with small children. If too much mildew forms on the rubber and it cannot be removed, replacement of the bellow may be required.
NOTE: This problem is common with front loader style washing machines. The doors on these machines have an air tight/water tight seal that is great for sealing the washer during the wash cycle, but can be terrible for collecting small garments and for not allowing the tub to properly air out when not in use. Following these simple preventive measures can go a long way towards preventing harmful mold and mildew, and towards extending the life of the door bellow and pump.
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After the odor has been removed washing habits need to change so it doesn't return. Washing machine odor is caused by
1. Overuse of detergent. Use no more than 1 tbsp of whatever detergent is used (unless washing soiled clothing).
2. Using fabric softener because it's dispensed in the rinse cycle. Dryer sheets or dryer balls are better options. Dryer sheets can also be overused and coat the inside of the dryer with siliconized chemicals that cause clothing to retain odors. Sensors inside the dryer can also be affected. The sheets can be torn in half or thirds
3. Using mainly cold water for washing is fine but makes preventive maintenance important. A hot wash or soak as your last cycle on wash day will help to dissolve residue.
4. Many front loading washer have a filter/trap that will catch debris. A partially clogged filter/trap can cause draining problems and odor. Save money on appliance repair by cleaning it yourself. Consult your owner's manual for instruction.
Washer smells foul...this is often a build up of soap, water, too many chemicals and this has left a residue, and the mildew moves right in and it stinks. This builds up is often on the inside of the outer tank. Many times that this happens is when people use to much soap and then they only do laundry once a week. One good solution to help your odor problem...it works well...in a top loader I recommend 2 cups of cascade and 2 cups of bleach, fill your machine with hot water and let it agitate. At the end of the agitation/wash cycle, let the machine sit and soak for about 10-15 minutes to work on your scum, then close the lid and let it complete. Next load run whites to be safe all bleach is out. This should help. On some really bad odor problems, you may have to remove the inner basket to scrap off the build up from the inside of the outer tank. You may will need special tools to remove the inner basket. Fabric softener is also nasty for building up inside and under the agitator. It is recommended to use half to a quarter of the detergent that the package recommends. Other things that may help, leave the washer lid open between laundry days. Never cover your washing machine with those plastic covers.
The brand of your front loader is not that material on this issue. What is happening is that your old top load washer may have used as much as 45 gallons of water per cycle, while some front loaders use as little as 12. Because of the low water use, you must cut back on the additives you are using. Use only 1 tablespoon of HE detergent (even less if 2x or 3x detergent) per load. If you use fabric softener, use only 1 teaspoon per load. Odor on clothes after wash is indicating that the detergent and or softener has not been fully rinsed out. If you throw a load of washed towels into your machine and start a cycle without any soap, then stop the cycle, you should not see any suds. If you do, there is obviously soap left in the clothes. With bath towels, the towels are used to absorb clean water off a clean body. They do not need soap when you wash them, and never use fabric softener on towels.
If your washer is a LG WM-1832 it has a assessable filter behind the access door on the lower left front of the machine. Clean that out first, and if it has a tub clean or sanitary cycle use that cycle (if not, use hottest longest cycle available) with 3 Affresh tablets or use whirlaway to clean out the washer outer tub (the not visible tub that holds the water). You might want to use another cycle like that with bleach to head off mold or mildew growth. Use of proper amount of detergent and fabric softener should really help the clothes odor issue from then on. Also check the tub seal at the bottom of the door area to clean out any lint from drain hole areas to help prevent water from remaining in the tub seal area.
I found that WasherFresh worked better then the Affresh. What I really did not like is you cannot touch the Affresh tablets, WasherFresh is contained in a pouch and is not harmful to touch, because of the disolving pouch containing the chemicals. Also after reading the package the chemicals are not harmful to the environment.
WasherFresh removed the odor causing buildup and I now use it monthly as a preventive maintenance.
Wet clothes should not be left in the washer over night as mold will develop and cause a moldy odor. You could run the load through a rinse cycle with fabric softener or baking soda to get rid of the odors.
Quenie, vinegar will not harm your washer at all. Place it in the detergent side of your dispenser and run a Hot wash cycle. Don't mix chemicals, though... if you choose to clean your machine with bleach, for instance, don't use additional cleaners along with it. Vinegar only, bleach only... you get the point.
You may want to run a "water only" Hot wash cycle with bleach (no clothing/towels) after your Son has finished his laundry. This may help alleviate your allergy problem.
For regular maintenance on your washer, you ought to try something like this. It'll keep your washer smelling great.