Question about Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

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Mildew odor. We have followed directions in the manual and the problem persists. We removed the front panel of the machine and cleaned the white tube that was filled with "gunk," removed and washed the soap/bleach/softener dispenser, have washed the rubber ring on the door opening withe a bleach solution, have run the empty machine with 3 cups of bleach on the hot setting. Now what?

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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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Posted on Sep 28, 2010

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The following link gives some advice on how you may be able to get rid of those sour or moldy smells coming from your front load washing machine:

http://www.fixya.com/support/r513372-front_loader_mildew_odor

Many of these tips are now included as part of the owner/operator manual due to the high number of complaints from consumers. The most persistent cause of foul odors is:

1. Not leaving the door open when the washer is not in use. This allows the tub to air out and keeps any residual water from becoming stagnant. It also prevents mold and mildew from growing in the wash tub.

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If you need to replace the door bellow the following link explains how:

http://www.fixya.com/support/r385211-replacing_door_bellow_whirlpool_duet

If you need to check the drain pump for debris, follow this link:

http://www.fixya.com/support/r385845-checking_drain_pump_in_whirlpool_duet

The preventive measures DO work if you get into a routine of following them. I personally own one of these washers and have never had an odor problem in the 9 years I've had it.

If you have any questions, please let me know. I hop you find this information helpful.

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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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If the rubber door bellow develops mildew and mold, use a non abrasive pad (the little green pads are considered non-abrasive) and scrub the rubber with bleach diluted with water (50/50 mix). This will often kill and remove unwanted mold and mildew. If the door bellow becomes embedded with mold or mildew, it may have to be replaced in order to get rid of it.

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