Question about Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

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Smells of mildew and so do clothes

The machine smells of =mildew and now so do my clothes. i tried running the machine on all different water temps. , tried with bleach, tried bleaching machine with no clothes. to no prevail the machine and towels still smell like mildew. Especially when the "clean" dried towels get rewet, the odor is disgusting. Kenmore Elite HE3t front loader. Yep, same problem, tried same solutions. Has mildewy awful smell all the time. Have tried running bleach through it. Have tried cleaning by hand the interior and moldings with vinegar. Ditto with bleach. Have pulled back moldings to clean. I sure never had this problem with my old top-loader! Will try the other suggestion regarding drain. You know, for the price paid I wouldn't expect this kind of problem.

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  • Anonymous May 16, 2008

    All clothing and especially towels always smell. Tried all the same things and nothing works. Never had this problem with my Asko but like the Kenmore I can not keep it running. I have bought an old style top loader to keep around since between the two I have been without a washer for over a year while waiting for parts to arrive.

  • tar5766 Nov 22, 2008

    i spent 2000 dollars for this set, i have smells only flies could love, i am so sorry i purchased this #@# , i would have saved money and had better cleaning with a top loader, could not give this #$Q# away. what can a person do all my clothes smell like i am homeless and i am forced to go to the corner laundermat to do my clothes, go figure, i should have purchased a plasma tv.



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There is another product out there that seems to work real well.... it is called "AFFRESH" and it is for He front load washers... Its available at Lowes for about $6.50

Posted on May 29, 2008

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We've always left the door open and still the smell was bad. Last week I cleaned the inside of the rubber gasket with a bleach solution and ran the longest, hottest cycle (Sanitary) with bleach in the dispenser. The smell was mostly gone, only a faint trace was in the air. Today the smell was back and I removed the front cover to check the filter. Lo and behold, one very moldy sock was stuck in there. After removing the sock I'm now airing out the machine. Hopefully this will put an end to the musty smells. If not, I will try that Smelly Washer stuff.

On another note, after opening the front I noticed that one of the wires to the heating element was loose. I guess the factory people had not pushed it on correctly and as a result the plastic insulation had melted causing the connector to drop off the heating element. But it's back on right now (correctly this time) and hopefully it will improve operations.

Posted on May 10, 2008

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They said on the news story that the towels pick up the odor because they are denser than other items and absorb it better. (I guess that makes sense.)

I just got my two bottles of Smelly Washer in the mail yesterday and immediately went to work. I ran a capful of it through my empty washer (with the water set at its hottest setting). There is a more in-depth process you can use if you washer is REALLY bad; it's on their web site blog (

I then re-washed some of my towels with about a teaspoonful of the product instead of detergent. I dried them as usual, crossed my fingers, and waited for showertime this morning...

This morning, my towel smelled great when I used it to dry off! That musty smell was gone. Now I just to use it to rewash the rest of our towels.

I have NO idea what's in this product--there must be other antifungal washing machine cleaning products out there--but this one seems to work. It's $16 a bottle, plus shipping--but you only use a small amount each time.

I'm guessing that if you leave your washer door open so that the mold doesn't build back up quickly, you use this stuff just once in a while to clean out any buildup that may occur. I'm not clear on how often to use it. All I can say is that I'm happy with it for now!

Posted on Mar 16, 2008

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Hi! I have Kenmore Elite 4t and had this same problem: Musty, Moldy smell in washer and on clothes. The Sears Technician suggested that I use a half a cup of Clorox Liquid Bleach and put it in the tub (not the dispenser). NO CLOTHES! Use the longest hottest setting and when it's done clean the inside (underneath rubber tire thingie) and the undernath part of the door with a papertowel. And to always leave the door open. I did what he said with the bleach and it worked. I didn't want to leave the door open because I have 2 cats & was afraid that they would want to go in it, but ended up repeating the bleach thing again because a few days later the horrible smell was back. I leave the door open all the time now and the cats never go in it. They've watched laundry spin around, so I guess they're smart enough to not want to go in it. I have not had this problem again since I always leave the door open and I did this over a month ago. I hope this helps!

Posted on Jan 18, 2008

I had the same problem with my front loader, especially with stinky, musty smelling towels. Go to web-site for a product called purewasher. Less than $20 and that also includes shipping!! That should do it!!

Posted on Jan 11, 2008

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1 Answer

Washing machine smells like mould

The odor may come from several sources. Mildew may be around the door's gasket. That might be cleaned with a rag and a half bleach/half water concoction. The soap dispenser tray may have had stagnant water present. Other hose areas may be growing mildew.

Here are some things you can try:

1) Run dishwasher powder detergent once a month through the washer. Or...
2) Run 3 quarters cup of bleach through an empty hot wash cycle once a month.
3) Yes, baking soda, ye olde oder absorber, can also be tried.
3) Clean the trap (where coins, etc. may be captured). Clean the filter.

Some High Efficiency machines have "high efficiency, HE detergents recommended for them. Does the drum have a soapy coating? If so, it will likely require at least an empty hot water cycle to get rid of the excess soap which may be responsible for the smell.

Naturally, if you are using bleach to clean the the washer door, you want to clean the bleach off too before you ruin some clothes by contact.

Hope this helps.

Aug 04, 2015 | Washing Machines

1 Answer

My washing mchine has a mildew odour all the time for last month, its a year old WHY? please

this smell is caused by mold and mildew that has formed on the upper part of the outer drum -- the main cause of this is the suds in the wash tend to rise above the normal water line and never get rinsed away properly. so to get rid of the smell --- run a empty load of hot water ( hot/hot ) and when the cycle starts - add to the water 1/2 cup of white vineger and 1/2 cup of bleach, also add ( using a small container ) some more hot water to the machine to bring the water level up to a higher then normal height,,, let the machine complete the full wash cycle. now if the smell is still kinda there -- repeat the whole cleaning thing one more time,,, this should remove all traces of mold and mildew that has built up and you should notice a huge difference. to keep this from happening again,, try not to use so much detergent in the wash and after you wash your clothes - leave the lid wedged open slightly to let air into the unit so moisture can escape,, this will prevent mold from growing because the machine will dry out fully.
now at least once a month do this cleaning with the vinegar and bleach and you will never have this problem again.


Feb 04, 2011 | Washing Machines

1 Answer

Odors, the machine smells very much like mildew

Cure 2 cups of bleach large load water setting, hot water let set 2hrs full of water run washer empty "no clothes just hot water" 2 times normal wash setting, repeat if nessary.Note : Not all of the water drains from a washer the water left in yours spoiled, bleach should take care of it.

Nov 15, 2009 | Whirlpool Cabrio WTW6600SBT Top Load...

3 Answers

We've owned this washing machine for r+ years and it has been making our clothes smell awful--in fact, the machine itself smells awful. I've tried cleaning the basin with a bleach solution and I even ran...

By my experience on Washer Machines, I would say that the problem are bacteria and mildew growing in the machine, not exactly in the drain or drum from the machine. Mildew can grow everywhere.

Oh, by the way, don't even think about bypassing any sensor from your machine. You don't want to wake up tomorrow and find a pool in your house, right?

To kill mildew and bacteria you may want to try some simple solutions:

* Keep the lid up between washes so that bacteria and mildew won't grow in it. Pour a bottle of vinegar in hot water and run it though the machine on a heavy load wash. When it is finished, leave the lid up.
* Didn't help? then pour a box of baking soda in it and running it with hot water cycle. Try running it without clothes.

... I mean, Run the washer machine without clothes inside. (Oh my gosh, I should go to bed, it's too late for giving advice on FixYa)

* If the smell continues Pour a big bottle of peroxide hydrogen (the 3% one from the drug store) and run a heavy load wash. Be sure not to use good clothes, it will get white. if that does not work, u may have a more serious problem. Perhaps the machine needs to receive maintenance and spray some peroxide hydrogen where the mildew is growing.

Also, You can try a commercial product for this kind of issue:

Some people says that it works when everything else fails.

Good luck!

Nov 08, 2009 | GE WPGT9360E Profile Harmony 4.0 cu. ft....

1 Answer

What is the issue with mildew and how do I address it? My laundry never smells clean

Any washing machine will grow mold & mildew when there is moisture in it and the door is shut. When you do a load of wash, the smell transfers to the clothing. To eliminate it, run a load just water & chloring bleach. This will kill the spores. Adding a little color safe bleach to each load or leave the door open when not using the washer will keep the problem from coming back.

Nov 02, 2009 | Whirlpool Duet GHW9150P Front Load Washer

2 Answers

Clothes smell bad if not removed right away they have to be washed again like a mildew smell

You have probably left some clothes inside overnight and need to clean your washer.

There are some tablets you can buy at most home improvement and discount department stores that will do the job, but you can also run a load through with white clothes, hot water, and a bit of extra bleach. You could also run a load with just bleach and soap.

Don't go overboard with the bleach, a little goes a long way. If you double the amount you might normally use that will be plenty. No more than a half cup.

But also keep in mind that if you leave clothes in overnight, there will be a smell when you take them out. Wet fabric in the dark is one of the best places around for mildew to grow.

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1 Answer

My clothes smell like mildew

Run a load of wash water with chlorine bleach ***Without adding clothes***. This will kill any spores in the system. Try to remove laundry as soon as it is finished and don't let it sit in the washer overnight. If possible, keep the door open when not in use.

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1 Answer

Why does my washer smell like mildew? I've tried running bleach and vineger through it but it still smells.

usually from soaking clothes after a while the foam from soap sticks to the plastic drum where the bubbles are. its usaully above water level so doesn't get rinsed very well. manually get in there and wipe it out or try overfilling a tad with hot water and try to break it loose also make sure your lint trap is clean.

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3 Answers

Smells of mildew and so do clothes

If the odor does not go away, it is probably time to change the rubber door boot, or you have something stuck in the drain. Take a good look at the rubber around the door. If it has mildew spots and/or mold, it generally won't go away. Pull the rubber back a bit and look BEHIND the boot as well. You may have some lost items stuck in the boot causing the odor. Last of all, UNPLUG the washer and remove the lower kick panel under the door by removing the three 7mm screws and check the drain pump for foreign objects. There's only one pump inside the washer so it won't be too hard to find. It is usually white in color and has a screw off access cover. There is a bit of residual water that remains in the wash tub all the time. You will need to drain this first or you will have a mess to clean up. You can use some towels or use a shop vac. If you use towels, lay them down around the drain pump and remove the access cover. If you use a shop vac, pull all the residual water from the wash tub through the drain line. Sometimes this pump will build up with all kinds of scunge from soap residue and/or foreign object getting caught. Clean it out real well and run the washer on a bleach cycle with the hottest water setting you have. Let me know if any of this helps you. If you decide to change to door boot, post a response to this solution and I will give you step-by-step procedures.

Aug 26, 2007 | Kenmore Elite 45986 Front Load Washer

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