Introduction: How to Remove Even More Mildew From Your High Efficiency Clothes Washer

Front loading high efficiency washers have odor problems due to the buildup of mildew inside of the washer. Cleaning the gasket and the soap dispenser helps as does leaving the door open but these steps alone will not completely remove the mildew from the washer.

Step 1: The Drain Hose Problem.

There exists a design flaw in these washers and it is this. The exit of the discharge hose is much higher than the pump which is located at the lowest point in the washer.

Step 2: Baffle Drain/pump Area

This is the area under the washer tub where the pump, discharge hose and baffle drain hose are located. The baffle drain (second photo is a baffle drain removed from a washer)connects the stationary outer tub to the pump. So rinse water flows from the tub into the baffle drain, into the pump, where it is pushed up and out of the discharge hose. Except when the discharge cycle ends and the water trapped between the highest point of the discharge hose and the pump runs all the way back into the baffle hose and pump filter. The pump on the washer is not capable of completely displacing the rinse water in the hose.

Step 3: What Is Left in the Baffle Hose?

This is the rinse water I sucked out of the baffle hose using a wet/dry vac after completely finishing the entire cycle with an extra rinse. You can clearly see there is still detergent and lint present. There is about 1quart of water. No matter what you do you will always have at least this much detergent leftover. The detergent, lint and dark wet environment left by having the rinse/discharge water run back under the washer produces a perfect environment for mildew growth and that is exactly what happens.

Step 4: Removing the Remaining Rinse/discharge Water From the Washer.

To remove the rinse water from the bottom of the washer, you will need to suck it out with a fairly powerful wet/dry vac. I use a 6hp model. You will also need a hose adapter to mate the wet/dry vac hose to the washer's discharge hose. The part number is Rigid VT1407 available from Home Depot. Close the door to the washer, attach the suction hose from the wet/dry vac to the discharge hose and lift both hoses as high as you can. You will feel the water move through the hoses into the wet/dry vac cannister. It takes less than 30 sec. to completely remove all of the rinse water from the washer. After removal pour about 1 qt. of vinegar directly into the stainless steel tub and wait an hour. Suck out the vinegar and repeat the procedure. I perform this procedure weekly and my clothes smell the way you expect clean clothes to smell.

Comments

author
EcoExpatMike made it!(author)2014-12-12

You ever think to just run the machine more often? Like twice a week? Maybe with bleach occasionally?

author
on1Katoby made it!(author)2014-12-12

Yes. All of that sort of cleaning is suggested by the manufacturers but they do not work. Mildew is not killed by bleach. You must remove the rinse water from the pump/baffle drain area.

author
charlessenf-gm made it!(author)2017-03-17

"Mildew is not killed by bleach."

Not my experience.

author
diven made it!(author)2014-12-15

why not leave the door open like my father does

author
on1Katoby made it!(author)2014-12-15

Leaving the door open will never dry out the baffle drain/ pump area. There is 1quart of dirty water at the bottom of the washer and leaving the door open only allows the mildew to invade your home.

author
diven made it!(author)2014-12-17

what I'm saying is to dry out the internal, not the drain

author
on1Katoby made it!(author)2014-12-18

The baffle drain is part of the internals of the washer. That is the problem. I leave my washer door open but only after I have pumped out the baffle drain, dried the soap dispenser and dried the underside of gasket.

author
schabanow made it!(author)2014-12-10

Well salted water (up to saturation) or 9% cook vinegar work well as well. No disassembling, no blowing out the rests. Plastic / resin / environment friendly. Time saving. Just pour in a litre after washing cycle and left it untill the next one. Do not forget to pump it out before - just start the pump as usual. Do it several times and you'll kill your stinch.

author
on1Katoby made it!(author)2014-12-11

Adding chemicals to the tub while the baffle and pump are full of rinse water is not really very effective. The chemicals do not make good contact with the mildew coating the area. Pumping out the rinse water also allows you to dry the system prior to adding vinegar.

author
schabanow made it!(author)2014-12-11

Well, substitution of liquids is obviously more effective than mixing and further diffusion. But it works as well, especially if you do it several times between washin cycles (salt or vinegar stay in washing machine for a week or so - diffusion works slowly, but indivertably). When you kill your mildew colony you may cancel do it - until the next infection.

However, to speed up the process, you may pour a couple of liters into a drum just after washing cycle, and start a pump for couple of seconds (if control system of your washing machine allows to do it) - to push the rest of rinse water out and substitute it by just poured salt water or vinegar.

author
schabanow made it!(author)2014-12-11

> ... diffusion ...

Huh, NOT ONLY ! Saturated salt water has much higher density than rinse (fresh) water. So upper layer of salt water will eager to take place UNDER the wresh water. And THEN diffusion starts its work. )) Just to be exact.

author
seamster made it!(author)2014-12-10

Great tutorial. I have often wondered how to de-stinkify my washing machine... Thank you!

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