Some washing machines grow hidden mold - KAIT Jonesboro, AR - Region 8 News, weather, sports

Some washing machines grow hidden mold

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) - Washing machines should leave your clothes looking clean and smelling fresh. But some front-loading washing machines have instead grown mold where consumers cannot see it, causing clothes to reek and bacteria to grow.

Consumers around the country are accusing Whirlpool, Sears/Kenmore, LG and Bosch of making these defective machines. Lawsuits are already stemming from these accusations.

The companies changed the machines' design, which mostly eliminated the mold problem in their newest models. But if you have an older machine at home, the mold issue could still remain unsolved. 

"I'll ask the question, 'how long has she had it?' And they usually say ten years. And I say that's why," James Kita, Metro Appliances and More store manager, said. 

Kita says it began ten years ago when companies introduced front-loader washing machines to consumers. "Since then, there has been some complaints and the manufacturers have realized that there are some problems with a front-loader washing machine."

These problems include mold, bacteria and smelly clothes. "They fixed that problem by adding sanitize features to the washing machine. It's a heating element that heats the water to 160 degrees which kills bacteria, germs, mold, of course."

But the problem still is not solved for consumers with the older models. "Get rid of it and buy a new one," Kita said. 

Or Kita said to call a service to clean it. "It does cost a lot of money to do that. By the time you purchase the outer tub, and the labor and all that, you're just probably better off throwing it away and buying a new one."

If that's not an option..."On an empty load, get your water as hot as it can, run some bleach through it, and, you know, hopefully you can wash it out that way."

Kita also said less is more with detergent. "It builds up a lot of suds and the suds actually get on the outer tub of the washing machine, which, over time, builds up like soap scum. And you can't get to that outer tub and clean it, so, of course, mold and mildew and the odor starts growing."

Kita also recommended to use powder detergent over liquid. "Powders break down better than the liquid ones."

According to the Today Show's website, washing machine models named in the lawsuits include:

Whirlpool front-load washers sold between 2001 and December 2008, without a steam feature:

  • WHIRLPOOL DUET
  • WHIRLPOOL DUET SPORT

Sears/Kenmore front-load washers sold between 2001 and December 2008, without a steam feature:

  • KENMORE ELITE HE
  • KENMORE HE2
  • KENMORE HE2PLUS
  • KENMORE HE2T
  • KENMORE HE3
  • KENMORE HE3T
  • KENMORE 4T

LG front-load washers sold between August 1, 2003-December 31, 2007, without a steam feature:

  • WM2077CW
  • WM2277HW
  • WM3677HW
  • WM1212CW
  • WM1814CW
  • WM2032HW

Bosch front-loading washers:

  • BOSCH AXXIS
  • BOSCH NEXXT
  • BOSCH VISION

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