a little and a lot

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Smell Ya Later!

Whoa. You have been hangin' in with me through some seriously intense posts. That is real blog friendship.

Let's talk about stinky washing machines today, shall we?

My towels reek. I put them in the washer w/ my favorite detergent, dry them (sans dryer sheet) in the dryer, and they come out all warm and good laundryish smelling. As soon as I dry off with one of them and the towel gets damp, it smells like it's been sitting in a wet heap in the corner for a month.

I do not have this problem with clothes. The clothes smell fine. (But then again, I'm not drying off with them, so maybe they just don't have the opportunity to stink.)

I did the whole vinegar in the wash thing with the towels. Nada.

Around this time, a good friend declared her washing machine to be beyond help (stink-wise) and ended up having to replace it after they found mold all inside the inner-workings of the thing-er-ma-jig. After hearing about the whole mess, I started wondering...

Mold. MOLD. I wonder if that is my problem. That is the exact smell of the stink in my towels. My washing basin even started smelling stronger of mold once this came to my attention. (Of course.) Then, I began to freak.

So I did what any 21st Century domestic diva would do: I googled "get rid of the stink in my washing machine." After sifting through various suggestions and opinions, I found the solution that did the trick. (Wish I could find the two links that provided the major info, but alas, my google search is coming up fruitless this time!)

First, I found out that my top-loading Kenmore most likely DID have mold growing inside it. This is due to the fact that many liquid clothes detergents actually suggest using more than you should. The machine gets a build-up of soap gunk in it, which turns to mold. Also, keeping the lid closed all of the time traps moisture inside the machine, encouraging the growth of gross stuff.

Luckily, I found out how to FIX this and THEN how to prevent it...

To fix the funk:

1. Fill your washer up with the hottest water you can acquire. My washer is bare-bones-basic, so I only have a "warm" setting, which is really just "less cold." I ended up putting a bucket under my kitchen faucet and filling it up with water on the hottest setting. Then, I emptied the bucket into the washer. I did this four times.

2. Pour in two cups of Cascade Complete gel. (Yes, the dishwashing detergent. Don't ask me why we need one soap to clean out another kind of soap.) Add two cups of bleach.

3. Run the "load" (which is really just hot water, Cascade, & bleach). Exit the kitchen, because it will be smelling all kinds of strong up in there.

4. Once the first load is finished, fill again with very hot water and run another load--this time only with water.

5. Leave the lid open to dry out the washer. (Or you could start washing laundry immediately if you need to.) The first load you run after cleaning should be whites, just in case some bleach is lingering.

This worked for me--took away the smell!

For prevention:
  • Leave the lid open or cracked open as much as possible after doing laundry in order to let the basin dry.
  • Run a cup of vinegar through the rinse cycle of your towels the next time you wash those to get the grody-ness out.
  • Only use HALF the amount of detergent that the package recommends. (For me, this means two squirts of Method instead of four.)
May you all have a wonderful-smelling holiday week!


Jane said...

VERY HELPFUL! I have begun to notice this as well! I'm so glad you addressed it. I am going to do this, and it being Christmas vacation will help!

Thanks, my friend!

melanie said...

HOLY MOLY. I am SO doing this tonight! I mean it. Thank you!

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