Thread Number: 33198
FL WASHERS and BAD MOLD SMELLS; when did you 1st hear about this issue?
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Post# 499772   2/27/2011 at 11:26 (4,657 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

Here my family has used FL washers since 1947.

*******The first time I heard of "MOLD Smells" with a FL washer was from a neighbor; whose newish late 1990's Maytag Neptune Fronter smelled so bad "that they had to hold their nose while walking through their laundry room". Their rear house's entrance by their garage has one walking through their laundry room every day.

At first I thought my neighbors concerns were a weird joke, ie like saying one has:

(1) Trailer hitch ball odors

(2) Mailbox odors

(3) toaster odors

(4) Clorox bottle odors

(5) Lightbulb odors

(6) windshield wiper odors

When I visted their house back roughly 1998 ish; it did have a strong moldly smell in the laundry room. I was SHOCKED that the mighty Superbrand MAYTAG screwed up so bad; ie made a washer that was far worse than a 1941 westy; with a "PUKING STINK" stink as my neighbor called it . ie the golden boys at Maytag failed to study 50 + year old designs that did not stink.

My own experience with about 1/2 century of usages with the 1947 and 1976 Westinghouse front loaders; I never heard of this MOLDY SMELL issue before the neighbors issue with their Maytag Neptune. And since 1971 this is in an area that rains 65 inches of rain a year; and is real humid. With the 1947 washer powdered ALL was used; or Dreft Powder by my mom when us kids were in diapers. The 1976 westy used used mostly with All powder; but from about the last 7 years All in liquid was used.

With both the 1947 and 1976 machines; we never removed water from boot; or even used bleach to clean the boot either. We also did not worry about trailer hitch ball odor either!

About the only thing we did us typically left the door open; to make the boot last longer ie no set in the rubber.

I wonder about this "NEW TO ME" mold smell issue;

ie was the American FL washer of the 1990's was the start of this new problem; or did some other countries have issues with some washer models back in the 1980's and before?

Post# 499776 , Reply# 1   2/27/2011 at 11:34 (4,657 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

Our 1947 westy was in the mid 1960's down in the damp basement in Indiana, and I never heard then of FL washer smell issues.

Most of the washing we have done is with cold water too; and the last 7 years was with liquids thus these 2 things others mention as "issues" did not make the 1976 machine stink in recent usage.

Post# 499779 , Reply# 2   2/27/2011 at 11:47 (4,657 days old) by sudsmaster (SF Bay Area, California)        

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I heard about this problem back around 1999 when I was looking into getting a front loader.

I wound up getting a Neptune 7500 set (gas dryer).

Guess what?

It has NEVER had a mold odor problem.

I think that is due to several reasons: I run at least one hot wash load a week. The rest are warm. Seldom do I do a cold only wash.

I use STPP in most of the loads. This is a wonder chemical that virtually eliminates mineral deposits inside the washer, and it also helps gets laundry very clean.

The 7500 version of the Neptune also incorporated a special routine in one of the rinses that does a high speed tumble to help flush out any debris that might be clinging to the inside of the outer tub. It seems to work.

The only place I've had mold on this washer is a slight amount in the detergent compartment. This only started appearing after I switched to an "environmentally friendly" fabric softener. The same thing happens to a Miele 1918 that I run on cold water only in an unheated space. (The Neptune is inside the heated home). It's not a problem in either washer - easy enough to wipe clean. And again, no mold issues elsewhere in these washers. I do leave the Miele washer(s) with their doors open and the detergent drawers pulled out a bit. I don't do that with the Neptune - the front door and the detergent compartment lid both are kept closed when it's not in use.

I suspect the people who had mold issues with the Neptune did the following mold friendly things:

1) Used cold water only washes
2) Used too much fabric softener
3) Didn't use enough detergent
4) Used a liquid detergent only
5) Ran the shortest possible cycle with the minimum number of rinses
6) Never used an effective laundry booster like STPP

Post# 499795 , Reply# 3   2/27/2011 at 12:23 (4,657 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        
neptune odors

when i got my 1999 mah3000 neptune,in non-working condition for$25,it did
have a few mold spots on the boot and "dirty sneaker odor"After getting the
machine working,scrubbing off the mold spots,the odor has gone away...
no mold or odor problems with my splendide either.
BTW after the repairs,the neptune has been a great washer-just works great
and sounds cool too-just love the"UFO"sound of the motor during spin runup
Some people just do not know how to use a washer properly-i have found
toploads that reeked too and been around people that just reek of laundry
detergent LOL.

Post# 499800 , Reply# 4   2/27/2011 at 12:29 (4,657 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

Here with our 1976 westy it mostly used cold washes.

Thus we never did a "hot wash once a week".

Plus in its later years we used liquid detergent for the last 7 to 10 years and never had any issues.

That is why my take is the newer washers are somehow less robust or collect water, since we never had these issues for 50 years with older FL washers.

There has to be some fundamental design flaws that some new American washer's have in their design.

Ie we older FL washer users never had any mold issues for 1/2 century; and we used liquids, cold water and did really nothing special except most of the time leaving the doors open.

Post# 499803 , Reply# 5   2/27/2011 at 12:35 (4,657 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

My neighbors Neptune still smelled after washes with bleach in hot cycles. They used Tide in powder and not liquids. The machine went through the replacement of boots; many wax motors and driver boards. It later went into a landfill. Maytag paid them off with a 400 or 500 buck discount on a new washer; but it HAD to be NOT a Front loader. Today they still use their Maytag toploader with no mold issues; after the old Neptune went to the crusher.

Post# 499806 , Reply# 6   2/27/2011 at 12:40 (4,657 days old) by pingmeep ()        

I can't remember when my first encounter with a FL mold issue was (maybe 1993 in a Whirlpool that held a lot of water and was rarely used) but can remember first TL encounter. It was 1997 and a new Maytag Neptune. The owners made soap, washed in cold and used the "infinite water" feature to make the tub as full as possible.

The machine was less than three months old. The owners blamed the "new technology" and did all their laundry at the laundromat where they used Tide and hot water because "after all we are paying for it anyway."

I purchased the machine, cleaned it out with a pressure washer and bleach and it was a daily driver till November 2010. Best $100 bucks (bleach included) I ever spent.

Post# 499808 , Reply# 7   2/27/2011 at 12:58 (4,656 days old) by laundromat (Hilo, Hawaii)        

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The Neptunes and Whirlpool Duets were the first ones I ever saw do this.

Post# 499813 , Reply# 8   2/27/2011 at 13:06 (4,656 days old) by dj-gabriele ()        
Never heard about mold odour before joining this forum!

And in real life it never happened to me nor to anybody I know.
But I'm sure my former flatmate would have been a good candidate in developing it!
Washing everything all together and overdosing detergent and softener in cold water!
He never used more than 40°C washes!

Post# 499821 , Reply# 9   2/27/2011 at 13:28 (4,656 days old) by donprohel (I live in Munich - Germany, but I am Italian)        
Me neither

"Never heard about mould odour before joining this forum!" (maybe this website?)

And, by the way, never smelled a front-loading washing machine stinking

Post# 499824 , Reply# 10   2/27/2011 at 13:44 (4,656 days old) by rp2813 (Sannazay)        

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Before purchasing a Duet HT pair back in 2007, I did a lot of research on line and that's where I first saw complaints of odor problems with FL machines.  I had no problems with mine, but I did make sure to wipe out the boot and leave the door ajar after use.


I agree, though, that something is different about modern FL machines because the 1950 Laundromat I had as my daily driver some 30 years ago never developed a smell and I would routinely close and latch the door after use.


I don't dare close the door all the way on my Affinity.  Sometimes I can detect a smell developing after finding my partner has pushed the door all the way closed.

Post# 499828 , Reply# 11   2/27/2011 at 13:52 (4,656 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
Washing machine cleaners hawked in the usa.

Here in the USA at some local stores that sell FL washers, each new washer on display has sometimes one mini box/bag of the latest miracle product to keep one's FL washers clean.

At retailers that sell laundry soaps and bleaches; Clorox has this tiny jug of bleach that one can buy to remove front load washer odors. Tide even sells a washing machine cleaner too. ie products one buys to clean ones 1995 + and newer frontloader.

These new products are sold to use monthly; "to keep ones washer clean".

I never heard of any products like this; until the USA rediscovered the front loader 15 years ago.


Post# 499830 , Reply# 12   2/27/2011 at 13:53 (4,656 days old) by Spankomatic (Ukiah,CA)        

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My sister and I both have Maytag Neptunes (2004). Mine does not smell like mold,never has. Hers does. The difference? Fabric Softener. I do not use fabric softener in my washer. She uses a ton of fabric softener. There is a bunch of fabric softener residue in her dispencer with mold growing in it. It is so THICK I can scoop it out with my finger. That is just the stuff I can see in the dispencer. I'm sure the outer tub is really bad and moldy. No washing machine cleaner will get rid of it. The machine has to be taken apart and SCRUBED clean of the residue.



Post# 499831 , Reply# 13   2/27/2011 at 13:54 (4,656 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
Are Hogwarts Front Load washing machine cleaners sold in NON


Post# 499836 , Reply# 14   2/27/2011 at 14:01 (4,656 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

My mom use to use fabric softeners sometimes with the 1947 and 1976 machine that replaced it; and I still never any issues with fabric softeners with older machines

Post# 499840 , Reply# 15   2/27/2011 at 14:09 (4,656 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

The fabric softener my mom used was Ultra Downy Sunrinse Fresh Fabric Softener in Liquid form by Procter and Gamble. This is with the 1976 FL machine. I still have many many jugs left from the 1990's that were bought on sale. I do not use it much. My mom when alive used it radically more than I do. .

Post# 499841 , Reply# 16   2/27/2011 at 14:10 (4,656 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

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It's not only frontloaders, several owners of Maytag Atlantis toploaders also complained about it. I bet that had to do with the lid with a seal left down after use. Other regular toploaders don't have a seal on the lid.

Post# 499864 , Reply# 17   2/27/2011 at 15:43 (4,656 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

I didn't first hear about it, I first smelled it!

My cousin bought a 1999 Maytag Neptune set. About 6 months later the thing smelled like an open sewer or a grease trap. Eventually (not long) after the machine started stinking the entire house started to stink. They had Maytag out time and time again but the smell would go away and then come back.

I don't know what temps they used to wash clothes with or what type of detergents.
They eventually ended up with a WP TL machine and are happy.

Post# 499870 , Reply# 18   2/27/2011 at 16:08 (4,656 days old) by Limey ()        
Possible Source Of Foul Odours In FL Machines

I have explained my experiences with these and explained, what I believe is one possible source, in the thread: -
I do not think it is necessary to repeat it all again here.
Please note that I do not believe that this is the only source of foul odours in these machines.

Post# 499873 , Reply# 19   2/27/2011 at 16:47 (4,656 days old) by nurdlinger (Tucson AZ)        
First Heard of Mold, Etc, On This Site

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also one other, a commercial page called TheHomeSite or somesuch, back in 2005 when I was looking for a FL machine to replace my 27 year old JC Penney (GE/Hotpoint) top loader. I had no particular knowledge of front-loaders at that point, just thought it'd be cool. I thought I would buy another GE because of how well mine had lasted.

I found out pretty quick that it was ten years too late to get a good quality GE machine of any kind, and also that the GE front loader was a rebadged Frigidaire, and was offered by Fridigaire and Kenmore at lower prices. (the "fridGEmore)"

This was back in the middle of the hooraw about Maytag Neptune machines, and everybody had a lot to say. Also, the cracking tub spider and the $400 tub bearings of the fridGEmore was evident at that time as well.

I bought the next generation fridGEmore (big square door with round window) from Sears as a Kenmore model along with the dryer that matched it. I have been paranoid ever since about mold and stuff like that, so I leave the washer door wide open when not in use, and remove the detergent tray entirely. I use only powder detergents and only white vinegar as a fabric softener. I sop up water that is left in the boot after the last load. I don't use chlorine bleach more than twice in a month. (all these things I learned here, and at the other place) And so far it works. There is no odor. There are no roaring sounds when spinning. It's able to spin eventually every time.

I hope that by the time the washer wears out, I won't be doing laundry any more.
We'll see.

Post# 499877 , Reply# 20   2/27/2011 at 16:57 (4,656 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
Re materials on older machines.

Thanks for the link.

Here the old 1947 and 1976 machines had steel tubs and steel spin baskets each is covered with porcelain. The 1976 that I still have has a piece of plastic in the tub's sump about 5x7 x 1/8 inches that looks like polypropylene; the pump body is maybe the same. The two spin basket blue fins are maybe nylon. The deflector shield might be nylon or pp. About the only non steel covered porcelain parts are the pump's rubber impeller and the tub to tub front rubber gasket. There is no aluminum at all to corrode, but one has steel that can rust; if the porcelain fails.

Post# 499969 , Reply# 21   2/27/2011 at 23:41 (4,656 days old) by Spankomatic (Ukiah,CA)        

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Photos from Thread


Mold smell. The photos is what many are up against,we just can't see it. We only smell it.  Keeping the door open,using bleach,vinagar,cleaning tablets in a wash cycle as you can see is pointless. To truely get rid of it the machine has to be taken apart and scrubbed.


Post# 499970 , Reply# 22   2/27/2011 at 23:42 (4,656 days old) by Spankomatic (Ukiah,CA)        

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Post# 499973 , Reply# 23   2/28/2011 at 00:25 (4,656 days old) by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        

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In 2004 when I got my Duet washer, I hadn't heard of this forum or researched anything about them. It was spur of the moment. I didn't read the instructions and I remember being shocked with the small amount of water it used........

Common sense told me to leave the door cracked........From day one I always have, before ever having read anything about mold problems or anything...There is no mold or odor in my machine at all. I always wash in warm or hot though and I use LCB with the whites.......

If you're in the dark and shine a flashlight straight down in the washer you can see the outer tub and the heating element. It looks spic n span.

I sometimes use liquid fabric softener but not that much. I don't see any build up at all.

Post# 499977 , Reply# 24   2/28/2011 at 00:44 (4,656 days old) by Spankomatic (Ukiah,CA)        
If you're in the dark and shine a flashlight straight do

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This sounds like fun!  Good idea,Mark!

Post# 500002 , Reply# 25   2/28/2011 at 07:09 (4,656 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

So since older Porcelain steel American Front Load machines had *ZERO* mold smells for 1/2 century; what makes a new 1990+ American Front Loader so smelly?

In the photos above; the outer tub of that newer type Front loader looks like plastic.

Thus I wonder again why for 1/2 century Americans did not have to "To truely get rid of it the machine has to be taken apart and scrubbed.".

If somebody tomorrow has trailer hitch ball odor, or mailbox odor, or toaster odor the logical question comes up of why theses were "not issues at all" with older designs.

This is why this new problem is so interesting to me. We never had the problem or even heard of it for 1/2 century; then some new mid 1990's Front Loaders smell like an open sewer to some.

In order to fix an issue one has to admit there is one. Some newer American front loaders have had smell and mold issues; when the prior 1/2 century of older designs had ZERO issues.

The new ones that get mold smells have some type of design issues; ie maybe due to more plastics, aluminum that corrodes, water that collects in boots,

This is really classical "redesign failure" by golden lads. They look at an old design and improve it in some ways; but flop/failure to understand subtle design features. ie an American Front loader from 1942 did not require all the cleaning and care like some of today's modern units. If this was a car, maybe a 2012 car would have glove box odors and a 1942 would not! ie a 70 year old machine did not have these issues; and today the newer design has issues that did not ever exist

Post# 500021 , Reply# 26   2/28/2011 at 08:42 (4,656 days old) by nurdlinger (Tucson AZ)        
They look at an old design and improve it in some ways

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Design changes mostly drive down the cost of materials and manufacturing. IMHO of course.

Post# 500059 , Reply# 27   2/28/2011 at 11:10 (4,656 days old) by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        
2004, on the internet

In 2004, I owned a TL GE, but some friends had sold their home with the washer/dryer as part of the deal, and needed to select a laundry pair for their new home. In their eyes, I was a bit of an expert on appliances, having updated my kitchen appliances in 2001, and they used my advice to select appliance for the kitchen they were renovating (completely gutted the kitchen) in the new home. Duets had been introduced recently, but the market leader were the Maytag Neptunes. Online, I learned about the issues with mold and the wax motors, and that there was a class action lawsuit from early buyers. However, it also seemed that Maytag had rectified these issues by 2004. Fast forward to today, their nearly seven year old pair still works great, has never been serviced. They do keep the door open when not using the washer, and they wipe the gasket dry at the end of the day.

I did not own a FL until March 2006. However, I benefited from numerous trips to Europe, where I usually was a guest in friends' homes. I noticed that everyone left their washer doors open when not in use, and adopted that aspect of appliance care from Day One of ownership of my own FL.

I did use liquid detergents for the first year or so, though I used a dispenser ball and avoided the dispenser drawer. After this initial supply was used up, I switched to HE powders and have continued to do this for the past three years or so. I run at least one Hot load per week and never wash in Cold, partly because my FL lacks ATC (and ambient cold water line temp is "too cold"). Most of my loads are on Warm, but I use Hot for towels and underwear/t-shirts.

My washer sits in a garage which can exceed 90 F in summer, but I've never had mold odors. The door is ajar at all times when not in use, and I always wipe the gasket dry at the end of the last load of the day. I suspect many of the problems people have with FLs (mold, vibration, poor cleaning action) are due to their inexperience with FLs, it's as if they just learned to drive a car for the first time.

Post# 500061 , Reply# 28   2/28/2011 at 11:18 (4,656 days old) by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        

I vaguely remember as a child seeing slant front washers (most likely, Westinghouses) in a few neighbors' laundry areas when playing with friends at their houses. This would be circa 1960-61 before I started school. I don't remember if the owners left their doors ajar when the machine was not in use. I agree with you that the switch to plastic outer tubs by some brands is part of the problem. However, none of my friends in Europe (with everything from discount brands all the way to Miele) ever closes the door of their washers when not in use. This seems to be near-universal practice in Europe.

Another issue with doors may be safety-related in families with small kids. If the laundry area cannot be secured, the machine really isn't safe around little kids. My FL has a safety-lock override, where you cannot operate the machine without pushing the correct button sequence, but that won't stop kids from trying to open the door and explore inside. There is still a chance of a kid climbing inside, a sibling closing the door, and the kid suffocating if not strong enough to kick the door open. I have friends in Philly who eventually bought a Frig 2940 and LOVE it, but their upstairs laundry room has a locking door, so mom can keep the kids out when she is not using the room. Some homes feature laundry areas in an alcove or closet off the kitchen (convenient for multitaskers) but not safe if there are small kids in the house since access to the machines cannot be restricted.

Post# 500071 , Reply# 29   2/28/2011 at 12:07 (4,656 days old) by mark_wpduet (Lexington KY)        

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About the shining the flashlight in the tub with the room dark; that wasn't my idea......I actually read someone suggested doing that to check the heating element. I can't remember where I read it......But you have to do it a certain way or you can't see it......

U have to point the flashlight straight down and hold it down onto the washer drum so that there is no reflection and you can see the element and the outer tub. It also helps if the room is totally dark as well.

Post# 500073 , Reply# 30   2/28/2011 at 12:40 (4,656 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

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I wash at a wash in recently where we experimented with putting a light under the drum of an LG frontloader. Watch from 8:18.

Post# 500103 , Reply# 31   2/28/2011 at 15:48 (4,655 days old) by ronhic (Canberra, Australia)        
Not until I joined this forum....

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...had I ever heard of 'smelly washer' syndrome with front loaders.


I've mentioned earlier that it appears to be both a recent and (generally) North American problem that I believe is caused by:


- liquid detergents; and

- overdosing of fabric softeners...


...and exacerbated by closing the doors on machines when not in use.


If people went back to powdered detergents, reduced the amount of softener they used AND left the door ajar between uses, the problem would not exist....


It's as simple as that....

Post# 500106 , Reply# 32   2/28/2011 at 16:03 (4,655 days old) by Haxisfan (Europe - UK / Italy)        
Glad you're bringing up this topic...

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Ever since I joined this forum I wanted to share with you guys my experience with mould or less dramatically musty smells... and now it's the finest time to do so.
I've been surrounded by FL washers my entire life (I’m almost 37 now) and I never even remotely thought of the possibility of having a mould smelling washing machine... as I've always thought of them as being the antichrist of bacteria! Yet, I have heard of this phenomenon which I used to conceive as absurd, in the last decade or so when reading various experiences on the Internet usually from US FL users. I got my share of that... although to a small extent, involving musty smell from my washing machine and particularly from one garment (a bathrobe) towards the end of last summer. Now I know what caused it, well, at least in my case, and I feel more open to understand this sort of claim.

The whole thing started with my bathrobe with I frequently use after a work out session at the gym (let me make it clear... it served to dry myself after a shower and not to dry the sweat off my body lol), being of a very dark colour, I was always washing it using cold or cool settings on the shortest possible cycle making sure to use a programme which foresaw 3 (or more) rinses. This was usually enough, I'd use the bathrobe over and over again until I'd feel it was due to go into the laundry basket, without having any specific reasons for doing so. Having said that, something else took place in that particular period (last summer), having occasionally washed colourfast stuff (like light colour towels, bath mat/towels, light/white laundry in general) with a bio detergent designed for use with cold water (Ariel Excel gel) which, contrary to what many ppl say, was giving me excellent cleaning results... I was so impressed by the results that I decided to use it on a more regular basis with all my wash loads (but delicate colours), including endless whites long wash cycles.

Meanwhile I realised that all the other washing detergents in my utility cabinet (I often pick up a box/bottle of washing detergent, either liquid or powder as backup) included the wording 'outstanding results as low as 15°C' so that was it: I decided to take the plunge and become a cold wash freak! Biggest mistake? Yeah... well... I obstinately tried to persuade myself that there might have been something wrong with my nose, my washing machine, my towels, my wardrobe and so forth! It didn't happen at once... first I noticed that my bathrobe was developing some kind of alien odour after only 2 or 3 uses... the same kind of smell that my nose could detect when sticking my head inside the washer's porthole (I don't usually do this... I was investigating). Still, I wouldn't accept the fact that cold washes were the potential culprit and I'd let my existence (well... not only mine) be contaminated with such a horrifying musty smell until one day (after about a month and a half) I had no choice but to acknowledge the fact that cold washes and inappropriate cleaning agents were the root of all evil!

Needless to say I reverted to my old washing habits where some sort of temperature was involved depending on the nature of the wash load (typically cool or warm for darks, warm or hot for light colours and hot or boiling for whites).
This 'undo' operation did not yield instant results as it took several weeks of warm/hot washes before I could go around bragging about my musty smell free washing machine and clothes. The most obstinate smell retainer was my bathrobe which I finally washed on its own on a hot cycle... now I resumed using my cool or warm washes... and on occasions... when I'm dealing with a small load of lightly soiled items... I indulge into a cold wash.

I never had any more similar issues since that incident and I haven't even needed to run the much recommended 'maintenance cycle' to sterilize the washer... I just make sure that every once in a while (say every 1 or 2 weeks) I break my 30-40-50°C washing routine with a hotter cycle... yet, I rarely go above 70 degrees. Albeit my extended experience with FL washers, I managed to allow the creation of some conditions in such a type of appliance which I never thought possible... however this is not an innate front loader design issue... but the result of inadequate measures.

Post# 500112 , Reply# 33   2/28/2011 at 16:38 (4,655 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        


What bothers me about the simple answer is that here with the old 1976 Westinghouse I have used liquids for the last 7 to 10 years; when powdered All was not available locally. Thus say from roughly 2000 to 2010 an American older FL machine was used mostly with liquid All as the primary machine and I did not get any mold problems.

But my neighbor's 1990's Maytag Neptune that used powdered Tide got " a "PUKING STINK" stink as my neighbor called it" .

Thus if a FL machine from 1976 has no stink and it uses liquid soap; how come a Maytag Neptune "smelled like a sewer" after only a year or two that uses powder?

The answer is not that simple; or flipped on its head why is it that FL machines that were made for 50 years have no mold issues and have a do not care about liquids or powder? ie how is a new machine so non robust that one has to use certain soaps or use bleach?

With the 1976 westy I probably only use bleach once a year on some odd wash job; and most of the time I use cold water and liquid soaps

Post# 500152 , Reply# 34   2/28/2011 at 18:12 (4,655 days old) by ronhic (Canberra, Australia)        

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....if you note that I mentioned 3 key factors that work together to cause the problem, not just detergent....


Further more, both liquid detergents and fabric conditioners have, historically, been 'oil' based which provides a lovely food for mould. Additionally, when the un-informed then shut the door on their machines, they then provide the warm, moist environment for mould growth....


So, in summary....


- modern machines use significantly less water and people have a tendency to over dose both detergents and fabric conditioners


which leads to:


- ineffective rinsing




- residue in machines


which provides:


- a food source for mould


and this is made worse when:


- people shut the doors




- a lovely warm and moist environment for.....





One key factor about all vintage machines is that they use HUGE amounts of water to wash and rinse with which will drastically reduce the chance of residue in the drum...regardless of which detergent a person uses....

Post# 500154 , Reply# 35   2/28/2011 at 18:13 (4,655 days old) by ronhic (Canberra, Australia)        

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Oh, and on the issue of the Neptune....


Was fabric conditioner used regularly AND/OR was the door left closed???

Post# 500166 , Reply# 36   2/28/2011 at 18:47 (4,655 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

The old 1976 machine uses 30 gallons max per cycle; if one sets the water level control at maximum. Here that is only done if the machine is real full; thus rarely. A typical cycle with the 1976 machine here was just at low or medium water level setting and the water used was in the 22 to 25 gallon range. say 83 to 95 Liters. This machine used the least amount of water of any American washer back in a 1978 Consumer Reports test..

Thus I wonder if the say 1996? Neighbors Maytag Neptune washer was really radically a more thrifty machine in water usage.

Once the Neighbor had the sewer smell issue they left their machines door open all the time. The boot was replaced a few times too.

Ronic & Hexifan ; Maybe liquid detergent issue is one of rinising? ie some machines rince poor and thus the gunk is left over on the items?

Here the water is absurdly soft; hardly any soap is required,

Thus maybe since my family has used FL machines for so long that we do not use too much and my neighbor used way too much?

Post# 500167 , Reply# 37   2/28/2011 at 19:06 (4,655 days old) by yogitunes (New Jersey)        

yogitunes's profile picture
Never had an issue with my Neptunes.....liquid Tide, and downy, washed in all temps available at any given time, never overloaded, bleach used on a regular basis, never kept the door open.......and never heard of any mold issues from anyone, until I heard about it on this site about others......

thats not without sisters 1970 solid tub speed queen, for its entire life was only hooked up to cold water, a variety of detergents and such, don't recall her ever using bleach, lid kept closed at all times, machine was in the basement, and you could smell the odor whenever you walked into her house, in 1986 she got a GE FF, the smell went away, but you couldn't tell her, she would blame the odor on a damp basement, and from the heater...

from 1986 to 1998 I had a frigidaire tall tumbler, normal routine for washing, never kept the door open, and never had a mold or smell issue........

but it must come from a varety of conditions, moist, warm, dark, detergents, softners, water conditions, or even what the machine is constructed from.....

even Whirlpool has a few machines with a grey tub that is actibacterial, to reduce smell and a machine that would not normally have these issues.....but makes you wonder why the plastic in newer FL don't have something built into the plastic to help eliminate this issue....

Post# 500170 , Reply# 38   2/28/2011 at 19:29 (4,655 days old) by Haxisfan (Europe - UK / Italy)        
3beltwesty - Liquid detergent...

haxisfan's profile picture
Well... it might be just me... but I always had the impression that liquid detergent was easier to remove from the wash load. I'm saying this cos' I went through an episode quite some time ago with my previous washer in which I was running a load of coloureds using some cheap & nasty detergent powder (store own brand)... when I got the clean supposedly laundered clothes out of the washer they had traces of undissolved powder on them.

I always had cold washes thrown in with the rest of the cycles, the bad smell incident only started to manifest itself when I insisted and persisted in running cold washes continuously with all loads using both bio and non bio products in a random fashion: thid scenario was a one off thing that related to that incident (described above) only... thus I wouldn't know whether it would've happened with previous washers too... or if it would've been the case should I have stuck with the first product (Ariel Excel gel) which gave promising results to start with and was the 1 which convinced me in the 1st place to convert into a cold wash maniac.


Post# 500173 , Reply# 39   2/28/2011 at 19:37 (4,655 days old) by ronhic (Canberra, Australia)        

ronhic's profile picture

Suffice to say that even 22 US Gallons is a LOT of water given the machines capacity AND the amount of washing that may have been washed on a 'low' setting V's the size of the Maytag and how much people tend to shove in them.....but lets not get onto the capacity and water consumption issue....


You're usage of these machines for decades means that you and your family completely understand what to and what not to do....


....the bulk of people have no idea about how much detergent, softener etc to use and those key things I mentioned above will play havoc with the unseen parts of any modern machine

Post# 500222 , Reply# 40   3/1/2011 at 04:37 (4,655 days old) by donprohel (I live in Munich - Germany, but I am Italian)        
For Haxisfan: "traces of undissolved powder"

The "traces of undissolved powder" are probably zeolites: almost all the powder detergents contain zeolite as an anti-limescale agent (I suspect that zeolites are used just because they are cheap). Unfortunately zeolites are not soluble in water.

Post# 500225 , Reply# 41   3/1/2011 at 05:24 (4,655 days old) by Haxisfan (Europe - UK / Italy)        
Hi Donprohel...

haxisfan's profile picture
thanks for shedding light on that... I just thought of a note included in the troubleshoot manual of my current washing machine which seems to be in line with what you're saying... I quote below:

The use of environmentally-friendly, phosphate-free
detergents (check detergent information on pack) can have
the following effects:
œ Waste water from rinsing may be cloudier because of the
presence of a white powder (zeolites) held in suspension,
without the rinse performance being adversely affected.
œ Presence of white powder on laundry after washing,
which is not absorbed by the fabric and does not alter the
colour of the fabric.
œ The presence of foam in the final rinsing water is not
necessarily an indication of poor rinsing. Carrying out
more rinse cycles does not serve any purpose in such cases."

Having said that I occasionally use cheap detergents even today and my laundry has not longer suffered similar symptoms... so I can only deduce that my current washer rinses better than the previous one (I doubt it as the previous Zanussi-Electrolux was a water hog) or the cheap & nasty powders available today are not so packed with zeolites as they used to be. But when it came to use cold water cycles only I believe my best bet would have been to stick to the pricier detergents... still I'm not 100% sure on that... maybe I'll give it another shot one of these days ;-)

Post# 500270 , Reply# 42   3/1/2011 at 09:27 (4,655 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        


Ronhic on other threads has mentioned that he believes liquid detergents sort of add to the mold issues with American front loaders. Here I never heard of this until I came to this message board, thus the subject is quite interesting since I here use all liquids for almost a decade!

The old 1976 FL westys water consumption with usa machines was probably only bettered when early/mid 1990's American new front loaders came out. If I buy a token starter Top Loader here on sale for 300 bucks; it uses more water than the old front loader of 1976. Thus from a US prospective the old frontloader still does not use much water.

****There really has to some added fundamental design flaws on newer American front loaders; if for 50 years their were Zero smell issues; and some mid 1990's Front loaders smell like an open sewer such they get rid of the moldy beast.

It is like if in Germany cars get glove box odors; and folks have to buy glove box cleaners and 1/2 century of VW bug owners never heard of these issues.

Newer early/mid 1990s plus American FL washers have often giant boots and windows compared to earlier FL washers and non usa FL models.

Maybe the
y pump sump is poorer in design?

One Sears Kenmore FL washer that a chap had the spider break posted a video showing how drum screws were collecting wads of lint and how the screws ate through the plastic tub once the aluminum spider failed.

A corroded aluminum spider that is cheese like and porous must be a haven for crap to grow in too. Using aluminum in a washing machine was once considered the sign of a stupid dumb careless engineer. An aluminum design book from 40 years ago shows that aluminum is a poor choice for this application.

Thus maybe one has newer US FL washers that corrode more, collect and hold sump water more, more plastics are used, one has a dumber set of end users who use too much soap?

Post# 500285 , Reply# 43   3/1/2011 at 09:54 (4,655 days old) by chestermikeuk (Rainhill *Home of the RailwayTrials* Merseyside,UK)        
Smelly Washers

chestermikeuk's profile picture
Your machines are fine, its the way some people choose to use them!! ( but i do agree that they went too far to quickly with the very reduced water levels on the new FL energy Star machines!!)

It is to do with the liquids, cold water washing and perhaps not enough bleach, but (IMHO) its more to do with Fabric Conditioners especially since we shifted to Plant based Extracts...

As this is sprayed all over the outer tub during final spin, and if people use toooo much, if this is then left with a closed door then rapid decomosition will ensue...

Rather like having a vase of flowers past their best, the leaves & gloop you get along with rancid water (plant based extracts) is what you get inside your washer...have tested this theory here with 2 new washers, always added powder to the drum and not cleaned the fab con dispenser....after a while the black mold is all over the dispenser!!!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO chestermikeuk's LINK

Post# 500290 , Reply# 44   3/1/2011 at 09:59 (4,655 days old) by chestermikeuk (Rainhill *Home of the RailwayTrials* Merseyside,UK)        
For Confirmation

chestermikeuk's profile picture
The washers wernt the V-Zug & MaytAsko, it also helps to have a dispenser with smooth sides, no fiddly bits - nooks & crannies and a great flushing action for complete dilution & cleaning!!!

CLICK HERE TO GO TO chestermikeuk's LINK

Post# 500301 , Reply# 45   3/1/2011 at 10:59 (4,655 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
Liquid theory here to be is pure bunkl; ie defending a crapp

If it was really just liquid detergents then why does not the older American front loaders have this issue?

Liquid detergents are nothing new here in the usa ; some go back to the 1950's.

The 1976 machine here I took apart in 2005 after 29 years usage did not have all that crap in it.

It was rebuilt and ran from 2006 to 2010 (last fall ) again and did not have all that crap in it either.

Thus folks an older American Front loader does not give a rats rear about using liquids; and does not mold issues like todays American FL machines less robust machines.

Those of us like me who have used FL washers since the 1950's view the mold issues of modern front loaders as really super oddball. The issue did not exist at all for 1/2 century; then when it appears there was denial, excuses.

It is like if tomorrow iron board electric irons get odors; and folks say it is not enough bleach was used; or the wrong type of starch!

Post# 500310 , Reply# 46   3/1/2011 at 11:27 (4,655 days old) by chestermikeuk (Rainhill *Home of the RailwayTrials* Merseyside,UK)        

chestermikeuk's profile picture
The Fabric Conditioner Theory!!

Post# 500322 , Reply# 47   3/1/2011 at 12:01 (4,655 days old) by donprohel (I live in Munich - Germany, but I am Italian)        

My previous washing machine was an Asian-style top-loader (I mean, it had a pulsator/impeller, not an agitator) and used 150 litres / 40 gallons of water for a full-load of nominally 7.5 kg / 16 lbs (wash and two rinses with intermediate spins, the drum volume was 63 litres / 2.2 cubic ft).

It produced a black waxy stuff (similar to that in Spankomatic's pictures): the user's manual stated that it was "scrud" and that it is produced when detergent comes in contact with fabric softener in cold water. It was a black and unpleasant stuff, but it did not smell. I have read the same warning in the user's manual of other similar washing machines.

A warm/hot wash every now and then greatly reduced the issue.

Maybe this could support the fabric conditioner theory.

This post was last edited 03/01/2011 at 12:28
Post# 500323 , Reply# 48   3/1/2011 at 12:08 (4,655 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

Here the water is ultra soft. My mom use to use Fabric Conditioner, but that was 2 decades ago and I still have her unused bottles. After she passed away here I never really used it much at all.

Post# 500326 , Reply# 49   3/1/2011 at 12:17 (4,655 days old) by pingmeep ()        
Liquid detergents are nothing new here in the usa

While liquids may not be new what is in them has changed.

The whole environmental movement which cherishes "plant based cleaners" and cold water washes. Look at some of the ingredients...

Fatty acid methyl esters ethoxylate
Sodium cocoate
Sodium oleate
anionic coconut kernel oil-based surfactant
horsetail plant (may be used as an disinfectant?)
dihydrogenated palmoylethyl hydroxyethylmonium methosulfate
oleic acid

And that's before you even get to the fabric softener.

It's probably a number of factors that all conspire to create mold.
Heck most manufacturers recommend removing and cleaning the dispenser drawer. How many people A) read those instructions B) Actually follow them

Post# 500328 , Reply# 50   3/1/2011 at 12:27 (4,655 days old) by donprohel (I live in Munich - Germany, but I am Italian)        
"It's probably a number of factors that all conspire

In my personal experience and according to popular beliefs, the three main factors required to produce mould are:
1) humidity
2) warmth
3) darkness

However, mould smells of... mould, not "like an open sewer"

Post# 500329 , Reply# 51   3/1/2011 at 12:44 (4,655 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

With an older FL washer one has often no drawer. The user just measures the soap (powder or liquid) and places through the open door and closes the door, ie 1st grade level in "following instructions".

A premium version of my LT570 1976 washer was the LT870. It has the added little square door on the top flat top deck panel where one can add soap. This door just has a tube to connect to the tub. There are two square features on the left of the washers in the link. One is for bleach, another for soap. Some washers too added solenoids to control application; I am not sure if the LTT870 did this or not.

The contents of liquid detergents here is not listed in great details as what is in them; maybe that is more of a non usa requirement in labeling?.

Here using cold water wash is really nothing new. In the summer the water temp in August might be 75 to 85F or even higher. Often when the house was first built back about 1971 we washed in cold water too.

Maybe it is the more water usage and the 3 rinses of the older FL washer that makes mold not happen? or is it the lack of aluminum? or little usage of plastics?

Here the humidity is real high being right by the water. It rains about 65 inches a year / 1.65 meters. I have seen it rain 15 inches in a day here sometimes. In California rain was about 11 inches per year in Los Angeles. It is so humid that water runs do the roof each morning from dew. Cleaning mold here for me is with the refridge gaskets/seals once a year; never a washer problem even with liquid detergents.


Post# 500330 , Reply# 52   3/1/2011 at 12:49 (4,654 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

Consider this; my entire house went under 2.5 feet of water in Katrina in 2005; along with the 1976 westy being rebuilt. We had no power for two weeks, thus all ones stuff was wet it a dark un lit house that was hot as heck. No mold grew in the washer tub under great conditions for mold. Maybe the old Porclean is not a great food for mold compared to a plastic tub?

Post# 500359 , Reply# 53   3/1/2011 at 15:31 (4,654 days old) by pingmeep ()        
katrina flooding and washer mold

Honestly 3beltwesty mold needs more than just heat and moisture it also needs food. Without deposits left from body oils, paper, fatty soap and or fabric softener what is there for mold to eat and spread?

Would in the absence of a food source like drywall (pretend you only have old style formaldehyde drywall cement board or the like) just standing water like you describe lead to mold when there are no other sources of mold e.g. mold spores?

You've been through Katrina and are a mechanical engineer. I'd be interested if my theory holds well in your book.

That Maytag top loader I got for nearly nothing had mold sheets so thick I mistook it for "quiet pack insulation" everyone told me to look for. ;-) The continued accumulation of Kleenex from non emptied pockets from that family plus their witches brew of home made soap and fabric softener could easily account for the mold.

Post# 500368 , Reply# 54   3/1/2011 at 16:07 (4,654 days old) by whirlpolf ()        
first time? here!

have never encountered any mold issues in FL.

Leaving the door open and keeping the detergent drawer ajar will do.

Of course this can be misleading as all FL here will heat almost to a boiling temperature and even if you choose to wash up to 60°C (hot wash) only, you still will have no mold. I have no clue of what happens to line filled (non-heating) front loaders - let alone of how other machines are built like (mine here are stainless steel all over):

Infact, I actually do remember my mother telling me (when I was 5) about "evaporation" when I asked her about this strange behaviour (leaving the porthole open). She made these strange waving hand motions going up (trying to imitate moisture getting lost in the air all the way)
Another word learned for a 5 year old! ;-)

Post# 500377 , Reply# 55   3/1/2011 at 16:45 (4,654 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
continued accumulation

How well machine collects fuzz and lint matters too, since this gunk retains moisture. Thus a machine with a spin basket with projecting screws grabs thus fuzz and it retains water and one gets a great slime growing.

With drywall here I in several rooms just removed one side and left the other side up. The old drywall was just washed down and scrubbed and did not have to be replaced at all. Thus even with a food source the mold never happened; because I acted quickly.

One after Katrina had the preaching of toxic mold. In houses that folks left and came back a week or two later the mold grew on all sorts of stuff. Lunacy struck with some and they disposed of fine china if a hint of mold was found. A washer or dryer that only saw 4 inches of water on the floor scrapped due to toxic mold.

Here I really do not know many folks who use fabric softener at all, thus a FL mold issue here has to be mostly due to other reasons.

With plastics; one has gobs of different types in use. This adds another variable.

With my 1976 Westy I took apart in 2005 and again in then fall of 2010 the tubs deposits were really just some water deposits. Sort of a bath tub ring that just comes off with a standard acid based bath tub spray cleaner

Post# 500394 , Reply# 56   3/1/2011 at 17:51 (4,654 days old) by Haxisfan (Europe - UK / Italy)        
More odourless observations...

haxisfan's profile picture
3beltwesty, yes... I find this interesting too! It makes me realize how every single 1 of us can develop different opinions based on several experiences... at this point I guess I can only assume that we're all saying the right thing and stating our truths the way we see them, as I'm sure you'll agree, there are many scenarios out there (even some evidence in some instances) which provide plausible conditions for the existence of mould or bad smells in general. You never experienced any mould issues with your Westy... but maybe you wouldn't have any problems with a new American FL either... who knows... well, it's my understanding you also have a modern LG American FL... only time will tell whether you'll have the same feedback in terms of mould freedom as the Vintage Westy.

Admittedly, everyone, I still fail to see any potential smell issue being directly associated to liquid detergent or powder detergents for that matter... and I feel the same about fabric conditioner... and as for this mixing with detergent it shouldn’t be so likely as it normally enters the washtub on the last rinse when the load is already rid (well... partially rid in the case of a poor rinse performance) of the detergent solution! Personally I've never had any problems with fabric softeners, I'm an absolute fabric conditioner addict... well, my clothes are :-P
Beside the joke I remember when I was living with my parents as a teen... all hell would break lose should the entity responsible for doing the laundry forget to add fabric softener to the wash!

At times when I find a build up of scum left behind by the softener within the detergent draw it doesn't usually have a bad smell... it usually just smells of fabric softener. A few years ago I found myself cleaning my parents washer's detergent draw and I came across something rather staggering... well, the softener compartment had an extra compartment below the usual plastic grille within the drawer itself (I was aware of this... but apparently I was the only 1) which hadn't been taking out of its slot for at least 13 years... this was configured in such a way that it'd look as if it was part of the drawer rather than being a separate piece. When I lived with my parents I used to take care of all washing machine related maintenance operations including cleaning... but having left home, this tricky particular had gone unnoticed till it was confronted by its original carer (me). Of course it was a job an a half to take these little vessels out of their slot (there were 2 actually: 1 for the bleaching agent but never used)... and when I did get them out you can imagine the amount of gunge, scum, sticky substance, encrustation... you name it... that was thriving underneath: it did not smell though... I assume it wasn't mould.

Last thing... many people have mentioned excessive use of detergent (not just in this forum) but can it be just the opposite? Too little detergent can just contribute to allow build up of bacteria and bad smells. I thought it would even make sense if there was a crud formation in a top loader cos' the detergent used in such a large quantity of water might have not been enough on occasions perhaps if a particular load of laundry was dirtier than usual and required a higher amount of detergent. Now I'm mentioning this and... I recall using too little detergent during my 'cold wash freak' days as I figured less detergent would dissolve easier in cold water: don't pick on me now! So there you have it... it might very well be that! When I decided to take charge over the musty smell in my washer last year I obtained the best results when I used a higher dosage of detergent (as well as the use of warmer temperatures as I mentioned in an earlier comment). Having said that my situation might very well be isolated from the rest of the experiences discussed here as the odour I came across was rather faint and undetectable from the others around here... it's mostly me and my obsession for sniffing everything! But I was right... I could smell it, but not anymore now!

Post# 500420 , Reply# 57   3/1/2011 at 19:59 (4,654 days old) by cornutt (Huntsville, AL USA)        

Well, that's what happens when you have trailer hitch balls...

(ducks and runs!)

Ahem, back on point... when I lived in south Florida in the '80s, the coin-op machines (top loaders) in the apartment complex where I lived had signs on them saying to leave the lid open between uses. If someone left the lid closed on a machine and it sat like that overnight, it would smell a bit like gym socks the next morning. Of course, in south Florida, nothing ever really gets dry.

Post# 500677 , Reply# 58   3/2/2011 at 16:18 (4,653 days old) by neptunebob (Pittsburgh, PA)        

neptunebob's profile picture

Well, from my screen name I should know, and yes our Neptune was a stinker.  We even had the "mold kit" installed and it still stunk up to the day we had to replace it.  My mother used fabric softener but she also used hot water and bleach too and always Tide HE liquid so that should have cancelled out the softener.  My theory is the use of plastic created so much mold.  Perhaps it is more porous than the porcelain steel and created more of a place for mold to catch?  Every once in a awhile I would have to take the machine apart and the front of the tub off and scrub with bleach.  Eventually, I removed the "brush" at the front as it was too full of mold.  The only way to clean the boot was to pour some straight bleach down and using rubber gloves, spread it all over the area.  One place that I think was poor design was a plastic case where all the water hoses meet to inject the water into the dispenser.  I unscrewed it, and black mold everywhere!  It was contaminating the water before it even got into the machine!


I lived in an apartment with a GE Fridgemore and sometimes it would stink but not nearly as badly.  To cure it, I would place an electrasol tab and put it on the prewash cycle, then wash white clothes afterwards and it cleaned up and smelled nice. 


I think with the Westinghouse, the smoother porcelain parts dried off sooner and did not have chance for mold to grow.  But those machines rusted terribly. 



Post# 500692 , Reply# 59   3/2/2011 at 17:33 (4,653 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

The "Smelly Washer" product cleaner's website lists these bullet items:

(1) overuse of detergents
(2) fabric softener use
(3) using mainly cold water for washing
(4) non-use of the appliance.
(5) Obstructions in drain pumps

With the 1976 FL Westy;
(1) was never any issue; we have soft water and hardy use any soap and have always used frontloaders for many decades.

(2) was really minor usage; the same bottles form 1992 are still in the laundry room

(3) COLD WATER I use a lot, in the majority of washing thus; this reason to me seems bogus with my experience.

(4) Not an issue; we used the machine regularly.

(5) No pump issue either.

****Their statement with (5) says in the link that:

"there is always 1-2 gallons of water left in all washers{FL}even after draining."

When I took the 1976 Westy FL machine apart in 2005 and in the fall of 2010 there really was only about 1 to 2 cups of water in the tub-sump/pump body; thus their comment says a modern American front loader has SIXTEEN TIMES the retained water compared to an old FL machine, HARD TO BELIEVE!

Maybe this "retained water" is what causes some issues?


Post# 500696 , Reply# 60   3/2/2011 at 17:41 (4,653 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
This one starts to spin hell bent for leather!

Here is what Tomturbomatic here says about the Westy pump:

"Even though there are European design elements to this machine, the outer tub still retains the shallow sump, covered by a baffle, connected almost directly to a very powerful pump.

The three belt machines powered the pump from the main motor. The pump had to be able to pump out water during the spin because there was no way the machine could stop spinning and still pump out the water.

This one has an independently powered, powerful drain pump and that powerful pump combined with the direct feed from the sump means none of that silly drain water surging between the inner and outer tub causing the machine to stop to pump out the water like some European machines.

This one starts to spin hell bent for leather and keeps spinning regardless of balance or amount of water spun out of the load. The recessed sump with the baffle traps the water as it is spun out so that it does not surge between the two tubs.

It is proven technology that Westinghouse used since the late 50s. It is not as sophisticated as many of the front loaders imported from outside the US, but it is a very rugged machine. It's a shame so few were made and sold."

**How much water is left in machine like this really depends on how well the tub spring are adjusted; and how high the drain is that the pump's exit hose has to lift/throw water too.


Post# 500706 , Reply# 61   3/2/2011 at 17:53 (4,653 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
As far as plastics versus porcelain

Plastics can absorb smells radically more than porcelain.

Rancid milk in a Polypropylene milk jug is not one you use to store water with, the stink gets into the plastic itself.

Porcelain is a ceramic and any stink is really due to surface trash and particles; the odor really does not go deep like a plastic.

One can expose a piece of PP/Polypropylene and porcelain to a weird chemical and then clean them and a dog will still smell the Polypropylene item

Post# 500736 , Reply# 62   3/2/2011 at 19:32 (4,653 days old) by COMBO52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

combo52's profile picture

Have never been caused by using too much detergent. Otherwise the washer would not be smelly but would smell like detergent.

Post# 500783 , Reply# 63   3/2/2011 at 21:17 (4,653 days old) by pingmeep ()        

@COMBO52 I disagree. Overdose with a poor detergent and you have residue. That residue can lead to mold. Also if you already have a poor machine that retains water (early Duets being a good example) that water with poor detergent can act as food source.

Post# 501135 , Reply# 64   3/4/2011 at 01:38 (4,652 days old) by limey ()        
Spider Corrosion And Foul Odours In Front Load Washers

To pingmeep and COMBO52
A major constituent of powdered detergents is sodium carbonate (washing soda); it is also a major constituent of the powdered ‘Oxi’ products and ‘Affresh’. Further, should the correct concentration be reached, it is corrosive to aluminium and its alloys. It is also hygroscopic. This means any left in the machine at the end of the last rinse cycle will not completely ‘dry out’ but will attract water from the air and as soon as the required concentration is reached corrosion of aluminium, and its alloys, will occur.

Post# 501146 , Reply# 65   3/4/2011 at 04:35 (4,652 days old) by Mrx ()        

I have been using front loaders all my life and, honestly, I have never had any of these issues.
Machines :
Zanissi JetSystem 1990s, Miele, moved out: various hotpoints, whirlpools, indesits, etc in rented apartments then a Hotpoint Aqualtis and absolutely none of these machines have had mould issues.

I'm not fussy about how I do laundry. I usually stuff everything in, throw a scoop of colour or regular detergent, ususally unilever persil or Ariel and put it on a 40 C cottons or easy care cycle.

I also always use fabric softener, usually comfort pure, lenor oxygen fresh or a store brand sensitive type.

White towels go in to a stuffed to capacity 60C cottons cycle every few days with a large dose of persil and a bit of fabric softener.

My machine smells nice, gentle whiff of persil.

I wonder is there something about the way US machines are designed that it resulting in mould formation? Eg perhaps they are so big that the outer tank doesn't get splashed with detergent solution enough? They always seem enormous and lightly loaded compared to our machines.

Could it be something to do with detergent formulation? Perhaps ours are better at dealing with mildew or, do not leave deposits that feed it?

There has to be some scientific explanation for the difference as I don't think in we, as end users, are doing anything very different.

Post# 501186 , Reply# 66   3/4/2011 at 08:43 (4,652 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
US Machines are designed around getting a tax credit


"I wonder is there something about the way US machines are designed that it resulting in mould formation? Eg perhaps they are so big that the outer tank doesn't get splashed with detergent solution enough? They always seem enormous and lightly loaded compared to our machines. "

Read Yesterdays March 3,2011 editorial article by the Editors, Wall Street Journal Article in my Link "Tax Reform Exhibit A"

WSJ ****" $225 per washer and dryer." tax credit

WSJ ****** "These appliance credits are in addition to $300 million the feds gave to states as part of the 2009 stimulus to pay rebates to consumers for buying these same goods. So there's one subsidy to make the machines and another to buy them."

WSJ ****** "The Department of Energy says these appliances save families money by reducing energy use by more than half. If that's true, why does the government have to bribe people to make these purchases? "

WESTY(me) Thus the entire design in the USA is to get that low water rating to get that tax kickback to the washer maker. ie 225 dollars per washer from the Feds, and another state subsidy credit back by the Feds too.

The USA has high taxes on businesses, thus a washer maker designs washers here to get that say 300 dollar tax credit.

The design goals are skewed by the governments programs. ie one gets a washer that really just sprays clothes and uses gobs of time. ie typical government carrot that creates a poorer product. In past eras the consumer choose a machine like my 1976 westy that only used 30 gallons; or a 1976 top loader that used 60 gallons. Folks voted by their pocket books. If water costs mattered; they bought a thrifty machine and it often cost more.


Post# 501188 , Reply# 67   3/4/2011 at 08:51 (4,652 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

Imagine if in Europe that the government have MASSIVE tax credits to make beer and wine with lower alcohol content and the side effect was on got the trots. The lower cost new product would drive out the better products. If the USA did not do this; we would wonder why folks in Europe are complaining about the ill effects of the new beers and new wines, designed to grab tax credits.

Post# 501195 , Reply# 68   3/4/2011 at 09:15 (4,652 days old) by dj-gabriele ()        

Your comment is both offensive and barely makes sense.

Post# 501216 , Reply# 69   3/4/2011 at 10:51 (4,652 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
Tax credits create offensive designs sometimes.


I too agree that the US Governments steering of products designs via tax credits is offensive.

It creates waste with many items.

Maybe you do not like analogies; thus example(s) are offensive to you.

Here I find it highly offensive that US products are propped up and supported by via my tax dollars and poorer products are created.

Waste is offensive to me.

Maybe Italy can create a tax on pasta; and give a giant tax break on pseudo plastic like pasta that tastes like packing peanuts and the issue of tax steering products will be understandable.? :) ie your government feels they want to steer your behavior. They create a giant tax break say for pasta that has way less calories, but it tastes bad and creates stomach issues with some. They make the tax break so large that now the bulk of the pasta is now what folks do NOT want, but the chaps in government want folks to use. ie instead of letting natural market forces "decide"; the government creates weirdness as their social agenda.

California awhile back was thinking about giving a tax break on those potato chips that were less fattening, but caused leakage with some. Thus there is actual history with my two examples were the government was thinking of using tax breaks to create food products that creates stomach issues with some.

Europeans on this board constantly talk about their great Fl machines. If your beloved FL machine was sold here it would have no tax credit; thus its design would be changed/ruined/degraded to get that 225 to 300 dollar tax credit for the washer makers.

Folks differ; I find it offensive that the Government has to have giant tax credits that steer washer designs in the wrong way.

Post# 501217 , Reply# 70   3/4/2011 at 10:54 (4,652 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        


If your government creates giant tax breaks on your products and ruins your food, washers or cars it does not effect me.

Post# 501228 , Reply# 71   3/4/2011 at 11:48 (4,652 days old) by hoover1100 (U.K.)        
Government 'ruining' washing machines

The tax breaks do not 'coerce' manufacturers into producing poorer quality machines. An energy efficient machine with low water consumption is in now way, shape or form inferior, just different.

The machines sold here use about the same amount of water per kg of laundry as an American one, yet they wash and rinse better than most water hogging machines of years gone by, they are also more gentle on clothing, due to better drum designs and wash profiles.

The difference is, I guess, that we couldn't care less how long a washer takes to complete a load, because we rarely let laundry build up to the point that multiple loads must be done one after the other, and we do not wait around for the machine to finish.

The Government is not forcing manufacturers to make poorly deisgned machines in the U.S., if anything, what they are doing is making it cheaper for them to produce well designed, energy efficient machines. Unfortunately, as big money grabbing corporations always do, the manufacturers have taken the rebates and run, leaving the consumer with poorly designed and badly thought out machines, which do not do the job properly because they do not use the resources they utilise (energy, water) efficiently enough.

The reason there are so many poor quality machines on the market today is because of poor build quality, poorly made components and cutting corners on quality control. It's nothing to do with the Government, nothing to do with whether the machine is made in China or the USA, it's simply the parts used, the training the people making the machines have recieved, and the level of quality control.

Remember, not all machines were sturdy or reliable years ago, many truly terrible machines were made. In the same sense not all machines made today are 'junk' as so many people on here try to make them out to be.


Post# 501235 , Reply# 72   3/4/2011 at 12:13 (4,652 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
Consider the USA's ethanol Boondoggle

Look at ethanol if you think that the government is such a great god to worship.

Here they mandate gasoline has to use 15 percent ethanol.

All our great outboards, mowers, weedeaters, chainsaws, cars get gummed up by this crap.

Thus one is constantly doing carb rebuilds, starting mowers in winter to avoid the gum issues. Thus the ritual is we remove carb bowls, dump the bad gas on the grass, use all these nasty cleaners to remove the greenies beloved ethanol gas's crud.

To prevent fouling I start up and run stuff very month or so; to avoid rebuilds.

Thus from a small engine user; the ethanol boondoggle creates waste and pollutes. Ie the ethanol greenies cause more pollution via the mess it creates in 50 times more gumming and cleaning. Ie typical government program; drive up food prices via ethanol boondoggle, having the average Joe ruining his outboards with gum issues. having us run stuff just to prevent fouling. The dolts at government seem to have zero brains and did not figure how actual users have to create more wastefull starts to prevent their beloved ethanol from fouling everything.

Thus many of us try to use the hard to find non ethanol gas to avoid the massive constant degumming.

Post# 501247 , Reply# 73   3/4/2011 at 12:38 (4,652 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

The government tax credit means if:

(1) Machine A has the tax break and sells for 600 bucks;

(2) Machine B that uses 5 percent more water and rinses 10 times better sells for 900 bucks. ie the extra 5 percent more water voided the tax credits

In a non government screwed up system both might sell for 900 bucks and item 2 is labeled as using 5 percent more water, but it rinses 10 times better and washes 1.5 time quicker.

Some folks would buy machine (2) since time matters and quality of results too; ie they they do not like designs steered by government specs that ruin performance.

Ie machine (2) uses 5 percent more water thus costs them 1 cent extra per load. If they wash 4 times a week , this has the greenies in tears since one pays 2 dollers per year extra in water. An actual non government worker might have to deal with time matters, they see the 2 dollar loss as little compared to the time saved. Thus they buy the washer the social engineers do not want you to buy!

Post# 501289 , Reply# 74   3/4/2011 at 14:47 (4,651 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
Here is a funny thread to read in a link

"Its a unique feature of the USA that many inhabitants combine
everything - whites, colours, dirty nappies, delicates into their huge
top loading washing machine, add heaps of bleach and washing powder
then heat it to boiling for a couple of hours before spinning it to
within an inch of its life. Then they tumble dry the washing into
submission when they have a house on a 2 acre plot and outside its 80
deg C, with a gentle breeze and blue sky as far as you can see.

This explains why their clothes 'fade' and 'wear out' at fifty times
the rate in Europe and why they are constantly buying new clothes from
sweat ships in the far east and thereby sustaining their massive trade
deficit. European front loaders with their low temperature cycles and
powder formulations lead to very low levels of fade and fabric damage
using significantly less energy and water.

Not my words but essentially those of a Professor in fabric technology
at a UK university."


Post# 501296 , Reply# 75   3/4/2011 at 15:34 (4,651 days old) by chestermikeuk (Rainhill *Home of the RailwayTrials* Merseyside,UK)        

This post has been removed by the member who posted it.

Post# 501330 , Reply# 76   3/4/2011 at 18:46 (4,651 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        



Post# 501401 , Reply# 77   3/4/2011 at 21:38 (4,651 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

Now to shake things up a bit my sister has a Kenmore HE2T FL machine. She washes most everything in cold water, she uses liquid detergents by the cupful and tons of Downy in the machine. She never leaves the door open between uses (her cats will use it as a litter box). Her machine does not smell at all. She has never had a breakdown in the five years she's had the machine.

Go Figure!

Post# 501431 , Reply# 78   3/4/2011 at 23:14 (4,651 days old) by pingmeep ()        


Interesting. What does she use for detergents? How often does she do laundry?

Inquiring minds would like to know ;-)

Post# 501432 , Reply# 79   3/4/2011 at 23:19 (4,651 days old) by cfz2882 (Belle Fourche,SD)        

LOL...that desription of american washing in reply #74 is actually accurate
in many cases-except for the boiling part and the 50x wear rate part...

Post# 501434 , Reply# 80   3/4/2011 at 23:30 (4,651 days old) by COMBO52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

combo52's profile picture

Allen this just goes to prove my point, you will never have a smelly washer, any type of buildup or spider corrosion from using too much detergent. Its using too little that causes almost all these problems. I have just a little bit of experience with washers and what goes wrong with them from working on over 30,000 TL & FL machines over the last 40 years and interviewing the users about the problems and finding solutions for them.

Post# 501449 , Reply# 81   3/5/2011 at 02:52 (4,651 days old) by whirlcool (Just North Of Houston, Texas)        

She uses ERA liquid for a detergent. She washes a load or two every other day all week long. She also uses two capfuls of Downy in the dispenser. She loves Downy.

Post# 501450 , Reply# 82   3/5/2011 at 03:19 (4,651 days old) by Launderess (Quiet Please, There´s a Lady on Stage)        
About Post #74

launderess's profile picture
What era is this professor speaking about?

American housewives by and large stopped boiling laundry years ago. Hot water supplied via taps is going to be between 120F or perhaps 160F (back in the day, but rarely today). So his comment about high temperature washing is just flat out wrong.

As for long cycles, American top loading washing machines complete (the real ones, not those being sold today), finished a load on "Normal" in about 30mins at their longest cycle (about 14mins of washing), so again not sure where the man gets his "hours" of washing time from.

Post# 501454 , Reply# 83   3/5/2011 at 04:46 (4,651 days old) by limey ()        
Spider Corrosion And Foul Odours

I don’t know if anyone else except me does the maths on your claims of experience but 30, 000 over 40 years equates to 750 per year. That equates to just over 2 for every day of the year. Take out the weekends (104 days) and this increases the daily rate to 2.87 per day, take out 10 days per year for annual holidays (we have already deducted the weekends) and the daily rate increases to just under 3 per day, take out another 4 days for statutory holidays and the rate increases to fractionally over 3 per day. That averages, for an 8 hour day, to 2 hours 40 minutes per appliance, not an impossible number I agree but when one considers that this may include traveling time it becomes a little more questionable as to what you actually ‘do’, just a brief consultation, very possible but major repairs very questionable. A combination of ‘brief consultation’, ‘quick diagnosis’ and some repair work (or even supervision of repair work) and it becomes a more realistic number.
In some of your other posts you have claimed experience on over 2,000 units per year. At 2,000 per year, assuming the same deductions as above, this reduces the average time per appliance to just one hour, again not out of the realms of possibility but again taking into account ‘traveling time’ not very long for actual diagnostic work and rectification.
In some of your other posts you have made the claim that corrosion of the spiders could be caused by use of too little detergent but have so far failed to answer my query(ies) as to how this occurs. I therefore repeat he question.
‘How does using to little detergent cause corrosion of the aluminium spiders?’
I look forward to your response.

Post# 501461 , Reply# 84   3/5/2011 at 06:55 (4,651 days old) by COMBO52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

combo52's profile picture

The numbers are reassembly correct as your math showed. If you want anymore response than that fill out your profile, tell us of your qualifications to be having this conversation. Thanks.

Post# 501484 , Reply# 85   3/5/2011 at 09:35 (4,651 days old) by pingmeep ()        

@limey I believe it was combo that said that powdered detergents contained protecting elements and not using enough robbed you of that protection. In addition not using enough detergent could lead to build up of foreign matter because instead of seperating and suspension it coats the tub. Doesn't that sound similar to your theory of outside the safe pH range dry out?

If I got that wrong I apologize combo. I've lurked here for years and the discussions blur together.

Limey while your theories make sense and your attempts haven't really got the response they deserve (I've read about your letters and phonecalls to and meetings with manufacturers) why go to town on a person's experience and their livelyhood? It's readily apparent that this issue is important to you but doing the math using a formula that reduces an appliances repaired to in home only seems like a strawman argument. Add a couple of institutional/manufactuer clients/employers and that number is more than reachable in 40 years.

Post# 501506 , Reply# 86   3/5/2011 at 11:38 (4,651 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
Re UK profs joke blurb and little soap usage causing mold

Chestermikeuk : I saw your comment before you deleted it in Reply #75.

The UK Professor's/comedian's? blurb probably was more of a nice joke than serious. I got a good laugh, thus I posted it and the link. It just was posted as an interesting comment; not to cause a USA versus UK fight as you commented to me. The blurb has so many errors that it is hard to see how somebody would take it as real. ie the weather in the USA is never 80C, and thus since it was made by a so called professor it points to a spoof/joke since one has such a grave error. References to boiling water sounds almost pre 1900 too.

Too All; here my take maybe more in line with Ronhic's; is that excessive usage of detergents WORSENS issues with mold in a washer that is less robust.

The lack of usage of detergent causing mold issues makes no sense to me, since here I have used FL washers now for a 1/2 century and ALWAYS use the minimum soap required to due the job at hand.

Post# 501514 , Reply# 87   3/5/2011 at 12:32 (4,651 days old) by sudsmaster (SF Bay Area, California)        
Aluminum and detergent....

sudsmaster's profile picture
Take a look at what's been happening with automotive antifreezes.

Older formulations contained silicates and phosphates (simple phosphate, not complex like STPP). Both acted to protect aluminum components, as well as brass and other metals.

Along came the "extended life" antifreeze that substituted organics for the inorganic protective agents. These had problems with the lead solder in older brass radiators, leaching out the lead. So some mfgs produce a hybrid antifreeze with silicates added back in to help protect aluminum and brass.

1) Not all powdered detergents in the USA contain zeolites. In fact just a minority, if any, do.

2) The main water softener in US powders is washing soda, sodium carbonate. However virtually all US powders also contain sodium silicate, which helps to protect washer parts including aluminum.

3) As far as I know, aluminum is most susceptible to attack by acids, and also by very strong bases, such as sodium hydroxide (lye). Washing soda is not basic or strong enough to cause a problem, esp. in a detergent that also contains sodium silicate.

4) There are many different types of aluminum alloys, some far more resistant to corrosion than others. For example, the original aircraft alloy was duralumin, which was a 2000 series alloyed with copper, today refered to as 2024. It is strong, but the copper content makes it susceptible to corrosion. To combat this, a layer of pure aluminum is often used to coat the 2024, the resulting product is called alclad (perhaps where the cookware got its name as well...). Duralumin isn't used as much today in aircraft as 7075, which is alloyed with zinc, and much more corrosion resistant as well as being more machinable and stronger.

5) In any case, without knowing what kind of aluminum alloy is used, it is difficult to predict how a part will perform in a potentially corrosive environment. Modern washers SHOULD be using corrosion resistant aluminum alloys for any parts that might be subjected to the wash water. It only makes sense.

6) Failures of aluminum spiders in washers is most likely caused by poor castings with porous crevices. That is, the parts are defective from the factory. As an example, my Neptune 7500 developed a crack in the spider after about 3 years of service. It was replace under warranty. The new spider looked different and the repair guy said it had been improved - perhaps due to these casting problems. The washer has performed flawlessly since then, for more than seven years, no more spider cracking issues (the main symptom of which was a slight grinding or buzzing noise when the drum reversed tumbling with a heavy load of towels). And I use mostly wash powders, albeit boosted with phosphate (STPP).

Post# 501535 , Reply# 88   3/5/2011 at 13:33 (4,650 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
Aluminum Spiders in the USA are usually CAST Aluminums

The Aluminums you mentioned 2024 and 7075 are not cast Aluminums; they are sheet or plate grades of Aluminum. 2024 before WW2 was called 24S. Submarines of Germany in WW1 were Aluminum, the museium in Munich has a WW1 Aluminum submarine.

Aluminums on spiders are castings in machines sold in USA FL washers.

The cast Aluminum is probably just dumb 380 or 386 cast Aluminum if die cast; or 356 Aluminum if sand cast.

As you already mentioned, casting porosity is a huge issue.

Any porosity adds gobs more surface area; and provides a rich area to trap water and chemicals that cause corrosion.

Usage of Aluminum in a washing machine really points to very poor careless engineering, more of a beginners mistake. Spiders that are space age and thin with gobs of surface area point to a design for stiffness, one designed for maximum surface area to corrode quickly. The whole design points to newbie, greenhorn, or an old fart who really does not give a damn about corrosion. Connections with two different materials and getting corrosion was understood 2 thousand years ago, ie the Romans. Thus the Aluminum spider on a Stainless drum is too a retarded poor design, one with a spider that is less Noble and dissolves with time. If this was just 1995 one could say their were just a few newbies. But the same basic flawed design gets copied, Beavis copying Butthead's bad design.

Post# 501554 , Reply# 89   3/5/2011 at 14:47 (4,650 days old) by limey ()        
Number Of Appliances Serviced

Thank you for your response.
Should you have been solely, or almost solely, employed in reassembly the numbers quoted above are, in my view, entirely ‘doable’ particularly should you be employed, or largely employed, in a workshop, or even, as pingmeep states below, with clients at institutions or industrial installations, although I would have expected these type of clients to be using the much larger ‘industrial machines’.
As for my qualifications for taking part in this discussion, I am, as I have stated in thread 29110, post #447030, a very teed off consumer. The initial cause of my discontent was the policy of Sears/Frigidaire/Electrolux on the supply of spare parts, the more I discovered the more discontented I became.
By the way I note that you have considerably revised your experience numbers above, from those quoted in post #446219 in thread 29110 (over 60,000 total and 3,000 plus per year ) which is correct?

Post# 501569 , Reply# 90   3/5/2011 at 15:34 (4,650 days old) by limey ()        

To pingmeep
Thank you for your input.
I believe I have seen two posts, on different sites, concerning inhibitors being present in detergents. The subject did not come up in my conversation with P&G re ‘Tide’. Should detergent manufacturers’ be including it/them in their products I would expect them to be listed in the MSDS for the detergent concerned. I do not recollect seeing any listed in any MSDS I have seen, that is not to say no manufacturer lists them, just that I do not recollect seeing any. Whirlpool do list ‘Boric Acid’ in the MSDS for ‘Affresh’, as far as I am aware (I do not have independent verifiable evidence), ‘Boric Acid’ is used in detergents as an enzyme stabiliser, but that is about as close as I can come to inhibitors.
I do not recollect, but could be in error, seeing that statement from Combo52, or anyone else. Incorrect dosing of an inhibitor, however administered, would likely, I feel, lead to a reduction of protection. However a blanket statement that insufficient detergent leads to spider corrosion I feel, requires some explanation.
Thank you for your support, however lukewarm, it is appreciated. However Combo52 has disputed many of my statements, some with statements that are blatantly untrue and has failed to give me any corroborating, verifiable evidence, of the source of his information for others. For examples please see thread 29110. He appears to think that just because he makes a statement it is true regardless of evidence to the contrary, and I do not believe that an attitude like that should be allowed to continue unchecked Just for the record I am likely just as bad as he at heart, in that repect. However as I spent a good portion of my working life having to justify my position to sceptics of one sort or another I am therefore very careful as to what I state as a fact and what I state as a thought. I still do not always ‘get it right’ either.

Post# 501582 , Reply# 91   3/5/2011 at 16:28 (4,650 days old) by limey ()        
Aluminum and detergent

To sudsmaster,
Thank you for your input.
In response to your item 3). In this regard all I can do is refer you to a sample MSDS for sodium carbonate, in this case anhydrous, at: -
which shows that, at Page 5, Section 9, for a 1% solution it has a pH of 11.4 (over 100 times more alkaline than the maximum safe pH level (9.0) for any aluminium alloy. It must also be remembered that it is not the pH level of any particular constituent of an aqueous solution that determines its ability to corrode aluminium but the pH level of the solution overall. In this case I can only refer you to the MSDS for one of the powdered ‘Tides’ at : -
which, on page 4, give a pH value of 10-11.5 with a 1% solution.
Interestingly this specimen also lists amongst its constituents, Silicate at 3-7% and Zeolite as 10-30%.
As for aluminium being more readily corroded by acids than bases I can only offer the following. The engineering and scientific community at large appear to generally accept that corrosion of aluminium commences when it is in an aqueous solution with a pH above about 8.0 or below about 4.0. Now as the pH scale is logarithmic, to the base 10, this means that at a pH level of 8.0 the concentration of hydroxide ions is 100 in 10,000,000 whereas with a pH level of 4.0 the concentration of hydrogen ions is 1,000 per 10,000,000. Therefore it would appear that for a given alloy corrosion due to alkalis occurs at a lower concentration than for acids.
With respect to your items 4), 5) and 6) I can offer little comment except that we are unlikely to be advised of the actual composition of the alloy that is used for the spider. I agree that the actual composition of the alloy will affect the rate at which corrosion occurs, given identical aqueous solution.

Post# 501602 , Reply# 92   3/5/2011 at 17:16 (4,650 days old) by limey ()        
Aluminium Castings and Corrosion

To 3beltwesty.
Thank you for your comments.
On none of the four spiders I have physically seen has there been any sign of surface breaking porosity. I appreciate that this number does not mean very much it is just a personal observation. Further they appear to have been die cast.
One point I do disagree on is the basic cause of the corrosion of these spiders. For it to be galvanic the majority of the corrosion would be at or very close to the junction of the two materials, i.e. at the end of the spider arms. I have seen no photographs of failed spiders where this is the case, nor have I seen any written description of failures in this area. There is a very good paper on galvanic corrosion at: -
In addition to showing how galvanic corrosion does occur it also explains why those although stainless steel is nobler than aluminium it does not easily supply the required electrical connection. As a point of interest mild steel, the material of the spider shaft is nobler than stainless steel.

Post# 501630 , Reply# 93   3/5/2011 at 19:01 (4,650 days old) by limey ()        
Corrosion of Aluminium

To sudsman.
One point I omitted earlier is that nitric acid is a well known exception to acids that cause corrosion. Apparently the salt(s) formed initially prevent further corrosion. Somewhat similar to the naturally occuring oxide coat that forms in air.
Sorry I missed that out earlier.

Post# 501655 , Reply# 94   3/5/2011 at 20:12 (4,650 days old) by neptunebob (Pittsburgh, PA)        

neptunebob's profile picture

If the aluminum spider is such a problem, why don't the manufacturers just make it out of steel?  Or even a sturdy plastic?  Is there some reason why it has to be aluminum?  Oh, I don't think plastic will cause problem with odor here because the spider is in motion would shed the moisture


I still think the use of in the outer tub and in the case of the Neptune, that case that contains the water hoses is the cause of the odor.  I also notice the plastic is rather rough, which must provide a place for mold to grow.  Why could it not be smooth like Tupperware is?  You will notice, water beads up on Tupperware and does not stay around.


If aluminum spiders are such a problem, I would think Alcoa research would have come up with a solution by now.


Meanwhile, I am worried about something else that might grow mold.  Today's airliners are made of aluminum and the air inside is dry to prevent corrosion.  But the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is made of "composite" (AKA Plastic) and Boeing claims that the air can be kept more humid and there is more pressure inside, which I guess helps people with respiratory problems.  Are we going to see reports in the future about "moldliners"?


Rich are you referring to Dexcool?  It is a disaster!  We have a Buick Century where we had to have all the hoses and radiator replaced because the Dexcool turned into a gel (just like when you leave Metamucil in the glass too long).  We followed directions exactly and that still happened.  Dexcool may have been one reason for GM going bankrupt.


Oh, one other thing, isn't boric acid rather corrosive?  Didn't we almost have another nuclear accident because of boric acid almost corroding a hole in a nuclear power plant?


Post# 501666 , Reply# 95   3/5/2011 at 20:29 (4,650 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        


Re "One point I do disagree on is the basic cause of the corrosion of these spiders. For it to be galvanic the majority of the corrosion would be at or very close to the junction of the two materials, i.e. at the end of the spider arms. I have seen no photographs of failed spiders where this is the case, nor have I seen any written description of failures in this area. "

The spider and drum do NOT go completely underwater like not a Boat's propeller, the spin basket's shaft is above the water level on my old 1976 westy too. With a modern front loader; the water level often just touches the spin basket.

Thus from a galvanic corrosion issue; the shafts to spider junction area is above the water level always by design in any front loader washer of any era.

It is the end arms to basket junction that sees water exposure the most, plus it has the highest velocity to have its water shed off compared to the inter shaft area.

The web is full of aluminum spiders that are all corroded and were folks washers have broken. There are posts and images that go back for a decade. The whole issue of Aluminum spiders breaking due to corrosion has documented failures even before 2000, thus to me it is criminal that the engineers design in such a poor design.

Aluminum is not the proper material to use in a washer, folks did not do this 1/2 century ago. Engineers then had pride in creating a good design.

An engineer from Mars could arrive tomorrow, 2005,or 2000 and Google "washer problems" and find failed Front loaders and bad aluminum spiders. If he had a gram of integrity he would not use Aluminum, or make the design more robust with a spider with less surface area, ie thicker dumb.

An engineer 100 years ago knew that one wanted raw thickness in areas were one has corrosion. Folks knew this 3000 years ago, thicker items last longer around corrosion. Folks knew this 10.000 years ago with fence posts, a thicker post lasts longer when in the ground.

The aluminum spider and stainless basket are not so simple as battery plates in a solution for galvanic corrosion. The assembly sees a complex environment, thus folks simple models do not fit. The spiders end arms see more water, but also see a higher acceleration to shed water.

(1) Aluminum is poor for fatigue life, a cyclic failure where stress varies.

(2)Cast materials have high spreads in fatigue failures due to casting finish and porosity.

(3) Spiders that are space age CAD designed for strength and have thin webs are poor in a corrosive environment. A Roman engineer knew this, but would go to the gallows for such bad infraction. An engineering book from 100 years ago on design around corrosion areas clearly mentions corrosion as being mills/year, mm/year and stresses one wants thick members to have parts last longer. The thin Aluminum spider is a great design to spin in air, but poor around a corrosive laundry wash area. A Miele spider is Steel,and is a simple rectangular shape to have the least surface area and decent thickness.

Most new front loaders sold in the USA today have a design that has many design flaws:

(a)Aluminum in wash area

(b)Dissimilar metals bonded together in a corrosive environment

(c)Cast materials in corrosive environment.

(d)Thin sections of metals that corrode in a corrosive environment

Design Flaws of a to d create a washer designed to fail with time and wash cycles, a marketers DREAM COME TRUE!

Post# 501668 , Reply# 96   3/5/2011 at 20:35 (4,650 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
Spiders are CAST Aluminum to cost little, ie be cheap

One can buy a die cast LG spider and shaft brand new on Ebay for about 75 with freight. A global web search has a guy in the Midwest selling them for about 45 bucks.

The spider and shaft probably cost about 10 bucks to make in Korea.

Making the Y shaped spider a solid chunk of steel rectangles with a welding in shaft and machined true would cost a lot more, maybe 30 to 50 bucks ? ? ? each thus makers would have to charge maybe 100 + bucks more per washer

Post# 501726 , Reply# 97   3/6/2011 at 03:36 (4,650 days old) by limey ()        
Response to neptunebob

Thank you for your input.
‘If the aluminum spider is such a problem, why don't the manufacturers just make it out of steel? Or even a sturdy plastic? Is there some reason why it has to be aluminum? Oh, I don't think plastic will cause problem with odor here because the spider is in motion would shed the moisture’
Good question, my opinion, the almighty dollar, it is the cheapest way to make anything that comes close to being ‘acceptable’ but, again in my opinion, fails miserably.
Although the spider is in motion this does not mean that it will automatically shed all the ‘water’ from all areas. It is my considered opinion that even at the fastest spin speeds in front load washers there are areas of the spider where the speed of rotation is insufficient to cause sufficient centrifugal force to be generated to ‘throw’ the ‘water’ off. These areas are the shaft and the hub of the spider. As an example, my Frigidaire built ‘Kenmore’ at approximately 1,000 rev/min has the outer rim of the inner drum traveling at approximately 60 miles/hour whereas, at the same rotational speed, the outer edge of the recesses in the spider hub are only travelling at approximately 6 miles/hour. You may have noticed a similar thing with the beaters on kitchen mixers, the ‘mix, sticks to the shaft but is thrown off the arms of the beaters.
‘If aluminum spiders are such a problem, I would think Alcoa research would have come up with a solution by now.’
Maybe they have but its implementation would almost certainly cost dollars and therefore cut into the bottom line or increase the cost of the appliance. Another detrimental effect of corrective action, in my opinion, and the bean counters really would not like this, it would reduce the number of overpriced spares ‘they’ could sell and also reduce the number of new machines required by the consumers as their older ones would last longer. ‘Got to create the market’.

‘Meanwhile, I am worried about something else that might grow mold. Today's airliners are made of aluminum and the air inside is dry to prevent corrosion. But the new Boeing 787 Dreamliner is made of "composite" (AKA Plastic) and Boeing claims that the air can be kept more humid and there is more pressure inside, which I guess helps people with respiratory problems. Are we going to see reports in the future about "moldliners"?’
On that one your guess is as good as, and likely better than, mine.
‘Oh, one other thing, isn't boric acid rather corrosive?’
My information, gleaned by perusing various MSDS’s for Boric Acid via internet searches is that in the case of very high concentrations its pH level will drop below 4.0 and it could therefore possibly be corrosive to some aluminium alloys. One MSDS at: -
notes that if water is present it can be corrosive to iron.
Hope this helps.

Post# 501773 , Reply# 98   3/6/2011 at 11:52 (4,650 days old) by COMBO52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

combo52's profile picture

3bw and others 90% of all automatic washers ever made have critical parts made of aluminum that are exposed to water. This includes all MTs all WPs both BD & DD all Norges all GEs & Hotpionts etc etc in fact one of the few washers that did not have major aluminum parts were the FL westinghouses and yet they were widely considered one of the most unreliable automatic washers anyway.


These aluminum parts including the spiders in newer FL washers do not fail very often, and 95% of spider failures we have seen in recent years failed because of poor usage habits by the machines user. I have yet to be surprised when we see a broken spider the machine usually stinks and has been used with cold water and way too little and or cheap detergents.


Limey your comments about the numbers of machines I have worked on are taken out of context. I said in an earlier post that I have have worked on over 60,000 appliances and more recently I said I have worked on more than 30,000 automatic washers. Both of these statements are conservative and correct. In all your posts you have yet to bring any information to this site that is the least bit useful to helping me or probably anyone else fix or diagnose any appliance problems.

Post# 501780 , Reply# 99   3/6/2011 at 12:18 (4,650 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
you must sell fl washers; if you defend such poor choice of

Re "FL westinghouses and yet they were widely considered one of the most unreliable automatic washers anyway."

The FL 1947 westy lasted until 1976; ie 31 years.

The FL 1976 Westy lasted until 2005 when a bearing failed; after 29 years

The FL 1976 got new bearings and a new seal in 2006 and was run until 2010; when I decided to replace its worn shaft last November

The web is full of modern FL washers with broken Aluminum spiders; were the entire washer has to be scrapped after 3 to 7 years

My take is you sell new washers; thus you defend crappy poor aluminum designs that fail.

Modern FL washers in the USA have a mess of complaints, lawsuits.
There are folks who have bought FL washers and they died early; and will NEVER buy one again.

The reason the old Westy's lasted so long is they had no aluminum; ie a crappy poor material to use in a washer

Post# 501813 , Reply# 100   3/6/2011 at 14:00 (4,649 days old) by limey ()        
Response to 3beltwesty

To 3beltwesty.
Oh we agree on so much but differ, slightly, on some details.
‘The spider and drum do NOT go completely underwater like not a Boat's propeller, the spin basket's shaft is above the water level on my old 1976 westy too. With a modern front loader; the water level often just touches the spin basket.’ I agree.
‘It is the end arms to basket junction that sees water exposure the most, plus it has the highest velocity to have its water shed off compared to the inter shaft area.’ I agree but more on this later.
‘The web is full of aluminum spiders that are all corroded and were folks washers have broken. There are posts and images that go back for a decade. The whole issue of Aluminum spiders breaking due to corrosion has documented failures even before 2000, thus to me it is criminal that the engineers design in such a poor design.’ I generally agree but having worked as a development engineer in the dim past, please see thread 29110, Post# 446153 dated 2010-07-01, I cannot totally blame the engineers, they/we developed/researched/tested what our employers wanted.
‘Aluminum is not the proper material to use in a washer, folks did not do this 1/2 century ago. Engineers then had pride in creating a good design. ‘ I cannot totally agree with this, aluminum could be made ‘suitable’ or ‘proper’ with a suitable coating, used as it is with nothing more than the naturally occurring oxide coating is, in my opinion verging on the criminal. Again totally blaming the engineers I do not believe is fully justified for the reasons stated above.
‘An engineer from Mars could arrive tomorrow, 2005,or 2000 and Google "washer problems" and find failed Front loaders and bad aluminum spiders. If he had a gram of integrity he would not use Aluminum, or make the design more robust with a spider with less surface area, ie thicker dumb. ‘Generally agree but see above for defence of engineers in general, and in my case particularly British ones!
‘An engineer 100 years ago knew that one wanted raw thickness in areas were one has corrosion. Folks knew this 3000 years ago, thicker items last longer around corrosion. Folks knew this 10.000 years ago with fence posts, a thicker post lasts longer when in the ground.’ No argument from me on any point in that.
‘(1) Aluminum is poor for fatigue life, a cyclic failure where stress varies.
(2)Cast materials have high spreads in fatigue failures due to casting finish and porosity.
(3) Spiders that are space age CAD designed for strength and have thin webs are poor in a corrosive environment. A Roman engineer knew this, but would go to the gallows for such bad infraction. An engineering book from 100 years ago on design around corrosion areas clearly mentions corrosion as being mills/year, mm/year and stresses one wants thick members to have parts last longer. The thin Aluminum spider is a great design to spin in air, but poor around a corrosive laundry wash area. A Miele spider is Steel,and is a simple rectangular shape to have the least surface area and decent thickness.’ I generally agree but with the following comments.
1) The fatigue live of an aluminium component may be increased with ‘proper’ manufacturing techniques, should these already have been incorporated then you have to live with what you get or suffer the consequences, or alter the material.
2) From what I have seen of these spiders (I know that is not very much) they appear to be pressure die castings, now I know that when I retired 5.5 years ago pressure die-casting techniques had come a long way from the early days, surface finish and porosity were normally not an ongoing problem. I am unaware of developments since that time.
3) You and I both recently contributed to a thread concerning a Miele spider which I believe was a coated steel. This was from an older machine. I have seen two posts at least one of which is on this site where the poster has stated that Miele have informed them that the spiders are made of an aluminum alloy. I therefore believe that although Miele may have used steel spiders in the past they have ‘recently’ changed. Miele did not respond to my written query on this matter.
‘Most new front loaders sold in the USA today have a design that has many design flaws:
(a)Aluminum in wash area
(b)Dissimilar metals bonded together in a corrosive environment
(c)Cast materials in corrosive environment.
(d)Thin sections of metals that corrode in a corrosive environment
Design Flaws of a to d create a washer designed to fail with time and wash cycles, a marketers DREAM COME TRUE! ‘ Generally agree with the following comments;-
a) Would add ‘unprotected’ in front of ‘Aluminum’.
b) More on this later.
c) Again would add ‘unprotected’
d) Again would add ‘unprotected’ in front of ‘metals’.
Now onto the bits not dealt with above. All I believe are concerned with how galvanic corrosion works to a greater or lesser extent. I really wish I could induce you to read the paper on galvanic corrosion at: -
it explains so much, far better than I can. Additionally it explains, on page 36, why the aluminum adjacent to the stainless steel drum does not corrode even though the stainless steel is more noble than the aluminium.
Although I agree that galvanic corrosion can be complex it still does just come down to a simple cell. A good, one page, paper on this, which also deals with the corrosion of aluminium can be found at: -
I believe you may well find it interesting.
Even though the spider shaft is above the water level in FL washers the area up by the hub still gets wet, if it did not there would be no need for the seal between the tub and the bearings and the bearings would never fail due to water ingress. However water, and all its containments, does get to that area and as you have observed, correctly, I believe, the outer ends of the arms will move the fastest. Please see my post # 501726 above to neptunebob for the speeds I have calculated for my spider (I do not know the actual highest spin speed but as it is directly related to the linear velocity any transposing is easy enough). The linear speed of the shaft and hub I believe is insufficient to throw off the water, and its contaminants, from these areas resulting in the possibility of corrosion and/or build-up of smelly deposits.
Below I have included a photograph of the end of one arm from the spider removed from my Frigidaire built machine after 7.5 years of service. The other two arms were similar. You will note the build-up of the products of corrosion, heavily compressed by the restraining force of the drum. There was very little other corrosion at the end of the arm leading me to believe that this area also ‘holds’ contaminated water at the end of the spin cycle. I further believe that once the corrosion in this area reaches a certain level the products of corrosion form a barrier thus preventing or largely preventing further corrosion. Similarly there were products of corrosion in the holes for the setscrews securing the spider to the drum. These setscrews are ‘rounded triangular’ in section and therefore leave relatively large ‘holes’ in the holes; another spot for contaminated water to be held. Together with the recesses in the hub these could easily, I feel, be made into a case for ‘designed to fail’.

Post# 501819 , Reply# 101   3/6/2011 at 14:32 (4,649 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

It really is more complex than a simple cell; since the items like the 201 stainless spin basket and cast aluminum spider are really justed wetted; ie not under water.

If one studies fence posts; a piers piles; the corrosion is most at the ground or water level, NOT far below or FAR above.

Aluminum and Magnesium are the far end of the Noblity table of metals. That is why they are poor choices around a corrosive area.

Two neighbors bought FL washers in the Fall of 2005 here post Katrina and have already had the units scrapped out due to corroded spiders; and the washers were just thrown away as fecal matter; ie junked since not cost effective.

Folks remember the dogma about FL saving water; but have that recent sour taste after scrapping that 700 to 1000 buck FL washer with a broken spider. ie the FL washer never paid for itself; thus they swear and buy a new top loader.

Many folks once "burned" by a short lived FL: washer often buy a TL washer' or another FL washer and just plan on it only lasting 3 to 5 years.

Post# 502084 , Reply# 102   3/7/2011 at 03:21 (4,649 days old) by limey ()        
Reply to COMBO52

Thank you for your response and comments but you still have not answered the question: ‘How does too little detergent cause corrosion of the spider?’ You accuse me of not being helpful but I have now posed this question several times and not received an answer. Even ‘I don’t know’ would, in my opinion, be more helpful than just ignoring it.
I have attempted to explain how I believe corrosion of these spiders can occur, and how, in a like manner, one of the sources of the foul odours experienced with these machines occurs. Should you be unable to understand my reasoning, I regret that, but unless you tell me what you do not understand about my reasoning I cannot help you understand.

Thank you for clarify your experience numbers, I have to confess I missed the difference between ‘appliances’ and ‘washers TL & FL’, my apologies. Just for the record 3,000 plus appliances per year, using the limitations I outlined above, and you agreed to, gives an average time of less than 40 minutes per appliance.

Post# 502085 , Reply# 103   3/7/2011 at 04:10 (4,649 days old) by limey ()        
Response to 3beltwesty

Thank you for your response.
Before we proceed any further I believe I should reiterate that I do not believe that the corrosion of the spiders is due to galvanic corrosion.
I agree, that should there be a galvanic reaction between the stainless steel and the aluminium alloy spider it would more complex than a simple cell. However even in complex reactions it really comes down to two, or more, reactions happening at the same time. Some of the reactions may be dependant on another reaction being completed, or in progress, before it/they can start.
I do not believe it makes much difference if a galvanic couple is totally immersed or ‘just wetted’. The essentials for a galvanic couple, as I understand it, are two materials (not necessarily metals, although they usually are), which have different electrical potentials when in contact with an electrolyte. The electrolyte has to be in contact with both materials.
One thing that did surprise me in the paper, I reference above is, ‘corrosion can occur without components of different metals actually being in electrical contact‘. I had always thought otherwise. However should they be in electrical contact the vast majority of the corrosion will take place at, or very close to that ‘electrical contact’.

With reference to your example of the fence posts or pier piles, I agree with you about the location of the maximum amount of corrosion but here we are not considering, I believe, galvanic corrosion, particularly with respect to the fence posts. The pier piles, if of steel, in seawater, yes, galvanic corrosion is a very real possibility.

Post# 502086 , Reply# 104   3/7/2011 at 04:13 (4,649 days old) by limey ()        
Response to 3beltwesty

Thank you for your response.
Before we proceed any further I believe I should reiterate that I do not believe that the corrosion of the spiders is due to galvanic corrosion.
I agree, that should there be a galvanic reaction between the stainless steel and the aluminium alloy spider it would more complex than a simple cell. However even in complex reactions it really comes down to two, or more, reactions happening at the same time. Some of the reactions may be dependant on another reaction being completed, or in progress, before it/they can start.
I do not believe it makes much difference if a galvanic couple is totally immersed or ‘just wetted’. The essentials for a galvanic couple, as I understand it, are two materials (not necessarily metals, although they usually are), which have different electrical potentials when in contact with an electrolyte. The electrolyte has to be in contact with both materials.
One thing that did surprise me in the paper, I reference above is, ‘corrosion can occur without components of different metals actually being in electrical contact‘. I had always thought otherwise. However should they be in electrical contact the vast majority of the corrosion will take place at, or very close to that ‘electrical contact’.

With reference to your example of the fence posts or pier piles, I agree with you about the location of the maximum amount of corrosion but here we are not considering, I believe, galvanic corrosion, particularly with respect to the fence posts. The pier piles, if of steel, in seawater, yes, galvanic corrosion is a very real possibility.

Post# 502114 , Reply# 105   3/7/2011 at 08:03 (4,649 days old) by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        

combo52's profile picture

causes corrosion. This is becasuse too little detergent allows MINERALS, DIRT and OILS to cling to all the parts of the washer that are exposed to water. When you get a buildup on the cast aluminum it keeps it wet all the time and corrision sets in and conintues un checked. This has been gone over many times on here by many different people, it's getting old. Do you want me to explain what detergent does?


Limey you need to prove your theories, instead of stirring the pot. I have the proof of thousands of washers that I have either seen fail or survive. Experience trumps theories.

Post# 502126 , Reply# 106   3/7/2011 at 09:03 (4,649 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

COMBO52: RE "TOO LITTLE DETERGENT causes corrosion."

Basically this really makes no sense at all. Maybe it is you odd joke; your you have never used a FL washer?

Here my family has used front loaders since 1947 and one always has used the least amount of detergent required to the wash job.

Through out my entire life it is my experience that folks who grew up with top loaders tend to use GOBS of DETERGENT; so much that if they vist; the whole laundry room gets flooded.

*ALL* the "top load" folks who I know who got front loaders in America's 2nd FL wave post 1993 went through the learning curve of massive overuse of detergents; ie their brains wants to use that old 2 heaping cups of soap like it is still 1965.

I know friends who's wives still tend to use massive amounts of detergents with front loaders, theses are the machines I know that got broken spiders via corroded aluminum.

Thus here is it my experience here locally where friends and neighbors have FL washers with smells and broken spiders all were folks who tended to use GOBS of detergents; the exact opposite of your odd claim.

Do I have to explain that GOBS of detergent leaves leftover deposits too?

It is my experience that folks who use too my detergent have more problems with washer smells and broken spiders; not the opposite.

Maybe the exact opposite of viewpoints is due to water. Here the water is super soft. If somebody vists there is so much soap already in their unwashed clothes that one GETS SUDS without using ANY SOAP AT ALL! ie these folks are folks who use too much detergent; ie the average American

Post# 502128 , Reply# 107   3/7/2011 at 09:04 (4,649 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

It is my experience that folks who use too MUCH detergent have more problems with washer smells and broken spiders; not the opposite.

Post# 502181 , Reply# 108   3/7/2011 at 13:27 (4,648 days old) by alr2903 (TN)        

It would be nice if owners of vintage combination washer/dryers would weigh in on the spider, and mold issues,  i know they  were very frugal with water (at least in the washing phase).  IIRC  detergents rec.  using 1/3 cup of detergent for a full load.  I think there were different designs, i remember Robert's post about that troublesome hose in his huge old vintage whirlpool, if i understood correctly as soon as the water sprayed in the drum it drained right back to the little tank with the "suds window". I thought it might add another dimension to the conversation, especially machines that are mostly used to wash and not dry.  alr2903

Post# 502184 , Reply# 109   3/7/2011 at 13:56 (4,648 days old) by limey ()        
Reply to COMBO52

Thank you for your enlightening response, it seems quite plausible.
Certainly any laundry debris left around inside the washer and allowed to fester is eventually going to stink. Additionally the possibility is there that is festering mess will cause corrosion of anything it comes in contact with, provided, of course, it is corrosive to that substance, perhaps not immediately but as the concentration of the ‘mix’ you describe increases it might reach a point where corrosion of aluminum will occur. Are your aware of any studies, reports or anything else that can substantiate this corrosion theory?

Post# 502189 , Reply# 110   3/7/2011 at 14:20 (4,648 days old) by limey ()        
Detergent Overdosing

To 3beltwesty.
On the subject of over dosing with detergent I believe this has been going on since the introduction of detergents for laundry. Previously, according to my parents and grandparents when soap was used the amount of ‘suds’ indicated the reserve of soap left.
Certainly back when I was a lad, after Adam and Nelson time, the standard test for boiler water hardness was the Wanklyn Standard Soap Test. This consisted of taking a measured sample of the water to be tested and adding Wanklyn’s Standard Soap solution until, after vigorous shaking, a lather was maintained for a specified time and noting how much ‘soap’ had been used to achieve this. Must be getting old, I cannot remember the numbers now.
I have heard from several sources that the suds one sees from detergents are ‘cosmetic’ and serve no purpose other than keeping the consumer happy. I know a lot of our friends and relatives still want to see ‘suds’ to know that the detergent is ‘working’. Trying to tell them is like ….well I leave it to you.

Post# 502806 , Reply# 111   3/9/2011 at 16:47 (4,646 days old) by limey ()        
Spider Corrosion and Foul Smells

As some time has now passed since I asked if you had any evidence to corroborate your theory regarding insufficient detergent causing corrosion of the alumininium alloy spiders and you have not responded I can only conclude one of two things, either: -
1. You have no such evidence
2. You have the evidence but are unwilling to share it.
In either event let us examine your theory, and my experience, limited though it may be and as you say, ‘Experience trumps theories’.
First I would refer you to my first post (#443313 in thread number 29110) on this site in which I said
“I believe the mechanics of the corrosion are as follows.
Even after the fastest spin small quantities of water will remain on the shaft and towards the centre of the spider. Any recesses in the spider close to the centre will aggravate this situation. This water will contain very, very small quantities of laundry aids used, soil from the laundry and chemicals from the ‘tap’ water. Should this water be allowed to stand the water will evaporate until such time as sufficient has gone to allow the pH of the remaining mixture to rise above the threshold at which corrosion will occur.
Additionally the retained water will quickly become foul smelling leading to, I believe, many of the complaints about mold and mildew.”
The difference between your theory and mine would therefore appear to be the fact that I believe unused laundry aids, please note the plural, would be present in the mixture left at the end of the last rinse cycle whereas, your theory would preclude any detergent being present. My ‘soil’ would, I believe, include your ‘MINERALS, DIRT and OILS’ so we appear to agree on that point. I fully agree with you any soil left anywhere in the machine will eventually start to smell.
In post #445529 in thread 29110 I enclosed a photograph which, for ease of reference, I will post here. This was removed from a 4.5 year old machine because of the smell and bearing failure.
In your post #446219 in thread 29110 you state, “Limey the corrosion on your spiders is more of a hard water build up from using to little detergent. Neither of the spiders you showed us have experienced any type of failure. Your machines had water seal failures which allowed water to ruin the bearings.” The spider shown below has no hard water build up just the smelly ‘crud’ about the hub, which was easily removed with a pressure washer. Incidentally there was no corrosion beneath the ‘crud’ only the very, very small marks seen as ‘white’ spots on the spider below. Neither was there any build-up of ‘crud’ anywhere else in the machine. As I said elsewhere in thread 29110 I do not know how you diagnosed seal failure on this machine, or why, there was no evident of seal failure and, more importantly to me, no evidence of water ingress into the bearing housing. Therefore I believe your diagnosis is incorrect on three points.
1. No seal failure.
2. As there was no crud anywhere else in the machine, other than the hub. You have stated in this thread, ``REASON TOO LITTLE DETERGENT causes corrosion. This is becasuse too little detergent allows MINERALS, DIRT and OILS to cling to all the parts of the washer that are exposed to water.``. Clearly, in this case, that theory is disproved.
3. There was no corrosion associated with the `crud`, so had the formation of the `crud` been due to `too little detergent`, according to your theory there should have been corrosion associated with the `crud`.
Now as to the sister-in-law who owns that machine using to little detergent, most unlikely, wants to see `suds`, too much detergent, in my view, highly likely. See my post 502189 in this thread above.
Do I believe your theory is totally without merit, most definitely not. However it does need more thought, and qualification of blanket statements. For example, too little detergent plus overdosing with liquid fabric softeners based on plants, and exclusive use of cold water could, I believe give rise to the conditions you have described, but for ‘crud’ and smell only, likely no corrosion. This scenario however, without further qualification, does not, in my opinion, give conditions to promote corrosion, an ingredient with sufficient alkalinity, or acidity, is required before chemical corrosion of the aluminum will occur.
Please note that in thread 29110 several posters seemed to forget that is not just bleach, but anything with the required acidity or alkalinity, that will cause corrion of the aluminium spiders.
I would appreciate your comments on this. Thank you.

Post# 502914 , Reply# 112   3/10/2011 at 02:09 (4,646 days old) by limey ()        
Corrosion and Smells

To 3 beltwesty.
The last paragraph of your post #502126: -
‘Maybe the exact opposite of viewpoints is due to water. Here the water is super soft. If somebody vists there is so much soap already in their unwashed clothes that one GETS SUDS without using ANY SOAP AT ALL! ie these folks are folks who use too much detergent; ie the average American’
got me thinking.
I therefore offer the following as a discussion point and would welcome any comments, pro or con.
Sodium carbonate, washing soda, is present in all the powdered detergents that I have checked the MSDS for, also in the powdered ‘Oxi’ products and ‘Affresh’. Sodium carbonate is a ‘water softener’ it reacts with the hardness salts to form largely insoluble compounds. Now in ‘soft water’ there are very few ‘hardness salts’ and should a laundry aid containing sodium carbonate have been used there will likely be some excess sodium carbonate in the washing water, with nothing to do. This solution of sodium carbonate will not be completely removed from the laundry and thus the final rinse water will contain very small quantities of sodium carbonate. Small quantities of the final rinse water will be left in some areas of the machine (the recesses of the spider hub) and as the water evaporates the concentration of sodium carbonate increases to a point where corrosion of the aluminium can occur. This could also explain why some people believe water softeners cause corrosion of the spiders

Post# 503032 , Reply# 113   3/10/2011 at 16:53 (4,645 days old) by limey ()        
Seal & Bearing Failure, Which Came First?

I believe the photographs in this thread give sufficient evidence that there is a deposit on the spider and the centre area of the back of the drum. I further believe that using the dictionary definition of ‘mineral’ as ‘anything not animal or plant’ then these deposits are ‘mineral’. (Using that definition it could also be applied to the ’crud’ shown in the photographs of a machine I worked on shown in threads 29110 and 33198, therefore, my apologies for saying they were not ‘mineral’).
Now how have you deduced that the deposits in this Miele case are caused by too little detergent?
Bearing in mind your faulty diagnosis of seal failure leading to bearing failure in the case of the machine I worked on described in thread 29110. How have you deduced that in this Miele failure case the initial failure was by the seal and not the bearings? Quite honestly how can you be so adamant is beyond me.
I look forward to your comments

Post# 503038 , Reply# 114   3/10/2011 at 17:07 (4,645 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
Europe's washers operate in a colder area than the USA&

It would be interesting to plot where folks live with FL washers that smell.

If one just looks at Latitude of Europes Folks versus the USA as a crude indicator of temperature, Europe is way farther north than the USA.

Switerland is about the same Latitude as Maine.

Sicily is about the same latitude as Washington DC.

Iraq is about the same latitude as me here in the USA ; about 30 degrees.

Rome is about roughly the same latitude as the middle of the USA.

Europe is a colder area than than much of the USA

Post# 503039 , Reply# 115   3/10/2011 at 17:09 (4,645 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

foraloysius's profile picture
Good heavens! What nonsense! In a lot of European households the washing machine is in a heated area like a kitchen or a bathroom.

Post# 503040 , Reply# 116   3/10/2011 at 17:10 (4,645 days old) by pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        

pierreandreply4's profile picture
and 1 thing that can also cause this is the humidety of the clothe like a washe load thats been wash and then forgoten in the washer but i for one never had bad smell and my washer is near an outside wall

Post# 503062 , Reply# 117   3/10/2011 at 18:18 (4,645 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
Pscychrometric chart

RE "Good heavens! What nonsense! In a lot of European households the washing machine is in a heated area like a kitchen or a bathroom. "

Adding heat with a heater just drops the humidity.

If it is 10C and 50 % Relative Humidity outside and you use a heater; the same room when at 20C is now a dry 28 percent.

Heating moves horizontal on the chart.

Look at the VW Beatle car; cool Europe had little if any issues with the number 3 cylinder,and the damn things would burn up over here. Thus the "fix" was often retarding the number 3 cylinder, adding more blowers for cars run in hotter areas. The oil cooler is in the flow of cooling air to number 3. Folks in Europe can say the problem never existed. But they moved the oil cooler away from #3 due to complaints in NON European areas; ie where failures were a lot higher.

Post# 503063 , Reply# 118   3/10/2011 at 18:19 (4,645 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

If you turn the heater so it is 25C then your RH drops to 20 percent

Post# 503157 , Reply# 119   3/11/2011 at 01:39 (4,645 days old) by dj-gabriele ()        

What you said about the psychometric chart is 100% correct.
But you really should come over and tour Europe and see how cold/hot/humid it is...

It might be true that Rome is the same latitude as the middle of the USA but temperature never ever goes under 0°C (do the conversion yourself in °F) because of the sea, this is something that you forgot to take into account.

London is some 1500 km up north but its winters are milder than what I see in Bologna or a German sees in Munich because it is near the sea too. When in January here was 15°C, just like in Munich (wonderful place to spend Christmas BTW) in London it was 2°C, that's 17°C more...

Oh and again... just take a look at Maine/Switzerland weather again ;) even google does that now.

Please check what you say before posting as it might be grossly wrong. (no offense intended) ;)

And again for the n-th time, as Louis and others have pointed out, the vast majority of washers in Europe are in a heated environment. Even when people keep them in a separate laundry room it is usually heated as it usually is part of the main building.

Post# 503180 , Reply# 120   3/11/2011 at 06:46 (4,645 days old) by hoover1100 (U.K.)        
Oh my!

As a Geography Student at University I do have to laugh!

Climate is not based on lattitude alone; altitude, continentality and air and sea currents have a massive influence.

Glasgow is on the same lattitude as Moscow, yet the average daily maximum temperature in Glasgow in January is 6.4c (43.5f), the average daily maximum in Moscow for January is -4.1c (24.6f). Moscow is far warmer than Glasgow in the Summer though, and drier all year round, due to the moderating affect of the sea. Surely this is school level basic climatology?

The Gulf stream makes western Europe far warmer than other areas of similar lattitude.

Besides, I only know one person who keeps their washer in an unheated room, everywhere else they are kept at around 20-22c (68-72f) most of the year.


Post# 503218 , Reply# 121   3/11/2011 at 09:18 (4,645 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
So were no heaters common in cars in Europe eons ago?

A set of German Neighbors in Jackson Miss were born and raised in East Germany and escaped over the Berlin wall. They lived in Jackson from about 1966 to about 1987 ish and "went back home" after wall fell "to escape the USA's South's heat and humidity"

The Folks from the UK I worked with in Southern California all bitched about the heat, and SoCal is really nothing compared to the humid hot deep South. It only rains about 10 to 11 inches a year in Los Angeles, it is basically a desert and dry. One place I worked for in SoCal had a sister factory in the UK. If a UK worker stayed got transfered to SoCal they often did not last long. They did not get 6 weeks of holidays, more like 2 that one could never take off. The hotter weather had the wife and kids mad, the doubling of salary got gobbled up by high rents and high taxes, thus many "went back home".

Here it rains 65 to 70 inches a year. It has rained 14 inches in a day before here. Thus with the amount of rain the humidity is way higher. Transplants from Europe to Las Angeles call SoCal hot. If a person from Europe moves to deep South, they often have issues and tend to move away. The German POW camps about 50 miles North folk's had issues at first adjusting to the heat too.

It SoCal the lack of humidity means in printing one has the printing press in a room with a humidifier to raise the humidity. In the deep south it is the other way around, the press is in a room with a de-humidifier.

The unheated house here this morning was 61 F / 16C and 70 percent RH inside, If I ran a heater so it was 20C the RH still is 52 percent.

The house here is just 2200 SQFT and has 6 tons of AC; 3 dehumidifiers; R30 ceilings, double windows.

Cars from the 1960's here locally often were ordered with NO heater, it was an extra cost option and thus some did not pay extra.

Even some 1960's cars in SoCal had no heaters, a used 1965 Ford I bought there had no heater core, just a bypass hose.

Thus if Europe is as mild as the USA, old cars probably sometimes had no heaters, since Europe is never cold?

Post# 503224 , Reply# 122   3/11/2011 at 09:38 (4,645 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

Here the average daily maximum temperature in January is 15.5 C (60F),

the highest average daily maximum was for January of 1989 and it was 20C ( 68F )

The total snowfall here of *all* the January's from 1960 to 2011 is Zero; thus probably a typical Europe?

The coldest temperature ever recorded here of *all* the January's here from 1960 to 2011 was 10F; ie -12C in 1963;

hottest recorded temp in January here from 1960 to 2011 was 85F 29.4C in Jan 2005

Thus one has folks running AC units in January, a typical thing maybe in Europe?

As far as snow; it once snowed here about 2 inches back about 1972/73.

There are tales by old folks eons ago about how about 1890 it was once cold enough to walk on ice in a pond if one was a kid.

It is warm enough that many folks cut their lawns grass in so called winter.

Eons ago many folks with 1960's cars here never used antifreeze, ie why bother?

Post# 503231 , Reply# 123   3/11/2011 at 10:07 (4,645 days old) by hoover1100 (U.K.)        
European Climate

Europe is a continent, therefore it covers a vast area of land, and the climate varies greatly. Some areas of Europe are very cold, some areas are very hot, just like in North America.

The climate of the UK is mild and damp all year round, similar to the Nortwestern United States.

The climate of spain is more similar to that of California.

The climate of countries such as Switzerland and Austria is similar to that of the central USA and mountain regions.

This is all completely irrelevant anyway, everyone on here knows that if you look after your machine, it won't smell or get mouldy, no matter what machine you own, and that if you don't, you stand more of a chance of having these problems.


Post# 503243 , Reply# 124   3/11/2011 at 10:47 (4,645 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

Matt; Here as an Engineer I would really like to see but really never get :

(1) were folks live with Moldly and smelly washers.

(2) what their water hardness is and minerals

(3) Detergent type and brand

(4) how much soap they used.

(5) whether door was left open.

(6) any other variables that might matter.

The point about where it is more humid, mold/mould is easier to grow.

Thus if chap #37 in Burbank California has no mold issues, and chap #57 in New Orleans does, the humidity is one of many factors that effects the growth of mold. The humidity is way higher in New Orleans versus Los Angeles, thus the same way a machine is used can cause mold to grow in humid areas and not in dry areas. It is so dry in SoCal that one could hang a pair of bluejeans up inside and it would be bone dry in 12 hours, since the humidity might be just 15 percent at times. Here where the humidity is high drying a pair of bluejeans inside does not work well at all.

Here is a link that shows mold growth likes to see RH's above 55 percent. That is how it is here about all the time inside a house. When I lived in SoCal/LA the RH in my apartment was never that high.


Post# 503246 , Reply# 125   3/11/2011 at 10:57 (4,645 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

In Los Angeles it is so dry that the long term average for the entire month of July is about 1/100 inch; ie 1/4 mm.

Locally I have seen it rain 14 inches/ 0.35 meters in one day in July; more than what LA sees in one year. ie 10 to 11 inches.

It is so dry in Los Angeles that when one is away on a long business trip the sink/toilet plumbing traps can dry out in a month or two and ones house or apartment will fill up with sewer gas.

Here with powdered detergents and soaps the shelf life is poor; once opened very poor, the product absorbs moisture and one gets a caked mess like chunks of concrete with some powered products.

Post# 503520 , Reply# 126   3/12/2011 at 13:24 (4,643 days old) by PassatDoc (Orange County, California)        

First off, I agree with you.


But I do have a question from the time I lived in Nijmegen. The family with whom I lived had a garage attached to the house, with a direct door entry from garage to the dining area and kitchen (as is very, very common in USA). The house was built in early 1960s and the direct door from garage to kitchen was probably a very welcome innovation. (as it turned out, they used the garage for storage: kids' sports equipment, mopeds, etc, so normally they parked the car in the driveway, but some neighbors had less junk and could park inside the garage).


The garage was unheated, and the laundry area was in the garage (not in a cellar, not in the kitchen as one often sees in Europe). They had a cold-water fill top loading H-axis washer, I think an AEG (it was some brand very common in Holland then). At the time, having laundry in the garage seemed perfectly normal to me, since many times in California one sees the laundry area situated in the garage as well (water leaks, if any, remain confined to the garage; also, keeps the heat out of the house in the summer if one has a dryer).


However, now that I think about it, I wonder how they prevented the water lines from freezing in the winter? California garages can get cold in winter, but not cold enough to freeze pipes, but a cold Dutch winter could freeze pipes. Do you think they had to use special insulation for the pipes? In the USA there is even electrical tape that heats pipes if you are using pipes in a marginal situation with danger of freezing. We used it once in a rented house in New England with an unheated space beneath the laundry room floor that was not heated----if the temperature dropped to say -15-20C, the pipes could freeze. The heating tape was activated by a thermostat and only switched on when it was very cold.

Post# 503524 , Reply# 127   3/12/2011 at 13:47 (4,643 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

re "In the USA there is even electrical tape that heats pipes if you are using pipes in a marginal situation with danger of freezing"

Here today I was looking at some plans for a Hotel and the tape callout was 5 watts per foot. I am not sure if that is average or not. I seem to remember 2 watts for foot and 3 too, maybe rusty on that matter.

Post# 503527 , Reply# 128   3/12/2011 at 13:59 (4,643 days old) by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

foraloysius's profile picture
The set up you describe is very unusual here. If a house has a garage, most of the time there is a utility room as well. And a utility room would be heated. I can only speculate how they had things organised. I have never seen such tape overhere.

Have we established what kind of washer they had? Was it an H-axis twintub? They could have had an AEG Turnamat, very popular in the Netherlands.

Post# 503533 , Reply# 129   3/12/2011 at 14:14 (4,643 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        

Plumbing Heat tape Link:


Post# 503537 , Reply# 130   3/12/2011 at 14:30 (4,643 days old) by pierreandreply4 (St-Bruno de montarville (province of quebec) canada)        
Just a tought?

pierreandreply4's profile picture
have you ever tought that sometime a bit of water might be remaining in the washer water heater or the fact that the room might be humid and this may sometime cause some smells? hust a tought as i never had this kind of problem before as i always left the lid open on my top loading washer and always leave the door partaly open on my whirlpool duet fl washer.

Post# 503541 , Reply# 131   3/12/2011 at 14:45 (4,643 days old) by Limey ()        
Heating Tape For Water Pipes

I have also seen that type of tape on outside fire lines when sub freezing temperatures are anticipated and the lines remain charged with water.

Post# 503542 , Reply# 132   3/12/2011 at 14:46 (4,643 days old) by 3beltwesty ()        
One type of laundry in the garage design.

In Southern California some tract houses are built like this:

The washer and dryer are in the garage, since it often never gets to hot or cold.

Older homes have the WH close to the floor; newer ones has the WH up high on a box (several feet) if the WH is gas.

a variant is the washer and dryer is on the left or right.

This type of design is rarer in the deep south than southern California, since out weather has more extremes.

In the Deep south the design can be where one walks through the laundry room from the garage.

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