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  1. #1
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    And now for something completely different - washing machines

    I was wondering if any of you have had the same problem- it started with the towels, we'd wash them, then when I used them, they smelled a bit funky.

    Then it went from a bit funky to smelling like they just came out of the hamper when I dried off.

    Now, the rest of my clothes are getting nailed - I have a brand new shirt that I wore for thirty minutes, then it went in the wash. My wife decided to wash some clothes with towels and my Under Armor shorts that I run in - any of you that have those know how beautiful those smell after 2 hours of sweating in them.

    So, I'm wearing my brand new shirt today and on the way to work, I'm noticing this smell...I smell my shirt and it smells like my Under Armor running shorts, which happened to be in the wash with the shirt.

    So, I know it's my washer, but I'm trying to figure out where to start. I occasionally wash all of the towels in really hot water (132 degrees), but I haven't gone nuclear yet and bleached everything because we have a bunch of colored towels and we all know what bleach does to those.

    The hot water washes haven't done anything to stop the smell, in fact the last one seems to have made it worse.

    The washer is a Maytag top-loader, we've had the thing since we built our house in 2007 and this problem just started in the last few months and got really bad in the last week or so.

    One thing that has me wondering is that we have just had a bunch of new wells dug around us recently for ag use and we have been having issues with the water occasionally smelling since they started pumping heavily. This laundry problem also started around the same time.

    So, I'm wondering if it could be the water, a combination or just coincidence.

    Any ideas would be appreciated.
    Ah, the nostalgic aroma of a yak dung stove brewing up some tea full of herbs best left untranslated.
    From the Zen Backpacking Site

  2. #2
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    Might want to do a empty load with a box of Arm and Hammer baking soda with a cup of bleach. Then just do a rinse to wash out any bleach.

  3. #3
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    I had an issue like that a while back when I put a wash room where a wash room did not originally exist. The plumbing I tied into the nearest plumbing clean out. I should have added a p-trap before tying it in originally but didnt think to do it. Therefore the plumbing smell would seep thru the pipe and into the flex hose that the wash machine disperses the water out of therefore adding a funk into the wash machine. May want to check that flex hose in back of your washer and make sure it comes out of the washer, goes down a foot or two and then feeds up to where it sticks into the plumbing. It traps a bit of water into the flex pipe and does not allow the smell past it and back into the washer. Just like a bathroom sink but with flex hose. Also if your water has some stink do not let it sit in the wash machine for any extra time after the load is complete. And try to run an extra spin cycle. Once in the dryer, dryer sheets helped alot until I found the culprate.
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    I have a top load Maytag also, got it in 2007. One problem I have found is it doesn't like to drain all the old water out of it. Where the clothes are there is no water but after digging into it there was a little water that still wouldn't drain. This water can get funky.

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    I try to run this in my washing machine about once a month:

    http://www.clorox.com/products/cloro...chine-cleaner/

    Run similar products for the dishwasher too.

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    Washers develop mildew in the base of the tubs. Warm weather is usually when it's most vial. Use bleach to clean out the clothes. Especially towels. Run the load with no clothes till half full. Add 1/2 cup reg bleach. No more. Mix it around to dilute and add the detergent. Then add clothes while it finishes filling. Wash. Dry hot. Dry till totally dry.

    Dont add bleach with clothes, or it will inevitably spot something. Only add to water then add the clothes. Adding more than 1/2 cup WILL bleach colors but a diluted 1/2 cup will not.

    Dont leave clothes in the wash if your too lazy to put em in the dryer right away, don't wash them till you are. Leaving them in the wash is where the stink gets into them..
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolftalonID View Post
    Washers develop mildew in the base of the tubs. Warm weather is usually when it's most vial. Use bleach to clean out the clothes. Especially towels. Run the load with no clothes till half full. Add 1/2 cup reg bleach. No more. Mix it around to dilute and add the detergent. Then add clothes while it finishes filling. Wash. Dry hot. Dry till totally dry.

    Dont add bleach with clothes, or it will inevitably spot something. Only add to water then add the clothes. Adding more than 1/2 cup WILL bleach colors but a diluted 1/2 cup will not.

    Dont leave clothes in the wash if your too lazy to put em in the dryer right away, don't wash them till you are. Leaving them in the wash is where the stink gets into them..
    We don't leave stuff in the washer for exactly that reason.

    Thanks for the tip on the bleach, I will try that. I'm a firm believer in the powers of bleach to deal with all things evil (from mildew to nerve agent), I just thought it couldn't be safely used with colored stuff.
    Ah, the nostalgic aroma of a yak dung stove brewing up some tea full of herbs best left untranslated.
    From the Zen Backpacking Site

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by buckbull View Post
    I try to run this in my washing machine about once a month:

    http://www.clorox.com/products/cloro...chine-cleaner/

    Run similar products for the dishwasher too.
    My wife found some powder stuff at Home Depot, it may be the same thing (I'm gone this weekend). Hopefully it helps.

    Thanks for all the responses guys.
    Ah, the nostalgic aroma of a yak dung stove brewing up some tea full of herbs best left untranslated.
    From the Zen Backpacking Site

  9. #9
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    Filling the machine with too many clothes, or using the wrong water level (too little) will also cause the smell problem.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by wolftalonID View Post
    Washers develop mildew in the base of the tubs. Warm weather is usually when it's most vial. Use bleach to clean out the clothes. Especially towels. Run the load with no clothes till half full. Add 1/2 cup reg bleach. No more. Mix it around to dilute and add the detergent. Then add clothes while it finishes filling. Wash. Dry hot. Dry till totally dry.

    Dont add bleach with clothes, or it will inevitably spot something. Only add to water then add the clothes. Adding more than 1/2 cup WILL bleach colors but a diluted 1/2 cup will not.

    Dont leave clothes in the wash if your too lazy to put em in the dryer right away, don't wash them till you are. Leaving them in the wash is where the stink gets into them..
    Did this with the bleach, so far so good. My towels (and everything else) smell much better - thank you.

    I ended up having to replace the motor on the washing machine (and it's a GE, not a Maytag) - I got home the weekend before last and it wouldn't agitate or spin. Did some digging on the interweb and some troubleshooting on the machine and figured out it was the motor pretty quick.

    While I was waiting for the motor to arrive, I could still fill and drain the washer using the service mode, so I threw some bleach in, filled it up, let it sit, drained it and then partially filled and drained it a few more times to flush it out.

    I'm kind of wondering if the motor was on the way out and contributed to the smell by letting the clothes sit in the water for an hour instead of agitating them.

    Thanks for all of the help.

    By the way, if you need appliance parts, I found a website, Central Appliance Parts ( centralapplianceparts.com ), GE and most other places wanted $235+ for the motor, this place had it for $180 + $9 flat rate shipping and they have a one year warranty on it.

    They have warehouses in several places around the country, mine came out of Fresno. Just don't count on Fedex to be in any hurry to get it to you - It "should" have been able to get here next day, so I went home early and hoped it would show up, but FedEx decided to bypass my house and send it to L.A. first, then let it sit for a day for good measure, before finally shipping it to my house late the next morning.


    A few other things I found out:

    My year washing machine had a fusible link in-line with the motor. The schematics show it but call it a fuse, but if you go looking for a fuse holder witha fuse in it, you won't find one. The fusible link is the same diameter as the wire and it's buried under electrical tape in a bundle.

    Nowhere in the troubleshooting guide that comes with the washing machine does it even mention the "fuse", let alone say to check it.

    Plus, some of the troubleshooting sites online were saying that the LED on the motor shouldn't have been working if the fusible link was bad, yet the LED on mine was working but according to my multimeter, the fusible link was open.

    The new motor I got doesn't require a fuse (it doesn't say whether they have a circuit breaker or some other type of protection device) and it comes with a wire jumper to replace the fusible link.


    Putting the belt back on was a bit of a pain in the a** - The troubleshooting sheet says to use GE "Special Tool XXXXXXX", needless to say, I didn't have one of those lying around.

    I put the belt around the pully on the motor, started it on the large pulley under the can and then used a pair of 90* angled needle nose pliers to work it on.

    Finally, I noticed that the "bucket" that everything sits in doesn't drain completely, no matter how long you run the pump, so water sits in the bottom. I'm sure that contributed to the gnarly smell.
    Ah, the nostalgic aroma of a yak dung stove brewing up some tea full of herbs best left untranslated.
    From the Zen Backpacking Site

 

 

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