Some of the most popular front-loading washing machines are now the subject of lawsuits over hidden mold growth that leaves laundry loads smelling bad.
Owners of these washing machines say the clothes reek when they come out, according to a report on NBC’s Today show. The machines involved are some of the most popular models from top manufacturers including Whirlpool, Sears/Kenmore, LG, and Bosch. Consumers pay top dollar for front loaders, which use less water and detergent, but a front loader’s sealed environment makes a good breeding ground for mold and bacteria growth.
Consumers have brought lawsuits against the manufacturers, alleging that they knew about the defect in the machines but sold them anyway, Today reports. The manufacturers say consumer misuse is largely responsible for any mold problems and Whirlpool sells Affresh tablets, a product to clean front-loading machines. But many consumers are angry that they have to pay for a remedy to what they say is a design defect in the washing machines.
Some consumers have replaced their machines with top loaders and a number of disgruntled owners have posted videos on YouTube describing their laundry woes. “You end up with a funky smell that you can’t get rid of,” a woman says in one video, Today reports. Another owner said entire laundry loads came out smelling like a used sock that had been left in a gym bag.
The companies say they have made design changes that eliminated the mold issue.