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washing machne stinks on startup
Old 07-28-2008, 08:23 PM   #1
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washing machne stinks on startup

Anybody ever had this happen ? For awhile, I've been noticing a nasty
smell come out of my washing machine when the water starts flowing.

I poured a cup or two of bleach in, filled the tub about 1/4 full, let it sit
awhile, and then ran the rest of the cycle. Problem remains.

I guess there must be some funkiness in the mechanisms where the water
comes into the machine, maybe even in the hoses. Weird. I guess I have
to disconnect the hoses, somehow get bleach into them, and in the intake
"manifold" of the machine.

Thoughts ? Thanks !

P.S. It's a 20-year old Maytag top-loader.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:02 PM   #2
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Mmm, yes, I can relate.
I've had some "funkanation" emanating from mine a time or two as well.
I solved it with bleach and/or vinegar, but I sincerely fear the reek's return.
Mine is 15 years old, top loader.
I hope there isn't a dead marmot somewhere in mine!
Good luck with your problem, if the bleach didn't help, I don't have any new ideas.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:34 PM   #3
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I'm surprised the bleach didn't take care of this. I doubt that the problem is anywhere in the intake system of the machine--there's just a set of solenoid driven valves, and shouldn't be anything where there's open water exposed to the air.

I don't have any direct experience with a problem like this, but here's what I'd try:
-- Let the tub fill entirely with your water/bleach solution, and run the machine. It's possible that the offending water is caught in some sort of seal located high up, and so it will need to get this bleach solution splashed into it. Don't go crazy with the bleach--it's tough on rubber, and the higher concentrations will be even tougher. Maybe go a 2X stronger than your machine recommends for white clothes.

-- Make sure the machine is level. If it isn't then water may be getting stuck int he bottom of the drum between loads. That will cause stinkum. In fact, you might need to cheat a little and angle the machine toward the drain outlet very slightly (watch it closely on the next spin cycle to be sure everything is okay).

-- Leave the lid open between loads. This goes for all washers.

If this doesn't work--buy a Staber!
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:45 PM   #4
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Whats growing in there might be above the water line in the machine. You might want to try hot water and plenty of bleach, run it part way through the cycle and then let the water sit in there overnight. A couple of cups of white vinegar and a cup or two of baking soda mixed into a hot load (no bleach) and scrubbed up inside everywhere you can reach and then left overnight might also do it.

Might be a bad seal thats allowed some water into somewhere its not supposed to be. Might also be some nasty old lint or a piece of towel/rag thats been caught up underneath something and is just rotting away.

As far as the hose attachments, little known fact...many washing machines have little inlet screens on the back where the hoses attach, and you're supposed to take the hoses off every couple of years and clean the bits of rust and junk out of the screens. Sort of like the aerators screwed into your faucets. I doubt theres something trapped in there thats causing the smell, but it cant hurt.

Any smelly stuff coming out of any of the other faucets, specifically from the hot water? Its possible under many conditions for icky smells to start forming in a hot water heater.

Can you describe the smell? Rotten eggs? Earthy/mushroomy?

Its not easy to get any kind of cleaning solution into the machine through the hoses or fittings on the back since the machines water valve has to be open for anything to flow in, and its anticipated that the inlet pressure is going to be at least 25-30psi. I guess you could fill the hose with a bleach solution and then screw it back on without spilling any.

Last ditch suggestion...good basic washing machines can be had for a couple of hundred bucks. Some of the little front loaders come with lots of rebates from the water and power companies and end up not costing too much. And craigslist is loaded with $100ish 5 year old machines. The newer ones may use a lot less water and electricity, and may do a better job of cleaning your clothes.
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Old 07-28-2008, 09:59 PM   #5
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Some of these older machines have what's called a lint filter on them. Not sure about the Maytag. That's about the only thing I can think of that may hold water long enough to get stagnet. It's mounted on the outside of the tub and has a small port that connects it to the tub. If yours has a filter it can be seen by lifting the top and looking down. There should be two hoses attached to it.
I've always felt like they were kind of a sales gimmick. There's no "replacement" filter unless you go to the trouble of replacing the whole thing. The theory is that when the water is pumped out it passes through the filter and washes any lint away. Any small amount of leftover water will collect at the bottom of the filter.
The bleach thing sounds like a good idea, but you'll need to fill high enough so it enough so that it enters the filter through the port. I'm not sure 1/4 full would be enough. My top loader looks like it would need to be at least half full to reach the port.
Hope this helps.

Edit: Was just looking at Maytag parts. Your machine may have a lint filter, but is different than the one I described on my Whirlpool. This is the Maytag filter. http://salestores.com/maytag01.html Not sure where it would be located on the Maytag, but could still be the source of the problem. My Whirlpool filter looks like this. http://www.appliancepartspros.com/Ap...AP2913852.aspx
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Old 07-28-2008, 11:49 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyShackleford View Post
Anybody ever had this happen ? For awhile, I've been noticing a nasty
smell come out of my washing machine when the water starts flowing.
If the smell comes out of the hot-water faucets around the house then it's a problem with the water heater-- maybe the anode rod.

If the smell comes out of all the house's water faucets then it's sulfur in the water, but I'm not sure how that would get into the water if you haven't already been living with it.

If there are dark spots or stains on the clothes coming out of the washer, then you have an oil leak that the bacteria think is yummy.

Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyShackleford View Post
Thoughts ? Thanks !
P.S. It's a 20-year old Maytag top-loader.
Yeah, I have a thought. Ye gods, man, stop wasting your valuable troubleshooting time and buy yourself a Kenmore EnergyStar washing machine. You'll save enough electricity in the first few years to pay back the cost of replacing that Maytag monster. A front-loader will also spin the clothes hard enough to save a lot of dryer electricity/gas, too.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sarah in SC View Post
I've had some "funkanation" emanating from mine a time or two as well.
When I was living in Mount Pleasant nearly 25 years ago, I'd leave every three months for a three-month submarine patrol. I'd drink clean water for those patrols since submarines distill water onboard and make pretty much the closest thing to pure water. After the patrol, for the first few days that I'd be back to my condo, the municipal water would smell/taste horribly of sulfur. After that I'd get used to it and stop noticing the difference... until after the next patrol.
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:06 AM   #7
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Damn, everybody, I sure appreciate all the prompt and thoughtful
responses.

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Originally Posted by Nords View Post
If the smell comes out of the hot-water faucets around the house then it's a problem with the water heater-- maybe the anode rod.
Not only does it not come out of the other hot-water faucets, I just
performed an experiment (so obvious I should have thought of it
before), and I can now say it's ONLY from running COLD water into
the machine. And no, the house's other cold faucets don't stink.

Quote:
If the smell comes out of all the house's water faucets then it's sulfur in the water, but I'm not sure how that would get into the water if you haven't already been living with it.

If there are dark spots or stains on the clothes coming out of the washer, then you have an oil leak that the bacteria think is yummy.
Not a sulfury smell. Kinda a dead animal smell. No stains on clothes.


Quote:
Yeah, I have a thought. Ye gods, man, stop wasting your valuable troubleshooting time and buy yourself a Kenmore EnergyStar washing machine. You'll save enough electricity in the first few years to pay back the cost of replacing that Maytag monster. A front-loader will also spin the clothes hard enough to save a lot of dryer electricity/gas, too.
Not a bad idea.

Quote:
When I was living in Mount Pleasant nearly 25 years ago, I'd leave every three months for a three-month submarine patrol. I'd drink clean water for those patrols since submarines distill water onboard and make pretty much the closest thing to pure water. After the patrol, for the first few days that I'd be back to my condo, the municipal water would smell/taste horribly of sulfur. After that I'd get used to it and stop noticing the difference... until after the next patrol.
I've heard drinking distilled water is a really bad idea. It leaches
minerals out of your body.

As far as the other ideas ...

I'll check the hoses and inlet screens, but I doubt they're the problem.

Poundkey's idea about a "lint filter mounted on the outside of the tub"
sounds promising. But what do you mean by "lifting the top and looking
down" ?

Thanks folks ! I'm gonna start bringing all my problems here ...
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Old 07-29-2008, 07:18 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyShackleford View Post

Poundkey's idea about a "lint filter mounted on the outside of the tub"
sounds promising. But what do you mean by "lifting the top and looking
down" ?
As Pounkey hinted, not all washers have these. We once had a washer with an easy-to-remove "filter" that slid out from a compartment above the tub. Check the location where the water pours into the tub when it fills (if you can see the water falling in from the top). In our case, the "filter" was nothing more than a little plastic tray with spikes on it that the water flowed over, lint would get hung up on the spikes until you banged the tray over a trash can to empty it. If you do have such a tray or filter and you've never known about it/emptied it, I'd be surprised water would still be entering your machine properly.

BTW, are you on (chlorinated) city water? The residual chlorine at your tap shouldn't be enough to "sanitize" your machine, but at least you'd know that the fresh stuff coming out of the hose isn't the problem.

Good luck.
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Old 07-29-2008, 07:32 AM   #9
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Looks like a common problem. Maybe some helpful tips here.

http://www.washing-machine-wizard.co...g-machine.html
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:26 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RustyShackleford View Post


Poundkey's idea about a "lint filter mounted on the outside of the tub"
sounds promising. But what do you mean by "lifting the top and looking
down" ?

Rusty, sorry for the confusion. I may have led you on a wild goose chase. From what I can, tell your Maytag does not have the side mounted filter like I described...which is good as far as I'm concerned. It would be a bear to get to. By "lifting the top" I meant that many top loaders have 2 hinges on the rear of the top and 2 fastening clips on the front. By popping the front clips loose with a screwdriver you can lift the top back and see down around the outside of the tub.

Check this site out. You can use your pointer to go over the exploded diagram and it will name the various parts of your machine, including a filter if you have one. The diagram shown here is a "typical" top loading Maytag. The filter for this machine looks to be mounted between the agitator and fabric softener dispenser. Appliance Parts from RepairClinic.com - Detailed Appliance Illustration. If you enter your particular model # at top it should bring up a diagram for your machine. I'm starting to doubt that the filter is the source of the odor, but still may be worth checking if it persists.
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Old 07-29-2008, 08:35 AM   #11
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Some machines also have a "permanent lint filter" which collected lint and ground it up until the results would pass through a screen. Basically to prevent clogging up the drain.

Might be that you have one of these and the thing that grinds up the lint isnt doing its job anymore.

"Dead animal" smell sounds like wet rotting lint or an old sock or something caught in there. Have you pulled the agitator to see if theres anything under it?
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Old 07-29-2008, 10:23 AM   #12
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Quote:
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Not a bad idea.
From my favorite appliance repair guy's website, here's a review of a Staber that'll make SamClem feel good-- as well as comparing the costs of operating an old top-loader vs a generic horizontal-axis washing machine:
"The Samurai Appliance Repair Man"

Speaking of Maytag and front-loaders, steer clear of their Neptune models.

Quote:
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I've heard drinking distilled water is a really bad idea. It leaches minerals out of your body.
Not many alternatives on a submarine. Luckily it's not a problem.

There's an old urban legend about losing minerals by drinking pure stream water, but I don't know of any naturally-occurring water that's strictly pure H2O. Evaporators & distillate plants remove most of the minerals from seawater but enough carries over to avoid damage to human health. Even when the evaporator was working properly and operated correctly, the distillate still had to be run through a demineralizer to make it pure enough for nuclear reactor use. Drinking that pure water could cause some long-term problems, but it's too expensive for all but the richest and most particular consumers.
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Old 07-29-2008, 11:35 AM   #13
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From my favorite appliance repair guy's website, here's a review of a Staber that'll make SamClem feel good-- as well as comparing the costs of operating an old top-loader vs a generic horizontal-axis washing machine:
"The Samurai Appliance Repair Man"
You really got me thinking about getting a front-loader, but I looked
at Sears' site on the basic $599 EnergyStar 3.1 cu-ft front-loader,
and the reviews were just atrocious. And this on Sears' site no less.

Quote:
Not many alternatives on a submarine. Luckily it's not a problem.
Speaking of which, I been thinking about subs a lot, reading this book
"Shadow Divers", and a NOVA on the same subject called "Hitler's Lost
Sub". Fascinating stuff. Scary as hell. Although I guess a modern
US submarine feels a lot safer than in WWII.
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:01 PM   #14
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With regards to the Kenmore, a bunch of them were made 4-6 years ago with some bad bearing or something in them that eventually leaked and caused a catastrophic failure of the unit, preceded by staining up your clothes.

A lot of people who learned of the problem were able to fix it proactively, and the problem was fixed a number of years ago.

Sears really should have done a recall or offer to fix those machines. Bad decision to throw their hands up and say it was out of warranty.

I had one of them and I fixed it myself. Front loaders are ridiculously simple machines. Theres generally one motor with a belt that does everything, a water valve, and a pair of control boards...one to run the motor and one hooked to the knobs. Pretty obvious when something goes wrong which part it is.

Funny thing is, most of the same-size front loaders are built by the same company and then sold under 5-7 brand names. So if you see a 2.8 or 3.1 cu foot unit sold by Kenmore, Frigidaire and whirlpool and the controls all look to be about the same, its the same washer. Whats really interesting is then seeing the drastically different reviews on what is essentially the same machine.

We went the other way size-wise and bought the humongous Bosch unit. Lowes and Bosch both gave me a rebate, the water company gave me a hundred bucks and PG&E gave me $75. So IIRC the end cost of the thing was around $450.

Whats nice is that we used to do 4-5 loads of laundry a week and now its two: one color and one white. With room to spare. You can put a fluffy king comforter in it and still have room for the sheets.
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:10 PM   #15
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You really got me thinking about getting a front-loader, but I looked at Sears' site on the basic $599 EnergyStar 3.1 cu-ft front-loader, and the reviews were just atrocious. And this on Sears' site no less.
Yep, we went through several cycles of attraction/repulsion before we found a good used one on our local Craigslist. If it helps, it's a Kenmore Energy-Star 417.43042300. It probably has crappy reviews too but it's worked flawlessly for us.

I guess the best approach is to avoid buying bleeding-edge technology, and perhaps to consider buying used from someone who's had theirs in storage or who is upgrading to bleeding-edge. Or maybe buy a clearance as they're bringing in the latest bleeding-edge models.

Quote:
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Speaking of which, I been thinking about subs a lot, reading this book "Shadow Divers", and a NOVA on the same subject called "Hitler's Lost Sub". Fascinating stuff. Scary as hell.
Hey, thanks, I just added that to my library list. I'd read about those guys but I didn't realize the whole story had been put together. Totally believable. And I'm qualified SCUBA, but those mixed-gas cold-water guys are totally nuts.

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Although I guess a modern US submarine feels a lot safer than in WWII.
Wouldn't know about that. When I look at the equipment on the USS BOWFIN (commissioned 1943) I'm always surprised by how much of it is still in use today. The LOS ANGELES class actually has fewer watertight compartments and a smaller percentage of reserve buoyancy than most of its predecessors, despite being able to go twice as deep as a WWII boat. In the "old" days you used to combat flooding and try to stop it. Now you just emergency blow to the surface and worry about it there. If you don't make it to the surface then you can stop worrying.

I guess the design philosophy is that if the systems are reliable enough (and if the crew reacts fast enough) then there's no need for all this "excess" margin of safety. I think those design philosophers should be given an opportunity to sit onboard during shock testing (depth charging), and then we'll see how they feel about the meaning of the word "excess"...
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Old 07-29-2008, 12:27 PM   #16
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In the "old" days you used to combat flooding and try to stop it. Now you just emergency blow to the surface and worry about it there. If you don't make it to the surface then you can stop worrying.
Was this difference a function of the anticipated operational environment? In WWII the subs were cranked out during a time of active conflict, and being able to contain damage and wait out an attack (for a couple of hours) without surfacing had a lot of benefits. Cold war=years of officially non-combat operations, damage/flooding is not likely to be during hostile actions, and even if a result of hostility, the noises and other signatures of submerged damage control made the exercise little better than coming up. Or, maybe it was just cheaper to build 'em like that later.
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Old 07-29-2008, 01:51 PM   #17
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I'd suspect cost cutting as a primary factor before any other. Unfortunately.
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:36 PM   #18
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Or, maybe it was just cheaper to build 'em like that later.
Ding Aa-oo-gah.

By the time the 1960s engineers finished designing a plant that could keep up with a 30-knot carrier, there wasn't much left over for non-essentials like habitability or safety... but damn could the LA class accelerate. Kinda like living in a Ferrari for six months.

An engineering computer simulation on an older class of submarine included a casualty procedure for abandoning the engineering spaces in the event of a major rupture to a steam line. The logic was that you'd scamper forward (or dive into the bilge) before the steam superheated your assets. It was expected that you'd have 5-10 minutes.

Then the Naval Research Lab moved the hulk of the ex-USS SHADWELL onto their property, wired it with sensors, and carried out a number of fire/flooding/steam rupture experiments. (Nuclear "Mythbusters".) Horribly labor-intensive and expensive but even more horribly illuminating! A couple years after we read about the experiments, a SHIPALT installed a 700-psig air line directly over the desk of the Engineering Officer of the Watch and his three subordinates (Reactor, Electrical, & Propulsion). The area around those four watchstanders was enclosed with airtight bulkheads and a sliding door with a big lock. Shortly afterward the "evacuate the engineroom" casualty procedure was changed to "Slam the door, lock 'em out, and dump the air in the space to hold off the steam while you drive the OOD to the surface. Pray that the air lasts long enough for the OOD to remember how to use the remote controls to vent the engineroom overboard". Turns out that the NRL research indicated a survival time of more like 90 seconds... unless you happened to be standing watch within the confines of the 700-psig air blast, which hurts less than the 500-psig steam blast. Or so I'm told.

That type of awareness did tend to produce submariners who practiced damage control from hell. The final exam for submarine qualification (silver dolphins) consisted of mustering with the XO, donning an emergency air mask, putting its naugahyde carry bag over your head (and mask), and feeling around with the air hose for a supply manifold. Once you were plugged in (and hopefully breathing), you'd show&tell the XO where to find all the DC gear within reach. Then you'd unplug from your air manifold, feel your way (blind) to the next manifold, plug in, take a deep cleansing breath, and repeat your lecture on DC gear in that new location. After about 20-30 iterations you'd have persuaded the XO (and all your shipmates) that you knew how to handle firefighting in a smoke-filled compartment.

And I think the lessons learned from the LA class habitability issues are paying off in the VIRGINIA class. We'll have to hear from a board member with that experience, somebody other than me!

But to get back on thread track, submarines use front-loading washing machines with really good gaskets...
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Old 07-29-2008, 05:54 PM   #19
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Semi off topic to the off topic.

Whats wrong with this picture? Nords, you're disqualified.
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Old 07-29-2008, 06:16 PM   #20
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Semi off topic to the off topic.

Whats wrong with this picture? Nords, you're disqualified.
Is that an a/c unit sitting on top? How's that going to work underwater?
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New Groovy Washing Machine samclem Other topics 37 03-12-2006 10:41 AM

 

 
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