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What front-loader do you use?

Do you have experience washing your cloth diapers at home?  Jillian is taking recommendations for a new front-loader:

We have a front load washer (Maytag Neptune) that's been having mold problems.  We want to buy a new washing machine, preferably front load.  Does anyone out there use cloth diapers and have a front load washer they'd recommend?


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Hi Jillian,
We have the Kenmore HE2 model. I think its the '06 model, but I can't remember right now. I never knew that a front loader could mold when I bought my washer and even though I would have bought it anyway, I wish I would have been told how to fight the problem. Everyone I have talked to has said that to help keep the mold out we should 1) wipe off the rubber seal, making sure that you get down inside the rubber too. 2) leave the door open in between uses and 3) once a month, fill the bleach compartment and run it through a cycle on hot to kill and prevent any future mold. I have also been informed that the newer models have a self wash that helps to make this easier.
I hate this last step because I use cloth diapers and don't want them to break down b/c of the bleach and b/c I hate to use bleach for anything. I am still looking for an alternative to bleach that will kill and keep the mold away, and yet is environmentally friendly.
Make sure that when you do buy your new washer you ask the people you buy it from about the mold issue. Its an easier problem to solve when you know about it from day one, instead of finding out about it 6 months later when the mold was a big problem like I did.
If anyone else knows of a bleach alternative that would work, I would really appreciate it.

we didn't do clothdiapers, but we had the ('02?) Maytag neptune and had the same mildew issues that were mentioned in the class action lawsuit. The bleaching and wipe-down never seemed to really take care of it. We just got the Samsung front loader with the Ag (silver ion) nanotechnology stuff and have been really happy with it. The seal seems to have been designed to drain properly so it isn't prone to mildewing. I know the silver ion process is supposed to have antimicrobial properties which helps to sanitize and there is a super-hot sanitizing cycle as well, so there are plenty of perks for diaper cleaning...

I was just about to write a post that would pretty much duplicate the above post (so thank you for writing it for me Becky!), right down to the model of washer and feelings about bleach.

A tiny bit of bleach now and then won't affect the overall performance of a cloth diaper (in my experience) but will really help with the stinkies (and I tried so many other options but none worked as well). Maybe with some materials it does but I used mostly organic cotton prefolds and prefitteds and they held up just fine.

I'm eager to hear any other comments that might have better solutions!

Wow! I have the same washer and the gasket is mildewy and I've tried everything. I didn't know there had been a lawsuit. All this time I've thought I was just a bad housewife, I couldn't even manage to keep the washing machine clean!

I was so glad to see this post! I thought I had mold issues in my basement, it has been my machine all along!! That explains why it comes and goes.

Does anyone have a problem with the dryer really over drying things even on very low?

We have this issue as well. I always thought was an itty bitty sock stuck somewhere mildewing.

We have a Kenmore HE3T that we bought in 2004, and we LOVE it. I read online before buying ours that the Maytag front loaders were having mildew issues, and having just relocated to the NW, we worried about mold so steered clear of the Maytags.

We haven't (knock on wood) had a single issue with it. I do tend to leave the door & soap compartment open between washes to let it dry out since there is always residual water in there, but otherwise it has been wonderful.

I use Fuzzi Bunz on baby #2 who is now 9 months, so I'm sort of new to the cloth diaper thing, but I use Charlie's Soap and don't have a problem with molding. And, I will admit that I'm a bit of a sloppy housewife in that I sometimes wash clothes/diapers and leave them wet in the washer for...up to 24 hours. My dirty little secret. I just tend to forget them in the basement the next day.

So far, I haven't had a single mold problem on clothes, washer, or diapers (even when they are wet for a week). I am probably just getting lucky, but if you are really wanting a fantastic front loader, get the Kenmore Elite. I can't say enough good things about it. We love, love, love ours. The dryer is nothing special, but I just love my washer.

And by the way, ours has the built-in heater so can do sanitary loads too. I rarely use this, but it probably would help ensure that mold didn't grow since it heats up to 160 degrees or something.

Like the previous comments, I also have a Kenmore, but I have a HE4t with the heater for the super hot wash. I mostly use the quick-wash cycle with an extra rinse added, and that does the trick for my laundry.

re mold: I have had my clothes mold when I forgot about it in the washer for 48 hours, but the machine itself doesn't seem to grow anything . I leave the door open and wipe out the gasket every month or so to keep it mold free.

Now my parents have one of the smaller maytag front loaders and it is a moldy machine. I did some googling for them, and beyond the fundamental design issues w/maytag, there's also a few other things that can make your front loader yucky. The general internet suggestions seemed to be:
-leave the door & soap drawer open to dry out when the machine is not in use
-ALWAYS use high efficiency detergent, and use less detergent than the detergent mfg suggests. (I use maybe 2/3 of the smallest load size of tide HE and my clothes come out clean)
-run a bleach load every month or so to clean out any residual gunk
-wipe out the gasket frequently to dry it off

I also do not use fabric softener in the washer (just dryer sheets instead) and I think that makes a difference w/the (mold inducing) residue in the machine.

There are a few products to clean out the mold from smelly washers.. Maytag just came out with Affresh, and there's also SmellyWasher (not kidding!)..

If I had to purchase all over again, I would probably spend more time on researching the samsung/LG models, but I am quite happy with my Kenmore and have no regrets.

I second the Kenmore He3t model (from Sears). It is FANTASTIC! We use fuzzi bunz and run the diaper load through the sanitize setting. It's the most versatile and effective washing machine I've ever had.

That's great to hear that the Kenmore's don't have a problem with Charlie's soap...seems a lot of front loaders require special detergent these days!

We got a Kenmore HE3T in 2002 and have no mold problems. When we were washing diapers I used the sanitary cycle with a prewash, extra rinse and extra spin -- maybe overkill but it worked beautifully. After years of diaper washing, we've had no problems with anything and I do nothing but leave the door open like my mom taught me. I would buy it again even though we are done washing diapers!

Ok. This explains so much about the smell in the basement and on the clothes if they are left in the washer for even an hour. I read the lawsuit...I suppose that because we never complained about it, it's our problem. Does anyone know?

About the maytag lawsuit... the deadline for it has passed, so yep, if you didn't act before the deadline they're not responsible. You can replace the front boot for about $200 and then fight the mold strategies. Or buy a new washer.

About the maytag lawsuit... the deadline for it has passed, so yep, if you didn't act before the deadline they're not responsible. You can replace the front boot for about $200 and then do fight the mold strategies. Or buy a new washer.

I have a Kenmore front loader & have had no mold problems.

We have an LG Tromm and LOVE it. The sanitary cycle does a great job on the diapers and because it's an energy star model, it qualifies for a nice tax credit and rebate.

I have a new Samsung Ag (SilverCare) machine. I want to warn you -- the sanitize cycle is too hot for cloth diapers. It runs 150 degrees. I made the mistake of using it with my newborn size Green Mountain prefolds, not realizing that it was too hot for the diapers until it was too late. It made the diapers rough and stiff. There is no way to make the diapers soft again after that. I never had that problem just using a regular hot water wash and we do not have hard water. On the plus side, the Silver Care option should take care of the diapers. I am going to try just using a warm water wash instead of even regular hot and using the SilverCare and some Seventh Generation chlorine-free bleach (peroxide bleach). That will be good for me because then I can wash the covers with the prefolds and it will save a lot of hassle. I highly recommend the Samsung Ag front loader -- make sure it has the SilverCare option. I leave the door open a little between loads to air it out. Have not had a problem with mildew yet and we have had it for about a month now.

I just purchess an LG tromm due to my Maytag Gallery washer biteing the dust after only 6 years. The LG Tromm is very attractive and what sold me was the lighted int. drum. Very hard to find in a front loader. As far as the mold issue i was concerned as well. At work we have a Maytag Neptune (TOTAL JUNK) and it smells like mold. I was told to pour powdered casscade dishwashing soap in the drum and then put bleach in the depencer. Run the washer on the longest and hottest setting and this would take care of the mold issue along with leaveing the door ajar. This is what ill try when my TROMM is delivered. Hope this fresh idea works for others. GOOD LUCK!

So do we have to live with the moldy washer problem or is there a real fix out there?

Is the washer not designed to drain?

We purchased a Samsung front load washer just 3 months ago and it hasn't been draining water properly. After a wash, if you spin the drum you can hear water turning inside. The door has mold spots and the drum smells stinky.

What do we do?

there is a an alternative to the use of bleach. There is a product called Afresh that you run through your machine once a month and it fits mold and build up of gunk on the bearings. Bleach will only get rid of odor and mold but it won't remove any build ups. I sell appliances for a living and I recommend this product or a product like it to everyone that buys a washer from me or comes in complaining of these issues

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