Consumer Alert: Washing Machines Linked to Mold
www.nbc-2.com, By Nick Ciletti, Anchor/Reporter – At least half a dozen top manufacturers are facing lawsuits from customers outraged over what’s growing inside their washing machines. In some cases, it’s ruining their clothes. To make matters worse, lawyers accuse some of these companies of knowing about the mold and trying to cover it up. Melanie Kurtoglu’s full-time job is chasing after twin toddlers inside her Lehigh Acres home. “It’s non-stop cleaning around here. I’m always picking up after somebody, wiping something up or cleaning up,” said Kurtoglu. That cleaning includes load after load of laundry.
Overall, she was really happy with the way her front-loading washing machine was making her clothes look and smell, but little did she know there was something growing inside her machine that would make her regret buying one in the first place.
“I didn’t realize what it was at first, so I’d just wipe it off and very quickly. It seemed that it just grew and grew,” she explained.
The mother of two said she tried bleach, special washing machine cleaners and extensive cleaning—but the mold sprouting from her washer wasn’t going away.
She isn’t the only one experiencing a problem. There are now at least half a dozen lawsuits—against manufacturers like Whirpool, Sears, LG, Kenmore, Bosch and Frigidaire—complaining about the same issue.
A 2009 lawsuit against Frigidaire says: Frigidaire has knowingly concealed material facts regarding the washing machine, including a serious design defect with the stainless steel drum and gasket that causes the washing machines to accumulate mold and mildew.”
“Any manufacturer has the responsibility to the consumer to, no pun-intended, come clean about the problem. In this case, a key allegation is that the manufacturer didn’t,” said attorney Wexler Wallace.
Mike Olsen from Good Deals in Fort Myers says the solution is simple for most customers.
“Leave the door open a crack to let air in,” he said.
Olsen says front loading washing machines are “sealed off” and trap air and moisture inside.
Leaving the door open will cut down your chances of growing mold. So will wiping out any excess water, including around the gasket area by the door.
Also, run a bleach cycle on your machine; or, use the self cleaning option if you have one.
Kurtoglu said she has tried all of that but it has not helped.
She can’t afford to replace her machine; so for now, she’s forced to “make nice” with her front loader.
“If I had to do it over, I would not buy a front-loading washer. It will be a top-loading washing machine for sure,” she laments.
We reached out to Electrolux, the parent company of Frigidaire, who said:
“Electrolux takes the safety of its products very seriously. To help prevent odors, mildew or mold, consumers should leave the door open for a few hours after use or if more convenient, when the washer is not in use. Additionally, consumers can refresh or clean the inside of the washer by running the Clean Washer cycle. Some models have an automated reminder mode or consumers may prefer to manually select the cycle. If a consumer believes that their product is not working as expected, we urge them to call our consumer services group to discuss whether service is necessary.”