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Mould & Mildew Smelling On Clothes

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Hi Andy. I need your help/advice please. For the past two or three weeks I have had a reoccurence of what is usually a once a year problem (strangely always around this time of year @ early Autumn), with that problem being clothes that after an hour or so start to stink. Based on previous experience and what I read on your site and others that smell is caused by the heating up of the clothes releasing a rank mold/mildew odour that has been so bad I had to come home from work early today. I am getting headaches, my nose is running and eyes are watering. All signs I believe of mold spores that I am breathing in? In fact when I start to iron my clothes my nose is immediately starting to react. Worse I can actually sense other people sniffing and twitching there noses as I come near them! To say that I have not enjoyed the last two or so weeks at work is an understatement.... Today I went to the local laundry just to get some clothes cleaned.

The thing is Andy unlike previous years where as mentioned I have had this issue before this time I can't shift it. I've done everything I can to remove all visable mold on seals and in soap dispenser etc. It's totally self-inflicted as I'm your typical washing liquid user, influenced by instructions on bottle to do washes @ 30/40 degrees all year around (I should have learned my lesson really, but I have now - never again..).

To cure the issue this time I've done multiple 95 degree washes with soda crystals and white vinegar plus bleach once and also rubbed down the seal with surgical spirit which I read might help. The washing machine is about 4+ years old if I remember (a Zanussi), and as mentioned previous years doing all the above had cured the issue - simply finding mold in the visable part of the seal and removing it and doing a couple of 95 washes had sorted the problem. Do you think the fact that it isn't this time suggests there is a ton of gunk inbetween the seal and the drum that I can't see. Everytime I do a wash I am seeing new mold debris left in the water (and the water doesn't look to healthy either). All the mold is gone from the visable part of the seal except some 'surface' stains that don't seem to want to shift.

I am out of ideas now. The washer waste pipes connect to a U-bend in the sink at about 45 degree angle so I don't think any sink water is getting down into the machine or water is backing up around the S in the washer waste water pipe.

The mold spores in the clothes are making me ill after a couple of weeks, so if the machine needs replacing then so be it but I thought I'd ask you in case you had any remedy that might save what is mechanically still a good machine. Someone did mention to me using a descaler sloution would clear out all that hidden gunk, but said it might get in to the bearings and break the machine anyway (or something like that).

Any help much appreciated. It's hard to believe that your clothes washing could make you i'll !

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  • Root Admin

It sounds like you've tried everything. It may be the washing machine is covered in gunge inside all the tub and hoses, which isn't shifting. However, you seem to be having trouble with mould or mildew rather than gunge. Mould needs moisture so always leave the door open, even leave the soap dispenser open after use to allow it to dry out. I'm trying to think of ways the time of year could be relevant but can't think of anything.

Also, if doing a boil maintenance wash make sure you use detergent which has bleaching agents in it. Don't use delicates detergent, liquid detergent, or detergent claiming to be gentle on coloureds.

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