Whats That Smell? RV Washer Maintenance


Has your RV Washer become a smelly mess?

Have you noticed some slimy, swamp monster living inside your washers seals?

Have you clothes now started to smell more funky then when you first put them in to be washed in the first place?

Well, my friend.. You might have mold!! 

I know, this is a scary thought and you would think that just putting your washer through the simple wash or cleaning cycle on your machine would put it all to right however, that is not the case is most situations so, lets talk about it.. lets take the lid off the hidden mess and put it all right once more. 

For the most part everyone focuses on the door seal, the inside of the drum (the only part you can visually see) the agitator blades and the door itself however, there are many other important parts of the washer that you are not seeing with your eyes like, the other side of the drum, the hoses that drain the water from the machine itself. These other unseen parts can gather funky, sticky and goopy yuck mess that is a feeding ground for mold. 

Don't be alarmed.. you can fix this, even if you have been dealing with the smelly issue for a long time. 

Lets first discuss the causes of a funky RV Washer..

1. Climate:

Lately all these RVs have been placed in locations that have stemmed the flow of air.. meaning, they are placed in cabinets, closets or bathrooms that have hindered the free flow of air around the machine, which does create a wonderful breeding ground for mold. 

Then there is the location where you maybe currently camping. The environment you are if its dry desert or as wet as Louisiana, this too can help that nasty critter grab on to your bacteria inside your machine and go to town.. this is why its ever important to keep air moving inside your RV. 

2. Detergent:

With the wonders of High Efficiency washers came the invent of their counterpart the detergent. The issue with RV washers is that the machines themselves are smaller then residential machines and with that the normal amounts of detergent that you would use is to much for your machine to fully clean out of not only your clothes but, the machine itself. 

Less is More! 

I generally use the pods (my choice) as its normally the lowest amount of detergent for the brand I use to wash my clothes, however.. if you are choosing the use power or liquid, people tend to add more then necessary and this creates issues inside the machine. 

What do I mean?

The machine can not adequately remove all the soap from your clothes leaving reside inside your clothing after the wash is complete (which can lead to mold growth or that musty smell in your clothes) also, since the soap residue is left behind it clings to the washers drum (the other side that you can't see) becoming tacky which gathers dirty, grim and other particulates from your wash to gather on your drum.. also allowing a wonderful place for mold to hang out and live! 

Remember.. Less is MORE! 

3. Overloading Washer:

Just like the detergent, this can add to your washer having to work harder then necessary to do its work, not allowing to fully drain the water fully from your clothes and getting all that dirty water out of the drum and away during the rinse cycle. This will also breakdown your washer over time causing more error codes and then repairman or replacement. 

Best case for all these machines is to have more loads to wash, not less. 

4. Closing the Washer Door to Soon:

In life we just go with the flow.. when washing we have a pattern of going from the washer to the dryer and so on .. the problem is that final wash.. 

It is recommended with many manufacturers to leave your washer door open for several hours after the last wash, allowing the environment inside the washer to completely dry, fighting the ability for mold and other bacteria to grow. 

The major issue is most will close their washers door to soon creating a warm and (my most hated word) moist environment for mold and bacteria to grow the most. that is why if you happen to ever see mold starting to grow on your door seals, you more then likely already have mold growing on your drum and other areas that you can't see unless you take apart your machine. 

5. Cleaning Schedule:

Most of the people I have talked with and those I have seen posting on line have a cleaning schedule however, its mostly done once a month. 

That is great for the most part.. but, its really not enough. 

Since the front facing machine began to make itself known in peoples homes all over the world, people have had the issue with mold and funky smells, the complaints have driven many manufactures to find out what they could do to help limit the complaints they were receiving about their products. Inside most ..if not all your owners manuals will advise not just monthly deep cleaning but weekly general maintenance of the washer to cut back the mold problem.  

Yes, you read that correctly.. weekly.. not monthly. 

Don't get disappointed over your washer.. its not the demon child or the never ending battle you will have to endure, its just something that needs a little more tender loving care to keep your clothes fresh and clean as it should!

So, now that you know this.. I am going to explain how I have been taking care of my front loader machines for well over a decade now, long before I moved into an RV. 

The steps are very simple and once you have developed your cleaning habit, all will be as the rest of your daily chores, I promise!

Weekly Schedule: 

After last load-

With a vinegar and water solution (1/2 & 1/2) equal amounts

Wipe down door seal, door, drum and agitator blades.

Pour 2 cups of vinegar into soap dispenser (toss cleaning rag inside too) and run cleaning cycle

After wash is complete- open door and let the drum completely dry

Monthly Schedule:

After last load-

With vinegar and water solution (1/2 & 1/2) equal amounts

Wipe down door seal, door, drum and agitator blades.

Sprinkle 1/4 cup baking soda inside the drum of washer

Pour 2 cups vinegar into soap dispenser (toss cleaning rag inside too) run cleaning cycle

After wash is complete- open door and let the drum completely dry

If you have noticed the deep smell of mold already showing in your clothes after washing, you probably have an issue with mold inside the drum.. it would probably be in your best interest to run the monthly cleaning cycle a couple times to refreshen the drum and get onto a more routine schedule, over time you will notice that the smell and ever presence of mold will start to become less and less noticeable. 

Now, you may ask ..

Why not bleach?

Bleach is great.. kills mold or at least if its the correct concentration and hits all the right spots it will kill the spores that grow ever so easily in this environment however, I have found that bleach can be very heavy and highly toxic inside the home and with the heavy use of bleach for just the cleaning cycle if can damage your door seals over time. When using bleach for washing, its mixed with detergent and balanced amounts of water which dilutes the effects of it.... but, I have found that simple vinegar and baking soda which is non-toxic and still kills the spores have a great effect on keeping your machine running with no long term effects. 

Over the life of my machines, I only had 1 that needed replacing and it was a used washer that was already 9 years old when I purchased it.. and it lasted for 6 years before we purchased another set.. then we sold that because we moved into our RV. 

I hope you take this information into consideration before tossing your washer into the old dump because the smell has got on your last nerve! 

Take care and See ya guys Soon!!



Popular Posts