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Valley woman says popular front-load washer has 'moldy' problem

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Gloria Azure said a foul smell is coming from her front-load washer. (Source: 3TV) Gloria Azure said a foul smell is coming from her front-load washer. (Source: 3TV)
There's apparently mold in Azure's front-load washer and she wants the company to do more to fix it. (Source: 3TV) There's apparently mold in Azure's front-load washer and she wants the company to do more to fix it. (Source: 3TV)

A washing machine is supposed to clean and freshen your clothes, but a Mesa woman says her front-load washer is actually making her clothes dirty and smelly.

"I do laundry three times a week, every other day pretty much," Gloria Azure said. 

For nearly 5 years, Azure has owned her Frigidaire front-load washing machine to keep her family's clothes clean.

"I really wanted a top loader, but I had this neck surgery, and it's hard for me to lift stuff up and lift them out," Azure said.  

Because of Azure's neck problems having a front-load washer makes it easier for Azure to get clothes in and out. But, unfortunately, Azure's says her washer came with an unwanted side effect.

"Sour, sour, rotten smell," Azure said.  

It's an odor that even our camera crew could barely stomach when we showed up to talk to Azure about it. It's a foul, musty smell that Azure says has been in her Frigidaire machine pretty much from day one. 

According to Azure, the smell even lingers on their clothes when she takes them out to dry.

"The minute they get wet they just smell really, really rotten," Azure said.

At first, Azure and her husband thought the bad smell was somehow connected to their water, so her husband installed a water softener.

Azure even changed detergents, but nothing seems to work. Finally, Azure says she recently pinpointed the stinky problem.

"I think it's a mold that's up around the rubber in the front of the washer," Azure said.

Azure believes the rubber seal holds in moisture and as a result, creates that sour odor.  Even washing the machine out with bleach, she says, doesn't seem to help.

"I tried to wipe that three times a week but it doesn't all come out, and it smells bad," Azure said.

Azure isn't alone when it comes having a smelly Frigidaire front-load washing machine.  

A government website list similar complaints. One consumer wrote that their "Frigidaire front loading washing machine is moldy inside the rubber casing." 

And there's more news. Three other front-load washing machine manufacturers were part of several class action lawsuits filed over the same moldy front-load washing machine problem. 

But, Frigidaire was not part of that lawsuit or settlement.

"I just recently heard about that when I found out that mine was doing this," Azure said. 

Azure and her husband contacted Frigidaire to see if they would do anything their smelly washer and she didn't like what she heard.

"They said they would replace the ring, the rubber I guess, and it was going to be $150 or $180, and we argued with them," Azure said.

3 On Your Side got a hold of Frigidaire's parent company called Electrolux. They tell us in an email that, "To help prevent odors, mildew or mold consumers should leave the door open for a few hours after use to allow it to air dry." 

Azure says she'll try anything at this point including wiping out any leftover moisture because she's not sure how much longer she can take the horrible odor that doesn't seem to go away.

"I use it, but it smells, and it's the mold and I'm thinking is this going to cause a health problem if I just keep using it and I don't do anything, and I don't rid of this mold in there?" Azure said.

The full statement from Electrolux can be read below:

To help prevent odors, mildew or mold, consumers should leave the door open for a few hours after use to allow it to air dry.

Here are some consumer tips that might be helpful for your story. These are tips that we share with our consumers and for your reference, pages 35-37 in our Use and Care manual speak to them.

Consumer Tips

To help prevent odors, mildew or mold, consumers should leave the door open for a few hours after use to allow it to dry, 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.

Remove items from the washer as soon as the cycle ends. Excess wrinkling, color transfer, and odors may develop in items left in the washer.

Dry around the washer door opening, flexible gasket, and door glass.

When extremely soiled items have been washed, a dirty residue may remain on the drum. Remove this by wiping the drum with a nonabrasive household cleanser. Rinse thoroughly with water.

Periodically, wipe dry the folds in the bottom of the flexible gasket to remove lint and other debris.

If you need an on the record comment from us, please use the following and attribute it to me:

“Electrolux takes the safety of its products very seriously. 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.”

Ms. Azure’s appliance is six years old, and to help meet her need, we offered her a discount on the parts that she requested.

Copyright 2016 KPHO/KTVK (KPHO Broadcasting Corporation). All rights reserved.

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Gary HarperGary Harper is the senior consumer and investigative reporter for 3 On Your Side at KTVK-TV.

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Gary Harper
3 On Your Side

With more than 20 years of television experience, Gary has established himself as a leader in the industry when it comes to assisting viewers and resolving their consumer-related issues. His passion and enthusiasm have helped him earn an Emmy for Best Consumer Reporter from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. He’s also garnered several Emmy nominations

He has negotiated resolutions with companies of all sizes, including some of the biggest corporations in the nation.

Gary has successfully recouped more than $1 million for viewers around the state, making 3 On Your Side one of the most popular segments on KTVK and the station's Web site.

He's best known for investigating and confronting unscrupulous contractors. In fact, many of his news reports have led to police investigations and jail time for those who were caught. Viewers, as well as the companies and people he investigates, regard him as consistently being thorough and fair.

Gary has been with KTVK-TV since 1997. Prior to his arrival in Phoenix, he worked for WZZM-TV in Grand Rapids, Michigan, where he was as an anchor and reporter.

Gary is from Chicago, but launched his television career in Lubbock, Texas, after earning a broadcast journalism degree from Texas Tech University. Following his graduation, he was quickly hired by KLBK-TV in Lubbock, where he enterprised and broke numerous exclusive reports. His aggressive reporting in Texas helped garner him Best Reporter by the Associated Press.

Gary has been married since 1994 and is the proud father of two sons. When he's not helping viewers, Gary is busy catching up on his favorite college and professional football teams as well as cheering on his beloved Texas Tech Red Raiders.

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