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[Resolved] Sears / Kenmore Elite H3 Washer / washer that has a moldy smell!

1 United States Review updated:

I have a Sears Kenmore Elite H3 Washer that has a moldy smell. The rubber gasket smells and I have wiped out mold from underneath the gasket. I have called Sears and Kenmore without any help. Just transferred to many different depts. I have written the Sears Corporation and have not heard back (it's been 3-4 weeks). They want to charge me 65.00 just to have a technician come out to tell me what's wrong. I know what's wrong - it's growing mold. Just look at all the complaints on I just want them to come out and fix the inherent problem. This machine should be recycled because it is a faulty design. I would appreciate any help. I have tried bleach and I've tried Cascade enzyme detergent. I wipe everything down after any wash and I leave the door open. The smell is musty and I'm tired of it.

  • Resolution statement

    Customer care service did everything in their power to resolve this complaint. All attempts to contact the complainant have failed. Therefore, this complaint has been annulled and must not be considered where image of the company in question and it's services are concerned.

  • Sears Brands Customer Care's Response, Apr 27, 2011

    To YoDeville,

    My name is Misty with Sears Cares and I saw this comment and I wanted to reach out to you to see if we could be of assistance. I’m so very sorry that you are having an issue with your washer I can imagine how frustrating that must be for you. We would really like the opportunity to help and see about getting the issue resolved. At your convenience, please contact my office via email at so we can help. In the email, please provide a contact phone number and the phone number the washer was purchased under (if different than the contact phone number) and we will call you directly. Also, in your email, please provide the reference name (YoDeville) we used to post on this site, for reference to your issue, and we do look forward to talking to you soon.

    Thank you,

    Misty H.
    Social Media Moderator
    Sears Social Media Support

  • Sears Brands Customer Care's Response, Jul 23, 2013

    Weiss, N
    I saw your comment here and I wanted to reach out and apologize on behalf of Sears for the troubles that have occurred with your washer. At Sears, we pride ourselves on making sure our valued customers are satisfied with our products and services and it appears we have not met that goal here. From your post, we can see that this has been a source of great frustration for you and we would like to assist. My name is Liz with the Sears Social Media Support team and we are a single point of contact for escalated concerns. At your convenience, please contact our office via email at so you don’t have to be upset by this any longer. In the email, please provide a contact number and the phone number the washer was purchased under (if different than the contact phone number) and we will call you directly. In addition, please include your Screen name (Weiss, N) in the email for reference to your issue. Again, we’re sorry for any trouble we have caused and we hope to talk to you soon.
    Thank you,
    Liz R.
    Social Media Moderator
    Sears Social Media Support

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  • Gi
      18th of Nov, 2006
    0 Votes

    The Kenmore Elite Washer does have a severe moldy problem! I'm trying to get help too.

  • Al
      3rd of May, 2007
    0 Votes

    Read your owners manual. If you did not agree with the maintenance and upkeep required for a front loader, you should have returned it.

  • Mi
      16th of Sep, 2007
    0 Votes

    expierencing the same exact problem. we found lots of mold behind the liquid dispensing tray for the soap, frabic softner and liquid bleach. Very musty/modly smell and we are using lots of detergent to try and get clothes to smell clean.

  • Ca
      10th of Nov, 2007
    0 Votes

    I have had this same complaint and my father leveled the machine with it tilting more to the back to help with drainage, replaced the leveling legs rubber because it was worn down. He locked the legs so they wouldn't move (the servicemen did not do this). So far I am amazed that it seems to be working. I haven't noticed a smell for a week now. I wish everyone luck!!

  • Ve
      14th of Nov, 2007
    0 Votes

    I too have this H3 machine after being talked into it by the salesman. This is the worst machine I have ever owned. Does a lousy job on whites, doesn't spin out, can't get repair satisfaction, dripping wet clothes on transferring to dryer... piece of junk!!! Don't waste your money.

  • Mi
      17th of Dec, 2007
    0 Votes

    We started leaving the door all the way open when we are not washing clothes and we do not let wet clothes sit in there even for a couple of hours. This has helped alot. We also found that our machine was actually tilted forward as well. I adjusted the leveling legs and now it is tilted towards the back. (this was originally installed by sears personal...) Thanks for the tip!!!

  • Gi
      21st of Jan, 2008
    0 Votes

    I also Have this nightmare washer and dryer. The washing machine smells of mildew I have done it all nothing works. Also the dryer does not dry anything it takes forever yes the vents are clear. All my friend have front loaders because thats the rage but they all have the same complaints all different models I think it is the nature OF THE BEAST.

  • Ja
      25th of Mar, 2008
    0 Votes

    Agree, I have the same problem with Kenmore Elite He3. It smells moldy and does not spin well. Sometimes, the clothes are wet. And there is no single spin option. Very bad. It is not worth the money I paid.

  • To
      17th of Jun, 2008
    0 Votes

    I agree with the complaints as wrritten...I have the same problem and it is design related...I am about to take the washer apart and clean wht I can just to avoid the continuous rotten mildew smell..
    This is a design defect that a typical customer/owner can maintain.
    Sears needs to stand up to this problem and handle the issue owner by owner - case by case, etc.

    I'll be digging into this more in the next few days...

    Thanks All for your comments...

  • Ka
      23rd of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    I completely agree with what has been written about the washer having the mold smell. What should we do?????

  • Je
      30th of Jul, 2008
    0 Votes

    I completely agree. I have this same problem. Other than the white load that I wash on hot with bleach, everything else smells like mold. It is awful!!! Has Kenmore dealt with the problem?

  • Li
      8th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    UGH! I am so glad I am not the only one having this problem. We bought ours 2 years ago. It is definitely NOT what I expected from a front loading washing machine. The clothes don't get nearly as clean as my old top loading machine. I always leave the door open between loads. I run the clean cycle as per the manual. Behind the rubber gasket on the door is disgusting. I have used bleach, tilex, and other things to rid the mold inside the door to no avail. And yes...they want $70 to come and just look at it. Sounds like I need to write a letter to their corporate office also.

  • To
      10th of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    any one who wants to get involved with class suit email me

  • Sh
      31st of Aug, 2008
    +1 Votes

    Ours has this from time to time.

    There is a filter basket inside the washer that really needs to be emptied every now and then.

    Otherwise, stuff gets in there and lets other stuff grow on it.

    The lower panle m ust be removed ( three 7 mm sheet metal screws, or a torx driver, not sure of the size) and there will be a strainer basket right in teh middle.

    Just open that with your hand and remove all the junk in it. You might be surprised at what you find.

    Have a towel right there to catch all the water though.

    Then, if the washer has been sitting for awhile, I run a short cycle with some bleach in it.

    The water in those tubes down near the strainer basket never fully empties. Running it with bleach gets the nasty stuff out. I don't think it works if you have a bunch of stuff in the strainer, though.

  • Jw
      31st of Aug, 2008
    0 Votes

    I agree with all of the above. The mold, the improper tilt, the water remaining, the difficulty in spinning clothes again that are still wet, etc., etc. In addition, last night the door locked, and now I cannot get it open even though I've following the instruction guide to troubleshoot. Very annoying! Now I have to pay 65 for someone to come out and look at it! I do not recommend these units.

  • To
      26th of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    Recently, our 2 year old He 3 washer began exuding a horrible moldy smell. We performed the following actions with no positive benefit, i.e. the smell remains:

    1) Removed the plastic soap tray - quite moldy - cleaned it and the internal slot that it fits in with a bleach containing cleanser.

    2) Cleaned the inside gasket/plastic drum with a bleach containing cleanser.

    3) Dropped the front panel, inspected the machine - no leaks/mold found - and cleaned out the trap.

    4) Poured bleach in the drain

    5) Ran an empty load with bleach.

    Any ideas as to why it still smells?

  • Ga
      28th of Sep, 2008
    0 Votes

    I think Shodoug has the answer. I removed the three screws and the panel, then the filter. It was the source of the foul oder (I also found a quarter, a razor blade and a number of other things - but no diamonds!)

    I also had to clean the drain holes at the bottom/front of the drum (behind the rubber seal). I used a toothpick.

    All is good!

  • Js
      18th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    I've had mine just under 3 years and the mold smell is becoming unbearable. I don't think you should have to take a product apart, clean it and all it's inner components, and use a special product (that by the way, Sears sells, imagine that-they make more money on our loss) when you have spent so much on it already. It's unheard of and Sears should recall the machines.

  • Ad
      24th of Nov, 2008
    0 Votes

    Obviously most people complaining about the smell in thefront load washers do not realize any front load can mold and smell. When a top load washer is closed, there is no water tight seal. However, this is not the case on a front load washer. Any appliance sales person (from any company) that has been selling for some time will know this. You have 2 options. One, leave the door open after the load wash is complete, or buy a cleaning tablet which is put in washer and wash on a hot cycle. If you use the tablet once a month, the smell is not there.

  • Ke
      7th of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    agree with everyone. Mold smell, doesn't drain well. I'm now getting a F2 alarm. It looks like a repairman or new washer.

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