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Quick Tip: Top Loader Washing Machine

on May 11, 2014

Hello!  I am going to talk about something a little bit gross today, so just beware.  It has to do with my least favorite chore.  Laundry.  I think I hate laundry, because I know it never, ever ends.  Even if every single item of clothing in my house was clean and put away, the stuff we were wearing would eventually need washed too.  But, I digress.  We were having a few problems with our washing machine–everything else was working great except for two little things.  These things were such a problem, I considered buying a whole new washing machine.  The first problem really isn’t that bad, but the second is going to give you chills.

Problem #1:  A layer of light grey film on the agitator and the drum of the washing machine.  I have found that this is possibly caused by the baby oil I apply daily and that is later transferred to my bath towel which is then transferred to the inside of the machine and collects dirt from the clothes as they wash.

If you have this problem, I will offer you a simple solution.  Wipe down the agitator and drum with a dryer sheet (new or used).  This easily removes the film and seems to keep it from coming back for a while.

Problem #2:  Scrud.  I had no idea this was even a word before I started to investigate problem #2 on the internet.  We were having flakes of black coming off in every wash–they almost looked like crumbled up leaves.  According to the internet, people call this “scrud.”  And, scrud comes from your fabric softener dispenser.  The inside of the dispenser builds up gunk over time and (here is the gross part) since it doesn’t get to air out well–black mold grows inside.  Yes, my friends upon inspection of my washing machine FS dispenser, I not only found an unholy buildup of black “tar” inside the part where you pour the FS, but there was indeed black mold inside the part where the water comes out with the FS during the wash.  I WAS COMPLETELY GROSSED OUT!  There was not a chance I was going to wash any more laundry in that machine until the problem was solved.

This is the inside of a machine like mine. The dispenser sits on top of the agitator and is easily removed.

This is what the dispenser looks like when removed.


So, after my minor freak out, I tried to figure out how best to clean the little monster.  I tried vinegar and baking soda–a little scrud came loose, but it was still pretty gross.  I tried to fit some sort of brush or apparatus into the thing to get everything loose, but the holes on the bottom and top are not big enough to accommodate cleaning, and you can’t take the thing apart to clean it.  Even CLR didn’t work (I wouldn’t recommend trying this, it was a last ditch effort).  I knew the little monster was too far gone to save.  So, I looked into replacing the part with an online company I heard about on a YouTube video showing you how to replace the dispenser.  (Don’t bother wasting your time searching for this, because I will tell you very soon how to do it).  It was going to take  a few days to get here and would be about $20.  Not bad, but I needed it sooner.  Found it on Amazon for $12, free shipping, but not Prime so who knows when it would arrive.  Finally I searched for appliance parts stores in my area that might sell to the general public (BINGO!)  This was all a little tense as it was around 11:00 AM on a Saturday, and I had already done one load–which now would be rewashed and had about 4 more waiting in the wings.  Plus, I had no idea if a parts store would be open on Saturday.  

Eureka!  A parts store was open and had the part in stock!!!!  We zoomed over in between other errands an picked up a brand new, CLEAN, dispenser.

Some might ask, why did you bother getting a new agitator, I mean wasn’t the other one really not that bad.  Trust me folks it was beyond gross.  I shudder at the thought of it right now.  If you have a dispenser like mine, take a minute and see how much build up you have.  You might want to rush out and buy a new dispenser too.  After 12 years, ours was a science experiment gone very, very wrong.  New dispenser in hand, I raced to the basement when I got home to see if it indeed would fit our machine.  (I had already thrown out the old one.  No turning back folks).  AND IT DID FIT!!!!  Seriously, all you do is remove the old one and pop the new one in it’s place.  That is it!  I did 5 loads of laundry yesterday with NO SCRUD!

What did this peace of mind cost me?  $17 and an extra errand stop.  Totally, and completely worth it.

I also learned how to keep this from happening in the future.  First, take out the dispenser in between washes to let it air or leave the top of the washer open.  Second, about once a month put a little bit of detergent and HOT water in the dispenser.  Run it through a hot cycle to get any buildup out (I might do this and run washing machine cleaner at the same time).  Then let air dry.  We are going to give this a try.  The other option, stop using fabric softener.  I’ll keep you posted on our success.

I also found out the parts store sells dryer belts for between $15 and $30.  In a few weeks when I am SAHM, I am going to tackle our squeaky dryer.  I’ll give you an update on that too!


One response to “Quick Tip: Top Loader Washing Machine

  1. […] The appliance repair store is the same one that helped us when I replaced the fabric softener cup in our washing machine. […]

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