1. Home

Washer Fan Review - Fix for Front Load Washer Mold

Home Test of Washer Fan - the Solution to Front Load Washer Mold

About.com Rating 5 Star Rating

By

Washer Fan

Washer Fan V 5.5

Photo © Washer Fan
Many front load washers have a tendency to develop mold in several areas. This is mostly caused by humidity that remains in the washer. And this stinky washer syndrome is not brand specific, but affects many makes and models of high efficiency front load washers.

Some manufacturers have tried to address the problem with minor design changes, but unfortunately there are still complaints coming in from readers and it's obvious that the stinky odor and mold issues have not been totally addressed, even in newer washing machines. The root cause of mold must be addressed to resolve this problem once and for all.

A few washer cleaners have been developed but although helpful, these are band-aid solutions and temporary at best. You need to resolve the amount of humidity that remains in the washer and mold must be stopped in its track and prevented from recurring.

WasherFan™ is a more permanent solution - a small fan that you can install yourself, at the vent in the back of your washer. It circulates fresh air into the washer to dry the interior areas, on an ongoing basis. This fan will resolve your mold issues for good and prevent further mold from developing.

We have already taken the washer apart once and cleaned out the mold, just to have it recur again. It's time for a long term solution. I don't want to ever see mold in my washer again, nor get a whiff or hint of it, hence why I am testing the WasherFan. Read on to learn how my test is going. This will no doubt be a progressive review as I intend to update it accordingly.

See Update February 2013 in Overall Impression section below.
Update June 2013 A Washer Fan is now available direct from the manufacturer for non-vented washing machines.

Product Despcription - Updated to reflect the new Washer Fan V 5.5 (2013)

    WasherFan™ (patent pending) is a small fan that installs on the back of the front load washer with strong magnets, not screws.
  • Kit includes: Washer Fan and a plug-in adapter. No instructions included, but the website is printed on the box for our full use and care instructions.
  • As long as there is a vent on the back of your washer, the upgraded Washer Fan V™ will fit.
  • Simply place it over the vent.
  • Washer Fan should run continuously; there's a blue LED light to indicate when the power supply is working properly.
  • The low wattage fan draws less than 1 watt, which is less than 6 cents per month and less than 69 cents per year using an electric rate of 10 cents per kWh. Read more detail on energy use.
  • Learn more from the manufacturer
  • MSRP $69.99 Free standard shipping U.S. & Canada

Why I Installed Washer Fan and How it is Working

June 1, 2012
I have been experiencing front load washer mold, but not as severe as some of my readers - read reader comments. But in my books, any mold is serious and needs to be dealt with immediately.

The stinky odor started last year in my 7-year old Whirlpool Duet Sport front load washer. As I've come to learn, you can easily have a mold problem that goes undetected for several years before you smell the bad odor in your laundry and washer. So a stinky smell need not be evident, to have mold growing inside the washer, hoses and around the dispenser tray.

Watch this WasherFan video to learn how to check for mold. There can be unhealthy mold in your washer for a long time, before you actually smell it.

I have diligently practiced my mold avoidance tips, such as leaving the door open and using only two tablespoons of liquid HE detergent per load. I even switched to dryer softener sheets, rather than washer solutions. I also ran the cleaning cycle more often than recommended and really thought I was avoiding the mold monster.

Understand that mold is not unique to a specific washing machine brand, it's mostly a front load washer design issue. Until this problem is fully addressed at the manufacturing and design stage going forward, we must resolve this recurring mold problem in the washing machines we have now.

I was appalled when I started to smell what I can only compare to a stinky socks mildew smell, in the washer tub and on my washed laundry, especially the towels. Already aware of what my readers were dealing with when it came to mold, I knew I had to clean and rid the washer of that mold. Many, many thanks to those who posted instructions of what to look for and where to get at moldy areas. I know it takes awhile to read all these reader comments, but you need to if you have an HE front load washer.

About three months ago, we tore the washer apart and yes, did find black mold in several areas including the bottom interior areas and around the pull-out soap dispenser. We cleaned those areas with a bleach solution, ran another cleaning cycle and then resigned ourselves to the fact that this fix would only be temporary. Mold will recur; it's inevitable.

I've tried some of the washer mold cleaners on the market, but obviously, this doesn't help for very long, some only for one washload. This past month, I started to detect that stinky odor again - mold was back. I had to get rid of the mold monster once and for all. I even contemplated going back to a traditional top loading washer.

About this time, I was approached by the WasherFan company to test their product. I'm very skeptical by nature of anything that appears to be a fix for well, anything. But reasoning won out and even my mechanically-trained hubby thought that it made sense and was worth trying.

WasherFan was simple to install at the top vent on the back of the washer. It has a small power adapter that you plug in to your electrical receptacle. The fan is extremely quiet; I cannot hear it at all. It has an indicator light (blue) on the adapter end which is visible, so I know it is on.

I was concerned about energy use and having a small fan running 24/7 when on Time of Use Electricity Rates, but as their site explains, it uses minimal energy. Preventing and getting rid of mold is definitely worth this small energy use. And continuous fan operation is extremely important to get air circulating in the washer. Leaving the door open allows air to circulate and escape.

That was roughly two weeks ago and I generally wash one or two days/week. I was told the stinky odor would go away within days, that the mold will stop growing and wash away over time, unless the crud build-up is extreme in some parts like hoses, which may need to be replaced if it (mold) doesn't wash away adequately.

Within two days from installing the fan and leaving the door slightly ajar as recommended, I started to detect a fresher smell in the washer tub. After this week's laundry, towels and the rest of the washing smells like it should - freshly laundered. Finally, a long term fix. So far, the fan is working as expected and it was easy to install.

By installing a WasherFan, you are also preventing mold if you don't currently have such a problem. If you have had mold issues, you'll know it's working if your washload and the washer tub smells better. A deeper inspection of the washer should confirm that mold is being slowly washed away. So time will tell.

Overall Impression & Keep Posted

I will continue to run recommended washer cleaning cycles, these are still important manufacturer care instructions. But the WasherFan has brought much-needed relief that no amount of washer cleaning tablets or full machine clean-outs could give and a more permanent solution to washer mold in my front load washer.

Of course, the proof is in continued use and long-range protection. For this reason, I will update this review periodically, to let you know how things are going. With the Washer Fan, you can solve current mold issues and prevent future outbreaks of front load washer mold. I highly encourage front load washer owners to consider installing one.

I expect that in future, once the humidity concerns are addressed at the design stage, front load washers will be better equipped to prevent mold. But for now, we must find a resolve for our expensive front load washers to get rid of or prevent unhealthy mold.

Update February 2013

My experience with Washer Fan has been terrific - no more odors or any evidence of mold. I decided to upgrade to the new model - the Washer Fan V™ simply to see how much easier this upgrade now is for consumers to install. We removed the old one that was attached by screws and applied the new model which has magnets.

This is an extremely easy installation. In most cases the washer does not need to be pulled forward. Note that the new Washer Fan V fits ANY washer that has a vent at the back, so you no longer need to order by washer brand. The new model is round; the old one was a square fan.

In my opinion, Washer Fan V™ is the only solution consumers need to resolve their washer odor and mold. The manufacturer will be developing a Washer Fan suitable for washers with no back vent. Check the Washer Fan site for informative videos, FAQ's and product releases.

Some Notes About Washer Fan:
  • Order a Washer Fan from the manufacturer
  • Washer Fan V™ will fit any washer that has a vent at the back.
  • You do not have to clean your washer of mold before installing; Washer Fan should take care of it, unless build-up is extreme in some parts. Check the manufacturer videos for cleaning your machine.
  • Take pictures of your moldy areas before installing, for review later.
  • Leave the washer door partially open (helps circulate air).
  • Washer Fan should run continuously; uses minimal energy use.
  • Please add your own review to this one.
  • Note that either style of high-efficiency (HE) washer - front load or top load can get a mold or odor problem.
If you're unsure if you have washer mold, the WasherFan site has a good explanation of why mold forms, where to check for it and why the fan works to eliminate and prevent it. Remember that you can have mold building up for quite awhile, before you smell the bad odor. The stinky smell means it has more fully infiltrated your washer.

Update June 2013 A Washer Fan is now available direct from the manufacturer for non-vented washing machines.
Buy Direct

Related Resources

Too much relative humidity in an area with minimal air circulation is often the case of mold and mildew in the basement, garage, bathroom, laundry or other areas of the home. You can even get mold in a traditional top load washer, if you close the lid while the washer is wet inside, or forget a damp washload in it for several days. Homeowners should be proactive to prevent mold, which can cause serious health problems.

Learn more about home moisture and how to control it
What's a Hygrometer?
5 Signs You Need a Dehumidifier
How to Buy a Dehumidifier
How to Buy a Humidifier
Read More About Laundry Appliances
Read More About Laundry & Fabric Care
Go to Home Page
Disclosure: Review samples were provided by the manufacturer. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

Promotional Feature: View this video series to learn how to take good care of your house.

©2014 About.com. All rights reserved.