The Whirlpool Corporation came out victorious in the case of the “moldy washing machine.” Jurors in a federal court in Cleveland, Ohio said the multinational appliance manufacturer was not negligent in designing front-loading washing machines.
Originally, a class-action lawsuit was brought against Whirlpool by consumers and their respective legal council, claiming Whirlpools’ front-loading washing machines were designed in manner that promoted the growth of mold and mildew.
According to Reuters, Whirlpool attempted to avoid class litigation by asking District Judge Christopher Boyko to overturn his decision. The judge denied, saying that the design is a common issue for all members of the class-action suit. But jurors later concluded that Whirlpool was not negligent in its design of the front-loading washing machine, signaling victory for the powerhouse appliance company.
The class-action lawsuit specifically targeted some 20 different front-loading washing machines manufactured by Whirlpool. Plaintiffs accused the company of manufacturing and selling defective units that were a haven for mold and mildew.
“The plaintiffs put up everything they had, and after two hours of deliberation the jury returned with a total repudiation of their theory,” said Eric Sharon, a member of Whirlpool’s legal council. “There was no doubt the jury wasn’t buying what they were selling. Nobody’s been injured, and only 1 to 2 percent of the owners have any complaints. This is lawyer driven, not customer driven. The evidence showed that customers love these machines,” she added.
While front-loading washing machines use about 1/3 less water than their top-loading counterparts, they are often susceptible to mold and mildew. Water and detergent settles around the door, where it creates foul-smelling odors over time. This isn’t an issue that’s limited strictly to Whirlpool washing machines, however, as most front-loaders are vulnerable to this problem.
If you struggle to keep mold and mildew out of your front-loading washing machine, there are few preventive measures you can take, one of which is to use powder detergent instead of liquid. Liquid detergent seeps down into hard-to-reach areas, and water alone may not wash it out. Powder detergent, on the other hand, remains largely concentrated inside the drum.
You can also prevent mold and mildew in your front-loader by washing empty loads on occasion with vinegar. If you notice foul odors originating from your unit, or if you simply want to create a more refreshing fragrance on your garments, run your washing machine with 1 cup of white apple cider vinegar (no clothes or garments), followed by another empty load with plain water.