New to high efficiency (HE) washing machines back in 2010, we were unaware that to keep their odors down, you must periodically cycle through with a decent washer deodorizer. Our new Maytag came with a single dose of Affresh® Washer Cleaner, although not knowing at the time how quickly these washers can start smelling bad, we held off on using it, dismissing it as a gimmick gift from Maytag, to get us to buy more.
Well, we soon learned how essential running through the cleaning cycle once a month can be, for preserving a clean, odor free, mold free clothes washer. These as well as front loaders can develop negative aromas due to mold, mould, and mildew growing around the seals, in the piping, and around the washer tub itself. Front load washing machines seem particularly prone to developing these unclean smells. But top loaders also can smell too, especially if you do not leave the lid open between laundry sessions. We found Affresh® Washer Cleaner to work very well to combat that old-washer smell.
The Affresh aroma inspires the sense that the washer has definitely been cleaned and disinfected. Perhaps some kind of floral. It’s unique, but definitely more pleasant than the smell of old, soggy clothes, and definitely less obtrusive than bleach or vinegar cleaning agents. The instructions suggest running one tablet through the washer per month, and once per week for three weeks for particularly dirty washers. However, perhaps since we only wash a couple loads per week, we’ve found that our front loader we now rent remains odor free for two or three months between applications, as long as we leave its door open between washings.
Affresh Tablets Benefits, Pros, Features, and Benefits
- Single portion, pre measured tablets. These thick plastic bags keep the active ingredients fresh until use. Resembling thick cellophane, they cannot be easily torn open; requiring sharp scissors instead. Do not open the pouches until ready to use them, as doing so might render this product less effective.
- Economical. We purchased the five-tablet box for approximately $10 at Walmart. Cheaper solutions, such as straight bleach and baking soda may or may not work, and may be effective alternatives in specific situations. But if you don’t have time to experiments, yet want a cleaning solution that does it right the first time, this Affresh® product, though a bit more expensive than baking sods, is probably your best bet. It costs roughly two dollars per application.
- Easy to dispense. You simply cut open the plastic pouch and drop an Affresh® tablet into the washer tub prior to starting the wash / clean cycle. It does not produce much noticeable airborne dust. So any eye or nose irritation you might experience is minimal.
- Reverses build up of detergent, dirt, and minerals found in your local water. Not only does this deodorize, but it helps keep small pipes and openings in the HE washing machine from clogging. This clothes washer cleaner helps preserve High Efficiency performance therefore.
- Odor remover. Highly potent smell stopper. The scent left behind strongly suggests that the washing machine has definitely been cleaned thoroughly.
- More effective than bleach. Also may be safer than bleach for Bosch front loader washers, some of which advise against using bleach in their instruction manuals.
- For front loading and top loading washing machines. We’ve used Affresh® without damage on washers that recommend against chlorine bleach. In fact, this cleaner says that it works better than bleach, and is safer than bleach besides; a win-win.
- Safe for septic tanks. Since this product relies primarily on oxidation to work, its effect has limited duration as the active chemicals oxidize. By the time it reaches the septic tank after washer cleaning, its active ingredients have become essentially inert.
- Biodegradable cleaning ingredients. These include surfactants, oxygen bleach (percarbonate), sodium carbonate, sodium sulfate, and perfume.
- Works on all washing machines. Whether front loader or top loader, high efficiency or normal efficiency, Affresh® used regularly will keep your washer clean and free of offensive stink.
- Recommended by Whirlpool.
Affresh Tablets Cons, Limitations, Problems, and Concerns
- May not be cheapest solution. Numerous “home” remedies are effective to deodorize clothes washing machines. But Affresh®, though a bit costlier than these, is more reliably effective in a wide array of washers and situations.
- Aroma can remain strong for days after use. While the clean scent is initially pleasant, it can become monotonous, as in our case, where our work bench was located close to the washer. It remains strong over a day after use in the washer. Suggestion: Tone down the perfume. However, if the perfume scent really bothers you, run the washer through another regular, hot water cycle to rinse out any remaining cleaner from the washer components. But doing this may limit the long-term effectiveness of this product.
Cautions and Warnings
- Not a laundry soap. Do not put any clothes in the washer while cleaning it with this product, as the perfume scent that might be left on the clothes may be too strong.
- Only deodorizes the water handling parts. Affresh® works well on washer components that come into direct contact with the water circulating system within. These include the tub, water jets, pump interiors, the drain, and door seals. However, if foul odors persist after regular use of this product for some months, then there may be leaks in the piping system where water is collecting beneath but never drying; a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. So a persistently smelly washing machine may require repairs. These odors due to mechanical failure are beyond the scope of this product to eliminate.
Affresh Washer Cleaner Instructions
- Apply once per month, leaving the door ajar when the washer is not being used between laundry loads.
- For stubborn odors or visible accumulation of smelly dirt and growths, use Affresh® Washing Machine Cleaner, one tablet in each of three consecutive cleaning cycles to loosen and remove mold and mildew buildup. Then use once per month (maintenance mode).
- To clean, drop ONE tablet directly into washer tub. Do not put in the soap dispenser.
- Close / latch the door and run on REGULAR wash cycle, using HOT water. Or if your washing machine features a CLEAN cycle, use that instead.
- To avoid frequent odor return, as mentioned, let door stand open between washer uses, to allow complete and fastest drying of the tub, seals, hoses, hinges, pumps, and related components. If you wash bleach loads, make them the last loads you do in a particular washing session, since the bleach will kill many odor-producing bacteria and germs, and prolong the washer’s odor-free status.
Our Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner Rating
At roughly $2 per tablet (one tablet deodorizes and cleans the washer one time), and given the degree of mildew odors we encountered before regularly cleaning our HE machines, we found Affresh® to be a reasonably affordable, low effort, long lasting solution to the perennial problem of washing machine stench. It solves it conveniently, and effectively. Aside from the possibly overly persistent perfume scent, we found this product to work as advertised, and quite well at that. So we’d rate this washer cleaner at 99 out of 100.
- Affresh Customer Reviews at Amazon.com
- Affresh Customer Reviews at Walmart.com
- Front Loader Washers on Wikipedia
- Affresh Official Product Page
- Where to buy Affresh® Washer Cleaner
- 2017-01-30: Updated tags list. Added a Related Posts section. Changed post title to: Affresh® Washer Cleaner Tablets Review.
- 2015-10-31: Originally published.