Rossen Reports

Statements from manufacturers in response to report on hidden mold in washing machines

July 18, 2013 at 6:55 PM ET

Below are statements to NBC News from manufacturers in response to the Rossen Reports investigation into hidden mold in washing machines:

STATEMENT FROM WHIRLPOOL:

"Whirlpool Corporation stands behind its front load washing machines, and so do the vast majority of its consumers.

These lawsuits, which target products made before 2009, are completely without merit. This is lawyer-driven litigation in which the attorneys are seeking fees and damages for more than 97 percent of all washer purchasers who have never had the problem alleged in the lawsuit, and are completely satisfied with their washing machines.

For more than a decade, these washers have given consumers enormous benefits over older generation machines such as: significantly less water use, greater capacity, higher energy efficiency and exceptional cleaning performance and fabric care. Our front load washing machines have been ranked repeatedly as one of the best washers in America by a leading consumer magazine. In fact, the data shows that less than three percent of buyers report any issue with biofilm in their machine, even after 11 years of use. Plaintiffs’ selective reference to a nearly ten year old memo ignores the memo’s basic and unremarkable acknowledgement that mold or odor can potentially develop wherever there is water. Most importantly, the memo underscores our continued commitment to innovation, and even after more than 100 years in the business, we still look for new ways to improve our products.

All appliances, including traditional top load washing machines, require some level of care to keep them operating at peak performance. Household wash habits are inherently individual, and vary from family to family, so we encourage everyone to read the instructions in their Use & Care Guide and follow some very basic steps including: use high-efficiency (HE) detergent, keep the washer door slightly ajar when not in use, run a monthly clean washer cycle, or use an aftermarket cleaning product. Of course, Whirlpool has associates ready to provide assistance with any issue, and we encourage consumers with questions to call us at 1-866-698-2538."

STATEMENT FROM SEARS HOLDINGS CORPORATION (Kenmore):

“An overwhelmingly large majority of owners are pleased with their Kenmore front-loading washing machines. While there have been lawsuits filed against all appliance manufacturers (and some retailers including Sears), the United States Supreme Court recently ruled in favor of Sears and the appliance industry, reversing class certification. To control odor, mold, and mildew, customers should always follow the instructions in the use and care guide for their washing machine. For more information on the topic from the industry association, please see the statement provided by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers: http://www.aham.org/consumer/ht/a/GetDocumentAction/id/43663.”

STATEMENT FROM LG ELECTRONICS:

"PROPER USE AND MAINTENANCE IMPORTANT FOR FRONT-LOAD WASHERS

In light of periodic news reports raising questions about “mold” in front-load washing machines, LG Electronics USA reiterates the importance of proper use and maintenance.

Laundry odors can occur for a variety of reasons, and the number of mold reports represents a very small percentage of units installed in consumers’ homes. This is not a new issue as claims have been made against all major manufacturers over the years.

For all front-load laundry purchasers, LG emphasizes proper use and routine maintenance.

· LG recommends using the correct amount of High-Efficiency (HE) detergent for front-load washers.

· A washer cleaning solution developed for front-loaders may also be used periodically.

· Additional maintenance suggestions and consumer tips, including information on LG’s “tub clean” cycle, can be found in the user’s manual.

LG has also developed a variety of features on its front-load washers to help consumers better care for their washers, including:

· An exclusive magnetic door ventilation feature to ensure the wash tub stays fresh in-between loads. LG has designed a clever magnet that props the door open ever so slightly to allow fresh air to circulate in the wash tub without getting in the way.

· Redesigned antimicrobial door gasket with drain holes to help the gasket dry more quickly to keep mold and mildew away.

· High-powered “Tub Clean” cycle that removes detergent residue to keep odors and mildew away; it is recommended that consumers run this cycle every month to help keep the washer clean and fresh.

Customer satisfaction with LG front-load laundry products is extremely high, and LG consistently receives accolades from independent testing organizations on our washers and dryers.

As an industry leader and technology innovator in front-load laundry, we appreciate the opportunity to set the record straight on this industry issue."

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