« October 26, 2007 | Main | October 28, 2007 »

October 27, 2007

Helpful Hints from joeeze: How to eliminate your washing machine's musty odor


Katherine Salant's "Housewatch" column appearing in the October 20, 2007 Washington Post addressed this subject and offered much of value beyond its prescription for odor resolution.

Long story short: Front-loaders are worse than top-loaders; washing in cold water is worse than warm or hot; most important, leaving the machine's door open when not in use will make the odor dissipate.

Here's the piece in its entirety.

    In the Laundry Room, Luxury That's Worth It

    If your budget for building or remodeling your home is so tight that you can afford to splurge on only one appliance, make it an upscale, high-efficiency, front-loading washing machine.

    It won't have the cachet of a six-burner professional gas range, but I can attest that it will make your life easier.

    For starters, laundry chores will take less time. With a spin speed of 1,200 revolutions per minute, my high-efficiency front-loader wrings out so much water that the drying time is reduced by as much as 50 percent. The washer holds more clothes than my old top-loader, so I have fewer loads. This shortens the whole operation.

    The 13 washing cycles include silk, wool and hand-washables. In my household, this means that garments requiring special care actually get washed.

    Alas, these high-tech wonders are not perfect. After several months of use, front-loaders can develop a vexing musty odor.

    However, according to Anthony Hardaway, a detergent chemist and washing machine designer for Whirlpool, the musty odor occurs with every type of washer, though it can be worse with the front-loaders.

    Hardaway explained the science behind the odor. His account could change your laundry habits.

    The source of the odor is a residue of water, detergent and dirt that collects in the cavity that holds the washing drum. The residue accumulates more quickly when all laundry is washed in cold water. Many households do that to save energy and because garment washing instructions frequently recommend a cold-water wash.

    Unfortunately, Hardaway said, laundry detergents do not perform well in cold water. They remove only about 60 percent of the dirt on soiled laundry. The other 40 percent is re-deposited on your clothes and in your washer, where it eventually turns into that residue.

    Hardaway said most people are satisfied with the results of their cold-water washing because the dirt that remains on their clothing is not obvious. Only a detergent chemist would know that the colored shirt you are wearing looks a bit faded because it is covered with layers of microscopic dirt particles deposited with each laundering. The dirt is noticeable only on white garments, where the particles give the clothes a yellow or gray tint.

    When the laundry is washed in warm water, the results improve dramatically because detergents perform significantly better in higher water temperatures, Hardaway said.

    Just 10 to 15 percent of the dirt remains on the laundered items or in the machine. The odor-causing residue accumulates much more slowly, and laundered clothes are much cleaner. Colored garments will not look faded, and white ones will be only slightly discolored, if at all.

    With high-efficiency front-loaders, the type of detergent will also affect washing results. With regular detergent, laundered items will be more noticeably faded or yellowed, and the odor-causing residue will accumulate quickly because this type of front loader requires a special detergent formulation that produces minimal suds. (Look for the letters "he," which stand for high-efficiency, on the detergent label). Regular detergent makes too many suds at every water temperature setting, re-depositing as much as 60 percent of the dirt on your clothes or in the machine. Even worse, continued use of the regular detergent will permanently damage the machine.

    Using warm water and the correct detergent solves the dirt-on-laundered-clothing problem, but not the odor-producing-residue one, which is more pronounced in a front-loader because the door seal that keeps water from sloshing out during the washing process creates a nearly airtight chamber. That allows mold and mildew to take hold.

    Hardaway emphasized that the mold and its odor are not health risks. This conclusion was reached after the testing of hundreds of washing machines in third-party laboratories confirmed that "it's normal household mold, it's not alarming, and it's whatever is already in your house," he said.

    The prevalence of the mold and odor depends on the climate, Hardaway said. In hot and humid regions such as Texas and the Southeast, the smell is around all year and can be worse in the summer. In the North, the problem often starts in the humid summer months, as mine did. Once it starts, "you'll see it all through the year," Hardaway said.

    In the dry Southwest, mold and mildew are far less likely, but the residue will still form and eventually produce odors.

    Whirlpool markets a product called Affresh, a tablet about the size of hockey puck that the company claims will get rid of both the odor and the residue if you add it to a wash cycle about once a month. Hardaway offered another solution, though, that doesn't involve buying additional chemicals. The musty odor will dissipate if you leave the door open when the machine is not in use, he said.

    That works for some households, but Hardaway said people may object to the untidy look, have safety concerns such as small children, or have other reasons for not leaving the door open.

    You also can eliminate the musty odor and residue by washing with hot water every four or five loads. In hot water, the detergent performs optimally, removing nearly all the dirt from both clothing and the machine. However, many people are loath to use hot water because they think it will shrink or fade their clothes.

    Acknowledging their apprehension, Hardaway suggested designating bath towels as the hot-water load. It's unlikely they'll be damaged, he said, but if they are, they can still be used.

October 27, 2007 at 04:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (11) | TrackBack

LoVision Cards


Very cool.

Made with giant symbols for people with poor vision.

There are those who frequent bookofjoe whose vision, normally 20/20, tends to wane as the day — and more pointedly, the evening — progresses.

Something to do with blood levels and suchlike.

I'm not naming names but you can bet it's busy around Memorial Day there, eh?


The website says, "Card playing made easy. Big print playing cards with 1.5" letters and numbers and different colored suits."

In the site's headline it says you get three decks but just below the description says six.

In either case, a deal for $12.

October 27, 2007 at 03:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Rover Chair — by Ron Arad


He created this chair early in his career (1981).


Neil Manson of artnet.com wrote, "Almost immediately, Arad had a major hit with his Rover Chair, a kind of furniture 'readymade' that used a car seat pulled from a Rover car, a classic British auto that was first produced in 1906 but that in the early ‘80s could frequently be found in scrap yards. Arad framed his readymade seat in a welded tubular steel scaffolding, a structure that aligned the chair with an emerging industrial esthetic."


One sold at auction for $1,900 in 2002; today you'd probably pay $5,000-$10,000.

October 27, 2007 at 02:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Language Watch


From the website:

    Language Watch

    Tell time in one of nine different languages and add a worldly touch to your wardrobe.

    1-3/8" face, silver plated brass case, stainless steel back and 3/4" leather band.

    Watch has a quartz movement.

    Fits wrists from 7" to 8-7/8".


Chinese, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Latin, Polish, Spanish or Gaelic.


Watch your language.


October 27, 2007 at 01:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Charm — by Howard Moss

Intelligence endures
The sea-shake of the heart,
Its flops and opening nights,
But the body's theatre alone
Eludes even its playwrights:
Too soon the script is done,
The curtain down. Applause.
Bravo! Encore! The lights...
And a rush to the doors.

Because the world's police
Have instinct on the books
Innocence is nice
But not for long. Good looks
Turn bad, and time's as famous
For playing dirty tricks
As virtue is, whose price
Is beautifully to skate
On increasingly thin ice.

The beauties of the brain
And body are not charm—
Though charming they can be.
Charm is a sympathy
That sometimes draws a line
Under the unProfound
By an irony of tone,
And it is mostly missed
Once it is heard and gone.

Old bones know charm the best;
They see the trees for the wood,
The shades at their light task,
The magical latitude
That time cannot redress;
Their knowledge is their loss:
Under the worldly mask
They take off at their risk
They feel the pull of childhood.

Life adds up to not much.
Subtracted every day,
Another sparrow falls
Oblivious from its perch.
That truth lacks charm, it's true,
Directly looked at, but
There is that version which
Can sometimes sound the depths
With the lightest touch.

October 27, 2007 at 12:01 PM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Strainer Funnel


So simple and obvious once you see it, you wonder why it took until now to create it.

From the website:

    Strainer Funnel

    You’ll wonder how you got along without this essential kitchen helper once you use it.

    Large capacity bowl and 5" diameter mouth make quick work of transferring liquids.

    Removable strainer insert removes seeds, herbs, peppercorns and other fine solids more easily and neatly than the old cheesecloth method.

    Dishwasher-safe stainless steel.

    A must for home canning!




October 27, 2007 at 11:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Nanette Lepore Tweed Mini




Camel or





October 27, 2007 at 10:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack

What is it?


Answer here this time tomorrow.

October 27, 2007 at 09:01 AM | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack

« October 26, 2007 | Main | October 28, 2007 »