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Heidi Shaffer, Published August 28 2013

Washing machine cleaner takes care of odors

FARGO – It doesn’t take many of these steamy days in a damp basement to leave my washing machine smelling like a dirty dishrag.

The musty smell and build-up tends to wind up on my laundry, especially towels, so I thought I’d give Tide’s Washing Machine Cleaner a try.

The directions couldn’t get much easier: Simply pour a pouch into your empty washer and run a regular hot water cycle.

The small pouches are filled with what looks like powdered dishwasher detergent. A box of five packets costs about $12 and is sold at most major retailers.

While the washer ran through a cycle, we could smell the cleaner’s strong, but mostly pleasant, scent all the way upstairs.

Afterward, the washer tub looked and smelled cleaner, even though I hadn’t noticed any visible residue before.

The first loads after the cleansing came out smelling fresh and seemingly fluffier, though I admit that could’ve entirely been my imagination.

Musty-smelling towels retained their swampy smell, but the cleaner ones stayed smelling fresh.

For maintenance, the directions advise using a packet of cleaner once a month, but it’s recommended once a week for three weeks if you already have an odor problem.

Bottom line: Though subtle, Tide Washing Machine Cleaner seems to take care of musty odors and residues.

Readers can reach Forum features editor

Heidi Shaffer at (701) 241-5511