Sears Class Action Lawsuit Alleges Kenmore Washers May Cause Mold

  • Written by: Irvin Jackson

An appeals court has cleared the way for a class action lawsuit to move forward against Sears over problems with Kenmore washing machines, alleging that design defects may cause the development of mold in the clothes washers. 

On November 13, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago overturned a lower court’s ruling that denied plaintiffs attempts to establish a Kenmore washer class action lawsuit against Sears, Roebuck and Co. The decision will allow the claim to go forward as a class action.

The class action seeks to cover consumers from six states who filed breach of warranty claims against the company, including those from California, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky, Minnesota, and Texas.

According to allegations raised in the lawsuit, the Kenmore washing machines do not clean themselves properly, potentially resulting in mold growth. The affected washers were made by Whirlpool and sold by Sears under the Kenmore label.

There are about 200,000 Kenmore washers with the alleged mold problem sold each year, according to the appeal, and there have been many thousands of complaints involving bad odors reported by owners of the machines.

“Sears argues that most members of the plaintiff class did not experience a mold problem,” the appeals court stated in its opinion. “But if so that is an argument not for refusing to certify the class but for certifying it and then entering a judgment that will largely exonerate Sears – a course it should welcome, as all class members who did not opt out of the class action would be bound by the judgment.”

The court noted that every class member will have to prove they have an odor problem due to the washers in order to collect damages, but even those without a problem can still pursue breach of warranty claims in states that allow relief for “expected rather than for only realized harm” due to a product defect.

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  1. Edmund Reply

    I noticed some mold growth , a blackish color
    The only way to remove it is with soaking a towel with
    bleach, and using a scotch brite to clean the rubber seal .
    I just assumed it was an acceptable practice for cleaning.
    Very noticeable if clothing is not removed after washing.Saw
    FB posting needed to complain.

  2. claudia Reply

    no wonder… even the liquid softener never have the nice sense…

  3. Victoria Reply

    I purchased my washer and dryer in 2006. I have kept the seal clean, used very hot water and bleach to run thru the cycle. My laundry room smells like a swamp. You need proof? Come over and smell it for yourself. The slime that builds up inside of the seal is gross and not that easy to clean.

  4. Herman Reply

    We noticed the mold in our dryer shortly after my husband was diagnosed with mold in his lungs. We called Sears and had them come out and replace the rubber seal. We have to clean it every time with a damp cloth followed by a dry towel. We still do.

  5. edith Reply

    I’ve purchased Kenmore from Sears. I have noticed mold and buildup in the pocket by the door. I have lost baby size socks during the wash. I think the tiny clothing get stuck around the washer drum. As for my dryer, I have to have the dryer run at least 1/2 an hour longer to dry my clothes. Therefore, the front load dryer is not saving energy.

  6. sandy Reply

    bought my whirlpool washer and dryer set in 2001. 4 or 5 years later went back to sears to ask about the smell the slime under the seal and scum that builds up on glass of door and seal was told I was not cleaning it correctly that not only should I dry out washer,scrub rubber seal and leave door open that I should be using a washer cleaner monthly. Started doing so but washer still stinks. Daughter saw article and said guess we are not the only ones. Read settlement and all I made out of it was that sears was going to make a lot of money. Never thought to save my grocery receipts for 10 years, didn’t keep record of people who looked at washer nor did I document the dates and times I talked with sears- my bad. I did have sears in to look at washer (84.93) to replace boot and fill valve a shocking (462.32) that means I will have to pay Sears 547.25 to clean up but not fix their problem. and they only offer to refund 500.00

  7. Marcus Reply

    i delt with that fungus problem for years. i heard on channel ll news in Houston Texas that sears was giving a rebate, but now I cannot find any thing.

  8. Betty Reply

    I purchased my Sears Washer and Dryer in 2006/2007. The slime in the washer is terrible. I am 72 years old now. I have cleaned and cleaned and cleaned and to this day I still have black slime in my washer. I am on a fixed income and cannot afford to replace this washer. I would like to join the class action lawsuit. Does anyone know how I can do this?

  9. Deb Reply

    Washer grows mold, no matter what I use to clean it. Also it rusting where the door leaks.

  10. beverly Reply

    my husband bought me the sears Kenmore elite set in 2014 and it has always had a terrible moldy,musty smell every load I wash.i use softetner extra tide and xtra water but the problem still exists.I called the 1-800 number and they told me straight up theres nothing they can help me with I just need to buy washer cleaner and let it run it’s cycle.I have still has not worked and my clothes still smell musty and stink straight from being washed.we paid almost $3,000.00 for this set and I am very upset it has never did the job it should.

  11. Annum Reply

    We have a 2006 Kenmore HE4t washer and dryer. We called Sears/Kenmore warranty line in 2006 and 2007 to complain about a musty smell, mold, and clothing getting stuck in the machine. We have also complained in person at the local Sears stores for years. We have never been able to get this problem resolved. Can we still join the class action lawsuit?

  12. David Reply

    Our washer has had a moldy musty smell almost from day 1 We had a tech out he showed us how we would have to clean our washer you got to be kidding its impossible to keep it clean even if you run the recommended cleaner it doesn’t work we have had our washer for 8.5 years any help would be great

  13. Barbara Reply

    I bought a Kenmore Front load washer on 6/25/2010 and I took out a three year insurance plan. In that three years several repairman came out said it was my problem. I needed to clean it once a month I needed to wipe the rubble ring out every time I use it. The mold was all over my clothes I had to keep the door always open to keep the smell down. I paid $800.00 for that machine and it has ruined many of my clothes and if you catch the stains before you put them in the dryer you might be able to get them out but if you don’t you have to throw the clothes away. I hate this washer but can’t afford another one. I was told not to use liquid or downy. I tried everything but it still leaves black marks from mold on my clothes. Sears won’t admit the machine has a problem. Model number 796-40272900

  14. baxter Reply

    model mle2000ayw
    serial 78238755et
    purchased 12/22/2004
    maytag-neptune stacked washer/dryer
    continuous black mold on rubber gasket, smelly odor, black smudges on clothing after washes. Nothing seems to help.

  15. Patricia Reply

    We purchased a Kenmore Elite, front-loading automatic washer on July 23, 2012. Immediately we noticed a bad smell around the washer and after contacting the Sears store was told that was an issue with those washers and there was really nothing we could do to resolve it. Mold developes on various parts of the washer and the smell continues. We leave the door open when not in use but that does not help much as it makes the whole laundry room smelll. Sears needs to make this right with their customers.

  16. Dora Reply

    We bought our Kenmore front load washer in 2001 it continues to have black mold around the door. I have cleaned it with a product the was made just for this reason that is really gross. I clean with Clorox and leave the front door open when not is use. This is a problem and needs to be made right by all front load customers.

  17. tom Reply

    Purchased washer and dryer new in 2011, repairmen out several times, dryer steam not ever worked, repairmen said they knew they had a problem but had no fix. Washer scum and smell told to leave door open. Clean very thoroughly everytime it is used. Only use once a week. Will Never buy from sears again. Warranty just expired and they want over 250 each to renew, did renew once but no more. Why do consumers have to go through this when they pay so much for these appliances. Cant get repairmen for weeks, and when they come they all have different answers. Sears has gone down the tubes as far as I am concerned. Once it was broken up, the quality of service diminished as well as the products. Will contact Consumer Products Office this week. Reading reviews, this must be a answer the repairmen have to tell customers, because no matter what part of the country you live in the answer seems to be same for every problem. Missed out and wasn’t notified about any class action suit.

  18. Ruth Reply

    Almost immediately after we purchased our washer I noticed a bad smell. I called service and when the technician came out he told us it was because we have the front load washer and they tend to do that. Told me I need to leave the door on the wager open so it can air out. No matter what I use to clean the washer it still has the bad odor. My fabric softeners do not help and sometimes I can smell that same odor on my clothes. I have always left the door open since the technician told me too.

  19. Pamela Reply

    My husband & I have spent thousands of dollar’s on sears appliances. Never, ever again! Sears has seen the last penny we will ever give them for (any item). We gave sears every opportunity to come hav

  20. Pat Reply

    I purchased two front load washer and dryers in 2006, one for my daughter and one for us. Mold started from the beginning and continues, I cannot get the rubber seal clean. I keep the door to the washer open at all times other than washing clothes. I would never have another front load washer. I’d like to get in on the class action suit as well.

  21. Gladys Reply

    We’ve had to leave the washer open at all times from day one. There is a terrible smell if not. The explanation that front load washers tend to do that is not good enough for me. Now the motor on the dryer has to be replaced. I’d like to get in on the class action suit please.

  22. Dafney Reply

    I have noticed for a while that some of my clothes smell moldy when I take them out of my dryer after washing them in my front load Kenmore. Especially during the summer months. I have to put them in the dryer immediately and still, I sometimes end up having some of my clothes smell moldy. There is a compartment at the bottom of the washer that we are advised to clean. A black smelly (moldy) liquid comes out upon opening it. I never knew that there was a class action lawsuit until one of my friends notified me.

  23. Wayne Reply

    The reason cleaning the tub and seal does not solve the mold odor issue is because the mold is also growing on the aluminum spider/bearing shaft assembly, which can only be accessed by removing the stainless tub assembly from the water-tight outer tub assembly (basically disassembling most of the washing machine). I recently disassembled my Kenmore front load washer to replace a howling bearing, and I found a dozen cast aluminum webbing pockets, around the spider bearing shaft, packed full of wash sludge…it reeked of mold, and I spent an hour digging out the sludge with an ice pick and a knife. The design of the cast aluminum spider enables sludge to build up and hold moisture, in a dark and inaccessible (without disassembling) area where mold thrives. It is a design flaw that should have been corrected years ago.

  24. virginia Reply

    Purchased a Kenmore front load washer aprx 2007 and within a yr or so – it started having a very unpleasant odor, cleaning it with recommended kit had no effect. The washer odor has become absolutely awful! It is so bad that it smells up whole room and NOTHING comes out smelling good – everything has a stench to it !!!! I was not aware of any class action until recently when some one mentioned it to me & I went on this page today. I never received any notification from Sears/Kenmore that there was a class action lawsuit ??? Can someone help ??? !!!

  25. Wanda Reply

    We purchased our Kenmore washer& dryer in 2007 & it still have the mold smell. I have rinsed it with bleach and the smell is still their. Every time I do laundry I wipe the inside out & leave the door open for hours or overnight.

  26. Marie Reply

    We purchased our Kenmore set in 2008. Same story as everyone else.
    Musty moldy smell on my clothes as well as machine stinks too.
    I call customer service and get the run around. They will call technician to come out. NO THANK YOU!!! We cannot pay a tech.
    I sanitize with bleach as well as a vinegar wash many times. Still same stinky smell. Why can’t they believe us as to this problem and address it?
    Disgusted with Kenmore right now!!!!

  27. Richard Reply

    I purchased our Front loading Kenmore Elite Washer & matching dryer in November 2009. We have had the Washer and Dryer under a Sears Maintenance contract from the day it was purchased until a month ago, November 2017. We have had Sears maintenance come out annually and have been complaining about the mold and stench problems since the purchased these units. It continues to get worse. Neither my wife nor I was ever notified regarding any recalls on these units. Additionally we were never notified of any class action lawsuits being filed of which we should have been apart.

    I would like to know if we have any legal recourse.

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