Weird (but useful) product alert: Smelly Washer

I can't smell.

Some people are really lucky, or unfortunate, depending whether you're walking through a rose garden or passing by a dead skunk on the road. I really can't distinguish between smells. Oh, I can pick up a whiff of something disgusting -- if I was blindfolded and pushed into a septic tank, my nose would probably pick up an unpleasant scent. But for all practical purposes, I have virtually no sense of smell.

Which is my way of saying I'm either the perfect customer, or the worst customer, for a product called Smelly Washer.

If nothing else, you have to give the guy behind this credit for coming up with an interesting name for a product. I fully admit, if this was a generic name for this product like Squeaky Clean, I probably wouldn't have given it a second thought. But Smelly Washer?

So, anyway, the guy behind this is Paul Flynn, an appliance repairman turned entrepreneur in Minneapolis. He kept noticing that every time he fixed a washing machine, often the problem was a gross smell coming from it, and almost always, it was due to a buildup of fungus in the washer.


And so in the long tradition of seeing a problem and thinking, "I can fix that," Flynn developed a non-toxic washing machine cleaner that removes odor-causing fungus and mildew. It's $16, available at the web site, and one tablespoon of the stuff should be added during the hot cycle to get rid of the fungus and mildew. If you use the product on a regular basis, the supply you get is supposed to be good for a year.

According to Smelly Washer's press materials, the washing machine can hold more fungus than any other place in the home. The washer. Who would have thought? On the other hand, you always hear how the kitchen sponge is one of the dirtiest, grimiest places on the Earth. Anyway, what happens is that fungus spores often collect on residue left behind from detergents and fabric softeners. The smell stays in the machine, and then gets all over your clothes. Potentially.

Thankfully, my wife and daughters do have a sense of smell, and they all said our washing machine odor is just fine. But should it ever start to reek, I know where I'm turning.

Geoff Williams is a business journalist and the author of C.C. Pyle's Amazing Foot Race: The True Story of the 1928 Coast-to-Coast Run Across America.
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