The saga of the smelly washing machine may have entered a new cycle. Tide — makers of spring-smelling detergents and equally fragrant fabric softeners — have come out with a Washing Machine Cleaner designed to eradicate the “malodor” that afflicts so many front-loading washing machines.

Although Tide is not the first to introduce such a product (others like Whirlpool’s Affresh odor-fighting tablets have been out there for a bit) it is good to see a heavy-hitting cleanliness company get into the clean washing machine movement.

Two important questions emerge: Do the new products work at all, and which do consumers prefer?

As my own front loader accumulates a bit of scum, look for a “tablet test” to see which of this new generation of cleaning products gets the job done.

Have you used a washing machine cleaning product lately?