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Posted 08/26/2022 in General

How To Clean A Front Load Washer To Remove Mildew And Odors

How To Clean A Front Load Washer To Remove Mildew And Odors

How To Clean A Front Load Washer To Remove Mildew And Odors


You may assume that because front load washers clean clothes that they are naturally clean themselves and do not need regular maintenance. If so, you might be in for a rude awakening when you open the glass door to your washer only to be confronted with funky odors that smell like a leaky basement. While front load washers clean they also enclose, trapping water and allowing mold and mildew to grow. 


A few pointers before we begin. 


Preventing Odors Before They Start


If your front load washer has yet to emit a musty odor, don’t wait until it does. Here are some pointers.

  1. Use the correct amount of detergent. Overfilling might leave the detergent to accumulate in your drum, too little and the dirt from your clothes may not be adequately removed.
  2. Try to use a higher quality laundry detergent and fabric softener (do a Google search for product reviews) as opposed to the bargain brands which tend to leave residue behind on rubber door seals.
  3. Don’t leave damp clothes in the machine, especially in warmer weather.


However, if your front load washer has started to kick up a stink and you want to take it from funky to fresh, here are the must-do moves to mitigate musty odors.


Kicking Up A Stink: Why Your Front-Load Washer Smells So Bad


While the airtight door and rubber gasket on your front load washer stops water from leaking, it can also prevent air from getting in. Over time, the water used during the wash cycle gets mixed with the soap scum and residue from your dirty clothes which build up and is trapped by the rubberized seal. Throw in an airtight environment and you have the perfect storm for mold and mildew growth and those foul smells.


The Step By Step Method For Cleaning Your Front-Load Washer


Although these steps are not a quick fix and take time, it’s well worth it as it will both extend the lifetime of your machine and your clothes.


1) Empty & Clean

This may sound like an obvious first step, but empty out the drum. Then remove the detergent dispenser and clean out all attachments including the tray and replace when cleaned.


2) Wipe The Gasket

Give the rubber gasket a good wipe with a wet cloth. It’s a good idea to use a solution of 3/4 of a cup of chlorine bleach to a gallon of water to dip the cloth in. If you haven’t done this for a while (or ever!) you’re likely to find a lot of debris and gunk collected it there. Also, clean around the drum and glass door.


3) Run The Cleaning Cycle

Now’s the time to run your front loader’s cleaning cycle making sure to follow the manufacturer's instructions. If your manufacturer recommends a specific cleaning product, use that.


4) Cool And Clean

When the cycle is over, allow your machine to cool down, then wipe the lid, making sure to use a soft cloth or towel when opening the glass door. Leave the door open and allow it air to get in until fully dry.


An Alternative, Hands-Free Way To Clean Your Front Load Washer


If your front load washer doesn’t have a clean cycle and you want a hands-off approach from dealing with the smell you can do the following:

  1. Make sure the drum is empty before sprinkling half a cup of baking soda inside.
  2. Pour one cup of distilled white vinegar into the detergent dispenser.
  3. Lastly, run the washer on the hot water setting.


Maintenance Tips For Your Front Load Washer

  1. Don’t let clothes sit in the drum after the washing cycle. Remove them immediately.
  2. Wipe moisture and residue from the drum lid and gasket regularly.
  3. Be sure to leave the door ajar between washes.
  4. Use the correct amount of good quality detergent.