How to Clean a Front Load Washer That Smells Bad

why does my front load washer smell bad

Opening your washer door to a consistent foul odor doesn’t exactly scream “fresh laundry.” Why does your front load washer smell bad? Whether the cause is born from drum mildew or a filthy gasket, an unflattering washer smell is like a bad painting sketched in pencil – it can be erased. Before rush ordering a washboard and clothesline, try our simple DIY guide on how to clean a front load washer.

When to Clean Front Load Washer

Clean your front load washer once a month to prevent a buildup of scum and mildew, and keep it smelling fresh.

How to Clean Front Load Washer

  1. Empty the drum.
  2. Sprinkle 1/2 cup of baking soda inside.
  3. Pour one cup of vinegar in the detergent dispenser.
  4. Run the washer on a hot water cycle.

How to Clean a Front Load Washer:
A Quick Step-By-Step Guide

Front load washers are gradually gaining popularity and for good reason. They conserve energy and water in addition to cleansing your fabrics with a more gentle approach. However, without proper usage and care, they can be dependable incubators for mildew smells. Try these tips on how to clean a front load washer to prevent ensuing stinky situations.

Why Your Front Load Washer Smells

If you’re like most people, you’re not standing by the washer waiting for it to finish. The 10-20 minutes between washer-to-dryer transfers add up, leading to a mildew scent often enhanced by using the wrong and/or too much detergent. Before wading through solutions, let’s first identify possible causes for why your front load washer stinks.

  • Lack of Routine Maintenance – With all the detergent and water continually flowing in and out of your washing machine, your washer basically cleans itself, right? DREAM ON. After each cycle, debris from your soiled laundry gets trapped in the nooks and crannies of your washer, particularly in the drum and gasket.
  • Using the Wrong Detergent – Designed with high-efficiency at the forefront, front load washers perform best when HE detergent is used. Detergents normally used on top load washers produce more suds than your front-loader can handle, resulting in more scum glommed on to your unit.
  • Using Too Much Detergent – Since your HE front load washer uses lower amounts of water, dousing it in too much laundry detergent causes the detergent to cake on to the sides of the washer drum. Over time, these compounding soap layers trapped in a humid, moist environment start to make your front load washer smell. You only need two teaspoons of HE detergent per load.

How to Clean Front Load Washer Gasket

Your washer’s gasket, the rubber seal around the door, is a problematic germ nursery cultivated from cycles of debris build-up. In order to combat the abrasive odor, it’s recommended that you wipe down the gasket after every use. If your front load washer stinks beyond that point, try this deep clean that you should perform monthly.

front load washer smells

How do you clean the rubber seal of a front loader washer?

  1. Locate the seal around the washer door.
  2. Mix 1 cup of liquid chlorine bleach and 1 gallon of warm water in a bucket.
  3. Dampen a clean cloth with the bleach water solution and wipe down the seal, peeling back the gasket to clean every crevice.
  4. Remove remaining moisture from the seal area with a clean, dry cloth.

How to Clean a Washer Drum

If your washer smells like mold, chances are it’s grounded in the middle of all the action – the drum. It’s recommended that you give your washer a wash inside and out once a month.

How to Clean A Front Load Washer Drum in 5 Easy Steps:

  1. Empty the drum then select the “clean cycle” or “tub clean” setting on your unit. (If your washer doesn’t have a cleaning cycle, opt for the hottest and largest load settings.)
  2. Add 2 cups of vinegar to the detergent tray then run a complete wash and rinse cycle.
  3. Refill the washer with hot water on the “clean cycle” setting.
  4. Add 2 cups of bleach to the detergent tray then run a complete wash and rinse cycle.
  5. Run an additional cycle without adding anything to the water to rinse away remaining residue.

Tips to Prevent Washing Machine Odors

Now that you understand a little more about how to clean your washer as well as the benefits of recurrent upkeep, let’s review some preventative measures to ward off odorous wafts. It may seem like a lot, but developing these habits can wind up saving you time, energy, and money down the line, as well as prevent foul smells from front load washers.

  • Leave door ajar after every cycle to give your washer some breathing space.
  • Transfer clothes to the dryer immediately following the wash cycle.
  • Perform a clean wash cycle monthly with Affresh washing machine cleaner.
  • Wipe down the gasket after every load.
  • Use the appropriate amount of the recommended detergent.

how to clean a front load washer
Image from Affresh

Need more advice on how to clean home appliances? The qualified and capable professionals at Action Appliance Repair are available to offer their expertise.

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