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Cleaning a Front Loading Washing Machine

Category Appliances
A front loading washing machine with the door open.
Front loaders are becoming the washing machine of choice for many families, but they do have specific cleaning issues that can cause odors. This is a guide about cleaning a front loading washing machine.
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By 1 found this helpful
August 26, 2011

Use trisodium phosphate, otherwise known as TSP (1/4 cup per load). It will make your clothes cleaner, and remove the mildew from the seal area that smells.

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Source: http://elcheapocooks.com

By El Cheapo from Chattanooga, TN

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February 28, 20170 found this helpful

Front loading washers have had a lot of bad press about developing foul odors. There are many suggestions for how to prevent and/or remove them. This page suggests that cleaning the filter will help prevent a smelly front loading washer.

A filter in a front loading washer.

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By 0 found this helpful
November 15, 2013

If your front loading washing machine smells a bit musty or has black mould growing on the door seal, simply use oil of cloves to freshen it up. I make up a 500ml bottle of water in a spray bottle and add 1/4 teaspoon oil of cloves. Then I spray the inside drum of the machine before I add the clothes or, if I'm feeling lazy, I add 3-4 drops oil of cloves on top of my detergent. The oil of cloves will kill any mould spores. If you use the spray every time you do towels or smelly socks, it will also get rid of mould on your door seals. The black mould will disappear.

The smell dissipates from your clothes when you hang them in sunlight but, in any case, it's not too strong a smell. Plus you'll know that if your kids leave wet clothes for a couple of days before telling you about them you'll be able to make sure they're truly clean and mould free. Oil of cloves should be available at pharmacies or sometimes health food stores with the essential oils.

Source: Spotless by Shannon Lush and Jennifer Fleming

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By 0 found this helpful
August 26, 2011

I've got a front loading LG washer and what I do is pour bleach in the liquid bleach hole, run your washer on the hottest setting, or if you have one, on the clean tub setting. It takes a couple of hours, so be sure to have done all your laundry first.

The tub will be so clean smelling! I do this once a month.

By Kathy from Beaumont, CA

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Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

By 0 found this helpful
August 24, 2008

My father was admitted to an aged care facility recently and I pick his washing up every other day, some of which is soiled. I soak the soiled things and then put everything in my front loader. I am worried about cross contamination/infection. I was wondering if anyone had any ideas about what I could do to prevent this as I use the machine for my own washing, it needs to be something simple and inexpensive. Thanks in advance.

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Sharyl from Adelaide, Australia

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August 24, 20080 found this helpful

run it through with hotest water and 1 cup clorox and just a bit of detergent with highest water level that will kill any germs inside the basin or in the drainage tubes. do this each time each time after you know you washed items prior that were soiled.

laundramats are the worst places for germs due to soiled clothing baby clothes diapers etc. This was on the cBS news some years ago and they told this same method for sanitizing any machine after soiled items were washed it in. Clorox kills any germs.

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August 24, 20080 found this helpful

i can tell you first hand i NEVER ever would go to a lundry mat unless i was desperate my best friend and her family owned one and she confided in me that since they had a dry cleaning and laundromat they would get t eh funeral homes nearby with bags of sheets and things that were used for embalming and what not but she had to do this late at night after the laundromat closed i was shocked!1 i couldnt believe it i was like grossss!! shes like well someone washes it and they use these because they are bigger and more cost effective to do a bigger load after that when something happened to my washer/ dryer i used family members and i offered to help with the bill if need be!! buy detergent whatever ughhhh!!!!

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August 24, 20080 found this helpful

I use a bucket of hot water with a cup of white vinegar and wash the entire washing machine by hand being sure to get in every crevice and then throw the wash cloth I used and run the wash on hot with clorox bleach. Once finished I take an addition bucket of bleach water and wash thoroughly again then do a load of towels like normal. I'm a bit anal. I'm sure that it wouldn't take that much effort to kill all the germs but I'm a bit fanatical. If you have an allergy to bleach the vinegar works great...you could also use hand sanitizer, rubbing alcohol or mr. clean or some other wash that kills 99.9% of germs. Most germs however do die in HOT water.

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Anonymous
August 25, 20080 found this helpful

After washing your fathers clothing, run the machine with nothing in it except for a cup of bleach. That will kill anything harmful. You can even use cold water with bleach.

Also you don't have to run the washer on a heavy large load setting, just do normal wash. When the machine has no clothing in it, it will splash the water around very well.

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August 25, 20080 found this helpful

Thanks to everyone for your input - The Bleach seems to be the way to go so I'll try that instead of the disinfectant which I was using and had doubts about.

Thanks again everyone

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August 25, 20080 found this helpful

Clorox must be a 1:10 solution to kill all bacteria, according to the licensing agencies for surface disinfectants. It works well in cold water but gets evaporated into the air more with hot water. I just wish there was some way to collect and reuse the water, I'm on your page with the need to sanitize but I'm seeing also the amount of water and solutions being discussed here. Remember the cloth diaper days when there was a presoak pail? that of course after swishing them through the toilet.

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By guest (Guest Post)
December 22, 20080 found this helpful

I have heard hot water does not kill germs.

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By 0 found this helpful
December 28, 2010

I have a front loading washer and after each cycle is finished, I can spin the tub and hear water sloshing.

I wash urine absorbing pads and I can never rid the washer of the smell. I can do twenty empty loads with various odor reducing chemicals and nothing helps. I've tried everything short of tossing it out the door? Do all front loaders retain water under the tub?

By Kathleen

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December 28, 20100 found this helpful

I don't have a front loader so I can't help you with that, but you may have luck soaking your pads in a bucket before laundering them. Start with 1/2 cup baking soda dissolved in the soaking water and see how that goes.

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December 29, 20100 found this helpful

All washers retain a little water in the "boot". My advice would be to run a rinse cycle after your daqy's wash with a cup of vinegar added. Or you could run the pads through a rinse cycle before you actually run the wash and they would not have the urine still in them.

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December 29, 20100 found this helpful

If you are using liquid detergent it leaves an odor. Follow the advice of the others and switch to powder. I use Tide HE powder and since I switched I have no odor.

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December 29, 20100 found this helpful

I have a male cat who is occasionally incontenent so have lots of practice with urine. I use 1/3 cup borax (Borateem) in my front loader and never have a problem with odor in the bedding or the washer. I dont know what I would do without it. Good luck.

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December 29, 20100 found this helpful

I have heard this is one of the complaints about front loaders and the musty moldy smells that retain as well. Never shut your door once you are done with laundry. That advice was from the laundromat owner. Air circulates. And with the smelly clothes that get brought into a professional place to be done, rather than their own machines is often.

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January 2, 20110 found this helpful

I don't have a front load washer, but for smells I would try using ammonia in your wash load. If you do this only use half the amount of laundry detergent.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 23, 2010

How do I remove and prevent the recurring of the mildew and smell that has formed in the fold of the rubber seal around my front load washing machine door? I am on a septic system and therefore cannot use bleach.

By Diana from Sequim, WA

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January 24, 20100 found this helpful

Take a cloth and apply bleach to the cloth and wipe around the rubber seal. When mold is gone rinse with another cloth soaked with water then let dry. After each wash wipe all the water from the rubber seal. I wipe all the water from the seal after each wash. I do. I also have a septic system.

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January 28, 20100 found this helpful

We have a front load machine. After we use it, we take a cloth and dry the gasket on the underneath side. It always holds water there. We leave the door ajar until it has time to dry. We also remove the detergent/softener drawer and empty the water out of it and let it dry. I know it sounds like a hassle but it just becomes a routine. We haven't ever had any odor or mildew or mold. So, I have to say it works.

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January 28, 20100 found this helpful

Try wiping it out with vinegar, which also kills mold/mildew. Also use vinegar as fabric softener in your wash. It's cheaper, it works, it sanitizes, and you won't smell it when the clothes are dry. If you have to have perfume, then use the dryer sheets as sachets in your dressers and closets.

We have a sand mound system, and I do use bleach, just a couple tablespoons per load in the front-loaded washer, several loads a week. Also, I think dishwasher detergents have some bleach, too. When we had our tank pumped (for the first time in 10 years!) there was very little build-up.

I figure it's because I bake my own bread, and the yeast from washing bowls afterward, the rinsing from spoiled milk full of bacteria, etc., in the kitchen puts lots of bacteria back into the system. Never saw a need for the "Septic Helper" type of product. Yeast and Yogurt! You could even mix one container of each and flush it down once in a while.

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January 28, 20100 found this helpful

Hi, I have a 10-yr old front-load washer and we're on a septic tank too. I was told that the "problem" with using bleach on a septic tank is overstated and I believe it: I've been using bleach (about 1 cup) in every 3rd or 4th wash load for the 20+ years that we've lived here (and I do at least 10 loads of laundry a week), we get our septic tank checked regularly, and it's always checked out fine. (Had it checked again just a few months back because some people would freak out when I told them I was using bleach so regularly with a septic tank and the septic tank guys said the tank is still in great condition.)

So I would try using bleach in the washer once in a while; but if you absolutely want to stay away from bleach, a washer repairman told me that there's a septic-tank-safe product called "Refresh" (find it near the laundry products) that you can use in the washer to help with odor/mold. And as suggested already, I always leave the door ajar when washer's not in use--if the door has a light bulb that comes on, do NOT unscrew the light bulb, just let the bulb burn out because unscrewing it could cause water to get in where it's loosened. Plus if your washer has the door on top where you add detergent/bleach, you can go ahead and leave it open too, a washer repairman told me; he said that'll help with any mold/odor problem.

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January 29, 20100 found this helpful

Never mind Affresh, bleach, cleaning drains etc because nothing will change until you stop using liquid detergent, even worse is liquid fabric softener; in some of these machines the plastic parts get coated with petroleum products from these. As soon as you switch to powdered h.e. detergent and NO liquid fabric softener your smell will go away and stay away. I am speaking from experience, my 6 month old washer was stinking badly. I never leave the door open now, just wipe off the rubber a bit and the glass. No smell. I use cold water and only one tablespoon of powdered detergent in regular loads. My clothes are clean, and No smell.

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By 0 found this helpful
April 20, 2010

I have a Sears Kenmore HE4T washing machine. How do I remove the gasket (for cleaning). Is there a filter, and if so, how do I remove it for cleaning?

By Greg

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April 22, 20100 found this helpful

The gasket is almost impossible to remove and would be almost impossible to replace except by a repair technician, so don't worry about trying to do that. Just wipe around it and be sure to keep the door to your washer open (I leave mine open wide right after using it, then almost shut after things dry out) so mold doesn't grow.

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November 2, 20130 found this helpful

It is not impossible here is a video how

http://www.yout  ch?v=OPmNtO-QAcU

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By 0 found this helpful
July 16, 2016

I read that you can use up to 6 cups of bleach to clean your front loader washing machine on the sanitize cycle. Would any damage happen if you accidentally used ammonia? Any suggestions as to what I can do to correct this problem. Would you recommend putting it on pure cycle? it is a Samsung.

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By 0 found this helpful
January 2, 2014

I have changed deodorants a couple of times thinking the musty smell was my body. Lo and behold! I bet anything it's the buildup from my LG front loader washer. Any suggestions? I've tried bleach on the "clean cycle" and also, vinegar on the "clean cycle". Nothing is helping. I have always left my door ajar per, the Home Depot salesman when we purchased the washer and dryer 5 yrs ago. This odor in our clothes has got to go.

By Glenda R.

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March 3, 20140 found this helpful

My front loading washing machine has black mold. I have COPD and cannot use Clorox. Is white vinegar and baking soda a black mold cleaner?

By Mary

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January 9, 20140 found this helpful

Is there a piece of cloth in the actual filter or is it just mesh on the holes?

By Mike

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Archives

ThriftyFun is one of the longest running frugal living communities on the Internet. These are archives of older discussions.

January 23, 20100 found this helpful

How to clean mold from a front load washing machine?

By llaurab from Stafford, CT

Answers:

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

People usually leave a top-loading washing machine open so it has a chance to dry out between wash loads, but usually not so with a front-loader. Once you find a solution to cleaning the mold, try leaving the door open when not in use to avoid getting mold again. (06/30/2009)

By Fortunately

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

Put bleach in a spray bottle with water 3 (bleach) to 1 (water) ratio and spray the door and drum seal than wipe to dry the the seals with a soft rag before closing the front loader door. Do both the door and the drum seals, wipe till dry (do not rinse) then close. Should be good for a week or so. (07/01/2009)

By cynthiah

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

My LG front loader is only about a month old but I have been reading all the horror stories on various web sites. Obviously, I want to prevent this problem.

After doing all my wash in one day, I am drying out the gasket, taking out and drying the dispenser, and draining out though the little hose every week. Every month I am using the Tub Clean cycle with an ounce of bleach. I have purchased and plan to use every 4 months the Tide product designed for cleaning front loaders. I have read that a product called Whirlrout also works very well, but may be harder to find. It is designed for whirlpool tubs.

I hope this maintenance schedule works for me and there may be some help for you. Posters in other web sites swear by it. (09/05/2009)

By Infobabe

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June 29, 20090 found this helpful

I have a front load washing machine and on the rim when you open the door, it gets moldy. I never saw such a thing on the regular top load machines. Does anyone know anything about this and what can be done? It seems very strange to me.

Chris from NJ

Answers:

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

This question has come up on several newsletters that I receive. It seems that most of the people will run a long wash cycle with one cup of bleach or one cup of vinegar in the washing machine, (no detergent), to help kill the mold. You will need to wipe off the mold around the door gasket.

The problem is that there is always some water under the drum where you can not see it. I always leave the washing machine door open between washes. This does help, but I still need to clean it once every month or so. I hope this helps. Loretta (04/26/2006)

By

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

I have a front load washer and after every use I wipe all around the front gasket, in behind the gasket and the inside of the door with paper towels. Then I leave it open for a while to let air in to circulate. Never have had a mold problem. In your case try to clean with a solution of bleach and water. Then rinse with water as bleach could eat away at the gasket. (04/27/2006)

By Dean

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

I have researched this issue quite a bit and there are several items to note;

By beantown_steve

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

An appliance repairman told me that bleach, vinegar, and ammonia are hard on seals in the washer. If you don't want to use vinegar, ammonia or bleach (be very careful not to mix them) there is a cleaner called Purewasher that is only sold at smellywasher.com / This cleaner will clean inside your washer and remove mildew or musty smell from towels and clothes. All you'll need is one tablespoon. The smell hasn't come back yet. (12/16/2006)

By

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

I too have an LG that has a moldy smell in the machine. I think I have finally found a solution (and it's not bleach). The detergent and fabric softener you are using are creating a buildup between the drums.
The solution is to stop using commercial detergents and fabric softeners. Start using Maggie's Soap Nuts. They are all natural (grow on trees) and are better for your health, your clothing and the environment (and Septic tanks also). They will clean your clothes and leave them softer (without fabric softener).
You can buy them at Whole Foods or soon at www.newstarget.com where they are going to buy them in bulk to cut the cost in half.

Note: Before washing your clothing with them, run some through the machine several times to clean out the buildup already on the drum. I make a liquid out of them (by simmering them and then squishing them with a potato masher to get the saponin out of them and turn it into a liquid. Add some water to this and then store them in an old cleaned out detergent bottle. They clean much better as liquid than in the cloth bag they come with. I think it is because front loaders don't agitate as much as regular washing machines. You will love your clothes and your machine again (you will never have to clean it out again). (08/22/2007)

By Lynn

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

Directly from the Manufacturer: I sell appliances, and speak with manufacturers about the smell. The worst out on the market are the LGs, Frigidaires, Samsungs and GE's in front loaders. The Whirlpool brands (Kenmore, Whirlpool, and Maytag, the new ones, are the least smelly). In top loaders avoid one with a Plastic wash tub (old Maytags, GEs, Frigidaires). According to the Manufacturers and the instructions that came with your washers, you are to leave the door, or lid open after the final load. This lets the seal dry out and avoids the mold and must smell.

Here are some tips:

<lp>Remember folks, a washing machine is just like your shower stall. If the tiles don't dry, they collect mold and mildew. Your washer needs to dry out after the last load. This is especially true for basement machines. Like I stated, if you have the machine in your basement, and these fixes don't work, you will need a dehumidifier. The machine can't dry out because the air is too humid. A mildewy machine means a mildewy basement.

Hope this helps. Xavier

I have had my Kenmore HE3 for 5 years now and have yet to smell any mold. My unit is on the second floor and I leave my door open after the final load of the day. To this day my washer "smells" brand new. (11/05/2007)

By Xavierbu

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

http://www.frontloadwasherclassaction.com/pages/index.php

Class action lawsuit. I just found this firm this morning. I couldn't stand the smell of our Frigidaire front loader and googled "mildew Frigidaire front loading washing machine". While I am a little relieved that it isn't anything that we in our household is doing, I am somewhat angry that it's such a common problem. Water-conserving yes, but the mold/mildew is a greater problem. We called Frigidaire right away after purchasing the machine and they gave no satisfaction except that they have fixed the problem on newer models.

I'll try some of the remedies listed here, but this is scandalous really. (05/26/2008)

By Mainer1776

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

I think this is really a problem, too much work to do laundry. Anyway, I would take serious caution about leaving the door open. Anyone with small children should "not" leave the door open as children may find their way in and not be able to get out, God forbid. I do not have small children in the house so I do keep my door open, but a great place for a cat or small dog to nap as well. Not good. (06/15/2008)

By Mom in CT

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

I have used a shot of vodka in the washer for years and this has rid all smells and mold. The alcohol in the vodka kills mold and mildew and shouldn't bleach your clothes. Test before tossing in your favorite sweater. Good luck. (07/09/2008)

By jasongeneva

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

I just got off the phone with LG and they said the usual: Wipe gasket, door open, etc. but he mentioned one other way to get rid of scum/mold etc. It is a product called "Whirl Out". It is sold to rid hot tubs of scum, body oils and such. It is made by the same people who make "Red Out Rust Remover". Sounds promising. I am going to give it a try and will post results later. (08/05/2008)

By Dave

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

I live in the UK and never have I had a problem with mold or mildew but I only use washing powder in my machine. (08/23/2008)

By Jamie

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

I had the same problem and bought some TILEX mold and mildew for the bathroom and tried it out. I sprayed it about five times and let it sit for about and hour each. Although it took a while I got all of the mildew/black mold out. A little scrubbing with a scrub pad worked as well in combination with the TILEX. My best recommendation is to do this once a week and make sure to dry the gasket every time to prevent it from coming back. (08/28/2008)

By Ferrari

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine - use Borax

A few people have mentioned smellywasher .com. I remember getting an email saying all that is, is Borax. I'm considering purchasing a front loader and plan to have Borax on hand. (01/31/2009)

By Lynn

Mold Problem With Front Loading Washing Machine

I have this problem with my GE front loader and purchased lemon Pinesol and add it in with the detergent. This gets rid of the nasty smell on previously washed items. I remove my detergent and softener loader every week and scrub out the gunk.
(02/04/2009)

By Julie

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