how to clean a front load washer

If Your Front Load Washer Smells Bad, Try This

When deciding between a front load or top load washing machine, bad smells are one of the few front loader drawbacks. But where do you start when your front load washer stinks and you’re worried your clothes do too? We’ll detail what to do when your front load washer smells bad from cleaning the gasket and washer tub to preventing odor.

Why Your Front Load Washer Smells Bad & How to Clean It

Are you wondering, “How do I get my front load washer to stop smelling?” The answer involves pinpointing the source of the odor and utilizing the right cleaning methods when your front load washer smells bad. But before we provide a plan of attack and prevention tips knowing what causes front load washer odor can help prevent another outbreak.

What Causes Front Load Washer Odor?

Washing machine odor is typically caused by mold and mildew. Even though water washes most dirt down the drain, some debris remains at the end of every wash cycle. Along with hair, detergent residue and a washer’s moist, warm environment this provides the perfect breeding found for smelly mold and mildew.

Sometimes our laundry methods make it even easier for mold and mildew to thrive. These common mistakes may also be responsible when your front load washer smells bad:

  • Using too much detergent
  • Washing with regular detergent in an HE washer
  • Lack of regular washer maintenance and cleaning

Our tips for how to clean a front load washer eliminate odor and are easy enough to be part of regular maintenance.

Front Load Washer Gasket Cleaning

A front load washer’s gasket provides an additional hiding spot for dirt and residue to harbor mold. Here’s how to clean mold from a front load washer gasket safely and effectively:

  1. Open the washer’s door and peel back the rubber gasket to reveal the interior
  2. Remove any visible objects like nails or paperclips that may be in the gasket
  3. Wipe away hair and dust with a damp cloth
  4. Spray the gasket with a commercial mildew cleaner or hot soapy water and wipe with a separate cloth. Repeat as needed.
  5. If black mildew spots remain, scrub the spots with a toothbrush dipped in a 10% bleach solution. You may need to wear gloves and a face mask when handling bleach.

front load washer smells bad

How to Clean a Washer Tub

Soap scum and residue can also form on the walls of your washer tub, creating a foul odor. Check your user manual to determine if your washer has a washer tub clean cycle and how it can be used.

If you don’t have a tub clean cycle, run an empty Heavy/Cotton wash cycle with 1-cup bleach or commercial tub cleaner.

How to Clean a Front Load Washer Filter

Most front load washers have a pump filter in the bottom right corner. This filter prevents dirt and small items from clogging the pump but a buildup of this debris can contribute to washer odor. Follow these steps to clean the filter and eliminate odor:

  1. Place a towel and bowl under the filter access door to catch spilling water
  2. With a screwdriver or small coin open the filter access door and pull down the pour spout
  3. Slowly turn the filter counterclockwise to remove
  4. Pull the filter out, allowing water to drain into bowl
  5. Remove any loose items or debris from the filter tray
  6. Slide filter back in place and turn clockwise until secure
  7. Flip up the pour spout and close the access door
how do I get my front load washer to stop smelling
Image from LG

How to Avoid Front Load Washer Smells

Some quick tips and simple adjustments to your laundry routine can go a long way in preventing front load washer odor:

  • Use HE detergent for an HE washer, following the recommended amounts on the detergent label
  • Wipe down the washer gasket after every wash cycle
  • Remove washed clothing as soon as a wash cycle ends
  • When the washer isn’t in use leave the door ajar to limit moisture

If your front load washer smells bad even after these tips then it may be time to consult a professional. Call Oak Valley Appliance to schedule an expert front load washer repair!

David lange

David Lange

In 1982 David went to work for his mom as a service technician and has been servicing appliances ever since. He is the owner of Oak Valley Appliance, an appliance repair company in Tehachapi, CA, with local techs also serving Lancaster, Ridgecrest, and surrounding areas.