For years consumers and manufacturers have dealt with the ongoing complaint of front load washer smell. That smell is disgusting and if left untreated will leave clothes smelling like a dirty, musty rag. The causes of the smell are well documented and solutions to rid the washer of the smell are plentiful, to say the least.
Before taking drastic measures for a cure, consider first what the cause is. Typically, front load washers are better suited for the growth of mold and mildew simply because of their design. When the door is closed, the moist, humid air is trapped inside the machine together with the residual dirty water after the wash cycle. This creates a great breeding ground for mold. However, this fact alone shouldn’t make you afraid of owning a front load washer. Certain steps can and should be taken to minimize these effects.
Most of the mildew and mold forms in two places. First and most common is the gray seal or boot, around the opening of the washer. The boot usually has a fold to allow for movement of the tub assembly. It’s a good idea after every wash to use a rag with bleach and wipe off the boot, top and bottom and under the fold until it’s dry. Not only will doing this kill bacteria, but will prevent unsightly buildup on the boot.
Another area where mildew and mold like to hide is on the outside wall of the silver basket in the washer. Obviously you can’t reach it without disassembling the machine. The next best thing is use a washing machine cleaner with a citric acid base. The citric acid base is important because it can cut through the grime and buildup you can’t see and rinse it away. The weaker types use a form of baking soda and perfume but don’t come close to the performance of citric acid.
Air flow is vital
Fortunately, the majority of front load washers now have vents built into their tubs to provide a channel for fresh air to enter the machine. This by itself won’t help if you consistently shut the washer door after each cycle. Doing so prevents all-important air flow through the machine that helps dry out the interior.
Leave that door open!
This might be a problem in a tight space, but in a front load washer it’s crucial. If the door on your machine won’t stay at least partially open on its own, then devise something that will keep it open when you’re not using it.
Clean your machine often
Newer washers include a cleaning cycle that should be used at least once a month. More if necessary. Again, use a cleaner designed for washers and with a citric acid base. Cleaning your machine needs to become habit; the sooner the better. If your machine already smells, combatting it with a citric acid base cleaner is your only hope at this point, short of replacing the machine. Multiple applications of the cleaner might do the job for you. Always remember to do a full rinse and spin cycle between applications to prevent clogging the drain pump with all the dirty buildup removed during cleaning.