When front loaders first came on the market, people were impressed by their performance and energy-efficiency, but put off by the smell that eventually emanated from the washer. Unlike top loaders, where water will drain out of the bottom of the machine, front loaders have an issue with water collecting in the door area. Gravity won't drain this water away. Manufacturers have improved the design of the door gaskets in new models. These gaskets are not as likely to collect water. Newer models also often have a high temperature wash that is intended for self-cleaning. It's not for your laundry, just for cleaning the washer. These improvements have made it harder for mold to grow in front loading washing machines. However, you may have an older front-loader residing in your home. By making some small changes to your laundry routine, it's easy to maintain a fresher smelling washer.
Leave the door open when not in use
For those accustomed to top loaders, it may seem weird to leave a washer door open. However, leaving a front loading door open helps the water evaporate from its place in the door gasket. When the door is sealed, the water is pressed in right. When it's open, the water is exposed to the air and more likely to evaporate. Without as much water, it's harder for mold to grow.
Use the right amount of detergent
Front loaders are high efficiency and do not require much detergent. The motion of washing produces more suds than the standard top loader, so less soap is needed to make suds. Adding too much detergent is likely to leave a residue in the washer. This build-up of soap can make it easier for mold to grow. With the right amount of soap, your washer should not get this build-up of residue. Check your manufacturer's specification for details on how much detergent to add (or switch to high efficiency detergent if you have not yet).
Remove wet laundry immediately
One of the benefits of front loaders is that they spin clothes quickly, allowing them to dry faster in the dryer. However, the clothes at the end of the wash cycle are still wet. Removing them promptly will help to dry out the washer faster. Combine this practice with leaving the door open to quickly air dry your washer.
Even with these practices, sometimes washers might eventually start to smell. The solution is to run a hot cycle with no laundry. Instead, add some bleach or another approved cleaner. This solution emulates the high temperature wash cycles that are a feature on newer front loading washers.
Using these three tips should decrease the amount of times that you need to run a hot water cycle for cleaning. None of these methods require more effort or money invested, just an alteration to your standard laundary routine.
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