How to Clean Your Smelly Front Load Washing Machine

June 1, 2015

clean your front load washer

As you already know, front load washers have a huge load of advantages over their top loading brethren (pun intended).

They’re much more energy efficient, more gentle on your clothes, reduce your drying times, and can save you a ton of space if you stack them.

But even with all those advantages there’s one complaint that gets people really riled up when it comes to their front load washing machines.

The smell.

Because no matter how energy efficient your washer is, if it stinks up your laundry room, you’re gonna hate it.

So today we’re going to show you a simple way to get rid of that smell coming from your front load washer and how to keep that smell from coming back.

 

Why does your front load washer smell?

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Around the door opening of all front load washers is a thick rubber seal (commonly called a door boot seal) that prevents water from leaking out the door.

Unfortunately, that seal is partly to blame for your washing machine smelling.

What happens is that some of the soapy water that cleans your clothes gets trapped in the seal.

And because that area of the washing machine is dark and usually damp, bacteria thrives in that environment, causing that musky smell that people complain so much about.

 

How to get rid of the smell

There are a few commercially made cleaners available like Affresh, but you can actually make an all natural cleaner yourself using just three really common household items.

Again, this solution is incredibly easy to do and will help get rid of that musky smell coming from your washer. You may have to repeat the process a couple of times depending on the condition of your washer but once it is clean, make sure to also read our prevention tips below so the problem doesn’t come back.

 

How To Clean Your Smelly Front Load Washing Machine (in 4 Easy Steps)

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

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  • 2 cups vinegar
  • 1/4 baking soda
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Scrub sponge

 

Here’s what to do:

  1. Mix the baking soda and water in a small bowl. Once the baking soda dissolves, pour it into the detergent container of your front load washer.
  2. Next, pour the vinegar inside the drum and set your washing machine water temperature to it’s highest setting.
  3. Run the washer on a complete cycle with the drum empty (except for the vinegar).
  4. Now this is where we let the washing machine do all the work while we sit back and relax.

  5. Once the cycle is finished, take your dry scrub sponge and wipe as much of the excess water as you can that’s stuck in the door boot.

**Notes:

  • If possible, leave the washer door open to let any remaining moisture in the washer, dry out.
  • Some sites say not to use vinegar in your washer because it is acidic. The majority of sites and people commenting are saying that they’ve had no problems though, even when adding vinegar to every wash load. We recommend cleaning your machine no more than once a month, but as always, follow at your own risk.

 

How To Prevent The Smell From Coming Back

 

  • persil-detergent-powder-50-loads

    Use High Efficiency (HE) Detergent. Using the wrong type of soap inside a front load washing machine is one of the worst things you can do in regards to having it smell.

    When you’re buying your detergent, just make sure the box says “HE”. Two of the more popular brands are Tide and Persil, although Persil is a little harder to find.

    Front load washing machines are designed to use a minimal amount of water – handy when you’re trying to use less water and less energy, not so handy when you’re trying to fully dissolve soap into the water.

    And because it can’t fully dissolve, it sticks to the inside of your front door seal, eventually causing your washer to smell.

    HE detergent is meant to work in these conditions. Since they’re low sudsing, they don’t need much water to dissolve and no soap residue gets left behind.

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  • persil label

    Use the manufacturer’s recommended amount of soap. Even if you do use HE soap, you can still run into problems if you put way too much of it.

    The problem with low-sudsing detergent is that it’s hard to visually see that it’s working. We’ve been conditioned by soap manufacturers to associate bubbles with soap, so if we don’t see those bubbles, we don’t think anything is getting cleaned. What happens then is that people put more soap than they need, just to make sure. Obvisouly this causes soap residue to get left behind, again eventually causing your washer to become smelly.

    To prevent this, just make sure you follow the soap manufacturer’s instructions and use the recommended amount of detergent for your wash cycle.

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  • 4be5bc34c0163269_P1150261.preview

    Wipe the door boot after every wash. As we mentioned above, make sure to wipe the front door boot after every wash. I recommend using a dry sponge so that you can reuse it but a paper towel works well too. Wipe as much of it as you can because the more moisture that gets left behind, the bigger the chance that your washer will smell.

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  • door_drum_washing_machine

    Leave the washer door open after a wash cycle. This is the simplest thing you can do, and it works. If you can air out the washer by leaving the door open, you should have no problems with a smelly washer. But if you have small children that could possibly climb inside your front load washer, you’ll want to keep the door shut and just wipe out the seal after every wash instead.

 

 

If you learned something from this post, can you do me a favor and share it on Facebook?

 

Scrubbi is a house cleaning service that cleans homes in major cities throughout Canada including Vancouver, Edmonton, Calgary, and Ottawa.

 

 

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