Cleaning Your Front Load Washer To Keep It Smelling Fresh

Have you recently noticed your washer is smelling a bit funky? Although your washer is designed to clean your clothes, we actually need to clean our washers to keep them in good condition.

If we skip basic maintenance such as cleaning, we are limiting the shelf-life of our appliances and may cause blockages later down the line.

Cleaning Your Front Load Washer To Keep It Smelling Fresh

Apart from keeping your washer in good condition, you also want to avoid your clothes coming out smelling damp. No matter how much detergent you add or the type of softener you include, your laundry will still smell damp if the machine itself isn’t cleaned. 

In this article, we are going to detail how to clean your front load washer and keep it in good working order for years to come. 

Before You Start

Remove any washing or debris that might be lurking around in the drum of your washer. Unplug the machine before you start to clean it as you want to avoid any buttons accidentally turning on just to be on the safe side.

Depending on how dirty the machine is, you may want to get some rubber gloves. 

What You’ll Need

For best results, make sure you have everything on this list before you start cleaning. There’s no need to waste money on expensive cleaning products when a few simple household items will do the job brilliantly.    

  • Clean cloths
  • White vinegar (distilled)
  • Unused spray bottle 
  • Water 
  • Soap (dish soap is fine)
  • Bucket or bowl

Cleaning A Front Load Washer

Cleaning A Front Load Washer

Remove The Gasket

The gasket is the elastomeric component that seals two or more mating surfaces. Basically, this is the big rubber ring that sits between the drum and the door of the machine.

Its purpose is to stop water from flowing out onto the floor when in use. You should be able to pry the gasket away with a flat-head screwdriver. 

Remove Any Clumps Or Debris

Once you can get a better look at the gasket, remove any hair or debris that has built up with a damp cloth. Mold and mildew can get clogged here which can make your clothes smell as well as hair and laundry detergent build-up which can influence the running of the machine.

As mold loves a warm and moist environment, it’s unsurprising that it builds up here. If you’ve never deep cleaned your washing machine before, you may be in for a bit of a shock. 

Clean The Gasket

If there is mold in the gasket then take an empty spray bottle and fill it with white vinegar. Spray this onto the mold and let it soak for an hour. Meanwhile, soak an old cloth in vinegar and place this inside the gasket to remove any mold in the folds. 

To generally clean a gasket and inside of the door, with no signs of mold, then dilute the vinegar in a spray bottle with 3 parts water to 1 part vinegar. Spray this on all the surface areas and wipe it down with a damp cloth. 

Cleaning The Soap Tray

The tray that we pour our detergent and fabric softener into also gets dirty. You may have noticed a build-up of powder if you use these products.

Typically, most trays should pop out with some gentle pressure. Look out for a release near the back of the tray, but this may depend on the model of the washer. 

 Using the vinegar and water spray solution, wipe down all the compartments of the soap tray. If you notice any mold then this needs to be killed to stop it from spreading.

Soaking the tray in half water, and half vinegar solution for up to a week is needed to kill all the mold. After this, wash with hot soapy water and return to the washer. 

Top tip: white vinegar with a 5% acidity is highly effective at killing mold. Bleach on the other hand only kills surface mold meaning the mold will grow back over time.

Cleaning The Washer Door

Once again, the white vinegar solution is the perfect product to clean the washer door. A simple wipe-down will remove any dirt or build-up quickly and easily. Make sure to get all the small crevices and hidden areas for effective cleaning. 

Cleaning The Filter

Washer filters are usually at the front of the machine, either in plain sight which can be easily removed or behind a kick-strip which should pop out with a little pressure.

When you’ve located the filter removes any debris and wipe away any dirt in the surrounding area. 

The filter itself can be pulled out and cleaned in a bowl of hot soapy water. Be careful as it still may contain liquid remnants. 

Cleaning The Washer Drum

Spray the white vinegar solution directly into the drum of the washer making sure to cover as much area as possible. After, thoroughly wipe down with a clean cloth.

Make sure you’re not using any cloths you’ve used to wipe down mold on any other areas of the machine to avoid spreading the mold to further areas. 

Time To Wash Away The Vinegar

To avoid your clothes smelling like vinegar for ages, it’s important to either run a cleaning cycle if your washer has one. If not, then choose the longest and hottest setting possible.

Both of the options require you to add a little vinegar in place of laundry detergent and complete the cycles. 

When the cycle is complete, wipe down everything with a new clean cloth or towel and leave the door slightly open to let everything air out and dry properly. 

Tips For Keeping Your Washing Machine Clean

Tips For Keeping Your Washing Machine Clean

Now your washing machine is looking as good as new and smelling as fresh as a daisy, you’ll want to keep it this way. Getting into the habit of good washing machine hygiene can save you time and money in the long run. 

These tips will help to prevent smells, mold, and mildew build-up in a front-loading washer.

Removing Clothes As Soon As Possible

When the cycle has ended, remove the clothes as soon as possible to prevent the moisture from staying trapped for too long in the machine.

For best practice, try not to put a wash on before leaving the house for an extended period of time. 

Leaving The Door Open

Many people do this anyway but leaving the door open after use can let the machine thoroughly dry out, preventing mold and mildew from growing. The more you leave the door open, the lesser the chance of bad smells coming from it. 

Wipe Down After Use

This can be a bit of an inconvenience, especially when we lead such busy lives, but it can make a real difference

Even if you don’t manage to wipe the machine down after every use, doing this once a week can keep the mold and mildew away for longer. Often, wiping down the door and drum is enough. 

Use The Proper Amount Of Detergent 

We tend to fill our washers with more detergent than we need and many of us are guilty of using the same amount of detergent regardless of the load size.

One or two lines full on a laundry cap should be enough to properly clean your clothes. 

Detergent Type

Single-use pods are optimal for use in front load machines as they are pre-measured, easy to use, and don’t rely on a specific water temperature to dissolve in.

Liquid detergent comes in second as there is less likelihood of buildup as it uses water as the main filler ingredient and dissolves easily in water regardless of temperature.  

Deep Clean Once A Month

Busier households that are doing more laundry will need to clean their washers more often. The suggested time between deep cleanings is one month.

If you aren’t cleaning between washes, then a monthly clean is important to keep the machine in good working order. Follow the simple steps above, including the plug and filter. 

Final Thoughts

Although front-load washers require more maintenance, they are more practical in the house as they can slide under countertops in the laundry room.

Creating sticky labels or notes in the room your washer is in can help to remind you of when the deep clean is required. Once you get into the routine, you’ll be surprised at what a difference it makes to your laundry!

We hope you found these simple tips useful and informative, giving you a better understanding of how to keep a front load washer clean and hygienic for the future. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Run Vinegar Through My Front Load Washer?

Yes, you can run white vinegar through a front-load washer. Pour one cup of distilled white vinegar into the detergent tray and run the washer on the hottest setting or cleaning setting if you have one.

Vinegar can also be sprayed into the drum and other areas of the washer. 

How Do I Get My Front Load Washer To Stop Smelling?

To stop bad smells coming from your front load washer, you need to practice good washer hygiene. This means you need to deep clean the washer once a month, including the trays and filters to remove any mold or mildew.

After a wash cycle, remove the contents as quickly as possible and leave the door open to let the inside dry out thoroughly.

Maisie Park