When it comes to cleaning power and efficiency, front load washers have the advantage over their top-loading counterparts. But a front-loader’s tendency to develop odor is a smelly downside. Why does my front load washer stink? The enclosed washer drum and rubber gasket are favorite hiding spots for mold and mildew. Learn how to clean a front load washing machine and prevent odor with these maintenance tips.

Why Does My Front Load Washer Stink?
Here’s the What, Where & Why on Odor.

When your front load washer smells, exposing it to more water and detergent won’t solve the problem. Our step-by-step guide details how cleaning with the right methods and supplies is key to banishing odor and preventing its return. But, first, we’ll answer the question, “Why does my front load washer stink in the first place?”

What Causes Washing Machine Odor?

While these machines are highly efficient due to less water usage, less water also means that dirt and residue aren’t always rinsed away. These particles collect most frequently in the washer tub and rubber door gasket that provides a tight closure when the door is closed. In no time at all, smelly mold and mildew can develop in this warm, moist environment so your washer smells like rotten eggs.

The following user errors can also contribute to odor:

  • Adding too much detergent: An excess of detergent leaves behind suds that foster mold and mildew growth. Too many suds can even result in a leaky washing machine if they obstruct the drain pump filter.
  • Using the wrong detergent: HE washers, like all front loaders, require HE detergent that rinses away easily with few suds. Using regular detergent in an HE washer can cause excessive sudsing that develops mold and mildew.
  • Lack of maintenance: Failure to clean your washer regularly allows mold and mildew to multiply with each use.

So, how do I get my front load washer to stop smelling? Cleaning the gasket and tub with the following techniques and supplies can eliminate odor.

Clean Washing Machine Door Gasket

Cleaning front load washer components to eliminate odor starts with the door’s rubber gasket. Why does my front load washer stink if the gasket is dirty? Dirt, debris, and detergent residue often collect here and develop mold.

Here’s how to clean mold from a front load washer gasket:

  • Open the washer door and pull back the gasket so the interior is exposed.
  • Remove foreign objects like hair, paper clips or coins.
  • Spray the gasket with kitchen bleach spray. Let it sit, then give it a good scrub to ensure no bleach remains. Do not combine different products when cleaning the door seal.
  • To remove black mold spots, use the kitchen bleach spray and a toothbrush to scrub each spot.

We recommend following these maintenance tips as often as possible to reduce the potential for mildew growth. If a washer door gasket gets too moldy, it may not be salvageable and will have to be replaced.

Pro Tip: We recommend that you leave your front load washer door ajar after each cycle. This allows moisture to escape and is the best way to prevent mildew growth.

Clean Front Load Washer Drum

Why does my front load washer stink if the drum looks clean? While mold and mildew may not be seen, moisture in the drum fosters its rapid development.

how do i get my front load washer to stop smelling

Image from My Healthy Life

Follow these steps to clean a front load washer drum:

  • Add a commercial washer cleaner to the empty washer drum. Alternatively, you can make your own smelly washing machine home remedy. Sprinkle ⅓ cup baking soda in the washer drum and add 2 cups of white vinegar to the detergent tray.
  • If your washer has a self-clean setting, set the washer to that cycle. If not, select a regular wash setting with hot water and allow it to run to completion.
  • For persistent mold and mildew, add two cups of bleach to the bleach dispenser and run a second wash cycle. When the cycle ends, run a separate rinse cycle to remove any remnants of bleach.

Front Load Washer Odor Prevention Tips

Regular cleanings and the right use and care can keep the odor from returning.

These washer maintenance tips can prevent odor and extend the life of your washer:

  • Clean the tub and gasket monthly: Using a commercial washer tub cleaner like Affresh can ensure that mold and mildew are eliminated.
  • Use the right detergent in the right amounts: Always use HE detergent in a front load washer. Refer to the package instructions to ensure you use the right amount and measure accurately to avoid using too much or too little.

front load washer smells

Image from Reader’s Digest

  • Clean the gasket: Wiping down the gasket after each wash load will remove odor-causing dirt and debris.
  • Remove wet clothes promptly: Allowing wet clothes to linger in the washer fosters the development of mold and mildew.
  • Leave the washer door open: This allows for airflow that dries up moisture, inhibiting mold growth.

Does your washer smell even after a thorough cleaning? A professional eye may need to assess the problem. Schedule your front load washer repair with the experts at Cody’s Appliance Repair!