Getting the Smell Out of Your Front Loading Washer

Front load washing machines have increased in popularity over the years. Improvements in stability, along with energy, water, and space savings they offer, have made them a very appealing alternative to the traditional top-loading washing machine. The down-side of the front loading washer becomes more noticeable as time goes on: the smell.


Front loading washing machines are known for their moldy funk. It can range from mildly annoying to too strong to ignore, often leading those suffering to turn to professional help to remedy the problem.

The Real Problem

Just like with a lot of problems, the problem you experience is actually a symptom of a deeper problem. In this case, the smell that is coming from the washing machine is actually caused by mold and bacteria.


The root of the problem is actually our attitude regarding cleaning products: “more is better.” However, in high efficiency machines that are designed to use less water, the excess detergent and fabric softener may not be completed rinsed away. The oily detergent, with a warm and moist environment of the laundry closet, make a perfect atmosphere for mold and bacteria to grow.

The Real Fix

There are several things that you can do to eliminate the bacteria and the smell.


Make sure the laundry area is well-ventilated and dry. Decreasing moisture and warm, stagnant air will improve the situation. Turn on the exhaust fan if you have one, or have one installed. Also leave the washing machine door slightly ajar when not in use.

Use less detergent and fabric softener. Make sure to use detergents that are made for high efficiency machines and make sure you only use what is needed. Excess detergents, etc. won’t make clothes cleaner. In fact, it will just cost more money and add more residue to promote bacterial growth in the washer and drainage pipes.

Clean the door and gasket. Make it a habit to clean the door and the rubber seal. The bottom of the door often collects hair and lint and will allow bacteria to grow and allow the smell to persist even if you leave the door open to allow air to flow.

Add vinegar to your laundry solution. You can add several tablespoons of white vinegar to the bleach dispenser at the beginning of your laundry cycle. The vinegar will help kill the bacteria that cause the odor…it also helps to soften and brighten your clothes!

Run a cleaning cycle. Make sure there are no items in the washing machine. Fill both the detergent and bleach dispensers with bleach OR hydrogen perioxide (NOT both). Run a regular cycle with warm water. Dry the door and rubber gasket at the door when it is done.

Sunshine Fresh

Don’t let your smelly washer dampen your style this summer. Take care to care for your laundry area. Being mindful with the amount of detergent and taking care to eliminate excess moisture will keep your laundry room and washer happily unnoticeable to your nose.


If you are having trouble with your front-loading machine, try one of the tips above. If you problem persists, give us a call and we will help you out: 208-938-8009.


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