Removing Mildew & Mold Smell from Front Loader Washers
Recently we started noticing a mildew / mold smell in our laundry room. It didn’t take long for me to realize that our new (6 months ago) Kenmore Elite Front Load Washing Machine was the cause of the problem.
After doing some quick research we quickly realized that the benefits of front loading washers come at a price and that’s a potential mold and mildew problem. There’s a significant design difference between the old conventional top loading washers and the new front loaders. That difference is in the door, the older top loaders have a metal door that’s closes but not tightly, while the new front loaders seal to an air and water tight seal.
The fact that front loading washers have a door that seals tightly against air and water is a huge problem when you think about mold and mildew. Closing a sealed door to a machine that’s damp and wet, especially in the warmer summer months, creates an environment ripe for mold and mildew to grow.
How To Prevent Mold & Mildew Smells In Front Loading Washers
After lots of research and discussions with quite a few front load washer owners it’s obvious that steps must be taken to prevent the growth of mold and mildew. If you own a front-loading washing machine then you should take the following steps on a regular basis.
- Wipe Down Door and Gasket – After using your washing machine it’s important to use a clean towel to wipe off the inside of the washers door and heavy rubber door gasket. This is one of the primary areas for mold and mildew to start growing. This task can be done after the last load of wash before the machine is to sit for more than a few hours.
- Leave Door Open – One of the best ways to stop mold and mildew from growing is by leaving the washer’s door slightly open between washes. This allows air to enter the washer and help dry out the drum and internal parts.
- Use Correct Amount Of Soap – Another common problem is using too much soap. Front-loading washers require far less soap than their older top loading relatives. Excess soap can also lead to mold and mildew problems.
How To Remove Mold & Mildew Smell from Front-Loading Washing Machines
If your washer already smells like mold and mildew then it’s time to do some cleaning! We recently cleaned ours by first hand cleaning the rubber gasket with mold detergent. Next we ran the washing machine on a special “Clean Washer” cycle. The washer’s operating manual suggests running that cycle with “bleach only”.
If that approach doesn’t work you may need to have an appliance repair person come to your home. They may need to take apart the washer and clean some of the areas behind the drum where mold and mildew may have accumulated. If you’re comfortable with this type of task you may be able to do it yourself. However, special care should be taken to prevent both injury to yourself and damage to the washer.
There are lots of products on the market now being sold to help with the problem. Some of them include:
If you have any tips on this problem we’d love to have you share them in the comments below.