What to Do When Your Front Load Washer Smells Moldy

Front load washers have several benefits compared to their top-loading counterparts, specifically lower energy and water usage and even cleaner clothes. But if you own a front load washer long enough, you’ll discover one of it’s biggest drawbacks: moldy odor. We’ll detail how to clean the tub and gasket when your front load washer smells moldy, as well as how to prevent bad smells. 

Front Load Washer Smells Moldy?
Here’s How to Attack and Prevent Odor

Once odors sets in, targeting specific areas with the right cleaning techniques can make it disappear. These easy cleaning steps detail what to do when your front load washer smells moldy. But, first, knowing how odor originates can help solve the problem.

Why Does Your Washing Machine Smell Bad?

Compared to top-loading washers, a front load washer’s operation and design can facilitate mold development. The door’s rubber gasket can be a catchall for mold-breeding dirt and debris. Less water usage can also leave dirt and suds in the washer tub, promoting mold growth. Lastly, the following user errors can be responsible when a front load washer smells moldy:

  • Adding too much detergent
  • Using regular detergent in an HE washer
  • Keeping the washer door closed when it is not in use
  • A lack of regular cleaning

Once a moldy odor develops, cleaning the washer tub and gasket can help eliminate bad smells. Here’s how to clean both components with basic household ingredients.

How to Clean Your Washer Tub

When your front load washer smells moldy, we first suggest checking your user manual for cleaning instructions that may be specific to your model washer. If there are no specified cleaning methods, follow these steps to clean a smelly washer tub with baking soda and vinegar:

  1. Sprinkle ⅓ cup of baking soda inside the washer tub and close the door.
  2. Pour 2 cups of white vinegar in the detergent drawer.
  3. Set your washer to its Clean setting. If your machine doesn’t have this setting, use a regular wash cycle with hot water.

If your washer smells like mildew, bleach may be the best way to eliminate the odor. Pour 2 cups of bleach in the detergent compartment and run a regular wash cycle with hot water. Once the cycle is complete, run an empty rinse cycle to wash away any lingering bleach.

How to Clean Your Front Load Washer Gasket

The gasket can collect debris, suds, and dirt that can all contribute to moldy odor when your washer smells bad. Here’s how to clean a washing machine gasket quickly and easily:

  1. Open the washer door and peel back the gasket to expose the interior.
  2. Remove any visible objects such as hair, paper clips, or coins.
  3. Spray the gasket with hot, soapy water or a commercial mildew cleaner and wipe with a clean cloth.
  4. Scrub any black mold spots with a toothbrush dipped in a solution of 10% bleach.
front load washer smells moldy

Image: Live Well, Jess via YouTube

How to Prevent Odors

With regular maintenance and proper use, front load washer odor can be prevented. Follow these tips to keep odor at bay:

  • Use HE detergent with an HE washer to prevent an excess of suds that can breed mold.
  • Avoid using too much detergent. Refer to the package instructions and use the least recommended amount to limit oversudsing. 
  • Keep the washer door open when not in use so the tub stays as dry as possible.
  • Clean the gasket after each use and deep clean the washer tub on a monthly basis.

The washing machine experts at Dave Smith Appliance Services can answer any question. From a smelly washer to washing blankets with pet hair, call us for all your laundry appliance concerns!