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how to clean front load washer

Monthly Maintenance Guide: How to Clean Front-Load Washers

Over the past few years, front-loading washers and dryers have become almost as common as the top-loading configuration. Front-loading washers are known for their energy efficiency and ability to use gravity to thoroughly clean clothes. However, front load washers require a bit more cleaning and maintenance compared to top-loaders. If you’ve been wondering how to clean front load washers, or how to get the washer mildew smell out of your clean clothes, follow this guide once a month, every month.

Smelly or Leaky: How to Clean Front Load Washers

Front-load washers, also known as HE (high-efficiency), are notorious for having issues with leaking and/or with bad washer smells in clean clothes. Luckily, with monthly front load washer cleaning, these problems can be easily kept at bay. Let’s review the reasons why your washer smells bad, and the steps of front load washer maintenance.

Why Does My Front Load Washer Smell Bad?

Bad odors can develop in front load washers due to the combination of warm water, debris from dirty clothes, washer mildew, and bacteria growth. Oftentimes, these washer smells can smell worse than the original dirty laundry! The bacteria and microorganisms thrive in this moist, warm environment.

Washer smells go hand-in-hand with front load washer leaks. The same gunk that builds up and causes smells can also cause your HE washer to leak water. Perform the following steps to help prevent a smelly, leaky washer. Grab a pair of rubber gloves and let’s start cleaning!

Step 1- Clean the Door and Gasket

First, mix a cleaning solution composed of 3/4 cup bleach in 1 cup of warm water. Dip a soft washcloth into this cleaning solution, and thoroughly clean the glass door of your front load washer. Make sure to clean the front, back, and inside of the door thoroughly.

front load washer cleaning

Once the door is squeaky clean, leave it open and allow it to dry. Move on to cleaning the gasket, which is a rubber seal that encircles the opening of the washtub. Mold, mildew, and bacteria often hide out around and inside of the gasket. Removing this gunk is key to front load washer cleaning. Using your cloth and bleach cleaning solution, thoroughly clean out the interior and exterior of the gasket.

Step 2- Clean the Front Load Washer Filter

Are your clean clothes still soaked in water after your front load washer has completed the spin cycle? This is a red flag that your filter needs to be cleaned. The same gunk that gets into the gasket can also clog the washer filter, resulting in water not draining correctly or completely. Before continuing, make sure to unplug your washer.

washer smells

Locate the access door to the pump. Before opening it, place some towels underneath to absorb any excess water that drains. Remove the filter and allow any trapped water to drain out. Thoroughly soak it in your cleaning solution. To help remove stubborn stuck-on debris, use a soft brush, like an old toothbrush, to scrub the filter clean. Using the rag, clean the access door and filter trap before replacing the filter.

If you have any questions or have trouble locating your pump filter, refer to your owner’s manual for more brand-specific instructions.

Step 3- Clean the Detergent Tray

Next, we will review how to clean front load washer detergent tray. Build up of detergent and fabric softener can accumulate in the detergent tray over time, causing inconsistent wash cycles and leaks if not properly cleaned. To clean, locate the detergent drawer and open it. Remove all possible dispenser parts and soak in hot soapy water. Some deposits and buildups may be especially stubborn to remove, and an old toothbrush may come in handy to scrub the tray clean. Once clean, put aside to dry. Meanwhile, clean the detergent drawer within the washer with your cleaning solution and rag to rid it of any build-up and debris it may contain. Reinstall the detergent tray and components.

Step 4- Clean the Washer Drum

Finally, you will need to wash the washer drum, where you generally place the clothes. That same stinky gunk that makes your washer smell bad can build up underneath and inside the drum, causing your clean clothes to smell less-than-fresh. Washer mildew also likes to hide out in these nooks-and-crannies. For proper HE washer maintenance, the drum should be thoroughly cleaned.

Photo Credit: Affresh on Amazon

If your washer drum hasn’t been cleaned in a while or smells particularly bad, we recommend purchasing Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner. To use, make sure your washer does not have any clothes or items inside of it. Place one of these tablets inside of the drum, and run a “clean washer” cycle. Allow the front-load washer to complete the entire cleaning cycle. This can be repeated up to another three times, using a new tablet each time, until your drum no longer has a lingering odor.

To prevent future odors from accumulating, run a cleaning cycle with a tablet once a month, every month, or if your HE washer smells begin to develop sooner.

If you own a front-load washing machine or are considering purchasing one, it’s important that you know how to clean front load washers to keep it running smoothly, without leaks or odd odors from developing. If a leak develops, or your washing machine malfunctions despite proper front load washer maintenance, it may be time to call in an expert. We guarantee 100% customer satisfaction, and our professional appliance repair technicians can get your washer up and running fast. Call or book an appointment with us today!

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