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There's now 300 helpful comments from readers on how to get rid of your smelly washer mold problems on this earlier post. Some give instructions on how to get to hard-to-clean washer parts. This is a hot topic with many consumers who have left comments on my earlier post. And for good reason. They are trying to find a solution to the mold in their front-load washers.

Many thanks to Barry C. (comment 13) who gave directions on how to clean out the washer mold and to all the others who have either added to his instructions or offered helpful tips and alerted readers to this problem. Several people have taken Barry's advice and found a resolution, albeit a temporary one. Yes, unfortunately mold will more than likely recur.

This is such a serious issue and this mold problem is not unique to a particular washer brand. It seems to be occurring in several brands of frontloading high efficiency washers. Why? There are many factors that can cause mold to grow in some low-water high-efficiency washers.

My tips on Caring for Your Front-Load Washer and Preventing Mold will help you understand why mold is occurring and how you can reduce this risk with a little preventative maintenance.

How do you know if you have mold in your front-load washer? Does your washload have an unpleasant odor? Do your towels smell moldy or smell like stinky feet? If your answer is yes, you may already have a mold build-up in your washer. If your washer is still under warranty, call for servicing. If it is not, see how other readers have dealt with this smelly washer syndrome. Has anyone reported their moldy washer as an unsafe product to the CPSC?

I appreciate all the comments that have been left - keep them coming - they're helping. Please leave your comment below to keep the discussion going - it's helpful to readers. Thanks so much!

Update: July 2013: See my Washer Fan Review - it's the only permanent fix for washer mold in front load washers. The Washer Fan is now available for front load as well as non-vented top load washers.

Comments

November 19, 2008 at 12:44 am
(1) Anna says:

Honestly we have never had this problem. My mother had one of the first front loaders out there and ran it for at least 15 years before it died. She then got the Maytag Neptune and after she died I inherited it. I have never had a problem with it smelling. I am single now, kids are grown and gone and I do maybe 2 loads a week. BUT I never close the door all the way. Every repair man I have ever had says to never close the lid, even on a top loader. My clothes don’t stink unless I forget them in the washer for a couple days in the summer. It is pretty much a no brainer, its a washer! It is WET !!! Wet = Mold if you close the door and no air gets in. Leave the door open and see if it gets better. You don’t have to leave it open all the way just part way.

December 6, 2008 at 11:31 pm
(2) Brad says:

Anna is exactly right. The simplest solution is to leave the door open for a time to allow any remaining moisture in the drum to evaporate.

I would also add that cold water washes should be kept to a minimum. Ditch the liquid detergents and fabric softeners, as these simply leave behind build-up that will allow mold to accumulate.

December 18, 2008 at 5:36 pm
(3) Laura says:

Yeah, leaving the washer door open is really safe with pets and small children with something that can seal up and suffocate them.

January 28, 2009 at 7:14 pm
(4) Jimmy says:

Yea cause we all know how washers are air tight. Also any pet that can shut the door behing itself I want to see. Ha Ha. Better chance of getting a nice bath and a headache than running out of air.

February 21, 2009 at 6:08 pm
(5) Rick says:

We developed a severe cash of moldy smell in our Whirlpool Duet. We tried numerous fixes, but the one that solved the problem was to run a load (no clothes)using “Simple Green” and very hot water. Simple Green is available from any big box store for around $10/gal. The problem is solved. Try it you won’t be disappointed.

March 12, 2009 at 7:08 pm
(6) Tanya says:

I leave my front load washer door open ALL the time and it still smells like mold is in there. Open or closed, some of the brands just have that tendency I guess.

June 25, 2009 at 11:17 pm
(7) judy says:

I’ve had a Duet for 3 years before experiencing the mildew smell. I always kept the door ajar, and used the recommended amount of detergent. When googling for a ‘cure’ I saw a posting reminding me of a monthly care & maintenance procedure (pg.18) involving bleach and a series of settings. I was floored at the amount of suds that were produced without any detergent. After the first maintenance procedure I did not notice an odor but ran it through a second time to get rid of the excess suds, ‘for good measure’. So far, so good. I will be diligent about the monthly bleach maintenance and hope it continues to do the trick.

July 31, 2009 at 8:50 pm
(8) Pete says:

Laura watch your kids like all good moms should. Please post any pics of the pets getting in and closing the door behind them! With that paranoia you must be a republican.

September 16, 2009 at 12:03 pm
(9) Sunrise says:

Pete and Jimmy, think for a minute please, because if you have more than one child or more than one pet then you would easily understand the perils of that door being open.

That aside, I thoroughly REGRET ever buying a front-load washer … the smell, the mold … these machines have serious issues :(

September 16, 2009 at 3:57 pm
(10) SANDY says:

You guys are kind of funny, that aside, I don’t have any mold issues with my new Sears model but with the Neptune I sure did. Doesn anyone have problems with what looks like small stains on any cotton items they wash, every load I have to re-wash at least 1 or 2 items?? Can’t figure this out.

October 11, 2009 at 3:31 pm
(11) Paul Flynn says:

Mold or mildew odor in a clothes washer is caused by
1. Overuse of detergent is the most common cause.
Generally speaking we’re only washing sweat or perfume from clothing following amount directions is not a good idea. Especially when water quality is good there’s no reason to use more than a tbsp of any detergent.
2. Fabric softener is dispensed in the rinse cycle and will coat the inside of the outer tub with residue that is a food source for mold to grow. Dryer sheets or even dryer balls are better options.
3. Using only cold water for washing is fine but makes preventative maintenance very important. A weekly hot soak will accumulated residue.

Do a search to “remove washer odor” to read how big the problem is. There are all natural cleaners that will also remove mildew smell from towels.

October 12, 2009 at 11:53 am
(12) Peggy says:

I wipe the tub dry when I am finished washing, spray well with a disinfecatant spray and then remove the detergent dispenser and leave it out until I want to wash clothes again. This seems to work for me and I do not have to leave the door ajar.

October 24, 2009 at 2:52 pm
(13) MELISSA says:

Mariette,

Your suggestion to send customer’s to the manufacturer to take care of a “mold” problem while the machine is under warranty is an incorrect one. I have had a manufacturer that would cover mold even if developed in the machine during the first year of use. They consider this use and care and will ALWAYS deny the claim.

Thanks!
Melissa

November 7, 2009 at 11:58 am
(14) Ray says:

Ah, to go back to the good ole days of “The Scrub Board”
We’ll stick with our down to earth top load machine. Sometimes ego stinks

December 4, 2009 at 5:17 pm
(15) Peter says:

http://www.accidentsplanet.com/2009/02/4-year-old-girl-dies-inside-washing.html

Here is a link for the person who said a child can’t get trapped in an open front loader….Enough said for the Republican comment…and front loaders stink!

December 5, 2009 at 10:23 am
(16) Ingrid says:

after using vinegar, bleach and baking soda, separately, I finally put an open can of coffee in the laundry room to knock down the intense odor. Its only a cover up till the rubber gasket is replaced, but better than mold. I have used this technique before in musty closets

December 24, 2009 at 2:31 pm
(17) Tish says:

Having a washer/dryer door open is a legitimate concern when toddlers are in the home. It is unrealistic to expect “good moms” to hover over children like shadows. Tragedies can happen in seconds. That’s why fences are put around home swimming pools.
Stereotyping and hatred of Republicans is the latest fashionable form of bigotry.

January 5, 2010 at 12:38 am
(18) Leah says:

We have never closed the door on our front load washer after doing a load….not once. And we still have a horrible build up of mold. My husband and I have been smelling mold out of the laundry room for awhile and were unable to locate the source – I had never heard of front loading washers building up mold and it never occured to me to check there. Now I know where the mold smell is coming from and I’m praying we can fix it because it’s been making me sick.

February 16, 2010 at 12:37 pm
(19) scoopet says:

This is the first I am hearing about a mold problem in front load washers! I am building a new home and just placed an order for a front load washer/dryer. It sounds like their is more maintanance post-wash than I care to do. Why would I buy a washing machine that may make my clothes smell worse after they have been washed. I don’t want my laundry room to stink either. Somebody advise me to go back to the regular style before I make a wrong choice – if you had to buy it again would you?!?!?

February 16, 2010 at 11:08 pm
(20) Eileen says:

Never! Been there, done all the handy tips to avoid problems. Bottom line, do not frustrate your self with spending lots of money with the new fad “upgrade” Mold is toxic and can not be avoided with these machines. Mine is being removed and I will deal with going to the laundry mat until I can afford the ”old fashioned” kind.

February 17, 2010 at 7:33 pm
(21) casey says:

I would DEFINITELY buy a front loader again, despite the nasty mold smell I’m experiencing with the used fridgedare I recently bought. I’ve used mostly front loaders through my life, and I can surely say that they clean clothes MUCH better, with less wear and tear. On top of that, using much much less water and detergent will save you money in the long run. And it seems only certain models have this problem, my mother has used front loaders since before I was around, and she’s never had this issue. I’ll try the empty bleach run a few times a year, and leaving the door open, and I imagine this will fix the problem… not too much extra work from my perspective. (and I don’t see how this is a political issue, it’s simply fronting the money for a better machine that will pay for itself in time. My very republican grandmother used front loaders since I could remember!) Chances are you’ll love your new washer and never want to go back to a top loader.

February 18, 2010 at 10:57 am
(22) jayne says:

After reading all the horrific stories, i just could not take it! no wonder we been sneezing and having headaches that just wount go away! why is the stuff made after its known to cause serious health issues?

i have had an LG front load for over two years now, started the mold problems a couple of months ago. I just called my dealer here in Kenya and they told me that they normally service the appliances once a year (does servicing help?) free of charge…phew. Big relief. I could not imagine getting another washer at this time when my budget is stretched to limits.

has anyone tried using GNLDs G1 laundry? after the servicing am ganna switch to it coz the stuff is free rinse, no residue.

February 24, 2010 at 8:42 pm
(23) Christy says:

Hi, I got a great deal on my front loader set. 600 for both from sears on black friday. I have 6 children and am constantly doing laundry. Normally 4 loads a day. I’m a fanatic about clean sheets. I make my own laundry detergent from a family recipe and i’m starting to wonder if that is causing the mold spots on the rubber gasket. I’ve cleaned it with the clorox bleach pen, and its faded a little, but it always comes back. I have no issues with the clothes smelling like mold, and I try not to leave them over night. My water and electric bill is so much less since I got them, and they clean the clothes really well, I’m just concerned about the mold and it progressing. I even run a hot bleach load every few weeks just to try to get them to go away. I’ve recently started to dry the rubber off after the last night load, so it can air out over night. Its not getting worse, but its still visible in the cracks. I never knew that it would accumulate mold spots. Now its been just over a year since i’ve had it, so my warranty is probably no good any longer. Is it possible to just get the rubber replaced? If so I can wait a little longer until it becomes an issue and replace that piece. I’m just not in the mood to purchace a whole new washer… Btw I love my front load. Top loads waste water, and take forever!

March 4, 2010 at 8:37 pm
(24) Amy says:

I have owned one of the first front loader washers for many years. I never had a problem with mold or smelly clothes UNTIL I moved to my apartment. I have lived in several states before this. Now I can’t get the smell out unless I use Tide’s front loader washer cleaner once a week. I know it is NOT my washer. I have kept my door closed all these years. I know for a fact it has to be the water in this area. I lived in humid as well as dry climates with no problem until I moved here. All my friends complain of the same problem in this area. Wonder what is in the water here that is causing the problem.

March 13, 2010 at 7:26 pm
(25) Barbara says:

I had moldy smell that didn’t go away with bleach, etc. Then I remembered an experience I had a number of years ago where I actually burned out my pump. The drain hose has to have that crook at the top and not to be too tight fitting. You can be sucking drain water back up, which I think I’ve been doing. Moved the hose, restored the “crook” and the smell seems to be gonel

April 15, 2010 at 6:46 pm
(26) e says:

so lets get back on subject here…. yes leaving the door open helps, yes its not the ideal plan, for cats pet birds or kids, or whatever else could possibly sneak into your open front loader…..SO, leaving the door open to air dry and using a “washer cleaner” work well even running a hot bleach load every week is a good idea, BUT, this needs to be done from day one, those of us that have front loaders that are 2 or 3 years old that have an actual mold problem, not just a smell, bleach and cleaners dont work… so dont bother.. the real issue here is the poor design of the door gasket, you would be suprised to see the gunk and water that it holds once you pull it back, and THAT amount of water and crap doesnt just dry itself by leaving the door open, and mold starts in and under the gasket, and you dont see it untill its too late, best case scenerio… have the gasket replaced, or if you think you can get it out.. and im not suggesting that unless your sure you want to embark on that adventure…pull it out and scrub it.. very hard when its in the washer… and when its reinstalled, start from scratch by using the monthly cleaners, and after your last load stuff an old towel or some paper towels between the gasket flaps to soak up the water also for those of you uneasy about leaving the door open, but a box of baking soda or a packet of that moisture absorber that you put in your closets, inside and shut it for the night.. but make sure to take it out when your ready to use again

May 4, 2010 at 4:36 pm
(27) Kate says:

Has anyone else tried the “Simple Green” that was suggested by Rick last February?

May 18, 2010 at 8:05 pm
(28) Tina Jones says:

I have had a musty moldy smell in my Maytag front loader, for about 1 year, and cant get rid of it. I use the sanitizing wash cycle weekly, and use Assure tablets often, even bleach with the sanitizing wash cycle, and still cant get rid of it. I do leave the door open whenever I can. But it dont work. I think I will try the simple green….???

May 24, 2010 at 7:12 pm
(29) Jennifer says:

I have a Kenmore Oasis HE top loading machine that I loathe! After a year, I noticed that my laundry room smelled horrible when the washer began filling up. I used the washer cleaner tablets sold at Sears, and they did help, but only for a short time. I also leave the lid open. I am very disappointed with the cleaning action of this washer. My clothes are dingy, my whites are gray, and sweaty clothes never smell clean. I miss the days when my clothes floated freely in hot soapy water, didn’t end up in knots, and actually looked and smelled clean. By the way, I have found my dog in the washer several times. Apparently, it’s her safe place during storms. I just hope she doesn’t learn to close the lid.

June 22, 2010 at 12:26 pm
(30) Drew says:

I was looking for the solution to the smell for my washer and seen the comments about leaving your washer door open in regards to kids and pets. I too leave my door open and have kids. Some tricks to that are shut room doors, put up gates, educate your children and best of all WATCH YOUR KIDS! It is tragic that the child had to die due to the stupidity of an adult.

June 22, 2010 at 5:55 pm
(31) Deby says:

My front load washer from Sears stinks. The Towels stink. I use Oder Ban from Sams in with the detergent. This seems to help. And….I have seen a child put a puppy in the washer……..and shut the door, so the pet didn’t shut the door the toddler did. It happened in a flash while I was folding clothes right beside the washer.

July 16, 2010 at 8:40 am
(32) Mikey says:

My Frigidiare Front loader is GUARANTEED to smell like mold/mildew if I use the soap dispenser. Once I started to put the soap in a cup directly in the tub with the clothes, the smell went away, never to come back again…been at least 2 years now. My guess is that it’s a bad design of the soap delivery system…

September 9, 2010 at 3:21 am
(33) Marie says:

I have had a front loading Whirlpool duet for 6 years now and have never had a mildew odor. I leave the door open and occasionally forget my clothes in there for a few days. Next time I need a new washer I would buy another Whirlpool front loader.

September 20, 2010 at 11:55 am
(34) eric says:

I have LG front loading washer for 6 years and first two years the washer and towels occassionally had moldy smell. I did some experiments and learned clothes especially jeans and heavy towels do not wash well if they are stuffed fully into machine. When washing heavy towels, I load up to three quarters of the drum/tub, and use highest amount of detergent allowed and half a cup of baking soda (made for laundry). Every month or two I add washing machine cleaner detergent and run through a cycle. Keep the door open wide at all times when not in use. Ever since no moldy smell were detected on towels and inside drum.

September 23, 2010 at 10:47 pm
(35) jardin says:

We have owned three front load washers and we haven’t had mold but some water is left in the folded gasket. I use a HE eco friendly soap, and very little of it. I sometimes put vinegar in the wash with cold water. That may help. I always leave the door open as I would in the top loaders. Don’t use so much soap when washing. I think they do a great job cleaning and are very frugal with water.

September 25, 2010 at 8:50 pm
(36) Ashley says:

After reading the useful comments, off subject comments, and down right comments I went downstairs to my smelly fridgedar front loader and inspected. I always leave door wide open, I do monthly cleansing, and I’m prob. Guilty of using too much todo and softener. Anyway, I took out the dispenser and looked way back and saw very gag worthy black mold (smelly culprit number one). Then I inspected the rubbery band around the drum and pulled and inspected folds. Again, very gag worthy black mold all around the band hidden in the folds (smelly culprit number two). The bleach is setting now doing it’s job and I will eventually run a few cleansing loads… Good bye smelly!

September 26, 2010 at 10:22 am
(37) Tina says:

I have the same problem. I renovated my basement and bought a new front load washer. My basement now smells moldy and it never did before. My towels and face cloths stink and my whites are never white. Stains don’t come out with shout it out. I only use a teaspoon of soap and I have tried vinegar in the wash and I always leave the door open and clean it once a month. I wipe out the big rubber ring and I always tought it was a poor design. I wash my whites on the whitest white cycle so they come clean and it has to run for 2 hours so what is the point of high efficiency, less water?? They still smell and never come out white enough. I want my old 15 year old ringer washer back. There was nothing wrong with it. Has anybody ever tried to be compensated or return their washer to Sears?

October 5, 2010 at 9:40 am
(38) Luci says:

A family member left clothes in the washer and had to take a trip. she called me 4 days later in the evening and told me about this, I know that clothes left in the washer start to smell from mold growth, so that evening I opened the washer and stuck a cup of Borax somewhat diluted onto the clothes and then rewashed them using the sanitizing mode. I checked them the next morning and the smell has gone. To be on the safe side I will be running a wash cycle using Borax again without clothes. I do not know if it matters but we use the eco friendly detergent.

October 13, 2010 at 11:20 pm
(39) JIM says:

I’m a single man that does about 2-3 loads of laundry every 10-14 days. Occasionally some light weight quilts. My current Whirlpool is about 18 yrs old with no problems and still is functioning. Today I looked at a top loader Whirlpool Cabrio 4.3 cu ft. with 7.2 Cu ft dryer..it’s HUGE btw. total cost about $1200 with tax, 12 months, 0% available. Reading about HE required detergent and such, and the potential with mold which I had NEVER heard of, is making me have second thoughts. Any of you laundry experts have any thoughts ? A waste of money given that it’s just one person? Wait until the old one goes kaput ? Any comments appreciated.

December 4, 2010 at 10:52 pm
(40) Christy says:

I purchased LG front loaders after moving into our new home mainly because of the cost savings on detergent and water, ect. I HATE THEM! They always smell and I do the rinse with bleach and it still does not help in the long run. I would not recommend anyone to purchase these units. I have three toddlers and do tons of laundry and I m seriously considering taking a loss on selling them and going back to the simple GE or Whirlpool washer/dryer. My mom has had the same washer/dryer for 20 years and clothes are always fresh and the laundry room doesn’t stink. I hold my nose when I open my washer. Anyone that has ever used it when visiting has made comments about the smell. To all the smarty pants suggesting that leaving the door open is practical or gating off the room and any other non-sense solution to keeping your children and pets safe, has apparently forgotten how quick and crafty kids can be, as I have found all three of my children hiding in the washer and dryer on more than one occassion. Is is not a safe solution and further more who puts in their advertisements…”great washer but you have to leave the doors open or you will get mold build up” To Jim….stay with the washer you have, you WILL be disappointed in the front loaders and they are way over- rated. This is one time I should have listened to my husband, but what did he know, he doesn’t do laundry…ha, ha!

December 11, 2010 at 7:30 am
(41) Doug Rucker says:

The smell comes from water that is allowed to sit in the thick rubber gasket that seals the door. The gasket is a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Took us 2 years to figure it out. We have a product that kills the mold and mildew, and removes the odor instantly. This product is CERTIFIED GREEN and can also be sprayed on your towels and clothing to remove the odor from them. First 10 people to ask will recieve a free sample. Go to cleanandgreensolutions.com and fill out the contacts page.

January 3, 2011 at 12:23 pm
(42) Margaret says:

I bought the Kenmore front load washer and dryer two years ago and never had a problem. I don’t leave the door open after each use. I only leave the door open after I run the “clean machine” cycle. I do use fabric softener with my towels. My husband has not smelled anything either and we stuck our heads inside just to be sure after reading all the comments.

I am not sure why some would smell and others don’t other then maybe it is the water. My sister lives in Texas and she said she never drinks the water due to the smell.

January 18, 2011 at 12:02 am
(43) sandra says:

I ONCE WANTED A FRONT LOAD WASHER AND AFTER READING ALL COMMENTS I COULD FINE ABOUT THEM, SAMSUNG , WHIRLPOOL, ELECTROLUX, GE, ETC. I FEEL THAT IF YOU WANT TO WASH YOUR CLOTHES YOU HAVE GOT TO HAVE WATER,. MORE THAN A THIRD. I AM FOR GOING GREEN BUT GOD GAVE US WATER, MAN CANNOT MAKE IT, WE CAN WASTE IT BUT HE ALWAYS GIVE US WATER BACK. WE NEED TO CONSERVE AS MUCH AS WE CAN BUT WE NEED TO WASH OUR CLOTHES CLEAN. NO MOLD NO STINKY ODOR BUT FRESH CLEAN CLOTHES . IT SOUNDS LIKE IT JUST COST TO MUCH JUST TO BUY IT AND THEN GET DETERGENTS TO CLEAN YOUR CLOTHES AND MORE CHEMICALS TO CLEAN YOUR LAUNDRY MACHINE STINKY ORDORS . NO THANKS TO THESE FRONT LOAD MACHINE. PEOPLE WAKE UP!

February 1, 2011 at 4:10 pm
(44) Chardonay says:

I have wanted a new washer for years. My washer now even though it looks like new on the outside, the inside holes grab the little hooks from your bra, the dryer grabs the metal grommet button on your jeans, and the new ones just look so ‘purdy’ I wanted the front load, with the pedestal for keeping all my ‘stuff’ in.. I had/have it narrowed down to an LG or a Samsung, but the last thing I want is a smell I can’t get rid of. Leaving the door open, takes away the visual end of the set. And a bad smell.. well let’s not go there.. just another dilemma to obsess over.

March 28, 2011 at 9:57 pm
(45) Sandra says:

Don’t do it – walk away – it’s a scam!

Not only the smell, the $ – replacing that molding big rubber seal cost almost another $400 for parts and labor. I cleaned it, I bleached it, I wiped it – IT STINKS!! My clothes make me sneeze, I had to buy an air purifier because of my allergies. Now it’s been several months since I replaced the gasket, and guess what IT SILL STINKS!! My towels and sweaty clothes from workouts still stink after washing them. You know it’s a scam when new products have to be invented cover up the smells and clean the molds because of this ‘new and improved’ washer – Febreeze must be raking in the money! It’s a piece of crap- I’m going back to an old machine style where you can use more than a tablespoon of water to wash a load of clothes, and I didn’t have to worry about mold!

April 4, 2011 at 12:33 am
(46) robin says:

I have a wirlpool front load and it also has that bad smell. I finally figured a way to keep that from happening. One year later and my clothes still smell great. I put my detergant and diluted bleach(when needed) directly into the drum and aways leaving the door open after use. I do not have to wipe it dry. Give it a try,I am sure this will make you very happy.

April 20, 2011 at 2:29 am
(47) Leah says:

I posted on this over a year ago, you’ll see me up there – Leah, posted in Jan of 2010. I cleaned our washer with Affresh washer cleaner and I scrubbed the rubber seal to death since that is where the visible mold was. I could never get all the mold out of the rubber seal, not even with straight bleach. But the washer seemed to smell much better. I regularly wiped out the rubber seal to discourage new mold from growing (I never saw any new mold after that, either). I kept up with regular maintenance on my machine per the manufacture instructions. I never closed the door, cleaned monthly on the ‘clean washer’ cycle with bleach (sometimes more than monthly, I go through a lot of laundry so I figured I should), and I also never again ran a load of clothing with cold water unless I absolutely had no choice because of the fabric type.

Then we started cloth diapering about 5 months ago recently I decided I couldn’t take the washer anymore because it was incapable of cleaning my diapers thoroughly no matter what type or brand of detergent I used. We replaced it with a used TLing machine that is in excellent condition. I didn’t know we had a mold problem still in our washer until it was gone. I walk into the laundry room and I’m blown away by how wonderful it smells in there – except it doesn’t smell like anything. It smells like water and clean clothes.

I have felt pretty horrible for the last 6 months or so and both my kids have been fighting the never ending cold from hell which has led my son to have recurrent ear infections and now we are facing the possibility of tubes. Ever since the washer has been gone I feel like a new person. I can breathe for the first time in ages. I feel stupid for not realizing it was the washer but I was taking care of it exactly how my manual said to.

Our water bill is likely going to double but the truth is that it’s a small price to pay to not be sick anymore. I will never buy another front loading machine again.

May 13, 2011 at 8:35 am
(48) norma says:

hi i have had the same problem the way i have solved it as follows set washer on 90 temp add 2 washing poder tablets and set washer on , you may need to do this three time but my washer now smell nice and fresh this would work just as good with washing powder . I am never using liquid washing power again if this is what it does to you washer

May 19, 2011 at 5:50 pm
(49) codenameGirl says:

I bought a used front loader washing maching that had mold buildup all around the seal/bellows. I tried Clorox Clean-up, Bleach straight, vinegar, etc… A friend of mine told me to make a paste with SHOCK for a pool. I did and lathered it on and within 10 mins it was totally gone!! I just ran a cycle so hope it gets into the hoses and cleans them out too!

June 21, 2011 at 1:36 am
(50) jt says:

Leaving the door open is for people who think it does something for them. Total fantasy. LG had a bad door design and fixed it with a new one and you can keep your door closed.

GE on the other hand has not only a door problem but a pump one as well, that they will not recognize, and after spending $1000,00+ they tell the mindless masses to opens doors, wipe gaskets after every wash as well as clean pump and filter out. Then when you do all that they want to sell you their new smell cleaner tablets that once a month does nothing but poorly mask the problem for a wash or two.

Well after all the extra washing cleaning and other things you have to do. Would’nt it be simpler to buy a top load washer, and only wash your clothes when you need to without all the ridiculous maintenance, that does you no good anyway.

So after all is said and done, there are defective manufactured front loaders out there that are just plain not going to work without major overhaul. And the manufacurers are not ever going to do anything, because no one really will do a class action effectively to get you a new machine.

So accept that you have been taken, bite the bullet, and get a top loader from anyone but Maytag, GE or LG, why support the idiots who screw us on these things.

June 22, 2011 at 9:16 am
(51) John says:

Why don’t towels ever stink after washing them at the laundry mat .Our duet pair are about 5 months old and my wife leaves the washer door ajar .I paid over 2 grand for the pair .Piss poor design!

June 29, 2011 at 9:09 pm
(52) Sandra Diaz says:

I only have a problem with my heavy duty towels. I only use very heavy, high quality towels. They NEVER come out smelling fresh like my old top loader. I will never recommend an HE Front side loader to anyone. In fact… I will never purchase one again. I am 45 years old, have been washing clothes since I was 7 years old, and worked in a Dry Cleaners. I know how to do laundry!!! In fact, most my friends always ask how I get my clothes so white. They don’t anymore since I got my HE front end loader. Big, huge, gastronomical waste of money. I am soooo dissatisfied with it. FYI… It is a WHIRLPOOOL, DUET STEAM, ENERGY STAR, very expensive, top of the line machine.

July 7, 2011 at 10:30 pm
(53) Carol says:

My Front load washer leaves stains on my clothes, towels, sheets,…..repair man said too much soap down to less than a teaspoon and my sons brand new hollister shirts all yellow stained. All done with front load something is not right with these machines

July 8, 2011 at 1:08 am
(54) Bobbi says:

I was thinking about getting a front load washer because I have kiddos and I was told they work better than they old washer. So I told my dad that I wanted a front load washer and he told me not to do it. He told me that they mold really bad…I thought he was crazy. Well now I know he isn’t and I’m not gonna buy one.

Mold is so dangerous. We moved from an apartment that had a mold problem in the basement. My boys pediatrician told me it could take years for us to recover from the mold exposer. I don’t want to put my family through that. Thanks to everyone who shared their problems.

July 12, 2011 at 11:55 pm
(55) Linderlou says:

I have a Bosch front loader about 7 years old now, and it’s been “smelly” for the past 18 months and getting worse.
When the washer is draining, we can smell a bad sewage smell. I’ve tryed two different front loader cleaning products with no success. We’ve replaced the drain hose, which was loaded with soap scum buildup so bad, it couldn’t be cleaned out. We also removed the U drain trap and cleaned that out. I always dry the door gasget and leave my washer door wide open, along with drying and leaving open the soap dispenser compartment. We have also cleaned out the pump underneath, but still cannot remove the odor. My odor is clearly not mold, but sewage…nasty. I guess the only thing left is to have a drain company come out and professionally clean the drainage pipes.

July 20, 2011 at 6:38 pm
(56) Per-Ola says:

This is bordering on funny…

“Horizontally rotating” washers have been around since the day of dawn in Europe. First as top loaders (NOT the same as an American “top loader”), and for the past 40+ years or so, as Front Loaders.

Mold problems are totally non-existing. I used a top loader in Dallas for a few years, and got so tired of never getting stuff properly cleaned, getting shirts tangled together as long ropes, never getting the wash to run hot (hot being 60C = 140F), never getting enough rinses ( therefore leaving laundry detergent left in the cloths, bad for anyone, toxic for someone with allergies), never getting the spin cycle to be fast enough so stuff is almost dry when it comes out of the washer (reducing the time in the dryer).

I did what anyone sane would do. I plunked down a chunk of change for a Swedish front loader, and that machine has now been running for over 13 years. Apart from solving the a/m mentioned short comings, it NEVER needs any bleach, does not need a hot water hook-up, uses very little water overall, and provides for much more “agitating” of the clothes than a top loader that is essentially just a dinosaur with a back-and-forth shaking motion.

Although it took me a few months to convince my wife, but even she now readily will acknowledge that these (European) machines are far superior compared to the dinosaurs of (old) top-loading (American) washing machines.

A laundromat might be using front loaders, but in running a full cycle in about 20-25 minutes, they will not provide you with any clean laundry. A good (full) wash cycle lasts normally a bit over an hour. Hence, do not judge a front loader by anything you see in a laundromat (if anyone now would do that), or get sold on brands that advertises “rapidĒ wash cycles. Cleaning, but more importantly rinsing, does take time.

July 20, 2011 at 6:39 pm
(57) Per-Ola says:

The “technology” of “horizontally rotating” drums in a washing machine is simply far superior, and with a family with more cats and dogs than we can count, I have never heard of anyone accidentally trapping an animal inside the drum of a front loader. I have on the other hand seen dogs falling into the “barrel” of top loaders, but that is likely more of an exception than anything else.

If you guys are getting mold in your washers, you are not;

1) using them correctly,
2) not using warm enough water (you need an INTERNAL water heater to provide for hot cycles, not just “fill” it with hot water that starts to drop in temperature immediately), 3) are still left in the old days when natural resources were just to be used w/o any consideration of the environmental impacts.

I repeat here again: No need to use bleach, and no need to use any “cleaning” cycles to “clean” the washer inside. What needs to be cleaned, just like on any washer, is the trap that prevents objects (nails, coins, keys, etc) from getting into the pump.

July 20, 2011 at 6:50 pm
(58) Per-Ola says:

n this case, don’t buy “American”. Buy something that has been working for eons: ASKO (Cylinda), Electrolux, Bosch, Miele, Zanuzzi, Philips, etc.

And a nicely designed/engineered machine does not need to have a humongous drum to have good capacity. The large drums is a result of poor efficiency, and people are just buying “big” because they do not know any better. No, save your $$$, and invest them in a machine that will serve you at least 20 years. And forget all the modern marketing gimmicks as “steam cycle”, rapid cycle, etc.

Machine needs to support the following:
*HOT and VERY HOT (as in 90C or 200F) in addition to cold cycles (this can only be achieved by an internal water heater)
*Spincycles with high RPMs, like 1,400 rpm and higher to ensure that stuff really dries out as much as possible
*Several rinses with cold water, preferably 5-7 rinses
*Spinning between programs (reduces the amount of water needed to rinse out grime and detergent)
*Wool cycle for delicates

August 15, 2011 at 1:14 pm
(59) housewares says:

I’ve posted this comment on both washer mold discussions.
Thanks again for all your helpful tips. After six years of averting the smelly washer syndrome, it has hit our household. My Whirlpool Sport was emitting a mold smell and washload was very smelly, even with my usually good preventative care. I had slacked off a wee bit on care. So it can happen to anyone.

I took Barry’s advice (13) and took the front panel off. Found a few little things in there (obviously missed some pocket debris), lots of gunk and of course black mold too.

To add to Barry’s instructions, the screen and cap assembly comes apart and there was more mold inside of there. The soap dispenser also has several parts that can be cleaned and reassembled easily – more mold there.

On the inside of the front panel we found a taped on instruction sheet which should be kept there for Whirlpool technicians. However, it had more concise care info that was not included in the manual. So you may want to have a read if you have one of those tech sheets tucked in there.

I’ll proceed with a full machine cleaning with 2/3′s cup of bleach and hope that the mold monster retreats. But lesson learned, you CANNOT slack off on the machine cleaning, leaving door open and cutting down on soap, etc. I plan on changing from liquid to powder Tide Free, next time I shop.

See my full tips on preventing washer mold.

Please keep comments and helpful tips coming – this is a recurring problem for some and advice is most appreciated.

September 15, 2011 at 12:45 pm
(60) Ellen Fuller says:

As I sit here with tears streaming down my face from laughing at all the comments regarding smelly clothes, I have finally come to the realization that I will be replacing my attractive Whirpool Duet washer. I am on my 5th set of towels and wash cloths since purchasing this washer. Last night we did a search of the house looking for something one of the dogs mights have left for us or for a dead animal in the garage. We were finally led to the laundry room and straight to the washer. During the time I have owned this washer I have used Afresh, pulled out the soap dispenser on a regular basis and sprayed bleach and scrubbed it with a toothbrush, bleached the gasket, cleaned around the edge of the gasket, replaced the gasket, taken the bottom panel off and looked for standing water (there was none). I went on Comsumer Reports to do some research on top loading washers before making another purchase. I looked at the front loading washer ratings only to find out that my Whirpool Duet is the top rated washer! How funny is that? I am tired of having to explain to our guests why our towels smell like we dried them without washing them. My big question now is what do I do with the washer? I am thinking about giving it to my friend that owns a dog grooming business. Maybe the dogs won’t mind the smell!

September 21, 2011 at 12:01 am
(61) Jen K. says:

Ellen, I hope you haven’t gotten rid of your Duet yet. There is a simple solution to the stinky front loader problem. I’ve had my Duet almost 8 years. When it was a couple of years old I started noticing the smell of mold on our laundry and inside of the washer. After trying all kinds of ways to get the smell out and doing some internet research I found a solution that worked and have never had the problem again.
I took the front panel off of the washer and cleaned out the drain 9see your owners manual) and then switched from HE liquid detergent to HE powdered detergent (I use Tide) Also, I’ve never used fabric softner in the machine again, instead, I use white vinegar. Every load for the past 5 years has been clean and smelled fresh! If you read the manual, I bet it recommends powder, liquids (detergents and fabric softeners) have fats in them that the washer can’t flush out so they just hang out in the drain, under the wash tub, getting nasty!
Good luck!

October 16, 2011 at 8:30 am
(62) Angie says:

I really do not understand how front loading washers can be called energy efficient when:

1. I need to purchase laundry detergent that is more expensive than top loading detergent.

2. I need to purchase cleaning products to clean the machine, which I never in the entire time of owning a top loader needed to do.

3. Run the washer on hot water cycle in order to reduce the chance of mold, when I only used the cold cycle on my top loaders, unless it was bedding.

4. The cost of running the machine extra times to clean it or re wash clothing that came out with an odor.

5. Have the machine running on the heavy duty cycle, which is 1 hour 30 mins, just so the clothes come out clean, and still do not have food on them. This only took 30-40 mins on my old top loaders.

6. Spend time worrying about drying out the machine after each use, especially since I have children who also use it and do not dry it out after each use, unless I follow behind them.

7. Sending my comforter to be dry cleaned since it will not properly fit in the washer or dryer, and only half of it comes out clean when I do wash it in the washer. (I have the second largest capacity washer available by Samsung).

Oh there are so many other problems I could probably write a book, I am at my breaking point of replacing them with the old fashioned top loader! I think the saying goes “If it ain’t broke, why fix it?” Exactly, I fell in to the trap of “needing” them, because they are “energy efficient”, and look so pretty sitting in my laundry room! Thousands of dollars later this is what I realize

It is NOT user error, this washing machine is meant to wash clothing and save us money, not create more problems and hassles. As a full time working mom of 3, my time is valuable, so dealing with such problems is just not realistic.

October 30, 2011 at 1:48 am
(63) Brandy says:

I have had a front loader for the past 15 years. I love it. Since I moved to No. Cal. I have noticed that the washer does have a smell. I will try the ideas given. Just wiping it will help greatly. I will also use a

December 5, 2011 at 7:59 am
(64) sandy says:

I’ve had a LG FL washer for years. Any off smells have stemmed from stuff making it’s way into the drain at the bottom of the machine. Small pebbles, etc… Chemical cleaning will not get rid of solids. As for maintenance, dry the seals at the end of the day, no fabric softner ever, powder detergent. If using liquid put it in with the clothes. Leave the dispenser drawer open a tad at the end of the day as well. If your laundry room has no airflow put a fan in there occasionally. My washer does not have a heater and I average 5 loads a day. 1 tbsp of detergent is not enough! Use enough to clean your clothes and the residue from the washer. Run extra rinse on all loads to help flush buildup in washer. The mildew didn’t get there overnight and it won’t go away overnight. Continuing the same habits will cause the same problems no matter how well the machine is cleaned out.

January 17, 2012 at 1:55 pm
(65) Thomas Steel says:

I worked as an appliance repair technician and ran across this complaint constantly about front load washing machines. This is my second idea submission and Iím trying to get a little help getting it off the ground. So, please check out my much needed product and leave me some feed back.

Thanks!

http://www.quirky.com/ideations/158694

January 22, 2012 at 11:56 am
(66) tiffed says:

Too many jokers in here. If you don’t experience the problem yourself you have no right to comment, you have no idea what its like and you obviously don’t have a washer that has this problem.

It’s like a non-smoker talking to a smoker about best ways to quit. You just don’t get it.

Save the space for real solutions.

February 7, 2012 at 11:29 am
(67) Barb says:

I, my daughter and sister have had front loading machines (Kenmore) for years. We have never had any odour problems with these machines AND never leave the doors open. My sister and I probably use tour washers once a week.

I though my neighbour was overreacting when she said she would never buy a front loader because of the odour problems her friends were having. It looks as if a lot of people do have this problem….hope I never do!

February 19, 2012 at 10:47 am
(68) bsw says:

refrigerator child safety lock is great for front loader washers to keep it ajar safely. I don’t have small children but the laundry room is small area and a passageway to the garage so I can’t leave the door open.

April 13, 2012 at 9:51 pm
(69) santa fe says:

I have read these comments and those on other sites. I take care of the tub odor by running the hot water + bleach cycle every month or so and make sure the lower lip of the door gasket doesn’t have gunk trapped in the drain holes

The biggest culprit for odor is the tray for the dergent / bleach / fabric softener. On my Kenmore from 2007, the odor became a problem after a year of operation. I found the tray and the cavity full of the black mold hoard. Normal bleach didn’t touch it. At Menards, I found a product in a 1 quart spray bottle called “MoldControl” by a Canadian company Concrobium. Following the directions which said to soak the area and let it dry completely and then spray it again, the black mold washed away completely, both on the tray and in the cavity. The product says that it leaves a film that is prevents mold re-growth. I leave the tray in the sink to dry between washing sessions and apply the MoldControl once a month or as needed. This process has completely taken care of the smell and the mold.

I also read about the switch from liquid to powder detergent. I will try that to see if it extends the time between the bleach cycles. I have tried dryer sheets and the stuff left on the clothes causes my wife to break out so I will stick with the liquid form of softener.

Except for the problems described above and replacing a tub bearing that went bad, the machine has been fairly problem free. I think I wiil check the top loading machines when it comes time to replace this one, which replaced a top loading Kenmore.

May 1, 2012 at 12:13 pm
(70) Brian says:

We have had the same stinking washer problem with our top loading washer. We tried most of the cleaning techniques talked about here. Finally after a bit if troubleshooting I removed the soap & fabric softener dispensers. Both were full of very nasty mold. I cleaned both and reinstalled. My wife now places the detergent and softener directly in the tub and the problem has not returned now for several years. I would take a close look at the dispenser systems and see if they may be contributing to the problem.

May 5, 2012 at 3:36 am
(71) Deidre says:

I spoke to a man who fixes appliances and is very reliable. I tried what he said for about a month and no more smells from my washer.
First run a cycle w/ 3 cups of bleach in the hottest water. Leave door open to dry. Next day run a cycle with 1/2 gallon of vinegar, again in the hottest water. NOW HERE’S THE IMPORTANT PART. He asked me what detergent and fabric softener do I use. When I told him Costco brand detergent and Downey fabric softener, he explained to me about animal based products producing mold after longtime use. I have switched to all PLANT BASED WASHING PRODUCTS. I now use Next Generation detergent and fabric softener, but there are many others out there on the market. Since switching about a month ago and first cleaning my machine with the bleach and vinegar I have had NO MORE SMELLS FROM MY MACHINE. I don’t usually post things but this was worth it and I really want others to please try it. I tell you it has worked for me. My laundry room smells so much better.

May 30, 2012 at 12:07 pm
(72) Tammy says:

This is scary! I wonder if the mold will wash through onto the clothes and be harmful. We have a Kenmore 5T Steam Washer. I haven’t noticed any black in the rubber gasket inside the washer. I have found pink growth which I’ve cleaned. My concern is in the section where the detergent goes. There are little black specks like someone took a pencil and started putting dots all through it. Is that mold? My husband thought it was from the tie-dye shirts we washed, but I cleaned it throughly and it’s reappeared I’m thinking of calling Kenmore and seeing if I can get a replacement dispenser…

June 3, 2012 at 6:46 pm
(73) paul flynn says:

Mold in washing machines does transfer to towels and clothing. This mold affects more sensitive people and can cause skin and respiratory problems.

For persistent or returning mold odor the “splash area” above the normal waterline where suds and soiled water splash up and don’t get rinsed out is invariably the area of heaviest concentration.

The best way to clean it is to soak a full load of towels with Smelly Washer Cleaner. The added bulk of the towels raises the soaking water level to include the splash area.

To compare washer cleaners do an internet search for “smelly washer versus affresh”

June 6, 2012 at 1:03 pm
(74) Never MY fault I guess says:

Your front load washers all came with owner’s manuals that advised you to thoroughly dry the rubber boot at the door as well as maintain your machine with regular cleanings. Most machines also advise to leave the door and the detergent door open. If you didn’t read the instructions on how to care for your machine I have a hard time feeling sorry for you. If you have done all of the maintenance from day 1 and still have a problem, then you can blame the manufacturer.
Front loading machines are more work in a simple maintenance point of view, but they provide a superior clean and significant water and power savings.
Small children and animals are a REAL concern with front loading machines. Stop telling people they just need to watch their children. Remember when you were young? I would guess you found your way into mischief no matter how well your parents were watching. There are child-safety locks on the market. They are inexpensive, and safely hold your door open a crack so that it cannot be opened more or closed completely.

June 12, 2012 at 9:11 am
(75) Debbie says:

If you are afraid of leaving your door open, it is understandable. I would have a door put on the laundry room, with a latch high enough so that children can’t reach. Those old enough to understand, the parents need to educate and let them know it is not a toy. It is a machine that is very powerful and can be hurt them. As for pets they may be able to crawl in, but doubtful they will be able to turn it on or close the door behind them. Those doors sometimes take some force to close. And you don’t need to leave the door wide open. A crack is all you need. And if you can’t or are still afraid of leaving it open, then just use the Simply Green. Leaves a nice fresh scent.

June 17, 2012 at 2:28 pm
(76) Rich says:

Our front loader has been great. Keep in mind that over the lifetime you are saving tremendous amount of energy with reduced hot water use as well as super spin to reduce drying time. Top loaders are getting better so worth a check to see how they are comparing.
Regarding mold – 1) overuse of detergent has been main culprit causing sudsing to accumulate on the entry gasket. this needs to be manually cleaned 2) definately leave the door open after use, and control access to room for kids/pets (works for both dems and repubs….) 3) use a non-toxic all natural bleach with hot water a couple times over the summer – this has kept mold at bay. Would definately buy again!

July 5, 2012 at 5:21 pm
(77) Wendy says:

I dump in a Cup EACH of Bleach/ Simple Green/ Greased Lightning
Put the washer on Hot…Lasts about 3 months. I have kept both doors for the detergent and the tub open since day 1 of use…. and If I don’t do the clean.. the clothes smell nasty even with He Tide and sheet fabric softeners.

July 14, 2012 at 6:59 pm
(78) Amy says:

I have a front loader. I too had the smell. I preferred not to leave the door open for several reasons. Then my neighbor and I decided to figure out a solution. We did, and we invented BluDri. It is a moisture absorber for the front load washing. The problem with the front load washer is that the remaining moisture inside of it is the perfect environment for mildew growth. Reduce the moisture and reduce the mildew and the smell. Check it out at Bludri.com.

July 21, 2012 at 3:00 pm
(79) Holly says:

Simple, get a top loader. No mold. Cheaper, and you can throw in that towel you forgot about after you start the machine. I love mine and it does use less water than older models, and also uses HE detergent. Don’t be romanced by companies trying to sell you a “cool’ new over-priced MOLDY product!

August 12, 2012 at 9:51 pm
(80) housewares says:

There’s now a permanent fix for washer mold – WasherFan – Watch the YouTube Video. It’s a little fan that you install easily on the back of your washer and it keeps air circulating to keep humidity down. This will solve your washer mold problems.
I have installed one on my Whirlpool Duet Sport Washer and the laundry now smells clean like it should. Other products are simply cleaners for the washing machine and will not solve the mold problem that is occurring in many front load washers. Read my WasherFan review for more information.

August 17, 2012 at 11:25 am
(81) Drailed says:

Well we got rooked thought we upgrade to energy efficent washer, well we save money with but, the health hazard these front load machines cause is not worth the any savings, our children have been very sick due to the mold and mildew that is produced by these faulty designed machines, further more the amount of cleaning required, maintenance, leaving the door open, and all the other BS a consumer has to go through with this product did we save anything at the end of the DAY? ? ? Or did we creat and real health hazard here that needs to be corrected A.S.A.P.

August 26, 2012 at 7:02 am
(82) Scottie says:

Hi guys all we have is front loading machine here in the UK. Ok, you can buy top loaders but there a few and far between. I understand the HE front loaders are a new kind of model to all you guys as you have had top loader for so long.

I am a 31 yr old guy and have never had the problems you are experiencing, My mother has as she only ever used liquid detergent and kept the door closed. Wrong!! Liquid detergent is only good for coloured clothing as it contains no bleach. If you use Laundry Powder for Whites and wash them on the highest temperature with or without the extra rinse button and not over filled, only ever fill your washing machine to just over 3/4 so that the clothes are free to tumble. Washing powder or tablets contain bleach and will not only keep your whites WHITE it will also keep your machine clean and mold free. I use liquid for colors and powder for Whites. I have had my Bosch HE washing machine for 6 years now with no problems.

Remember google liquid detergents contain no bleach? You will get all the answers you need. Hence why your white turn yellow or grey.

I hope this helps guys.

Poor baking soda and Vinegar into the drum and set on the hottest wash possible this is how i got rid of the smell in my mothers machine, years ago and she still has the same machine and now use powder detergent.

August 26, 2012 at 7:07 am
(83) Scottie says:

Here you go guys..

I hope this helps you.

http://www.washerhelp.co.uk/washing_machine_detergent.html

August 29, 2012 at 2:36 pm
(84) Tech Mann says:

The issue of smell in a front loader is common in north america.
Consider the europeans have been using these machines for over 60 years without this problem and you should immediately see that it is something or things we are doing wrong.

The smell is caused by the breakdown of organic materials inside the bucket (the tub that holds the water) and outside the wash basket (the part that the clothes are held in). These are areas that you can’t see or get to clean directly without dismantling the whole machine.

August 29, 2012 at 2:37 pm
(85) Tech Mann says:

Leaving the washer door open can certainly help since it gives the machine a chance to dry out the mould. the machine then has a chance of getting rid of it. Specific conditions in the room may not allow the humidity to completely dry so it might not work in all cases. Some homes have the washing machine in a high traffic area and having the door open simply will not work.

Cold water washing is a huge culprit. Marketing from soap manufacturers tells us how much energy we can save by washing in cold water. The problem there is that the HE (High Efficiency) detergents used in front load washers is enzyme based and the enzymes are inert until the water exceeds 69 degrees (F) so despite the marketing hype, cold water washing simply does not work. It also means that organic matter builds up in the areas you can’t see or get to for cleaning. This rots in the humid environment of the machine and causes the problem. Use warm water wash. It is cool enough to be safe with wools and cottons plus it will not fade colours.

Many new washers have a ‘Sanitize’ setting. It uses it’s own internal water heater to ensure proper wash temperatures and give you the optimum cleaning. Technically yes, it does use a little bit of power to do this but the results are vastly better and the extra power used is less than $5 per year, money well spent. Many machines with the Sanitize setting also have a self cleaning cycle (under various names) that heats the water to over 170 degrees. This quite effectively kills off the causes of the smells and can radically reduce any germs.

August 30, 2012 at 12:43 pm
(86) Simon says:

We have had the same issue with a smelly front-load washer from Sears. We tried all the usual fixes to no avail. The simple fix is to stop using liquid soap and softener. We are using an All natural powder product called EchoClean and the clothes are now fresh with no moldy smell. Seems like the liquid detergents are the culprits.

Cheers,

Simon

September 10, 2012 at 8:44 pm
(87) daniel says:

I recently purchased a used front load washer and dryer set. The set was being sold because of the washer’s pervasive moldy smell. After reading up on this, I went to clean the door seal on the washer. There really was very little to clean. However, underneath the seal at the bottom of the door were SEVEN old socks. Who knows how long these had been there? This is a common problem but not mentioned in the manual, that items can become trapped beneath the seal. I’m sure these trapped items are the source of many of these machines having a “moldy” odor! ;-)

September 21, 2012 at 6:25 pm
(88) Helen says:

Bought a Maytag 3000 Series 2 years ago. The smell is overwhelming. I have used the “cleaning tablets” – total scam… I have sprayed the gasket with straight Clorox, and have also realized that there is water inside the DOOR! I will never – ever – buy a front load machine again. Complete waste of money – and as bad as I hate to do laundry – it makes the chore completely insufferable!

October 8, 2012 at 4:33 pm
(89) wendy says:

Okay, so I’ve had a “smelly washer” for many, many months now. I’ve tried vinegar, baking soda, boiling hot water, sanitizing cycles, “smelly washer” enzymes, bleach…yada, yada …nothing worked. The smell had become so bad that the entry to the basement and the room above the basement wash room now smelled like mold. I thought the entire basement was full of mold and I was in a panic over it. This past weekend I had had enough we went ot Home Depot and ordered a new washer, I saw a large jug of “Simple Green” on sale and decided to bring it home for cleaning. We scheduled the new washer delivery for a week from Saturday 10/6/12 and went home.

As a last ditch effort I did a search online to see if I could find a few other ideas for fixes-I can across something about Simple Green and how it worked to cure one persons moldy front loader. I had just bought a jug so I tried it. LOW AND BEHOLD IT WORKED! It actually worked. I filled the detergent bin, softener bin and bleach bin with the stuff and ran a sanitize cycle. For the first time in nearly a year the mold smell was gone from my laundry room AND from the inside of the washer itself.

I’ve now re-washed everything in my house and the mold smell is gone. I am so freakin relieved! I can’t believe it.

For anyone who has a serious mold problem please try Simple Green, I found it at Home Depot, I’m sure you can find it online. It will work. A large jug for $8.88 saved us the purchase of a $1000.00 high efficiency washer (not another front loader). Thank you Simple Green and I hope this helps someone else. :) Good luck.

October 24, 2012 at 7:17 am
(90) Robin G says:

I Got rid of the STINK!!! YES!!!

I stopped using the soap dispenser. I put my soaps right in the drum then add my clothes. Of course I stil leave the door open. The smell is GONE. I know sounds silly, what could this have to do with the mold smell? I don’t know, but if you have tired everything else, what’s the harm in trying this?

November 9, 2012 at 12:59 am
(91) FMG says:

I notice commercial washers donít have this problem; they lack rubber gaskets just inside the doors, and never produce smelly laundry.

Why can’t they employ the same design to consumer models?

January 9, 2013 at 11:49 pm
(92) Tracy says:

For what ever reason my washer stopped smelling after 4 1/2 years when I moved to another house, same town. I truly believe it was due to the position of the drain hose. Give it a try. Pull it out of the machine and smell. Mine was horrendous. Once the water drained better, no more smell. Could this really be the problem? Before all my clothes & towels stunk terribly.

January 27, 2013 at 5:12 am
(93) Ann says:

Never had s problem. Never use softener. Always use household vinegar in the softener draw. Leaves clothes and machine smelling fresh! Leave door open.

June 29, 2013 at 8:35 pm
(94) Karen says:

I had a mold issue and only a musty smell with my towels. I was searching the Internet for a solution and came upon a guy who used SHOCK for pools to clean his mold. After having already trying bleach, vinegar, etc I thought why not try shock I will only be out about $4 if it doesn’t work. Rather than the repair cost for anew boot that has already been replaced once. To my surprise, the SHOCK worked. The black mold is now a light tan color and wipes right off. I only used 1/2 cup, that I put in the drum and started the longest and hottest wash cycle. I followed this up with a short cycle of vinegar. I will be using SHOCK Ono a regular basis to keep the mold in check.

July 5, 2013 at 9:12 pm
(95) Sue says:

I am so thankful that I just purchased today a Speed Queen TL conventional washing machine and did not opt for one of the fancy front loading, bells and whistles, pretty color front load machines. I have read enough and heard enough about these washers becoming moldy to stop me dead in my tracks. I am allergic to mold. Had I not quickly done some research when my nearly 20 year old Maytag died yesterday, I could have easily purchased some mold for my home. No one should be tasked with having to find a solution to remove mold from a clothes washer like this, and having to obtain a new job of cleaning the very appliance that is supposed to be used to clean your clothes. Sounds like buying one of these is buying yourself a whole new cleaning job. And regarding the top loading HE’s that may or may not clean your clothes–I have to wonder where common sense has gone to with laundry appliances. I just want to do my laundry, like my old Maytag did successfully for many a year. And I never had to clean mold out of it once and only had it repaired once.

July 15, 2013 at 12:09 pm
(96) Linda says:

I have had my Whirlpool duet steam machines for about 5 1/2 years and love them. They use less water and detergent, are much gentler on your clothing and i can wash small area carpets that would normally fall apart in a top load washer. I have never had a problem with odors in them and I do use the sanitize cycle (when the reminder lite comes on) when necessary. I use very little hot water loads and can say it is an awesome pair of appliances. you must sanitize from day one and cannot fix the problem as well if you try to correct it later. Leaving the door open isnt’ any more dangerous than leaving your toilet seat up?? How many of us have had toddlers manage to drown themselves or our pets in that? For heavens sake people common sense and watch your children.

July 19, 2013 at 9:24 pm
(97) Sally says:

I also use the sanitize cycle on my Duet and have never had a problem. Currently, I am not where I can check out leaving the door open, but can you do that without the light being on all the time? I asked a neighbor to go in and open the door on my Duet and she reported that the bulb came on and stayed on with the likely result that the bulb would burn out. Since I will be gone for several months, I did not want to chance that–especially since I had never had the mold problem.
Suggestions??

August 5, 2013 at 11:03 pm
(98) Dani says:

We have had a Maytag front load set since we got married and I hate it. It smells, it eats clothes and it doesn’t just walk, it runs across the floor.
We have checked it for level and it’s perfect, I have tried small loads and large loads and it makes no difference, it still walks. Also the spin cycle is crazy loud no matter what setting we use besides no spin.

The smell has been there since the first month, we always leave the door open when it’s not in use and we do the regular recommended clean cycle, nothing helps.

No matter what size of load something is always getting shredded.

We are in the process of moving and will be going back to top load.

August 20, 2013 at 2:37 pm
(99) Shan says:

I have an LG front load washer…by the end of the second month of owning it, I noticed the “barf” smell if our laundry wasn’t removed immediately after the cycle finished – we actually joked about how whoever had laundry in would keep running to the basement so we could get the clothes out immediately – I thought that the smell was nasty but at least none of our teenagers left their clothes in the washer anymore. Fast Forward to 2 years later, multiple washer cleanings, never closing the door, bleaching inside and out and wiping the inside of the door and the gasket after each use…Still need to run to basement to insure we don’t have the “barf” smell and my towels stink after they get wet after 1 shower – my husband took my washer apart to repair an issue and we were absolutely horrified to see the amount of black mold throughout the entire unit, it makes my skin crawl to see what has been “cleaning” my laundry all this time.

August 27, 2013 at 5:27 pm
(100) Tonya says:

Okay so let me preface this by saying this is my second front load washing machine. My first one was a LG 3.9 cf that we bought 10 years ago in 2003. I remember having the disgusting smell of “stank” on my clothes but my towels were the worst.

Fast forward, I kept using the stinky machine and couldn’t find a solution to my problem. The machine finally started sounding like a train was coming through our house when it started on the spin cycle. It finally broke down around February of 2013. My husband went on Youtube figured out how to take it apart and found out the ball bearings came loose, that explained the noise of a train coming through our house. Also when the machine was taken apart we saw so much crude it was unbelievable, it had mold, rust and MAJOR soap scum all around the outside of the drum and in the soap trays. We also discovered that our washing machine had broken down because we left the hoses from our top loader on the pipes and connect our new front load machine to those 15 year old rusty hoses…that’s a total of 25 years on those hoses! Well the machine was too powerful and water was apparently backing up in the inside of the washer because the hoses were too old and fragile to support the force of water and spinning that was going on.

August 27, 2013 at 5:28 pm
(101) Tonya says:

We decided to buy another washing machine and dryer and I was hell bent on not buying another front load because of the “stinky clothes” phenomenon I had experience. While we were at Home Depot I was telling the sales person I did not want another front load. He asked why and I told him, he said plainly its usually the consumer fault on why they hate front loaders…they simply use too much soap, he said. So I went ahead and purchased a brand new LG 5.0 cf steam washing machine. These machine for a set cost about $3200 bucks (w/pedestal) so I thought no way I would have the same problem. More money mean better right? Well it came it was gorgeous, shiny and smelled wonderfully and it washed wonderfully until about 2 or 3 months in and then my clothes started having that funky, nasty smell again. WTF!!!! $3200 bucks and stank! I got mad because we dropped a bucket of money and I thought I knew better than to make the same mistake. After a lot of research this is a condensed but thorough list of what people have done and I have done where I no longer suffer from funky clothes. It really was my fault that’s not to say that is the same for everyone, some may have a poor design but that wasn’t my case.

1. Get out of the mindset of top loaders are better, when you try something new. Comparing the old with the new will always make you err on the side of what is familiar though not necessarily better. Old habits and mindsets die hard…

2. If Europeans and everybody else who use top loaders are not having problems then why are we? what are we doing wrong?

Remember these machines are super powerful and have been tested and proven to be super efficient and effective. Now we must learn how to use them properly…On to solutions…

August 27, 2013 at 5:29 pm
(102) Tonya says:

1. If it stinks and you can’t get rid of the smell using, bleach, vinegar, ammonia or Oxyclean. Then you need to go another route. Go to the pool shop get some SHOCK wash on the hottest, longest cycle then let it air dry. Also you can do the same process but with Simple Green. Put them on the inside of the drum to make sure you are cleaning it out. You may also need to clean your detergent tray. Make sure you have the RIGHT hoses for your machine, if you have top loader hoses on your front loader you are already in error…

2. Front loaders just don’t do well with liquid soap, the animal products inside of them build up and clog the hoses and cause mildew and mold. It also causes them to smell horrid. Think about pouring bacon grease down your sink pipes, you get the idea? You need plain old cleaning power without the bells and whistles because after all the machine is the one doing the washing. Soap lifts the dirt the machine washes it away. Find a good powerful (preferably natural soap) I use Charlie’s Soap (excellent by the way) or you can use Simple Green or any other type you find that doesn’t have all those pipe clogging chemicals.

3. Don’t use fabric softener. It is the mother of beasts. My clothes were dingy, stinky and dirty because of the fabric softener. The dirt was already trapped because of improper washing and the fabric softener sealed it in! Use vinegar instead it really will softened the clothes and make them fresh.

4. No matter how much you like too, want to or it says you can; DO NOT overfill the washing machine. If you do all your clothes will most likely not get clean. I have a 5.0 cf drum and I was overfilling and my clothes were <nose hold> smelly!. However, when I stop overfilling the clothes and they were able to tumble freely more water got into them resulting in cleaner clothes. Clothes need lots of water to get clean, the more clothes the less water, period.

August 27, 2013 at 5:30 pm
(103) Tonya says:

5. DO use the extra rinse cycle, it is imperative! Especially if you use anything like Tide or Gain (or something similar) because you need to ensure you wash all that soap out of your clothes or you will have build up…this will resulting in smelly clothes. Side note: you could use those soaps in the pre-wash and then fill the wash tray with Ammonia (for colors) and Bleach (for whites) to strip the soap out the clothes, thereby eliminating massive build up and getting a better cleaner rinse.

6. When you are finishing washing leave the doors open or cracked. If you have kids wash closer towards evening so you can leave the door and detergent dispenser open at night. That way it can spend all night drying out. I have 6 kids (13,11,7,5,3,1) and I have never had a problem. In the day time when everybody is up I close the door.

7. I takes time to wash, don’t rush the machine. You need to wash your clothes on the proper settings. They are design to give you optimum results. You cannot put whites on the cotton cycle and expect them to come out sparkly, it just won’t happen.

To sum it up

Whites: I wash my whites on the hottest setting my machine has. I use Charlies Soap in the prewash along with Borax, I use a little bleach and put vinegar in a downy ball or the fabric softener dispenser.

Colors: I wash my colors on permanent press or bulky. I use Charlie’s Soap in the pre-wash, I use ammonia in the wash (to strip any remaining soap)and I use vinegar in a downy ball or fabric softener dispenser.

August 27, 2013 at 5:31 pm
(104) Tonya says:

If you must use fabric softener (and sometimes I do) then wash your clothes as above then run a speed cycle (15 minutes or less) without anything but fabric softener in the tray. Any remaining soap will be washed away and the fabric softener will penetrate the close more easily. Don’t overuse though or you will cause build up and need to strip the clothes again.

I hope this can help someone, I know what it feels like to wash clothes and then you put them on to wear and you smell sour! I know what its like to have disgusting smelling towels. I know what it feels like to have a “stinky” laundry room. I also know what it feels like to spend a boat load of hard earned money and feel like you wasted it on something you thought was quality. Remember washing with front loaders for Americans is a new thing and something that must be learned through patience, trial and error.

Happy Washing

September 6, 2013 at 10:49 am
(105) Karl Beyer says:

Seems to me most manufacturers could easily solve this by incorporating a small mechanical vent and slow rpm fan to kick-in after the clothes are washed, thus reproducing the same effect as ‘leaving the door’ open, and not introducing a child-safety or user-neglect issue – OR, redesign the door so the machine can automatically ajar it 1 inch to allow airflow and lock it in place.

Seriously – we’re talking an extra $40-50 to solve a huge issue.

November 7, 2013 at 3:59 pm
(106) Melissa says:

I have the smelly washer problem. My laundry is on the main floor and I can’t do laundry any time I am expecting people over. It is crazy! I always leave the door, run bleach loads weekly and have tried those expensive tablets (which work for a day or so). Switch detergents! I tried ECOS brand from Sam’s Club I think. The smell went away until I started using ALL and other HE detergents again. Just use ECOS (it is a detergent and fabric softener in one), and you will be good to go.

December 27, 2013 at 1:37 pm
(107) Betsie says:

I do not have access to hot water for my front loader, can not clean the drum out with a hot wash. Any other suggestions?

February 25, 2014 at 12:34 pm
(108) Lisa says:

I know I’m late to this party but after last night. I have to share. We had the same problem as everyone. Out of no where, our home suddenly smelled like we had a broken sewer pipe or a dead animal under the house. After reading many of your comments and running a “tub clean” the problem was still there. I called Lg’s 800 number and worked with a terrific phone technician. He had me clean the “Drain Filter” and that really removed quite a bit of the problem (there were small garden pebbles & a little bit of sludge). I ran another “tub clean” with bleach (1/2 cup of bleach to a 1/2 cup of water). Again, it did an okay job but still you could smell a little bit of something. I cleaned the filter once more for good measure (found one pebble but no sludge). I am doing a “tub clean” now with 1/2 cup of Simple Green with a 1/2 cup of water. I have say, what a major difference!!!! I’ve never used Simple Green before but wow, it really works. I still have 30 minutes to go on the “Tub clean” and our home has no smell! The tech guy recommended cleaning the filter once a month and doing a tub clean (it will be Simple Green for me), plus if you can, leave the door open after your last wash of the day (we do not have small children). I also drape a cleaning towel over the door hinge so it won’t close. Good luck to all of you and thank you guys so much for all of your suggestions!

March 9, 2014 at 5:07 am
(109) Paul Flynn says:

Persistent odor is a sure sign of remaining residue. The secret is to use a washing machine cleaner, such as Smelly Washer Cleaner, that can be used with laundry. The added bulk of the laundry will raise the water level to include the splash area just above the normal waterline where suds and soiled water splash up and don’t get rinsed out. This youtube video shows a test comparison between the two leading washing machine cleaners. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GQ4qVCXBINY

April 18, 2014 at 10:38 am
(110) Judith maximay says:

I have a lg front loader washing machine I noticed when I put in a load of laundry the water level is very low there is no water level setting to me like their is not enough water to wash the clothes ,I want to know what can I do?

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