One complaint I hear from our customers often is “my front load washer smells!” Sometimes I even meet customers who want to get a new washer just because the smell is so bad they think there is something wrong with it. However, if your front load washer stinks, don’t overreact or give up yet because the cause is probably simple. And we have a few easy solutions to help get rid of the smell and prevent it from coming back.

Why Does Your Washer Smell?
If you have a front load washer that smells it is most likely a product of soap scum, mildew and mold build up. The main cause of this is using too much detergent or the wrong kind of detergent. As many people now know, front load washers can be much more energy efficient and use less water. With less water also comes the need for less detergent. If you use too much detergent, there won’t be enough water to rinse and absorb all the suds, causing a layer of soap scum to form in the washer that will also stick to the rubber door gasket. And of course, with the heat and dampness in the washer this can easily breed mildew, mold and other bacteria, leading to awful smells.

Front Load Washers are very efficient but require the proper care and cleaningElectrolux EIFLS60JIW Pictured

How To Remove The Smell?
Now that you know the main cause of the smells and that you probably don’t have a defective washer, it’s time to get rid of the smell and prevent it from returning. The first thing you need to do is clean out the washer to remove any soap scum and bacteria build up that may have formed. I always recommend using Affresh washer cleaner for this. Just place a tablet of Affresh in your empty washer and run a normal cycle with hot water setting. After it is finished, wipe away any residue. This should deodorize your washer immediately and can be used once a month. It is also a good idea to regularly clean the rubber gasket, as this can easily trap soap scum and debris and cause buildup. Here is a tip: Keep a few washclothes on the washer or in your washer pedestal drawer to keep the gasket dry.

Affresh Washer Cleaner can be used once a month to clean and deodorize your washer.

In the long term, you also want to take other precautions to prevent the smell from coming back. First and most importantly, make sure you are using HE (high efficiency) detergent and make sure you are using the right amount so you do not create too many soap suds. Second, after using your washer, be sure to leave the washer door open to allow the interior to dry. Although many people never look in the owner’s manual, our most popular front load models Electrolux EIFLS60JIW and the LG WM3570HWA even include these steps for caring for your washer in their manuals. From the LG WM3570H manual: “After the cycle is finished, wipe the door and the inside of the door seal to remove any moisture. Leave the door open to dry the tub interior. Wipe the body of the washing machine with a dry cloth to remove any moisture.

LG WM3570H Owner’s Manual

Overall, caring for your washer properly is the most important factor in keeping bad smells away. If your front load washer smells, there is no need to panic. Just follow some of these recommended steps to keep soap scum and bacteria from building in your front load washer to keep it smelling fresh. With the proper care and cleaning you should never have to worry about a stinky washer again.

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