It can be easy to overlook cleaning a front-load washer. However, doing so will ensure that your clothes are clean and the machine does not become foul.
To clean a front-load washer, you need to clean the filter, gasket, and drum. You can do so by removing and washing the filter, pulling back the gasket & removing all debris, and running a cycle on high temperature with baking soda and vinegar to clean the drum.
In this article, we’ll be taking a closer look at how you can clean your front-load washer to prevent odors and mildew.
Why Should You Clean a Front-Load Washer?
Many people often assume that, since washing machines clean our clothes, that they also clean themselves. This is not the case, as front-load washers and washing machines in general are actually prone to becoming dirty quite quickly.
Due to the amount of constant moisture inside your front-load washer, the appliance can easily develop a bad smell and mildew. Bacteria can spread rapidly in dark and wet places, which essentially makes your front-load washer a breeding ground for germs if you do not clean it regularly.
How Often Should You Clean a Front-Load Washer?
In general, you should plan on cleaning a front-load washer once per month. You may be able to stretch this by a couple of weeks depending on how you treat your washing machine in between cycles, but 4 to 6 weeks is what manufacturers recommend.
With that said, each person’s machine is a bit different, and you may find that some need to be cleaned more frequently than this. If your filter is catching a lot of debris and getting clogged quickly, this is a sign that you may need to clean your front-load washer more often.
How to Clean a Front-Load Washer
Keeping a routine cleaning schedule will ensure that the washing machine runs smoothly and the appliance does not become smelly and mildewy. The following parts of your front-load washer need to be targeted and cleaned:
A front-load washer is fairly simple to clean and you can get the job done in just 15 to 20 minutes by following this procedure.
Clean the Filter
Each washing machine features a filter to catch dirt and debris that passes through the appliance during a wash cycle.
The filter will build up dirt and debris quite quickly, which is why taking a look at this is a good test to see how dirty the rest of the washer actually is. Most front-load washers have a filter in the bottom left or right corner of the outside of the machine.
Cleaning the filter is very straightforward and should only take a couple of minutes. Follow these steps to clean the filter on a front-load washer:
- Pull the filter out of the washer
- Remove gunk, dirt, and debris from the filter
- Wash the filter out with warm water
- Insert the filter back into the washer
Clean the Gasket
Your front-load washer has a gasket that runs along the outside of the drum. This is a rubber seal that prevents moisture from escaping the appliance during a wash cycle.
After several weeks, debris from your clothes will start to build up under the lip of the gasket. You need to clean this area to keep your front-load washer clean. Follow these steps to clean the gasket on a front-load washer:
- Pull back the gasket
- Remove any large debris by hand
- Remove any small particles from the gasket
- Use a wet soapy rag to wipe the gasket down
While you clean the gasket, keep an eye out for any signs of mildew. This is a common part of the appliance for mildew to develop, and it’s often where the first signs become noticeable.
Deep clean your gasket and washing machine once a month by adding a cup of bleach into the tub and half a cup of bleach into the fabric softener compartment before running an empty hot cycle.
Clean the Drum
The last step is to clean the drum of your front-load washer. Much like the rest of the components, the drum can develop mildew and build up debris over time. Follow these steps to clean the drum of a front-load washer:
- Add 1/3 cup of baking soda inside the drum
- Add 2 cups of vinegar inside the detergent tray
- Close the tray and door
- Start a high-temperature wash cycle
If your front-load washer is very dirty and has a foul smell, you should run the cycle with 2 cups of bleach instead of baking soda and vinegar. Never use bleach with baking soda and vinegar, as this is a safety risk and it can damage your washer.
How to Keep a Front Load Washer Clean
Unfortunately, every front-load washer is going to require the occasional cleaning. Due to the amount of dirt, debris, excess detergent, and moisture that passes through the appliance, cleaning is inevitable.
With that said, how often you need to clean your front-load washer can vary depending on how you take care of the appliance. People who clean their machines regularly and follow certain procedures have to deal with fewer deep cleans down the line. Consider the following tips to keep your front-load washer clean:
- Remove laundry immediately after the wash cycle is complete
- Use the correct detergent for your machine (use high-end detergent and fabric softener if needed)
- Wipe and dry the gasket after the wash cycle is complete
- Leave the font-load washer’s door open to let in air after a wash cycle
- Run a deep clean wash cycle once a month to prevent mildew and odors
Key Takeaways to Cleaning Your Front-Load Washer
To clean a front-load washer, you need to clean the filter, gasket, and drum.
Clean a front-load washer by removing and washing the filter, pulling back the gasket & removing all debris, and running a cycle on high temperature with baking soda and vinegar to clean the drum.
To ensure a font-load washer does not develop mildew or a foul smell, run a deep clean wash cycle once per month.