Getting Rid of Front Loader Mildew and Odor
This advice is for preventing or getting rid off that awful mildew smell associated with front loader style washing machines.
The first thing to do is to CHECK IN AND AROUND THE RUBBER DOOR BOOT (called a bellow) for small articles of clothing (like socks and underwear) that may have gotten lodged in behind the rubber. Pull the rubber back where it meets the wash tub and look behind it. It is common for small items to get stuck here, become forgotten and start to mildew. You should check this area after each wash and clean it periodically to get rid of the formation of soap scum, mold, and mildew. HINT: When you get ready to wash a load of towels, take a dirty towel and clean the door boot thoroughly (including the areas behind the rubber). Immediately place the towel in the wash and run it on a sanitary cycle. This way you eliminate the need for cleaning rags.
PERIODICALLY RUN THE WASHER ON A CLEANING CYCLE. Place the washer on the hottest setting you have (usually a Sanitary cycle) with nothing but bleach in the wash tub. Some newer models actually have a “Clean Cycle” available now just for this purpose. This helps keep the wash tub, drain lines and pump sanitized.
CHECK AND CLEAN THE DRAIN PUMP FILTER. Accumulations of debris in the drain pump filter can also cause odors. HINT: If you own a shop vac, pull the drain hose from the standpipe at the wall and pull a vacuum on the line. This will drain any residual water left in the tub, pump and drain lines BEFORE you remove the drain pump cover. This will prevent a messy clean up later.
LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN IF POSSIBLE. When not in use, leave the door open to allow the tub to air out and to keep mold and mildew from forming on the door bellow. I know this may not be desirable in some households with small children. If too much mildew forms on the rubber and it cannot be removed, replacement of the bellow may be required.
NOTE: This problem is common with front loader style washing machines. The doors on these machines have an air tight/water tight seal that is great for sealing the washer during the wash cycle, but can be terrible for collecting small garments and for not allowing the tub to properly air out when not in use. Following these simple preventive measures can go a long way towards preventing harmful mold and mildew, and towards extending the life of the door bellow and pump.
USE HE DETERGENT ONLY. Using regular detergent, or improper amounts of detergent can contribute to the build up of soap scum in which dirt can collect. Regular detergent is formulated to be used in a conventional wash tub with capacity of about 35 gallons. A high efficiency front loader only uses 5 to 7 gallons of water. So, if you use regular detergent in a front loader, you are, in affect, using about 5 times the concentration of detergent needed. This can cause oversudsing, premature wear on the pump motor and parts, premature wear on rubber seals, odor from sticky soap residue and skin irritations caused by soap residue left in clothing. Using improper detergent will also void the manufacturer's warranty. Make sure you READ all detergent labels some HE detergent is double (2X) and triple (3X) concentrated.
I hope this information is found to be helpful.
on Dec 09, 2009 | Washing Machines