What you need to know about eliminating the disgusting smell in your front-load washing machine.
THE FIX | Stink happens. If you have one of those pricey front-load washing machines and do not micromanage its maintenance, the chances are great that the tub will develop a foul odour and your freshly washed clothes will eventually take on the sickly sweet smell of pond scum.
Here are a few things you need to know about front-load washing machine smell.
The Causes Of Stinky Washer
It’s more like what doesn’t cause smelly washer. Here are five of the most common causes:
1. Closing the door when the washer is not in use
2. Failing to consistently and scrupulously clean folds in the rubber gasket (a.k.a. the boot) that acts as a door seal
3. Neglecting to routinely remove the soap-dispensing drawer and deep down clean it and the housing it fits into
4. Using liquid laundry detergent and any kind of fabric softener
5. Washing clothes in cold water
Avoiding Stinky Washer
A front-load washer is airtight. If its door is always closed, mould and bacteria can form on its twin tubs: on the outside of the inner tub (known as the washing basket) and on the inside of the outer tub. The door must be left open (unnerving though that would be in a house with small children).
Clean the gasket well and often. On her website, clean freak Linda Cobb, the self-described Queen of Clean, recommends wiping tea tree oil into all its folds and crevices.
Constant cold-water washing in water less that 85 degrees Fahrenheit (the minimum temperature necessary to dissolve laundry detergent in water) will eventually lead to soap buildup on front-loading tubs. Hot-water washing uses more electricity than cold-water washing but lessens the residue buildup associated with front-loading washing machines.
The Cure For Stinky Washer
There are several ways to reduce and/or eliminate the stink coming from your machine. One is to use bleach and vinegar (CLICK HERE for a good treatment plan). Another is to use a product designed specifically to deodorize stinky washers. Among these, Affresh, Smelly Washer and OdoBan receive the most attention, with Smelly Washer users raving about its effectiveness. The worst-case scenario is that you’ll need to have your washer disassembled and the tubs industrially scrubbed. Following the tips above should avoid that complication.—Ruth Rainey