Mold In Your Front End Washing Machine: Fixes And Prevention

You may love your front end washer for many reasons; it's fast, uses less water and detergent, it's quieter than a top-loader and it seems to be gentler on your clothing. But sooner or later you will no doubt encounter the front loader's dirty little secret: mold. It not only smells bad, mold and mildew may also be problematic for people with sensitivities.

Why does your front end washer grow mold? Much of the problem lies in the tight rubber seal that top loading machines don't have. No air circulation between loads means mold can grow. In addition, the special detergents required by front load machines are milder and more environmentally friendly, and are no match for the mold. You can get rid of that mold and keep it from coming back by following these tips:


  • Use warm soapy water and a mildew cleaner on the rubber seal. Wear gloves and really get into the seal area on both sides.
  • Remove the dispensers and hand clean them in the same manner.
  • Run the machine empty and use a cup of bleach, poured directly into the tub. Use the hottest water setting the machine has.
  • Repeat if necessary until the smell and the mold are gone.

Tip: If you still have a mold problem or smell after two or three loads, it may be time to call in an appliance repair technician to remove the tub, where the mold might be hiding.

Prevent the mold from coming back.

  • Leave door open after loads to allow for drying. (Be cautious of doing this if you have children or pets who could crawl in.)
  • Limit fabric softener use; it leaves a residue that's perfect for mold growth. Dryer sheets or balls are fine.
  • Run a cloth around your rubber seal to dry it after a wash.
  • Don't let wet loads sit there, move them to the dryer promptly.
  • Using a lot more detergent won't help; it won't rinse properly and will just cause mold-growing residue to build up.
  • Use powder detergents rather than liquids; make sure you are using a good, low sudsing detergent made especially for front loading machines.
  • Run a load with heavy bleach about once a month; this is good time to bleach those whites.
  • If your washer is in an enclosed room, open the door or run a dehumidifier during and after use.

Your front loading machine should be clean and happy if you follow the cleaning and maintenance instructions above, but if not, a call to your friendly appliance repair technician may be in order.