Front Loading Washers Have A Love Affair With Mold

Consumer Reports says that despite the fact that front-loading washers are more efficient than traditional top-loading washers, they do have one major drawback. Mold. And the problem is severe enough that there have been several class action lawsuits filed against LG, Whirlpool, and Sears, whose Kenmore front-loaders are made by Whirlpool.

So what should you do? CR says:

Our advice:

  • When washing, use warm or hot water unless a load requires cold.
  • Wipe the door gasket and glass dry once you’re done washing.
  • Clean the detergent dispenser and any attachments once or twice a month.
  • Run a dehumidifier if your laundry room is damp.

If you see mold buildup in a front-loading washer, call the manufacturer for service and save all paperwork related to the purchase and service of your machine. In the Maytag Neptune and Whirlpool Calypso settlements, plaintiffs eligible for restitution needed to document multiple authorized repair visits made during the warranty period and soon after the warranty expired.

In response to the many reader letters we’ve received, we’re asking owners of front-loaders whether repairs they’ve had done to their washers relate to mold alone. We’ll report on the findings from the Annual Questionnaire, conducted by the Consumer Reports National Research Center, in future stories.

Does your front loading washer get moldy?

Mold can be a problem for some front-loading washers [Consumer Reports]

Comments

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  1. VA_White says:

    No, it doesn’t. But I read about the mold problems before I bought it so I always leave the door of the washer open for several hours after I wash a load. Letting it dry out seems to have prevented any problems.

  2. backbroken says:

    I’ve got a top-loading Whirlpool Neptune and it is a hunk o’ junk. It was a couple of months old when it required the first $300 repair (some bearing went bad.)

    Every so often I’ve got to run an empty load with massive amounts of bleach or else it smells moldy. I have never been able to find any actual mold, but I’m guessing the smell emanates from somewhere I can’t access. The bleach does seem to solve it for a few months though. Remember, this is a top-loading one, so I don’t think the problem is limited to front-loaders.

    I can honestly say that I won’t buy Whirlpool again.

  3. stre says:

    i’ve seen this problem before, but it seemed to be limited to those people that leave the door latched closed when they’re not doing wash. a top loading wash doesn’t have an airtight seal, so the inside dries out even if the lid is down. a front loader creates a airtight when it’s latched closed (obviously that’s desireable if you want to keep your laundry water from pouring out while doing wash). if you leave the front door open when you’re not using it, even if it’s just cracked open, you shouldn’t have a problem with the mold.

  4. friendlynerd says:

    My Frigidaire front loader will smell if I leave the door shut. So, I just don’t. It’s open unless it’s full of laundry being washed.

    That combined with the occasional load of whites with some bleach and hot water has kept the smell at bay.

  5. lilacorchid says:

    Mine hasn’t yet, although I leave the door open a crack all the time. (Unless I’m running a load of laundry!)

    My washer also came with instructions to run a cycle with hot water and both dispensers full of bleach every month or two to clean it.

  6. millcitymodern says:

    I have an LG front-loader, and I do get the occasional batch of “sour” clothes. It is usually when I have run a load and forgotten about it for a while. I do leave the door open between loads to let it dry out. Kind of a pain but better than smelly clothing.

  7. Running a load with hot (not warm) water and vinegar once a month also seems to help.

  8. CarlR says:

    We’ve owned an LG front-loader for about a year and a half and haven’t had any problems. We wipe the gasket off after each load and leave the door open when not in use.

  9. AustinTXProgrammer says:

    Never had a problem with my 7 year old Kenmore front loading washer, and I think the door is always left shut.

  10. cotr says:

    *just opened the door on the front end washer to air out*

  11. MPHinPgh says:

    Our Whirlpool fron-loader has only needed one repair – the door gasket was replaced, but not because of mold. It just kinda got “outta whack”. Mold hasn’t been a problem yet, but like others, the door is always open when not in use. I also found out that cleaning the big twist-lock filter behind the front bottom panel gets rid of a lot of “stuff” where mold might grow. The machine also drains much better if you keep that clean.

  12. wordsmithy says:

    I’ve had my Whirlpool Neptune for over over 8 years. It has just now started a mold problem on the rubber gasket around the glass. I’ll try some of these tips.

  13. TouchMyMonkey says:

    Now I know the deal about the occasionally stinky load of what ought to have been clean laundry (that’s been sitting awhile) my wife was complaining about. Leaving the door cracked is a good tip, folks. Thanks. I’ll give it a try.

  14. Someone needs to create a “washer ball” that releases a mold inhibitor after the clothes have been removed, and can be left in the washer.

    Also, what is CR doing recommending using warm water? Warm water would promote mold growth. And hasn’t there been a HUGE campaign to switch to cold to save the enviroment?

  15. Damn, came up with this too late, but, if you have a mold problem starting very quickly in your home, isn’t that indicative of having mold releasing spores in your home? Is this mostly a summer problem when people may have windows open, which lets spores in? I welcome opinions.

  16. starpugbug says:

    i’ve never seen mold but it started to smell funky. Then I did research and found that doing an empty load with just bleach and warm or hot water would kill the offending odor. And it did. Now I leave the door open in between loads and it’s stayed smelling fresh.

  17. Sarge1985 says:

    We recently had a new LG front loader delivered and installed and the installer made a point of telling us a couple of times to leave the door open until the door gasket and window were dry.

  18. LJKelley says:

    My Amana (Maytag, Whirlpool) actually came with a warning in the instructions to leave the door open between uses.

    So in confirmation of what others have said on here… if you have a front loader than please leave the door open. I think this is a non issue if you do that, and i’m sure that lawsuit helped Whirlpool put the warning in their manuals.

  19. somefatchick says:

    If nothing else is working on your mold/mildew odor, check behind the rubber piece! I’m a nanny, and have worked for 2 families with front-loading Kenmores. In both washers, I noticed a mildew smell and pulled back the rubber piece just inside the door (not on the door) to find old, old, old moldy socks. Who knows how long they had been there? Removing the socks fixed the odor, at least until the next random sock got stuck in that little area behind the rubber.

    As much as I want one of these washers for my own home, I’m not going to spend my money until the sock gap problem gets fixed.

    • usa_gatekeeper says:

      @somefatchick: We couldn’t figure out what you meant so we looked at the wide rubber ‘gasket’ on our Kenmore front loader … I lifted the back edge up and sure enough, there was one of the wife’s handkerchiefs that had obviously been through many cycles; soaking wet and laced with detergent. Hilarious. No mold problem though; we always leave the door slightly ajar.

  20. moviefan2020 says:

    we leave the door open but have started to see mold anyway. I run the machine with just bleach sometimes and it doesn’t seem to help. This is my last front loader

  21. coan_net says:

    My mother-in-law had this problem, I did some quick research and suggested that since the washer was air-tight, after she is done with a load, leave the door open.

    … well first was to do a load or two with heavy bleach to take care of any mold there… but then to leave the door open after the wash is done….. no more problems.

  22. gibbergabber says:

    The rubber around the door of my front-loading washer is moldy. There’s also mold around the glass and in the detergent container. We leave the door open also and try to wipe it down. Nothing seems to work. It’s starting to make our laundry smell.

  23. dopplerd says:

    I just had a funky smell coming from our laundry room. I was a little annoyed as we just moved into a new place with a new washer. Turns out it had nothing to do with the washer but the floor drain trap had evaporated and I was smelling the sewer gas. Pouring a glass of water down the drain fixed everything.

    • shepd says:

      @dopplerd: If that floor drain never sees water (and I bet it doesn’t!) pour some mineral oil down it to prevent the water from evaporating.

  24. Lucky225 says:

    And to think, I went w/ top loading just b/c they’re cheaper lol

  25. razremytuxbuddy says:

    I too just wipe out the front gasket, wipe down the door, leave the door open for awhile after each load, and occasionally clean the detergent compartment. It’s really, really obvious common sense stuff. My front-loader is a Kenmore, and it’s been great. I’m never going back to the top loaders.

    I don’t consider this to be a defect, and a class action trying to make it so, seems frivolous to me. If the litigation firms keep abusing class action procedures, class action procedures will become more restrictive, which will make it more difficult for consumers with legitimate claims to get class action status.

    PS I always left the door open on my top loading washers too, because they also need to dry out to prevent mold and rust.

  26. HiEllie says:

    We have front loading washers at my college, and they all reek terribly of mold. I use 20 Mule Team Borax every load, otherwise my clothes end up taking on a slight stench of mold. Not sexy. And it doesn’t help that we have idiots that leave their clothes sitting in them for days at a time. They should either fix the design flaw or make the door automatically vent when a load is done.

  27. categorically says:

    I think the comments show people are smart enough to figure out how to use these things.

    Those who are dumb, FAIL. Then sue to cover their incompetence.

    • Consumerist-Moderator-Roz says:

      @categorically: Nobody is claiming that 100% of product defects are consumer-caused, so don’t twist their arguments to say as such. We want to avoid ‘blaming the victim’ here – helpful suggestions (as others posted) are great, calling people “dumb” … not allowed.

  28. ChrisC1234 says:

    I’ve had a Frigidaire front-loader for over a year. Knowing about the possibility of mold problems, I’ve always left the door open when not being used. Usually, whatever water is left in the rubber gaskets and such is gone by a few days. I’ve never had any sort of mold or smell issues.

    My advice is to definitely just leave the door open unless the washer is being used.

  29. Derv says:

    Oh my god. The friggen frontloaders are awful. My school has them in the apartments; let’s just say college students don’t really give a toss about keeping the door open to prevent mold from growing. I got in to my apartment a few days ago, and it is awful. Imagine having a wet frontloader with the door sealed shut all summer. I basically dumped a pint of bleach into the detergent cup and scrubbed out the whole seal and it STILL stinks.

  30. cmdrsass says:

    If you run whites last with some bleach, you can cut down on the growth of mold and bacteria in your washer.

  31. navstar says:

    Use HE detergent! Use HE detergent! Use HE detergent! It has mold inhibitors. Don’t dilute your old detergent or use less regular detergent thinking it’s all the same. HE detergent is specifically made to counteract the mold problem (as well as foaming less and suspending dirt in less water)

    Use the “clean washer” setting at least once a month. It runs bleach through your whole system, killing mold.

    And oh yeah, and keep the friggin’ door open!!

    I’ve had a Kenmore front loader (5HEt) for over a year and it’s clean and fresh as the day I bought it.

  32. Underpants Gnome says:

    My Maytag/Whirlpool model definately gets moldy. But the salesman warned me about it. He recommended after you ran your laundry to wipe down the door gasket and leave it open, and once a month run a load of bleach through it. I occasionally follow his advice :-)

  33. jdjonsson says:

    I live in a desert, and we leave the door open. No problems in 2 years.

  34. Javert says:

    Obtained front load washer in fall of 2001. Have never left door open when not in use. No mold. Maybe because when I wash whites, I use bleach, hot/hot and that is always my last load?

    This is all news to me.

  35. bluebirdred says:

    Okay, I was just looking online at front-load washers. We have a new baby in the house and I was wantin’ something a little fancy for the million loads of clothes we now wash.

    Leaving the door open is all fine and good, but how do you keep your pets from taking up residence inside? Our laundry room isn’t closed off and our feline critters’ curiosity could kill them. Any suggestions?

    • MadameX says:

      Sounds like a lot of well-informed front load users here. Keeping the door open definitely reduces the risk of this problem. I also pull out the detergent tray and dump the contents in the sink, as my particular model tends to collect a lot of water there.

      I try to remember to wipe down the rubber seal and the glass when I’m finished, but admittedly, I don’t do it every time. I live in Arizona, though, and our dry weather tends to dry it out fairly quickly.

    • wooster11 says:

      @bluebirdred:

      Since you have a new baby, why not use a baby gate to keep the cats out?

      And congratulations on your newborn! I myself am expecting by the end of the year.

      I have a LG front loader and leave the door open so that it dries out after we do a wash. Although we do have a closed off laundry room.

    • @bluebirdred: Uh, look before you throw the laundry in? My cats like to go into the dryer, so I peek before I throw the laundry in. Hasn’t failed yet.

    • ORPat says:

      @bluebirdred:
      Amen!! HE Top loader for me. No mold and no pet problems.

  36. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    I have a front loading Frigidaire washer with no mold problems. I’ve always left the door open (it just makes sense), use powdered HE detergent, cold water except for very dirty whites (but in the coldest part of winter I must use warm as cold is just to cold to clean well), rarely any bleach as it’s too toxic, and no liquid fabric softener. Actually I use vinegar instead. Liquid fabric softener will gunk up your machine quick as a wink. In the winter when I need something to combat static in synthetics I use a Method brand dryer sheet (less yucky than the more common brands).

    • MadameX says:

      @Ihaveasmartpuppy: I use white vinegar in place of fabric softener as well. I had liquid Downey gum up a regular top load washer before, so I knew it would be a lot worse in a front loader.

      Giving it up on my sheets and towels was tough, but I don’t miss it anymore. Vinegar is a lot cheaper!

  37. chrisexv6 says:

    I leave the door open on mine. Lately Ive been lazy about manually drying the gasket, but since our laundry room is also home to a whole-house dehumidifier, the dehum seems to dry everything out for us.

    Another tip Ive read is to use powdered detergent only, if possible. The liquid has waxes and stuff in it that stick to the outside of the inner tub, and will help sustain mold growth.

    And while a hot wash with bleach is recommended monthly, it does NOT mean to run an empty load. So once a month get all your whites together, dump in some bleach and run them with hot/hot setting. Some washers have the Sanitary and/or Whitest Whites setting which accomplishes the same thing.

    Have had my front loader for 7 months now and notice no smell except “clean” by leaving the door open and (mostly always) drying the door gasket. Its really not much work at all, especially to save some energy costs (our electrical costs have gone down A LOT compared to last year with the new washer/dryer combo)

    • VA_White says:

      @chrisexv6: I use Charlie’s Soap (the liquid version) exclusively. It doesn’t leave any residue at all in the washer. The clothes come out super-clean and it costs less than any HE detergent I’ve found.

      • chrisexv6 says:

        @VA_White:

        Yeah!! (I wish we could edit!!) I forgot to mention Charlies Soap. Seems to be the only “all natural free and clear” liquid HE detergent.

        Once my two gigantic tubs of Sears HE powder are gone, I will be converting to Charlies. The Sears stuff is really nice, no overwhelming scents, cheap, etc. I bought one large tub of each of the Sears detergents (with FS and without FS). Comes out to something like 8 cents/load, REALLY cheap, even cheaper than the big tub of Charlies Soap.

        • VA_White says:

          @chrisexv6: I switched to Charlie’s a few months ago and it’s true that you can do without softener. My towels actually absorb water now and they are not scratchy at all. When I stopped buying Downy, the cost per load came down a lot since I’m only buying one laundry product.

        • friendlynerd says:

          @chrisexv6:
          That Sears detergent is the most amazing stuff. Soooo cheap, and in my small household of me and my boyfriend it’s going to last years, literally.

  38. chrisexv6 says:

    Forgot to mention, I leave the detergent drawer open as well as the tub door. Mine retains a lot of water for some reason, but just leaving it open dries it out pretty well.

  39. rwciii says:

    I have a front loading LG washer and I leave the door open for a few hours. The only time I have a problem is when using liquid laundry detergent — never when I use powder. I had the same problem with my top loading (certain brands were worse than others). Powder is also much better for the environment.

  40. Dacker says:

    Yep, my front-loading Whirlpool Neptune does indeed have a mold/mildew problem. The detritus builds-up behind a lip on the bottom door seal and on the bottom of the clear polycarbonate door. After the last load on laundry day, the door must be left open a few inches so the drum, etc. dries-out. Even so, I’ve found that I need to wipe these area down about once each month to keep it from getting real ugly.

  41. Tallanvor says:

    Living in Europe where almost all the washers are front loading – except the tiny space saving models – you get used to leaving the door cracked most of the time. I know I quickly discovered that if you don’t, it starts smelling musty after a couple of days. –It’s not a big deal to keep the door ajar anyway. I know in the UK I was able to get some stuff that you can run through every month or so to help stop mold and prevent limescale.

    Also, make sure you use the proper amount of detergent, which is almost definitely less than the box says to use! I found that by cutting the amount of detergent I used in half, I could stop mildew from growing in the detergent dispenser (ymmv, of course). –When soap is left in the dispenser, it gives mildew something to feed on.

  42. Japheaux says:

    Hi, Billy Mays here. The best thing to do is go to the mall and buy a $125 bottle of Coco by Chanel. Oh wait, never mind.

    I’m with MadameX, vinegar takes care of it and it isn’t a poison.

  43. chrisexv6 says:

    Another tip I forgot…….Im not sure if it applies to all front loaders, or just Whirlpool/Kenmore models, but…

    the drain tube for the tub actually doesnt get completely emptied when the load is complete. Some water sits in there, as does some larger junk that makes it into the tub and into the drain pump. If you are leaving the washer for an extended period of time, you might want to find out how to empty that tube/drain pump grate (its easy to find on the net, and its easy to do, just figured it wasnt something that should be spelled out here…..maybe on LifeHacker instead :) ).

  44. TexasBelle says:

    We love our LG and simply leave the door open for an hour or two after we finish using it. My husband cut off a paint stick at a slight angle, to about 4″ long, and we use that to prop the door open so the wide-open door isn’t in our way.

    We’ve had our washer 2 years and have never run a bleach-only load or any other type of “washer-cleaning” procedure. And everything is perfect.

    Jeebus, I can’t believe there’s actually a class-action lawsuit about something that’s so easily remedied!

    • rellog says:

      @TexasBelle: I have an LG as well. I have had smelly loads come out if I’ve forgotten to leave the door open. I usually use borax in the wash, which takes care of any mold issues, but I don’t blame people for filing lawsuits. We paid a lot of money for they washers, we should have to come up with “solutions” to use our appliances.
      The front-loaders were touted as the latest and greatest, but obviously some serious engineering issues have been over-looked.

  45. tooshel says:

    Yeah, I had this problem 3 or 4 years ago after owning my Kenmore He4t or whatever it is for a year and a half (after the warranty had expired). It took a few months to figure it out actually . . . I didn’t get why my cloths seemed to get stinkier after every wash . . . it just didn’t make sense. I thought it was because I was going to the gym and leaving the cloths in my gym bag too long so I was reading online about soaking them in vinegar and then finally came across something that said it could be the front loading washer and I noticed the smell even in jeans (the smell is stronger when the cloths are wet). I cleaned the unit the best I could (lots of loads of bleach) and now we leave the door open which sucks because it’s in the walkway to the garage. No problems since though. If I could do it again I would have just paid 1/4 the price for a top loader (that was the price difference at the time!).

  46. GiselleBeardchen says:

    Front loading washer= getting suckers to pay 3X more for a product that may be trendy but is not any better than what they used to have, al a Starbucks.

    • oneliketadow says:

      @GiselleBeardchen: Front load washers aren’t 3x as much AND they save a huge amount of water. You’re comment is ignorant.

      • Orv says:

        @oneliketadow: It’d be interesting to see the energy use breakdown for running cold water loads in a toploader vs. the required warm water loads in a front loader, though, plus the required hot/bleach mold-killing runs. That may outweigh the water savings. Plus the top loaders are much cheaper and are easier on your back.

        • JadedScientist says:

          @Orv: It goes beyond the water savings–the front-loader beats your stuff up less, so everything lasts longer and looks better (we get 1/10 the amount of lint in the dryer trap now) and the front-loader does a better job spinning the loads dry, so less time is needed in the dryer. Have always left the door open and have never had an issue with weird smells.

        • @Orv: And as we have learned from Alton Brown, can be used to spin the water off your leafy vegtables in large amounts!

        • anonymouscoworker says:

          @Orv: To piggyback JadedScientist the front loader also uses less water in every load, so an occasional load of just hot water won’t increase water costs or heating costs dramatically.

          Also, our nicely equipped front-loader cost $550. Only $200 more than the dirt-cheapest top-loader. Most top-loaders and front loaders now are in the same range as far as cost.

        • MadameX says:

          @Orv: I use cold water loads in my front loader and it cleans just fine. The only stuff I wash in hot water are sheets and towels–and that’s just my own germophobia at work.

          I also don’t run any bleach only loads–just the occasional load of whites with bleach.

    • Adisharr says:

      @GiselleBeardchen:

      Unfortunately completely inaccurate. Front loaders are proven to do a much better job at washing. Also, the thin mold film helps keep dirt off.

  47. oneliketadow says:

    And by You’re, I mean Your!

  48. Julia789 says:

    I’ve found my kid’s little bitty socks stuck in the door/seal area a couple of times. They get stinky really fast, so now I know the check the area.

    I used to notice a stinky smell sometimes, but since I bought white bath towels and wash them with a splash of bleach once a week, I don’t notice that anymore.

    Shame people have filed class action lawsuits over it. Europeans have used front loaders for much longer than we have. They leave the door ajar to air out. Why can’t we just do that, instead of sue?

  49. sir_eccles says:

    Another European chiming in here to say that top loaders seem to be a more American trend. I only every saw them in a uni dorm laundry in the UK. Europeans have been using front loaders successfully for ages. They are not a “new trendy thing” and they are way more efficient. Just leave the door open.

  50. se7a7n7 says:

    The easy answer is for GE to develop a Washing Machine Washing Machine, you know to wash Washing Machines.

  51. Ihaveasmartpuppy says:

    Our front loader cost maybe $150 more than a decent top loader back when we bought it. It’s not fancy, doesn’t come in colors or have special steam settings. The utility savings have made up that $150 difference over and over again. Not to mention we now have the washer and dryer stacked so we save space too. I would never go back to those silly top loaders again.

    Wanna save even more on the utilities? Use a clothesline. But I guess that’s a whole ‘nuther subject…

    As for the cat inside the washer. With my cat allergy I’d be tempted to run it through the cycle. But maybe since you put your hand in the washer to put the clothes in you could just give a feel around for the pesky ball of fur and pull it out before turning on the machine.

  52. billin says:

    I inherited a Maytag Neptune front loader when we bought our house a couple of years ago. If I had known about the mildew problem then, I would have junked it. It always has an unsightly ring of black mildew on the outer rubber seal. Most disturbing is when the washing cycle dislodges the mildew and then you see it come pouring out of the flexible drain pipe into the slop sink. (shudder)

    Unfortunately, since I didn’t buy the washer and don’t have a receipt, there’s no way I can participate in the settlement. I hate, hate, hate the thing and can’t wait until I can save up enough to get rid of it! I’ll never buy a Maytag after this experience.

    • pallendo says:

      @billin:
      Have you been leaving the door open after a wash? My wife and I have had our Kenmore HE4t for 4 years now, never any mold/mildew. My parents have had their Kenmore HE3t for 7 years, never any mold/mildew. My sister has had her HE5t for 2 years, never any mold/mildew. The common thread through-out all of this? We leave the door open unless we are washing clothes.

  53. bohemian says:

    I really wanted one of those spiffy looking new style front loaders when we bought the current house. After doing some online research and reading tons of reviews about mold problems and circuit boards dying in some models I decided I didn’t want one so much. I have horrible mold allergies, even a bit lingering on clothes or in the laundry room would make me really ill.

    I ended up buying a pair of used top loader style Whirlpool washer & dryer for $225. Not a spec of a problem with either one. I don’t do that much laundry and we hang dry 75% of our laundry so I don’t think I would be saving much.

  54. WRXChick says:

    I’ve used Smelly Washer Cleaner to clean my front loader after a family member (who shall remain unnamed) kept closing the door after use. Fortunately, it got the mildewy smell out of the washer and our towels after one use, or my husband was going to leave the washer out by the curb and buy another top loader.

  55. mr mike says:

    Y MN T TLL M THS PPL R CLSNG TH FRNT DR ND BTCHNG THT MLD GRWS!? MY TP LDR WLD MLD T F WS DMB NGH T LT MSTR BLD P. FRKN YPP WSHRS.

  56. billin says:

    @pallendo: We try to leave the door open, and that certainly seems to help, but we don’t always remember. Plus, we’re not keen on leaving it open anyway, as the kids tend to play around in that area. Every time we forget to leave it open, the mildew grows right back and puts us at square one. I want a washer where I don’t have to remember to leave the door open – I daresay it doesn’t seem like an unreasonable feature.

  57. RaslDasl says:

    Affresh did not help that much. Smelly Washer (www.smellywasher.com) seems to have worked better but it’s too soon to say for sure. I now leave the door wide open for a few hours after the last load and open an inch or two the rest of the time.

  58. The_IT_Crone says:

    It started to get stinky, so I took a few steps before I had a mold problem.

    1) I leave the washer door open.
    2) Dehumidifier (I had it anyway)..
    3) Washer is near a window, so it gets UV light.
    4) I put in bleach every few washings.

    I did NOT know that cold water was bad. I always use cold, to save on energy costs (ironically).

  59. schiff says:

    Weve got a Kenmoore HE3t washer/dryer set. The bulk of the mold buildup is in the detergent cubby. It gets bad enough that the clothing comes out smelling musky. A hot wash with bleach and nothing in the washer, and leaving the door open definitely help the situation. Its tough cause the washer does the best job of any washer weve owned, but the mold get annoying.

  60. FLConsumer says:

    Give me a break. Front-loaders are the only washers in use for most of the world other than the US. I’ve used front loaders for at least half my life. You leave the door ajar after using the washer, problem solved.

    The early Maytag Neptunes DID have an issue where even this common sense step wouldn’t help, but they’ve redesigned them and offered to repair affected units free.

    For those with real Euro front loaders, whatever you do, DON’T use bleach! The chlorine attacks stainless steel and the outer drums of real Euro units is stainless as well as in inner drum. There’s a reason the true euro machines don’t have bleach compartments in them.

    Living in Florida, both my beachfront home & in-town homes have front-loaders and NO mold. Even a top-loader will develop mold if you leave the top down.

  61. TangDrinker says:

    If you’re like me, and can’t stand bleach (makes my nose run something fierce), you can use vinegar (about a tablespoon or so) in every wash (poured in the fabric softener bin). It seems to keep the musty odor down and it also softens your clothing. We use it for all the cycles – delicates, towels, cottons, etc. Just don’t use too much, or you’ll smell like a pickle.

    We’ve had our front loader since 2000 – and 3 moves later, it’s still working great.

  62. madog says:

    If keeping food in an airtight container prevents mold from growing then how is the opposite true for a washing machine with an airtight lid (I guess all the moisture)? Also, cool air holds less moisture than warm air and mold needs moisture to grow. Then again, heat can kill mold. So how would a cold wash promote mold growth? Furthermore, how the hell do I know any of this?

    I do know that if I forget a load of wash in my old school top loader for more than a day, even after drying they need to be washed again or else be permeated with that awful, musky mold-odor.

  63. madog says:

    There are also fungicides that one can buy that are safe for clothes and therefor could be safe for spraying in your washing machine after use. A homemade spray of diluted rubbing alcohol would be even better for an after-wash spray. I know that can kill mold and odors though I have no idea of the repercussions of using a bit inside the machine.

  64. pengie says:

    I have had my front-loaders for only a few months and literally just now (not ten minutes ago) noticed that the washer smelled kind of weird. Not… bad, but not fresh, either. It’s the first time I’ve noticed it, and I’ve been using the washer a lot more often recently. I’ll definitely leave the door cracked from now on–thanks commenters!

  65. LavernaXuthus says:

    We have had a Maytag Neptune washer for 8 years, in Western Washington
    where the humidity and mold is fairly high – mold will grow in any moist
    area there if you don’t constantly watch it.. You have to do all the
    things stated above, plus have a wash load which uses plain old bleach,
    and use my secret weapon of white vinegar. A repairman stated it was
    the best way to keep your clothes fresh, but I also found if you pour
    white vinegar between loads into the basin as well as the ring around
    the basin your mold smell goes away quickly – which is my best indicator
    that I am retarding it’s growth. Vinegar is a weak acid so I don’t
    think it can harm anything.

  66. GIZisGOD says:

    Wh rds tht crp CR pts t nywy. Thy hv nvr bn trstng cnsmr prdct tstr. lwys bllsht rslts.

    f ppl wld rd th mnl thy wld s tht t sys, lv th dr pn t dry yr wshr.

  67. dveight says:

    I have a Kenmore front-loader for about 5 months now and I did my research before buying one. One of the most common complaints was the mold issue, so I have always left the door wide open the after my last load for the night. After which, I have left it open a crack. Have not had any issues what-so-ever with it so far.

    The slight inconvenience (and by that, I mean VERY slight) does not out-weigh the water saving and benefits of a front loader as oppose to a top loader to me.

    So just remember to let it dry out and run the clean cycle with hot water and bleach once a month or so.

  68. u1itn0w2day says:

    Ventilation ventilation ventilation

    Many of the people right have said as long as they remember to leave the door open and use bleach in a load a month you should be alright.

    I think it was madog that said cool air doesn’t hold moisture but a cooler surface attracts moisture I believe.Look at condensation on a cold drink in the summer or windows in the winter.Probably what happens with the front loaders is that as they cool the moisture get’s more concentrated on particular surfaces.Ventilation helps eliminate that.

    Another problem is that many put their appliances like washer and dryer in un ventilated areas like a basement or closet.Those rooms themselves can attract moisture because of the poor circulation of air.

    People think because you ‘cleaned’ something in it,it will be clean as well.But it’s the moisture.

    When ever possible in you should open up your place and let air circulate through if no other reason to help eliminate all the indoor air pollution other than mold.Most don’t realize how much off gasing occurs on common household stuff from paints & carpets to perfumes,plastics and cleaners.

    One more thing on cold surfaces.I think there were some posting here about putting an AC too high with condensation accumulating on the walls.The metal on the machines probably looses heat the quickest which means certain areas will accumulate moisture faster than others.

    Ventilation ventilation ventilation.

  69. joleta says:

    bluebirdred mentioned the problem of her cats getting into the washer. Yes, you can check for a furry critter before loading the wash, but I’d worry about a cat getting stuck in the washer if someone (maybe even another cat) closes the door. We always close the dryer door after removing a load, to keep the cats from jumping in, but it sounds like we’re not supposed to close the washer door, and that would worry me. I’ve been considering buying a front-loader, but now I’m not so sure.

  70. Oh how I loath top loaders, the agitator literally shreds clothes to pieces in no time. I end up now trotting down a km to a laundromat to use a front loader. I really wish North America would lose it’s obsession with the top loader.

    As for the mold problem, when I stilled lived in Europe I never had that. I did leave the door slightly open, and even though the cats (I had then) occasionally opened it and jumped in, they tended to get out when tried to put clothes in.

    Frontloader’s FTW.

  71. Wubbytoes says:

    Yep, it happens to mine.

  72. njtrout says:

    We moved into a new home with an existing Maytag Neptune washer. It has mold all around the interior door gasket. Since I am not the original owner and don’t have the paper work on it, beyond spending my own money to get it repaired do I have any recourse to get the manufacturer to provide the repair?

    NJTrout

  73. RhodyDave says:

    We also have LG front loader machines. As others have said, leaving the door open to air it out for a few hours, and wiping the inside of the gasket prevents any problems. Granted, this is a tiny bit of an inconvenience but every technology has it foibles. All in all, we’ve been extremely satisfied with our washer and dryer, and have been since buying them 2+ years ago.

  74. anatak says:

    Um, yeah. We leave the washer door cracked open like they say to do in the instructions. No Problems.

  75. we’ve had our LG frontloader for 2 months
    within the first week, i made the mistake of leaving a load of towels in the machine over the weekend… when i took them out, the whole machine (and the towels) smelled like mildew. running the machine’s CLEAN cycle with a cup of bleach took care of the machine, and running the towels through on the SANITIZE cycle with some store-brand oxy-clean took care of them.

    seriously, leaving the door open helps.

  76. SJActress says:

    We’ve had a front load Frigidaire washer for almost 4 years and no smell. We always leave the door ajar when not in use.

    I’m actually curious to know if this is a water quality issue…like there’s not as much chlorine in the water of those who have mold problems.

    Someone should do a study on the location of moldy front loaders vs. non-moldy and see if my theory holds any weight.

    I’d do it, but I don’t have a mold issue, so I don’t wanna.

  77. Cary says:

    My front loader is only about a month old but I always leave the door open and haven’t had a problem.

    I did buy a bottle of Tide with the machine but also placed an order for Charlie’s Soap on line – a natural soap not made from petrolium. I believe Costco’s natural HE soap is very similar and cheaper.

    GREAT stuff (haven’t tried Costco’s yet). Clothes come out better that Tide and without the oily residue. No fabric softener needed either.

  78. Skipweasel says:

    Be careful with the bleach. Our Bosch specifically says don’t use bleach, as do many other makes. Don’t know if they use different composition in the seals for the North American market but certainly in the UK bleach is largely out.

  79. xxoo says:

    That’s right — just leave the door open between uses and no mold.

  80. LVP says:

    Or just do what we do. Keep the door open after every load.

  81. jimconsumer says:

    Yes! Whirlpool duet. Wife started complaining about mold in the washer a few months ago. Unfortunately we’re outside the warranty period… Not sure what to do. We cleaned the hell out of it and have been leaving the door open after washing. This is bullshit to be dealing with on a $1,200 washing machine.

  82. NorineRodent says:

    It’s not just front-loading machines! See the Maytag post at falselaborblog.com for a photo of the inside of a top-loading Maytag Atlantis. There is a link to a do-it-yourself remedy for this recurrent problem.

  83. Anonymous says:

    There is a new product on the market called Affresh , they are tablets you run through your washer to get out all the gunked on soap scum and fabric softener deposits that are inside your washer, usually between the outside plastic and inner stainless steel tub. You run them once a month with hot water, and you will have no odor problems. They come in a 3 pack for around $8.00. All the people that use bleach will never truly get the gunk off, all the bleach does is kills the germs on the surface of the scum, you actually need to remove the deposits to make a real difference. The Affresh will do that, it has stuff in it that will dissolve the deposits so that they can wash away.

  84. Anonymous says:

    I bought a LG Tromm front loader two years ago and there is a lot of mold building up. Clothes of course do not smell so good and nowhere in the manual does it talk about mold or leaving the door open. Any solution or recoarse? There is no way you can wipe it down enough to get the gasket dry, despite what LG says. Very frustrating.

  85. Anonymous says:

    We have an LG front load washing maching and mold is always a problem if we close the door between washings. We also wipe out the rubber gasket in front and spray it with Febreze, which is alcohol and water. The soap dispenser also had mold because the pump was not clearing it. New pump. No problem now in that area. We do love the clean, large loads. Barbara Silver

  86. biguggy says:

    POTENTIAL BUYERS BEWARE
    (Current owners – tough luck)

    Some of these front load machines have aluminium (Al) spiders connecting the spin drum to the drive pulley.
    Aluminium is corroded by, amongst other things, sodium hypochlorite (NaOCl) otherwise known as ‘bleach’, Sodium carbonate, Sodium percarbonate, (these later two I found listed on the contents of a popular laundry aid), sodium Hydroxide (NaOH) (this one is sometimes used as a stabiliser in ‘bleach’ but I did not find it listed on the two containers of ‘bleach’ I found in our house).

    To demonstrate what ‘bleach’ can do to aluminium just find a piece of scrap aluminium, without any coating, or remove the coating and let it sit in air for a couple of days to develop the naturally occurring oxide coating, then put one drop of ‘bleach’, straight from the bottle, onto the aluminium and leave it overnight. The following morning you should have a nice little pile of corrosion products on your aluminium. This is what can happen to aluminium components in your washer, albeit at a much slower rate because the ‘bleach’ is diluted.

    To check if any of your laundry products are harmful to aluminium perform an Internet search for the material safety data sheet for the chemical concerned (e.g. Sodium Hydroxide Material Safety data Sheet).

    I know these spiders are fitted to some ‘Kenmore’ (manufactured by Frigidaire) machines, some Frigidaire machines sold under their own name, and some GE machines.

    This information has been passed to Sears and Frigidaire.
    Sears advise that the information ‘will be passed to the appropriate departments’ but have refused to pass any further information on to us.
    Frigidaire have assured us that they use only the best quality materials and that they will pass on the information to their design engineers, the very people who would have specified aluminium in the first place. Hardly re-assuring.

    Good Luck