Cleaning Your Front-Load Washer

laundry room with front door washer and dryer

The experts at Electrolux share helpful tips on how to clean a front-load washing machine.

Front-load washers get your clothes clean with less water than top-loading models, and they do it in less time. The gaskets that seal the door are susceptible to mold and mildew, and these may create odors, but regular cleaning and some routine maintenance can easily prevent this from being a problem. Follow the tips below to learn how to effectively clean your front-load washer.

Preventing odors

The key to keeping your washing machine free of odor-causing mold, mildew and fungus is to keep it dry, because microorganisms need moisture to survive. Every time you remove a load from the machine, wipe off the door and wipe down both sides of the rubber gasket around the drum. Work your cleaning rag between the gasket and the tumbler, especially around the bottom, so you can clean standing water around the drain holes. When you're done, leave the door open for at least 30 minutes. It's best to leave the door slightly ajar whenever the washing machine is not in use, but if you have small children, you should close it to prevent them from crawling inside.

Running a maintenance cycle

Even if you faithfully clean and dry your front-load washing machine after every use, you should still run a maintenance cycle at least once a month to kill organisms that grow deeper inside the tumbler. Consult your owner's manual to determine whether your model has a cleaning cycle, and if it does, select it with the appropriate controls; otherwise, select a "white" or "stain" cycle setting. It's important to remove all clothes from the machine beforehand. Then, put a cup of chlorine bleach in the detergent tray and run the washing machine through the cycle, then run it through an extra rinse if it doesn't have a self-cleaning cycle.

Cleaning the dispenser drawers

Detergent and fabric softener residue can build up inside the dispenser drawers, and the only way to remove all of it is to take the drawers out periodically and clean them manually. To do this, pull each drawer out as far as it will go, reach inside and locate the catch with your finger, then press on the catch to release the drawer. Clean the drawers in a solution of 3/4 cup liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of hot water. Before you replace the drawers, clean around the opening and inside the drawer recess with a bottle brush. When the cleaning is complete, dry the drawers thoroughly before sliding each one back into its slot.

Deep-cleaning your front-loading washer

If you don't perform routine maintenance on your washer, and odors start to become noticeable, you'll need to clean it more aggressively. The procedure is basically the same as it is when doing a maintenance cycle, but instead of pouring one cup of chlorine bleach in the detergent dispensing drawer, pour eight. After running the machine through its cleaning cycle, check for odors and repeat the cycle if any are still detectable. You may have to do this several times. If the rubber gaskets are soiled, scrub them with a sponge or scrub brush and a spray cleaner that contains chlorine bleach.

For more cleaning tips from Electrolux, read our other cleaning-focused articles:


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