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How to Clean a Front Load Washer in 5 Steps

by Pam Silvia

Have you noticed a change in how your washing machine smells lately? Does it have grime or dirt you want to get squeaky clean? Or are you trying to maintain the new front load washer you just got? Regardless of your situation, we know it can be easy to neglect taking care of your washing machine. That said, mold or grime can easily build up in your appliance, creating unwanted smells and reducing its ability to function properly. But don’t despair — here is how to clean your front load washer.

happy woman smelling her freshly washed panda plush

How to Clean a Front Load Washer in 5 Steps

You’ll Need:

  • Chlorine bleach
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Rubber dishwashing gloves
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Old T-shirt, rag, or towel
  • Sponge or brush
  • Spray bottle

Step 1: Disinfect the wash drum.

The drum is the part of the washer where you load in your laundry — it is also a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and dirt buildup from dirty water. The best cleaning agent for eradicating these culprits of grief is chlorine bleach. Chlorine bleach is a disinfectant, and it does a fine job in killing 99.9 percent of bacteria, mold, and mildew. It can also help remove tough stains in the drum.

Add anywhere between one-half to two whole cups of bleach in the drum, close the door of the washer, and run a wash cycle at the longest time option available and at the hottest temperature.

Step 2: Deep clean the rubber gasket.

woman is cleaning washing machine with a rag in rubber gloves

When the wash cycle is over, tend to the rubber gasket around the door — this is another part of the washer that can have an easy buildup of mold or grime. First, wipe the rubber gasket clean with an old rag and, then, spray the rubber gasket area with distilled white vinegar. Work in the vinegar with a clean microfiber. This step is to be done thoroughly to ensure that there is no leftover mold or grime.

If the stains on your rubber gasket are stubborn to disappear, wear rubber dishwashing gloves and steep an old rag in chlorine bleach. Tuck the bleach-soaked rag in the rubber gasket, leaving it in for about an hour before wiping the gasket out again, thoroughly.

Step 3: Disassemble and take out the detergent dispenser(s).

The detergent dispenser is the front-load washer compartment that holds the detergent and other laundry agents you use. To clean the dispensers, disassemble them and take them out. If you are not sure about knowing how to do this, you can refer to your appliance’s user manual. Once you take out the dispensers, soak them in hot water before you scrub them with a sponge or brush dipped with a cleaning product of your choice. After clearing out any gunk from the dispensers, leave them out to dry or wipe them with a dry microfiber cloth and affix them to their rightful place in the washer.

Step 4: Wipe down the exterior.

hand in a rubber glove wiping down a washing machine dial with a disinfecting wipe

To clean the exterior of your washer, first, lightly dust the entire surface area of the washer and, then, spritz the exterior with distilled white vinegar. Wipe down the appliance with a microfiber cloth until its shine is restored.

Step 5: Rinse out and dry.

After all the thorough cleaning you performed on your front loader, you should run a rinse and spin cycle to clear out all the cleaning agents you used. You can run the cycle at the longest time and hottest temperature to make sure any residual bleach and vinegar are gone. To prevent a mildewy smell from developing, it is important that you either wipe down the inside of the drum washer until it’s dry or that you leave the door of the washer ajar to air dry.

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