• 13/05/2021


We’re all familiar with the huge amounts of laundry a family is capable of producing, especially the busy moms out there. Kids get messy all the time, so the washing machine is just always full, and always on. But have you ever given any thought to the fact that a machine that makes everything else clean doesn’t really get cleaned that often?

Even the best front loading washing machine is capable of getting pretty gross over time. In fact, if you go to your appliance right now and run your finger behind the rubber ring, you will probably be left with some dirty, manky, smelly marks. Worse yet, this awful smell can transfer to your clothes, effectively ruining a perfectly good load of clean clothes.

Thankfully, there are really easy ways to clean your front loader and make sure that it’s squeaky clean and smelling great for a long time to come. Here is how to clean your washing machine, whether that’s an LG WM1388HW, Samsung WF5000AW, or any other front loading model.

What makes a front loader washing machine smelly or dirty?

As you will know, if you own a washing machine, it gets smelly and it gets dirty, and that’s just unpleasant. Why? Well, think about it – every day, you’re throwing in dirty, smelly clothing. Yeah, most of that dirt gets washed away, but some of it will deposit all over the inside of your washing machine, over time.

In addition, the water and the detergent itself ends up leaving residue over time, especially if you use hard water. Not only will that damage your washing machine, it will also cause a very unpleasant smell.

If you do have hard water, you will actually need to be even more careful about cleaning your washing machine and making sure that you’re keeping the deposits at bay. There are special products and washing machine cleaners that can help extend the life of your washing machine by not allowing deposits to ruin it, but you can also just use household cleaning solutions.

Mold is one of the hard-hitters when it comes to washing machine cleanliness; since it’s an appliance that’s constantly using water and is damp so often, it’s at particular risk of developing mold, which is not only unpleasant, but can actually be dangerous.

How to deep clean a front loading washing machine

The good news is that you can absolutely get rid of the dirt and the smell. You’ll be glad to hear there’s more than one way to clean your appliance – with natural products, or with chemical products, and most of these you’ll probably already have lying around the house.

1/2 cup of white vinegar on a hot wash is usually enough to clean out the drum, but you may also want to put about 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate in the detergent drawer. That one tends to stay damp and can develop a lot of funky smells and even mold, if you’re not careful.

Now, if your machine still smells bad, or it smells moldy, then it’s time for some heavy duty cleaning. Clove oil is great for removing mold from washing machines, so if you put  10 drops in the drum and then run the machine on hot, you should be good to go.

Alternatively, bleach can also save the day. All you need is two tablespoons of bleach in the detergent drawer – then run a hot wash. This should take care of the situation, but there are a few caveats to note: make sure you don’t overload the machine with bleach, because that can actually destroy your machine. Furthermore, keep in mind that one run-through with bleach may not be enough. It’s possible that you may need to repeat the process a couple of times to get your machine to the level of cleanliness you want it to be at.

If the issue isn’t so much the drum, but the detergent drawer, there are solutions for that, as well – dirt and mold can both be vanquished if you pull the drawer out and stick it in the dishwasher. The super hot water will kill any mold which may be present. If you don’t have a dishwasher, then very hot, soapy water will also do a great job. You can also add in some bleach for extra cleaning power. Just lay it out to dry in the sun once you’re done scrubbing and you’re good to go!

How to maintain a clean front loader washer

So you’ve cleaned your front loader washer and it looks all shiny and new – but that isn’t the end of the story. Over time, your appliance will start gathering dirt and mold again, so let’s take a look at how to actually maintain your front loader’s clean status.

  • First of all, you need to repeat that cleaning sequence every couple of months in order to make sure that the machine remains as clean as possible and that it doesn’t get a chance to develop weird smells, dirt, or mold.
  • Because moisture is the problem, you’ll want to keep the door to your front loader ajar between washes to give the machine a chance to dry out. This will prevent the generation of mold and that all-too-familiar damp smell that can sometimes materialize.
  • Try not to leave your clothes in the machine for too long after a wash has completed. That just promotes the damp smell we all hate! Instead, take the clothes right out as soon as the program ends, then either hang them out to dry or throw them in the dryer. That way, you won’t end up with a smelly washing machine – front loader or top loader.


Unless you’re some kind of cleaning whizz already, you’ve probably run into the problem of a smelly front loader washing machine, and I’m sure you agree it’s super unpleasant. No one wants the appliance they use to clean their clothes to be dirty, but ironically, that is usually the case. We often forget that the washing machine itself doesn’t get cleaned very often.

If you’re not sure how to clean the particular make and model of your washing machine, whether it’s an Electrolux EFLW317TIW, Kenmore Elite 41072, or a different model, then the appliance instruction manual – which you should be able to find online if you’ve misplaced the physical copy – is likely to have instructions showing you how to clean a smelly front loader washing machine.

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