Cleaning a Front Loader Washing Machine

Updated on June 21, 2010
L.J. asks from Minneapolis, MN
13 answers

I have a Frigidaire front loader. I usually leave the door open after loads, however I just discovered lots of mold in the seal of the ring around the door. I've run "Smelly Washer" through it several times and even a load just with bleach in it. It has stained the seal, but I just can't get all of the mold out - yuck!!! Question - can this plastic ring be removed for cleaning? I checked the owner's manual and it doesn't say. Any advice would be great. Thanks.

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So What Happened?

Thanks for all the replies! I love all the suggestions - esp the one about the lemon aid mix (I think I will try that one!). I definitely will keep leaving the door open, wiping it down often (esp in the ring closest to the metal part - that's where I discovered tons of yuck), using bleach and vinegar. I even heard to not use fabric softener, rather just vinegar. It's one more thing to "clog up" a front loader. The HE soap is for sure, I'm trying to use even a little less of that. Have a good day all.

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answers from Detroit on

I had a Frigidaire front loader and the plastic ring got moldy and pitted. We looked at removing it and possibly replacing it, but by the time that was to happen (I would have called someone to do it), the machine stopped working completely and we had it for a total of 5 years. I always found that my clothes had a moldy smell to them unless I bleached them. I never would buy another front loader with a ring. Instead, I bought the Cabrio from Whirlpool. It's a top loader without an agitator and uses the HE detergent. So, no more ring to worry about...and it's a great washer.

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answers from Chicago on

I wouldn't remove the seal it could leak and that would worse than the mould!
I would call the company it doesn't sound right to me.Lots of companies have online discussion boards where you can see if there are some trouble shooting points to try or google it, maybe its a known fault. I have had lots of front loader machines and occasionally I have noticed some yuk in the rubber bit and wiped it away by inserting a cloth as far as I can.Maybe its not set level and moisture is getting in where it shouldn't. A bleach cycle should have done the trick and is the only thing on the manual for mine for cleaning issues. Try leaving a tea towel hanging out of it every time you use it helps absorb some dampness I find, and prevents the door being closed by mistake.Goodluck

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answers from Philadelphia on

My mother gave us her front loader when she moved. It was constantly moldy around the ring and the clothes were not getting clean enough. We left the door open and ran bleach also. We ended up buy a new top loader. I will never buy a front loader again. My clothes are back to their clean selves :)



answers from Dallas on

Not sure - i read somewhere you can "clean" the washing machines by running it empty with some detergent & bleach inside. Don't know if that would help. I need to do this myself :)



answers from Des Moines on

my mom has one of those too, and it gets gross in the ring sometimes too. we usually just wiped it out with some paper towels whenever it got gross/moldy.



answers from Chicago on

Get a bucket and put some warm water in it. some stuff like cascade dishwasher soap. then use a rag and clean the seal. sometimes I use a qtip to get the stuff stuck up in the top that I cant get the rag at. but i know what you mean about the mold. does yours do the thing where it molds in the top pc where you put the soap and downy? I have to take mine out about 3 times a year to clean it. drives me nuts



answers from Minneapolis on

I have a Frigidaire front loader also. I haven't had any problems with mold but did have some smell. I have used regular bleach and run vinegar to clean. I think what has helped was the washing machine cleaner I used. I think it was from Clorox by the bleach section. It seems to be bleach with a different consistency. I don't know if that is what helped. I also run a lot of my washes using hot water, but on normal or quick cycle. I always feel like they can't be getting very clean in just cold water. I haven't seen anything wrong with the clothes and I know the clothes are getting cleaned and smell good. I do find that as the weather is warmer the clothes tend to get mildewy quicker if you don't get them out right away.



answers from Portland on

I have had front loaders for 10 years and my parents had front loaders for probably 30 years and none of these washers have ever had mold issues. You do need to leave the door open several inches and not just cracked so that the water can evaporate. Once the seal is dry you can close it and just leave a crack. You can speed up the drying process by drying the seal with a towel.

Check the grooves in the seal for lint. Lint buildup may not completely dry and can cause mold and odor build up.

You also need to be sure to not use too much detergent. Always use HE detergent. The foam, even when it's not visible, leftover from detergent attracts spores, bacteria. If there are bubbles on the seal when you remove your clothes all of the detergent may not be washed out. If you line dry an item and it's stiff it still holds detergent.

Use less detergent than the product tells you to use. I use about half the amount. If you have hard water use a powdered water softener along with the detergent.

Are you sure that the seal still has mold on it or is it just the stain? Mold does stain. Once the mold is removed the stain does not smell. My seal has folds in it. Have you stretched out the seal to clean in the folds?

You can also purchase a new seal and have it installed. I suggest talking directly with a repairman who services the brand of washer that you have.

I love my front loader! My clothes are usually lightly soiled and they get clean using the express wash. I do usually opt for a extra rinse. They spin much dryer and take less time to dry in the dryer.


answers from Fresno on

I have a Samsung, and don't know if the Frigidaire has this capacity or not, but I just run a steam cycle (with towels or sheets) every week or so, and I have not had any trouble with mold, even leaving the door closed most of the time. Previously I had a Kenmore front-loader and didn't have any issues with that either (it did not have steam), but I did run a lot of hot water wash cycles with color-safe bleach, so maybe that helped.



answers from Philadelphia on

i have the whirlpool and hate it! same problem. in our manuel there is a setting to clean the washer by pressing certain buttons. i stopped using fabric softener, ran a sanitary load w vinegar, cleaned the ring w washcloth and bleach, and took the detergent drawer out and cleaned it. helped for a while. i will never by a front loader again. hope this helps



answers from San Francisco on

To answer below -- I have a Kenmore He4T (I think it's called), I've had it for 3 years and have had zero problems with mold. I leave the door open, use bleach on occasion and vinegar on occasion.

Not all front loaders have mold problems.



answers from Sheboygan on

I have the same problem with my front loader, and unfortunately, taking the seal out to clean it isn't an option, at least on mine. I use a small bristle brush with bleach and water to scrub it down and then run a bleach cycle through. It helps for a while, but it always comes back, which is really the only thing I don't like about my frontloader!



answers from Honolulu on

Glad you asked this question... because it seems that front-loading washers always have this problem and always have to have the door open.

I was contemplating getting a front-loader... but am very hesitant, for that reason....

Am going to be reading your responses...

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