It’s been a decade since we bought our front loading HE washer and I’ve managed to keep it smelling clean for 10 years! With just three simple steps, you too can banish the funky, mildew, and moldy smelling clothes washer.
How to Keep Your HE Clothes Washer Mold Free for 10+ Years
We all know the HE (High Efficiency) washer uses a lot less water than the old top load clothes washers. And, they cut down on drying times with a super spin cycle that leaves clothes damp not wet. With all those positives, you’d think everyone would be clamoring for an HE washer. Unfortunately, HE washers can start to stink if they grow mold or mildew inside. What would you say if I told you that after 10 years I’ve cleaned the inside of my clothes washer twice? It’s true, the only times I had to clean it was once when the washer sat in our garage for over a month closed up during renovations. And the second time is when we had a house guest who didn’t know to do three things to keep the washer clean and smelling fresh.
Do These 3 Things After Every Load of Laundry:
- Wipe out the gasket
- Leave door open to dry
- Open detergent drawer (or remove to let it drip dry.)
Here’s how to keep your HE front loading washer clean and fresh like the day you bought it:
1. ALWAYS wipe the door off after each load.
2. ALWAYS wipe out the gasket (top to bottom) to remove any water and moisture. This is the main area that will get mildewy first. Gently pull the gasket toward you to wipe inside and behind the gasket. Wipe especially well around the drain holes at the bottom.
3. Leave the door open after your wash is done to thoroughly air out your washer. Obviously if you have a closet instead of a laundry room, this can be a problem. Your best bet will be to invest in a top load HE washer when it comes time to replace your washer. Until then, try your best to keep the washer open about 30 minutes after you’ve washed a load.
4. Open or remove the detergent drawer to allow it to air out.
If you still have odors or smelly laundry, try some of these remedies:
Inspect inside and around the gasket for signs of mildew (usually black spots.)
Mix a small amount of bleach and water in a container. Dip an old scrub brush or old toothbrush into the mixture. Scrub mildew spots with the brush. Wipe clean with a clean rag dipped in water to remove the bleach mixture. Repeat as necessary. When the mildew has been removed, wipe dry with a clean rag.
Does your washer smell like a locker room. To eliminate smells, pour 1/2 cup of baking soda inside the drum. Add a cup of white vinegar into the detergent dispenser. Press start to run the washer empty on the hot water setting.
If this doesn’t eliminate all the odors, you can run the washer empty again but this time put 1/2 cup of bleach in the detergent dispenser.
Remember to open the washer immediately, wipe out any moisture, and leave the door open to air dry. (I can’t stress how crucial it is to do this after EVERY LOAD.)
Do your clothes, or more likely your towels, come out of the washer smelling like a locker room? Believe it or not, you could be using too much detergent. Liquid detergent is often the culprit. Particles from the soap don’t wash out of your clothes completely and bacteria from sweat and more end up sticking to the fabric. Try switching to a powdered detergent or use this DIY laundry detergent which is low sudsing (and also costs pennies). You can also try this Smelly Towel Cleaner (affiliate link) additive to your laundry, that I use when our towels start to get a little funky (especially the dog towels.) It helps get the odor out.
Remember: Never use more detergent than is called for (even if the item you are laundering looks like this jacket.)
Speaking of dirty clothes. I must share the hands down BEST Stain Remover recipe with you:
Like this post? You’ll definitely want to learn how to prevent dryer fires:
And don’t miss How to Clean Out Your Dryer Ducts to Prevent Fires.