How To Clean a Front Load Washer

Updated: Apr. 11, 2024

Clean your front load washer once a month to keep it smelling fresh. Regular cleaning also helps prevent mold and odors from forming.

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Here is a detailed explanation of how to clean front load washers to ensure that they remain odor free and clean at all times.

Tools Required

  • Soft cloth or towel

Materials Required

  • Baking Soda (optional)
  • Bleach
  • Vinegar (optional)
  • Water

You may not even realize you should clean your washing machine, regardless of whether it’s front loading or top loading. But the truth is that grime and bacteria can build up quickly in your laundry appliances. Front loading washing machines in particular need to be cleaned about once a month to ensure that they remain mold and odor-free.

Here’s the process for cleaning a front-load washer.

Project step-by-step (7)

Step 1

Cleaning a Front Load Washer With Bleach

Clean the detergent dispenser

First, empty out the drum. Then remove the detergent dispenser and clean the tray and any attachments. Replace the items when they’re cleaned.

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Step 2

Wipe down the inside of the washer

Clean the washing machine drum, the gasket around the drum, and the door glass that faces the inside of the drum. Wipe these surfaces with a solution of three-quarters of a cup of chlorine bleach added to one gallon of water.

How To Clean A Front Load WasherTMB STUDIO

Step 3

Run the cleaning cycle

If your front-loading washing machine has a cleaning cycle, run it now. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions. Some washing machine manufacturers recommend using a specific cleaning product. Others say you can use liquid chlorine bleach or distilled white vinegar.

Step 4

Keep the door open

When the cleaning cycle is complete and your front load washing machine is cool, wipe the lid, opening and door glass with a soft cloth or towel. Then leave it open to air dry.

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Step 5

Cleaning a Front Load Washer With Vinegar and Baking Soda

If your front load washing machine smells or doesn’t have a clean cycle, clean the soap dispenser, gasket and door glass as noted above. Then, follow these steps to clean and deodorize it:

  • Make sure the drum is empty.
  • Sprinkle a half-cup of baking soda inside the drum.
  • Pour one cup of distilled white vinegar into the detergent dispenser.
  • Run the washer on the hot water setting.

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Step 6

How To Keep a Front Load Washer From Smelling

You can help prevent smells, mold and mildew in your front loading washing machine by doing a few simple things.

  • Remove clothes as soon as the washing cycle is over.
  • Wipe up any moisture on the drum, lid or gasket.
  • Leave the door open in between loads.
  • Make sure you are using the proper amount of HE laundry detergent.

washing machine stinksSunnyVMD/Getty Images

Step 7


Do all front load washers have mold problems?
No, front-load washers are more likely to have mold and mildew problems, but with proper maintenance and care, the problem can be prevented.

What is the brown gunk in my front load washer?
Soap scrud is the brown buildup that occurs in washing machines and can sometimes stain clothes. Most often, it is caused by the use of fabric softeners or excessive laundry detergent.

How often should you deep clean a washing machine?
For your machine to remain in tip-top shape and smell fresh, one a month is ideal. Most washing machine manufacturers recommend that the washing machine undergo a minimum of two deep cleanings per year, especially if it is equipped with a washing machine filter. Check your specific model owner’s manual for recommended cleaning intervals.