You needed a new washer. You thought it would be a great opportunity to get a cool rebate or tax credit, save some water and electricity by purchasing a high efficiency front loading machine.
Wow! You said after your first load. It cleans so well! You love it… for a while. But soon it takes on a whole new aspect, it develops a strong musty odor. Yuck! And after you spent all that extra money. What gives?
Unfortunately, to keep your spiffy front loader working its best and not stinking up your whole house in the process, you do need to take some precautions.
Here are some handy tips to keep your washer as fresh as possible.
1. Be sure you are using detergents rated for high-efficiency washer use. They’ll have a logo on it, a blue oval with the letters, in lowercase, “h-e.” Do not use anything, not even bleach or fabric softeners, in your front loader without this designation. These detergents are designed to rinse cleanly and leave little residue, and it may lengthen the machine's useful life by not coating the bearings and other moving parts. In fact, save the fabric softeners for the dryer if you really must use them.
2. Don’t use as much detergent as recommended. The sellers of detergent want you to use a lot of it, but you really need a lot less, maybe even half, of what they recommend. So, save yourself a few pennies and your clothes will be just as clean. Really! And liquid detergent may leave less residue than powders.
3. Use the washer’s “tub cleaning” cycle once in a while. Read the instruction manual to find out more about this, especially if you usually use cold water for most of your laundry. And do a whites cycle occasionally with hot water. This will help rinse away residue from the inside of the machine, its gaskets and drainage lines. I plan the last load of the week to be a whites load, washed with hot water, and this seems to help a lot.
4.Wipe down the gaskets and seals around the door after each load. Mine collects hair, bits of paper (that shopping list I forgot to remove from my pocket), pieces of bark (chunky dirt from my last mountain bike ride, usually) and lint. I also pull the gasket open a little and remove any solids and hair that collects in the little drainage holes.
5. Don’t leave wet laundry inside the machine for hours or overnight. It just takes a little planning ahead to get it into the dryer. Let the laundry sit there!
6. Keep the door open when the machine is not in use. This allows air circulation, and makes it harder for mold to develop.
7. Use a product specially designed to clean washers, such as cleaning tablets like these from Affresh, Tide or Maytag.
Until next time!