Does Your Front Load Washer Smell?

Consumers who own front-load washers often complain of a musty odour.

Over the past few years, front-load washing machines have become the most popular type of washer bought by consumers. These washers provide better wash performance, enhanced textile care and increased energy savings; however, consumers who own front-load washers often complain of a musty odour.

This odour comes from mould growing inside the washing machine, caused by soap residue and bacteria. Here are a few steps you can take to help eliminate the cause and remove the smell.


In the Lower Mainland, where we have soft water, it’s very important to use only HE (high efficiency) detergent in your front-load washer. Using non-HE, pre-packaged pods or liquid of any kind will cause suds – and suds leave behind residue that can encourage mould.

Less is always best! Using more laundry detergent than recommended will also leave behind residue. Make sure to cut down your amount to compensate for our soft water. Avoid pre-packaged laundry detergent pods.


If you don’t use the longest, hottest cycle on your washer once a week to wash your clothes, then be sure to run your washer on its longest, hottest cycle once a month. This kills any bacteria that might have built up in your washer. Unfortunately, washing in cold water doesn’t kill bacteria, and often behind more residue for mould to grow in.


Most front-load washers have an accessible drain pump with a filter or trap. This is typically located on the front bottom of the washing machine. Lint, hair, coins and other debris end up there, trapping bacteria. Be sure to check this area once every season or 4 times a year. You will eliminate any built-up debris that may contribute to the bad smell.