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Potential risk of mildew build-up in front load washers

  • Others
  • Others
  • Troubleshooting
  • Microwave Ovens, Washing Machines & Dryers
  • Last Updated 17/03/2012



... potential risk of mildew build-up in front load washers.


Front load washers are designed for High Efficiency performance and as such utilize less water and detergent and consume less power. Not unlike any other high performance equipment, greater care is required to ensure optimized operability of these machines.


It has been observed and commented that some folks had encountered disagreeable experiences with their front load washers, notably smelly odours escalating to mildew and mould. Due to the low level of water utilized, wash residue such as grime, dirt, etc. along with detergents and softeners don’t always drain completely out of the tub.




Residue can also accumulate in the rubber door gasket and over time mildew is formed. Mildew develops on damp surfaces that have experienced water build-up that has not dried properly. Mildew will start off as splotchy patches of black, green or white and later turn into mould if not taken care of adequately.



In the same fashion as why dish detergent does not work well in a dishwasher which requires specially formulated non-suds forming dishwasher detergent, front loading washer manufacturers all insist that only High Efficiency detergent be used. Regular detergent in a front loading washer would produce way too much suds causing delays and confusion in the washing cycles, making proper rinsing of clothes rather impossible and diminish the washer’s capability at draining itself properly therefore inadvertently setting up the stage for mildew building conditions.



High Efficiency, or HE, refers to a washing machine that uses 20 to 80 percent less water and energy than standard washing machines. These are typically front-loaders. A logo with the letters HE will appear on the front of detergent packaging suitable for a High Efficiency washing machine.


When you think about it, a High Efficiency front-loading washing machine utilizes up to 80% less water than a conventional top load washer. Putting in the same amount of regular detergent that would normally be required in a top loader would be 5 times too much in a front loading washer. Compound to that the different gravitational pull while draining the wash residue and water, the hermetical flawless design of the door and that has all the making of a disastrous outcome unless good usage, care and maintenance are part of the laundry routine.



When buying a front-loader one should be prepared to give that washer a little extra care to prevent such unfortunate situation by adhering to manufacturer recommendations regarding running the cleaning cycle, using only HE detergents and following these below tips and to prevent any issues from developing. The LG has a tub clean cycle and during this cycle it spends a lot of time spraying water through the door seal area.


·         Use only HE (high efficiency) detergent in accordance with the manufacturer’s instructions.

·         Run the TUB CLEAN cycle regularly. Be sure to wipe around and under the door seal frequently.

·         Clean around door seal/glass to prevent odor or mildew:

1.    Wipe dry the door seal/glass and the door opening area

2.    Wipe around the inner drum/door seal and the lower door seal




1. Powder HE soap seems to work best.  Liquid soap does not break down in cold and warm water.  Powder soap breaks down better in any kind of water. 

2. Always make sure to run hot cycles every now and then.  Using only cold cycles causes mildew and mould in the drain hoses and cold water doesn’t wash it out or break it down.  Hot cycles break down mildew and mould spores while keeping your unit clean.

3. Use a quarter cup of dish washing detergent (powder), along with a towel. Put the machine on the "sanitary" (hottest water) setting. Let it finish its cycle. This should get rid of the mould completely.

4. Use powdered bleach for colours and liquid bleach for whites, this helps to maintain the mould suppression.

5. Leave the door/lid (and the soap dispenser) open or slightly ajar between washes to let in fresh air. Mould can only grow in stale air.



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