How To: Clean & Sanitize a Front Load Washer

Front loader washers, you either love them or you hate them. I’ve only used a front loader washer for the past 12 or so years. Because I am 5’5″ and my husband is 6′, front loaders work for us because when they are on a pedestal they are high enough for him to reach into, but not too high for me. Top loaders, especially the new versions, are so deep that I either need to practically climb inside to reach the clothes at the bottom or use this handy dandy tool.

If you have a front loader, you probably already know that they can go south, in the way of cleanliness, quickly. The rubber gasket that keeps the seal on the door can easily mold. It is also a catch-all for every little thing. If my boys are missing some Legos, the washer’s rubber gasket is one of the first places I tell them to look.

My current front loader washer was in desperate need of a deep clean, so I thought I would share just how I did it.

As you can see, the rubber gasket was in need of some TLC. Don’t worry though, with a little bit of time and patience, I was able to get it back to almost new condition.

What you will need is some white rags, or rags you don’t care about, bleach, a small brush like a toothbrush, vinegar, and a deep enough bucket or container. You may also want to have on rubber or disposable gloves.

In the bucket, combine equal parts bleach and very warm water. Add in the rags and completely saturate them with the water/bleach mixture. This is where you will want to put on your gloves.

Now you will begin stuffing the saturated rags into the washer’s gasket. Be careful not to splash any of the bleach/water mixture on you, even though it is diluted, it will still ruin your clothes.

Stuff as many of the rags in as you can. In every crevice and fold of the gasket. Even the parts that aren’t visibly dirty. Doing this will sanitize the gasket and keep from any mold, you can’t see with your naked eye, spreading. Once you’ve stuffed the gasket full of the soaked rags, let sit with the door securely closed for 1-3 hours, depending on how unclean the gasket is. This time around I let the rags sit for 2 hours.

After the 2 hours were up, I could take the rags and pretty much wipe away the dirt and mold. Although there were some stubborn spots where I needed to take a small toothbrush and scrub. In all, it only took me 20 minutes to remove the loosened mold and dirt. After I was satisfied with the mold and dirt removal, I then ran the rags on a sanitize wash cycle with only bleach as the detergent.

When that cycle was finished, I did another normal cycle of the rags to help rid the intense bleach smell. I added detergent this time, but I also added distilled vinegar to the mix as well. When I add vinegar to a washer load, I place it in the bleach compartment of the detergent tray. Don’t mix bleach with vinegar in the same load though. Mixing the two will create a chemical reaction and produce a toxic gas called chlorine gas.

As you can see, there is some slight staining from the mold, which is normal; but the gasket is 1000% better than before. To keep the mold at bay and maintain a clean gasket for a longer period of time, be sure to keep your washer door slightly propped open so the inside of the washer can dry. If the door is closed completely it never dries and the mold will come back quickly.

Have you cleaned a front loader washer? Do you have any tips or tricks that I did not mention to make cleaning one easier? Hope y’all are having an amazing week.

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