Don’t let your workout clothes smell worse coming out of the wash than they did going in – keep your washer from becoming a mildew paradise with a few simple tricks.
Front-load washers are designed for efficiency and can also reduce water use by as much as 80%. Unfortunately, their watertight, airtight doors can also trap moisture and become a breeding ground for mold, mildew and bacteria. Left untreated, a costly door seal replacement or professional cleaning may become necessary to eradicate the smell.
To prevent your washer from turning into a mold incubator:
Remove clothing from the washer as soon as possible. Damp clothing left inside the machine will quickly mildew.
Use an absorbent cloth to towel-dry the washer drum, door, and gasket (rubber door seal) after every cycle. (Not practical? Keep a small washcloth along the bottom of the door seal when not in use – it will remind you to do the wipe-down, and – in case you’re just not going to do it – will soak up the worse of the moisture.)
Leave the door open until the drum is completely dry to promote air circulation.
Use powdered detergent designed for high-efficiency (HE) models and don’t use more than necessary. Liquid detergent is typically higher in suds and the extra soap leaves behind residue, encouraging mold growth and prematurely wearing fabric.
While mold problems are much more common in front-load washers, top-loaders are not immune. If you have a top-loader, leave the lid up after a cycle to help the machine dry out.