Editor s Note: This article was last updated September 14, 2015.
Front-load washing machines can be extra efficient at getting your clothes clean compared to most top-load washing machines. Even with a higher price tag, their efficiency makes them appealing because you can save money on water, electricity and laundry detergent over time. By following some of the tips below, you can extend the life of your front-load machine and have the best possible experience doing your laundry.
Always Use High-Efficiency Detergent
High-efficiency detergent is specially formulated for use in all front-load washers and some high-efficiency top loaders as well. Manufacturers recommend using only this type of soap in their machines because it is concentrated and produces fewer suds than regular detergent. You buy laundry detergent less often because the high-efficiency front-load machines use only a few tablespoons per load. Most common brands now sell detergent formulated for high-efficiency washing machines; look for the he symbol on your favorite brand to see if it is appropriate for use in your front-load washer.
Leave the Door Open When Not in Use
These washers can sometimes acquire an unpleasant smell if mold forms around the door seal. If keeping the door open doesn t help dry things out, you can clean around the door seal periodically with some mild detergent and dry it with a paper towel to keep the area odor-free.
Regularly Run the Machine Cleaning Cycle
You should run the cleaning cycle at least as often as the manufacturer suggests to prevent potential problems with mold and mildew. Some front-loading washer owners report success with adding commercial products like Affresh and Smelly Washer, which are soaps designed specifically to keep mold and mildew from forming on the inner workings of your front-load washer.
Leave the Dispenser Drawer out When Not in Use
It is recommended that you leave the dispenser drawer out when the machine isn t running. Mold and mildew can form in the detergent compartments if they are allowed to stay wet.
Plan for Efficiency
Front-load wash cycles tend to be longer than top-load cycles. Using less water means it may take a little more time to get things clean. Still, the higher spin speeds lead to shorter drying times because they leave less water in the clothing than the slower speeds of traditional washers.
Regularly Incorporate a Hot Water Wash
Cold-water washing is fantastic for conserving energy, but it can add to the buildup of residue in parts of your machine. You might find that an occasional hot water wash can blast away some of the leftover soap and grime. If you are running the machine cleaning cycle, you don t have to worry about this as much, since that cycle uses hot water.
Inspect the Basket After Each Cycle
With high spin speeds, small items like socks can easily become stuck to a front-load washer s basket in inconspicuous places. You want to inspect the entire basket carefully after each load. Neglecting this step can result in yet another source for potential mold growth. Most front-loading washers have well-lit interiors, so you can completely empty the washer.
Your new high-efficiency front-load washer may sound a little high maintenance, but most owners are truly thrilled with their investment. With these tips and tricks, you can use your front loader to its fullest capabilities and keep it running for years to come.