Maintain Your Front-Load Washing Machine So It Lasts Longer

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Advice from around the web on the best practices to help keep your front-load washer running smoothly for as long as possible.

We here at Gleen want to help you maintain your front-load washer so it performs the way it's intended to, helping you put off buying another one for as long as possible. We looked at our favourite home-care websites to seek out the best advice.

If you're on the fence about buying a front-load washing machine consider the following:

Advantages of a front-load washing machine

  • Efficiency: They use significantly less water and electricity than a top-loader
  • Bulky items: You can wash sleeping bags and other bulky items in them due to a lack of an agitator
  • Proven technology: Even though they are "relatively" new here in North America, they are the only kind of washer used in Europe because of their efficiency so they do have a proven track record
  • Better cleaning ability: They clean clothes better, are gentler on them than a top loader
  • Shorter drying time: Less drying time is needed because more water is extracted during the spin cycle

For all a front-loader's advantages, it still has its fair share of naysayers:

Disadvantages of a front-load washing machine

  • Cost: front-load washer tend to cost more than top-load washers and there seems to be a lot of complaints online that they break more frequently and repair costs are higher.
  • Odour: It might be the class action lawsuit launched against Whirlpool in 2013 due to mould build-up, or the many consumer reviews for almost any front-loader that mentions foul smells emanating from their washer - but it's enough to steer people away from a new front-loader
  • Ergonomics: they can be a bit challenging to get your clothes out of. The addition of pedestals has made this less back-breaking.
  • Noise: The horizontal drums spin at a fast rate which can lead to noise and vibration if it isn't properly installed.

There are some things you can do to help your front-load washer run smoothly. Here are the tips we've gathered:

Proper Installation:

Proper installation of a front-loading washing machine is critical if it's going to last its full lifespan (which varies by manufacturer but 10 years seems to be the minimum). If a washer isn't properly level, for instance, there will be significant vibration and noise during the spin cycle. This, in turn, can lead to a damaged drum or water leakage or even a shortened electronic panel lifespan. If you don't have a manual for your machine, you can look up yours here.


A water leak from a burst hose can end up costing thousands of dollars in water damage. Prevention is the best policy. Rubber hoses that come with the machine should be replaced with steel braided hoses. These should be checked for any weakness every 6 months and replaced every 5 years.

Operate according to manufacturer's instructions:

Manufacturers also stress the importance of reading the manual and following instructions. For instance, not only using HE detergent but also the right amount in order to prevent the build-up of soap residue.  Brian from Electros Fabuleux in Montreal, QC, says that adding a second rinse after every wash will help prevent the build-up. Another issue is not overloading the machine - this can lead to breakdown - motor burnout or a broken drum.

Clean Your Front-load washer regularly:

You should clean your washer as often as recommended by the manufacturer. It will depend on things such as how frequently the washer is used and how hard the water is and whether you use mostly hot or cold water for your laundry.

New detergents are developed for cold water washing, while homeowners save money on their hot water bill. But one of the consequences is that mildew has a better chance of forming. Hot water kills bacteria that leads to mildew. Using the "clean" cycle with a cup of vinegar or bleach will help kill bacteria that causes mould. Some washing machines will let you know when it's time to use the "Clean" cycle.

After your last load of laundry for the day, use a solution of 1/2 vinegar and 1/2 water to wipe the gasket and its folds and the washer door with an old rag and leave the door ajar to prevent mould and mildew from forming.

Clean the detergent dispenser 1-3 times per year depending on how often you do laundry, to stop detergent build-up.

Some front-loaders have a drain pump and filter. If you notice your laundry is taking longer or there is increased vibration, it may be time to clean it.

These are the best tips we've found for maintaining your front-load washer. Are there any suggestions we've left out? Let us know in the comments section.