Front loader/HE washer and dryer problems?

Recently, a google search that consisted of “I hate my front loader” clicked on my blog to find out what I had to say about front loading washing machines.  Seems a lot of people have a lot of different problems with these machines and have clicked on this blog to read my old thread on front loading machines. So, I will try to help them out with with a more detailed thread on things you may want to know…about your front loader/HE washer and dryer problems.

Here are some common problems and possible solutions that may help you out:

Mold/mildew smell – Always and I mean always – leave your washer door open when not in use.  Use the bleach cleaning cycle once per month or as recommended in your instruction guide. If the mildew/mold problem persists after cleaning and constantly leaving your washer door open, you may want to consider calling for service as mold/mildew could of built up under your gasket.

Detergent/fabric softener stains on clothes – Rewash clothes on a cycle that uses more water like sheets/towels or bulky bedding. You may also want to try using a little less detergent/fabric softener or try a different brand.

Clothes are not coming clean/stains – Try adjusting the soil level up to medium heavy or heavy on your machine or use cycle that uses more water like the sheets/towels or bulky bedding cycles. You can also try Oxi-clean and/or setting the prewash in addition to your regular cycle or try using the cycle for whites.

Clothes are very wrinkled when they come out of the dryer – Front loaders/HE machines spin clothes very fast, because clothes spin so fast they come out looking rung dry, twisted, etc. Remember this is not your old fashioned top loader where you just grab your clothes and throw them in the dryer. Try shaking the clothes out before you load them in the dryer this cuts down on wrinkles dramatically.  You can also try using two dryer sheets instead of one because we seem to forget that our front loaders/HE machines hold a lot more clothes than an ordinary washer and dryer does.

Holes in clothing/clothing falling apart – This can be one of three factors.  Some brand new items are poorly stitched, you may have not noticed a seam/button was coming undone before you put the item in the wash or you are using a cycle that is too hard on the item you are washing. If material is thinner, worn out, you may want to use the delicate cycle instead and/or adjust your spin speed to low.

Clothes are not dry when the dryer cycle is completed – Just like your ordinary dryer, the clothes were still damp when the cycle was finished and you had to turn it back on again.  Although, these machines are suppose to have sensors to adjust the drying time up or down accordingly sometimes the clothes are just not dry.  You can try several alternatives:  use the timed dry cycle instead, use a higher heat setting or a cycle that has a longer drying time.  Also with the larger capacity dryers they are not suitable for drying one or two items sometimes, try drying larger loads for better performance.

Problem not listed here?  Please leave a comment and hopefully some of the other bloggers or myself can try to help you out.


19 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. coconews
    Aug 01, 2008 @ 21:46:51

    If anyone has had a problem with these machines and managed to resolve it, please tell us about it so others can learn from your experience. Thank you.

  2. Brad
    Aug 03, 2008 @ 19:01:36

    Good post. You’ve obviously done your homework.

    In regards to the mold/mildew problems, I would add one thing. An empty load should be run once every month or so to prevent any built-up of mold or mildew. Run the longest, hottest cycle available. Instead of detergent or bleach, use Cascade Complete dishwashing detergent, the powdered type. Actually, any enzyme-based detergent can be used. The enzymes will help to break-up any nasties in the tub and wash them away.

  3. coconews
    Aug 03, 2008 @ 20:14:24

    Thanks for the additional info on cleaning Brad.

    I own one of these fancy HE machines now and it has been a matter of trial and error figuring out how to beat some of the problems.

  4. barry
    Aug 08, 2008 @ 02:17:52

    Don’t waste your money!!!

    If the store you bought your Whirlpool model WFW9400 front loader from will take it back, I recommend you do this right away. With my old super capacity top loader, I could run an entire full load in less time than the dryer took to dry the last wash load. Hell, I could start the first load when I got home from work and be done with the family of five’s 4 FULL loads in 3 hours-that’s washed and dried and folded! The front loader takes somewhere between 55 and 125 minutes per load just to wash! Also, the agitation of a top load machine cannot be beat. So it’s a bit harder on some clothes. I just buy better quality clothing, then keep the wardrobe updated before the garments start to wear out. I’ve tried all the recommended ways to improve the performance of this unit and still don’t get clean whites-“whitest whites”,HOT water,various amounts of detergent (TIDE brand only),… still dirty whites! The rinse cycle also is much better on the top loader. All my garments are still coming out smelling of detergent from this front loader, and yes the “extra rinse” option is being used. This still doesn’t do the trick and adds even more time.
    Think it uses that much less water? Maybe so. But think about it. “pre-wash” and “extra rinse” options are a must to even approach clean and rinsed well, and a motor that has to run for much longer periods of time. Oh yeah! remember your first reaction to the front loader’s operation? Mine was something like this-” What?! it’s like putting a quart of water in the kitchen sink, a little soap, holding the garment with your index finger and thumb of one hand, and dipping it up and down in the water a bunch of times. Hardly much agitation to really get it clean! ” Well, I should have followed my instincts, but was “sold” on the hype. Here’s my updated analogy: roll the entire basket of garments in a ball and dip it into the shallow water a bunch of times. Sure they’ll last a long time, but who wants to wear them?

    Look around on the web. Look at the appliance stores. Ask to see the used front loaders. Ask what’s wrong with ’em. I got these answers, “Well, a couple got married and they both owned a front loader…” and “maybe they wanted to upgrade to a new dryer but wanted to get a matching unit…”

    Barbra Streisand!!!

    Look at which units they make more money on! Follow the money, and you’ll find the answers to many of your questions. This is no exception to that rule.

    Water is not that expensive, especially when you add up the cost of replacing dirty garments that are not worn out, and adding the power consumption and all your time wasted. I like to get the laundry DONE! I will never be happy letting this chore drag on for days. I realize this is MY lifestyle, but…HOURS!? 125 minutes for ONE LOAD! This brings up one last point – the old top loader was a super capacity tub ( adjustable water levels of course ) and would hold a lot more than this Whirlpool front loader. model WFW9400, and it still performed much better!

    Don’t waste your money!!!

  5. Debbie Bass
    Aug 27, 2008 @ 10:59:19

    I am having a problem with t-shirts starting to smell sour when my husband is working outstide and begins to sweat. What type of soaps or boosters can I use in my HE Washer? I don’t know if anyone else has this problem

  6. Joan
    Sep 01, 2008 @ 09:26:29

    I have a inglis set of front loaders just a year old. My towels are not nice and soft the way they should be. I have tried putting vinigar in and then cutting back on the soap but to no avail. does anybody have the same problem.

  7. Barb
    Nov 28, 2008 @ 07:52:21

    e-gad, the first nice thing I’ve owned in 20 years and it doesn’t work right. I too, am having all kinds of problems. I the mildew problem, but whites not only not white but visibly gray. Towels that are stiff, not soft is my biggest complaint. In fact now all my clothes are coming out as if covered in some chemical. I have tried using different detergents, softeners. I have changed the amounts on both. I have cleaned the machine over and over. I have run the rinse cycle over and over.
    I am thinking that I am going to sell the two and go back and buy a nice top loader.
    Also, not being able to control the amount of water!!!!! I think it used the same amount of water for one item as it does for 20.
    Hate is setting in !!!!!

  8. Barb
    Nov 28, 2008 @ 07:53:21

    Oops, what I meant was that I do not have the mildew problem…..yet

  9. coconews
    Nov 28, 2008 @ 08:10:04

    I use Oxy clean in addition to detergent for my whites and they are really white.

    I use two dryer sheets when drying towels and they come out much fluffier and softer compared to when I just use one.

    When I’m washing dark colors I use the bulky bedding cycle because it uses more water and I add a second rinse. Eliminates the detergent stains.

    I also discovered that you have to separate your clothes by color more exact. You can’t wash light grey with whites, etc. as sometimes dyes leak and stain your other clothes.

    With energy & water saving features even the new top loaders don’t clean as well as they used to. Maybe best to buy used?

  10. Colleen
    Dec 27, 2008 @ 10:41:34

    Also on the residue problem to add to coconews last great post, don’t forget that you are probably changing what detergents you have been used to using. If you don’t like the way one works change it, but run an empty load with the new detergent in it. Each one will remove residue from the one before it, and that can leave a kind of spot on your clothes that is hard to remove.

  11. Bonnie
    Jan 08, 2009 @ 16:21:11

    Can anyone help? Like coconews, I have trouble with towels that are not longer soft, since I got a front-loader. I have tried 2 dryer sheets, tried liquid softener in the wash, tried less detergent and a second rinse, tried hot water. I bought the front-loader to use less energy, but it seems to be quite the opposite! Thoughts?

  12. Anonymous
    Jun 16, 2009 @ 09:03:30

    I have that problem with my towels not being as soft and fluffy. Try Blue Cheer the HE brand. Don’t use too much detergent. Wash on normal, hot water, and use no fabric softner in the wash. I have a full load when I wash my towels therefore in my front load dryer I use two Fleecy sheets and they come out soft and fluffy everytime. I have had my whirlpool duet washer & dryer for 7 years and I love it! Also, remember to always keep the washer door open when not in use and I was told that once a month to run javax through the cycles on hot water. I do it twice on the first of the month. I have NEVER had any problems. I wish you all the best.

  13. Giselle
    Jul 10, 2009 @ 14:59:55



    Second: Read your washer and dryer manuals.
    My Whirlpool HE washer came with a tablet that cleans the washer once a month.

    Obviously it’ll perform badly if you don’t take care of it!

    If your towels are hard, use softener if you haven’t!

    And water control: people tend to be very inaccurate at judging the amount of detergent, let alone water.
    You don’t need to fill up to the line! (Besides, the scent is strong already.)

    There is always the faulty few though, so ask fo an ewxchange before returning.

  14. kathleen
    Aug 10, 2009 @ 12:53:06

    Please note: front loading dryers not drying in the time supposed to…

    i called our manufacturer, and apparently you are NOT SUPPOSED TO USE DRYER SHEETS in these dryers!!!! i guess the sheets mess up the sensor.

  15. HEruinedLaundryChoreForMe
    Jan 27, 2010 @ 13:14:14

    Ditto to all above. With our old top loader, I could whiz through my laundry chores. It all came out smelling clean with one cycle, and I always use scent free products. Now, with my HE front loader, our sheets smell like stale old body oils. I’ve used the bulky bedding/extra water setting, increased the soil level, washed and rinsed multiple times with color safe bleach, peroxide, baby shampoo to break up body oils, and reduced the amount of soap. If I don’t start washing my sheets and blankets at 7 a.m., they aren’t done by the time we want to go to bed at 10 p.m.!!! Unbelievable. No water saving here. No energy saving either — and I’m talking both my personal energy and electricity. I absolutely hate my HE washer.

  16. edy
    Dec 03, 2010 @ 10:57:01

    I have finally found a site that addresses issues I am having with my front loader.
    Thank you all for your solutions. I will try them all. Even more than how they look and feel, I know my clothes are not getting clean. But have no choice and have to make this work.

  17. Anonymous
    Jul 16, 2011 @ 21:38:22

    hmmm made up my mind, I will never buy one of these

  18. Cynthia
    Aug 09, 2011 @ 21:53:58

    My machine doesn’t just twist items -they are permanently crooked after washing. This 99% of my t’s so it is not the brands, weight or any of those things. Especially since they all twist to the same side. They end up like that defective pair of jeans we have all had that a seam ends up toward the front of our leg. Even after ironing these t’s are permanently damAged. Let’s talk holes! Oh my God! I was so blaming them on my dog. Weird part is this just started with my front loaders (had the dog before that!) – my shirts have so many inn holes it is ridiculous! I have thrown many away after one washing and some I have patched with iron on facing behind the hole. Does not look good but can’t throw every shirt away!! Have dozens and dozens lie this. What can we do to fight these big companies?! I don’t know about you but spent a fortune and sure can’t do that again.

  19. Reenie
    Aug 24, 2011 @ 14:07:05

    Omg I hate my fl too. I have three boys and their clothes is only gunna start getting dirtier and smellier. I can’t wait to get rid of mine. I’m hoping it breaks down soon so I can buy an old fashion washer!

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