Front-loading washing machines are energy- and water-efficient because the front-door style allows your clothes to get clean with less water and electricity. An unpleasant side effect, though, is that the drum of a front-loader can develop a musty smell that lingers on your clothes.
The diagnosis: Because of the machine’s design, the door seal on a front-loader is extra-air tight to keep water from spilling out of the washer while it’s swishing the clothes around. So when you close the door after emptying the machine, any drops of leftover water don’t have a way to evaporate. That can create smelly mold and mildew.
The solution: Leave the door open when the washer isn’t in use. If you want to keep the door closed so your kids can’t climb in there, try washing every fourth or fifth load of clothes—like bath towels—in hot water instead of cold. Or, buy a product designed to remove odors from high-efficiency washers. Most washing machine manufacturers make them.