New to front loader high efficiency (HE) washing machines when we moved to smaller living quarters, we were unaware that such washers tend to become odorous if not regularly cleaned. We learned that to keep stink and smell at bay, you must periodically cycle through with a decent washer deodorizer. The Bosch washer at the new apartment didn’t smell right away. But after half a year of living here doing weekend laundry, the odor grew quite pungent. At first, we knew not what it was. But then, we remembered using a washing machine deodorizer at home to solve a similar problem, in our top loader HE washing machine and how well it worked. So during our next shopping trip, we bought a 10.58 ounce box of Gain® Washing Machine Cleaner, and wow! After just ten minutes into the regular cycle, those moldy, wet-dog-like smells quickly disappeared.
Well, that learned us on how essential running through the cleaning cycle once a month can be, for preserving a clean, odor free, mold and mildew free clothes washer. In fact, ANY washer, not just the HE front loaders, can develop offensive stink due to residue, mould, and mildew growing around the seals, in the piping, and around the washer tub itself. Front load washing machines seem particularly apt to incubating these unclean smells, especially if you do not leave the hatch open between laundry sessions. We found Gain® Washing Machine Cleaner to work very well to combat that old-washer smell.
The gentle, sweet scent inspires the feeling that the washer has definitely been cleaned and disinfected. Perhaps some kind of fruit or flower scent. It’s unique, but definitely more pleasant than the smell of old, soggy, days-wet clothes. The instructions suggest running one bag through the washer per month, and once per week for three weeks for particularly dirty washers that show visible residue around door seals, in the soap dispensers, and around the washtub drum. However, perhaps since we only wash a couple loads per week, we’ve found that the Bosch washing machine that we now rent, remains odor free for two months or so between applications.
Benefits, Pros, Features, and Benefits
- Single portion, pre measured bags. These thick plastic bags keep the active ingredients fresh until use. Resembling thick cellophane, they cannot be easily torn open; requiring sharp scissors instead. Do not open the pouches until ready to use them, as doing so might render this product less functional.
- Reasonably Economical. We purchased the 4-pouch box of Gain® for approximately $10 at Walmart. Cheaper solutions, such as straight bleach and baking soda may or may not work, and may be effective alternatives in specific situations. But if you don’t have time to experiments, yet want a cleaning solution that does it right the first time, this washer cleaner, though a bit more expensive than baking soda and other brands of similar products, is among the best performing. It costs roughly two dollars and fifty cents per application.
- Easy to dispense. You simply cut open the plastic pouch and dump the powdery contents into the washer tub prior to starting the regular wash cycle. This can produce some airborne dust. So you may experience some eye and / or nose irritation. To counter this, immediately close the hatch and start the washer after emptying the bag into the washtub.
- Reverses build up of detergent, dirt, and minerals found in your local water. Not only does this deodorize, but it helps keep small pipes and openings in the HE washing machine from clogging. This clothes washer cleaner helps preserve high efficiency performance therefore.
- Odor remover. Highly potent smell stopper. The scent left behind strongly suggests that the clothes washer has definitely been cleaned thoroughly.
- More effective than bleach. Also may be safer than bleach for Bosch front loader washers, some of which advise against using bleach in their instruction manuals.
- For front loading and top loading washing machines. We’ve used this Gain® product without damage on washers that recommend against chlorine bleach. In fact, this cleaner says that it works better than bleach, and is safer than bleach besides; a win-win.
- Safe for septic tanks. Since this product relies primarily on oxidation to work, its effect has limited duration as the active chemicals oxidize. By the time it reaches the septic tank after washer cleaning, its active ingredients have become essentially inert.
- Works on all washing machines. Whether front loader or top loader, high efficiency or normal efficiency, Gain® used regularly will keep your washer clean and free of offensive stink and residue buildup.
Cons, Limitations, Problems, and Concerns
- May not be cheapest solution. Numerous “home” remedies are effective to deodorize clothes washing machines. But Gain®, though a bit costlier than these, is more reliably effective in a wide array of washers and situations.
- Aroma can remain strong for some time after use. While the clean scent is initially pleasant, it can become monotonous, as in our case, where our work kitchen table is located near the washer closet. It remains noticeable for over a day after use. Suggestion: Reduce the perfume a little. However, if the perfume scent is bothersome, run the washer through another regular, hot water cycle to rinse out any remaining cleaner from the washer components. But doing this may limit the long-term effectiveness of this product.
- Does not work in washer CLEAN cycle. This product is not intended for use during the CLEAN cycle, found on many Maytag HE washers. Just run the regular clothes washing cycle with hot water for best results.
Cautions and Warnings
- Not a laundry soap. Do not put any clothes in the washer while cleaning it with this product, as the perfume scent that might be left on the clothes may be too strong.
- Only deodorizes the water handling parts. Gain® washer cleaner works well only on washer components that come into direct contact with the water circulating system within. These include the tub, water jets, pump interiors, the drain, and door seals. However, if foul odors persist after regular use of this product for some months, then there may be leaks in the piping system where water is collecting beneath but never drying; a breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. So a persistently smelly washing machine may require repairs. These odors due to mechanical failure are beyond the scope of this product to eliminate.
Instructions for Use
- Apply once per month, leaving the door open slightly when the washer is not being used between laundry loads.
- For stubborn odors or visible accumulation of smelly dirt and growths, use Gain® Washing Machine Cleaner, one pouch in each of three consecutive cleaning cycles to loosen and remove mold and mildew buildup. Then use once per month (maintenance mode).
- To clean, drop ONE tablet directly into washer tub. Do not put in the soap dispenser.
- Close / latch the door and run on REGULAR wash cycle, using HOT water. Again, do not use the CLEAN cycle, if your washer offers one.
- To avoid frequent odor return, as mentioned, let door stand open between washer uses, to allow complete and fastest drying of the tub, seals, hoses, hinges, pumps, and related components. If you wash bleach loads, make them the last loads you do in a particular washing session, since the bleach will kill many odor-producing bacteria and germs, and prolong the washer’s odor-free status.
At roughly $2.50 per single-use pouch (one pouch deodorizes and cleans the washer one time), and given the degree of mildew odors we encountered before regularly cleaning our HE machines, we found Gain® to be an affordable, low effort, long lasting washer deodorizer to solve the recurring issue of washing machine stench. It eliminates it conveniently, and effectively. Aside from the possibly overly persistent sweet scent, we found this product to work as advertised, and quite well at that. So we’d rate this washer cleaner at 96 out of 100.
Look for this product in the green and yellow box with the red, green, yellow, and white lettering.
- Front Loader Washers on Wikipedia
- High Efficiency (HE) Washing Machines on About.com
- Gain Cleaner Official Product Page
- Where to buy Gain Washing Machine Cleaner
- 2017-01-30: Added a Related Posts section.
- 2017-01-22: Added appropriate tags.
- 2015-10-31: Originally published.