Picture of a 10.58 ounce box of Gain® Washing Machine Cleaner, four pouch, top view.

Gain Washing Machine Cleaner Review

Once upon a time, we were new to front loader high efficiency (HE) washing machines.  And in those early days, we learned the hard way about the need to keep these clean.  Indeed, front loaders especially can smell bad if not cleaned now and then.  So, these Gain washing machine cleaner pouches came in handy.

The Smelly, Moldy, Stinky Washing Machine Problem

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 place 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 washer deodorizer at home to solve that problem. We saw that issue, as well as the cure, in our top loader HE washing machine.  How well that worked!

So during our next shopping trip, we bought a 10.58 ounce box of Gain washing machine cleaner.  Then, wow!  After just ten minutes into the regular cycle, those moldy, wet-dog-like smells quickly faded.

Picture of a 10.58 ounce box of Gain washing machine cleaner, four pouch, top view.
Gain washing machine cleaner, four pouch box, top view.

Well, that learned us on how essential running through the cleaning cycle once a month is.  It keeps a clean, odor free, mold and mildew free clothes washer.

In fact, ANY washer, not just the HE front loaders, can develop offensive stink.  These odors come from residue, mold, and mildew growing inside. Front load washing machines seem especially apt to get these unclean smells. We found that Gain washing machine cleaner works very well to erase that old-washer smell.

Gain Washing Machine Cleaner Benefits, Pros, Features, and Advantages

Single Portion 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 Priced

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. Yes, these may be effective alternatives in specific situations. But if you don’t have time to test, try Gain.  Gain offers a washer cleaning answer that does it right the first time.  This cleaner, though more costly than baking soda and other home remedies, works nearly the best. It costs roughly two dollars and fifty cents per use.

Gain Washing Machine Cleaner is Easy to Use

You just cut open the plastic pouch. Then, dump the powdery contents into the washer tub.  Finally, starting the washer in its regular wash cycle.

Note though, that too quickly pouring the bag of Gain cleaner  can produce airborne dust. This may cause you eye and / or nose irritation.  Therefore, to counter this, immediately close the hatch after emptying the bag into the washtub.

Cleans Soap, Dirt, and Mineral Build Up

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 HE performance therefore.

Contains a Powerful Odor Remover

Highly potent smell stopper. Roves front loader washer smells of mold and mildew.  Deodorizes top loading washing machines also.  The scent left behind strongly hints of a now clean clothes washer.

Strong but Pleasant Aroma

Perhaps some kind of fruit or flower scent. It’s unique, but more pleasant than the smell of old, soggy, days-wet clothes. The instructions say to run one bag through per month.  For very dirty washers, they advise once per week for three straight weeks.  The weekly regimen is for washers with residue around door seals, in the soap dispensers, and around the drum. But perhaps since we wash just a couple loads per week, we don’t get much bad small.  Indeed, ur washer smells clean for at least two months between cleanings.

Gain Washing Machine Cleaner Works Better than Bleach

Also, Gain washing machine cleaner is safer than bleach for Bosch front loader washers.  Some Bosch’s warn against using bleach in them, in their user manuals.   In fact, this cleaner says that it works better than bleach, and is safer than bleach besides; a win-win.

For Front Loading and Top Loading Clothes Washers

We’ve used Gain washing machine cleaner without damage to our washers.  Even those washers that allow bleach benefit from this fresh, clean-smelling treatment.

Safe for Septic Tanks

Since this product relies 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 gone inert.

Works on All Washing Machines

Whether front loader or top loader, high or normal efficiency, this cleaner works!  Gain® used monthly keeps your clothes washer clean and free of stink and mildew buildup.

Picture of Gain washing machine cleaner, 4 pouch box, bottom view, showing usage instructions and cautions.
Gain washing machine cleaner, 4 pouch box, bottom view, showing usage instructions and cautions.

Gain Washing Machine Cleaner Cons, Limitations, Problems, and Disadvantages

May not be Cheapest Solution

Many “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 ca Stay for Some Time After Use

While the clean scent is pleasant at first, it can later grow monotonous. We found this in our case to be true, where our kitchen table is located near the washer closet. It stayed around, quite strong, for over a day after use. Suggestion to the makers of this Gain cleaner: Reduce the perfume a bit.

But if the scent irks you, run the washer through another regular, hot water cycle.  This time though, do not add any cleaner or soap. This rinse out any left over cleaner from the washer parts. Keep in mind though, that doing this may limit the long-term deodorizing effectiveness of this Gain product.

Gain Washing Machine Cleaner Does Not Work in Washer CLEAN Cycle

Do not run the CLEAN cycle, found on many HE washers with this Gain product.  Just run the regular clothes washing cycle with hot water for best results, per their instructions.

Cautions and Warnings about Gain Washing Machine Cleaner

Not a Laundry Soap

Do not put any clothes in the washer while cleaning it with Gain washing machine cleaner. The perfume scent that might remain on the clothes may be too strong. Besides, the cleaning agents may ruin some delicate clothing.

Only Deodorizes the Water Handling Parts

Gain washing machine cleaner works well only on washer parts that come into direct contact with its water circulating system. These include the tub, water jets, pumps, the drain, and rubber door seals.

But if foul odors persist after regular use for some months, then check for leaks in the piping.  Water could be collecting beneath but never drying. This forms a nasty breeding ground for odor-causing germs. So a smelly washing machine may need repairs. These odors are often due to mechanical failure.  So, they are beyond the scope of this product to cure.

Gain Washing Machine Cleaner Instructions for Use

  • Apply once per month.
  • Leave washer door open slightly when not in use.
  • For stubborn odors or visible dirt and growths, use Gain washing machine cleaner often. Use one pouch in each of three consecutive cleaning cycles.  This cleaning trifecta loosens and removes mold and mildew. Then, run a single cleaning cycle again with this Gain cleaner 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 we said above, let door stand open between washer uses. This allows fastest drying of the tub, seals, hoses, hinges, pumps, and related parts. If you wash bleach loads, make them the last loads you do in a washing session.  Why?  Because the little bit of bleach that stays behind in the washer, kills many odor-causing bacteria and germs.  Further, bleach keeps the washer odor-free for weeks after.

Our Rating for Gain Washing Machine Cleaner

At roughly $2.50 per single-use pouch, Gain washing machine cleaner is not overly pricey.  One pouch deodorizes and cleans the washer once.  Plus, at first, we did not run this through our front loader routinely. As punishment, we  noticed strong, funky smells after a couple months.  So we found this Gain® cleaner to be an affordable yet effective, low effort, long lasting washer deodorizer.  Indeed, it ended our recurring issue of washing machine stench. Aside from the perhaps overly strong sweet scent, this product indeed worked as advertised. Thus, we’d rate Gain washing machine cleaner at 96 out of 100.

Look for this product in the green and yellow box with the red, green, yellow, and white lettering.

Gain Washing Machine Cleaner Related Posts

  1. How to Clean Front Loading Washing Machine with Bleach
  2. Top Load vs Front Load Washers Pros Cons
  3. Maytag Bravos Washer Machine MVWB750WQ Review
  4. Tide Washing Machine Cleaner Review
  5. How to Freshen Up a Smelly Washing Machine
  6. Cleaning the Door Seal Gasket on Front Loader Washing Machine

References for Gain Washing Machine Cleaner

  1. Front Loader Washers on Wikipedia
  2. High Efficiency (HE) Washing Machines on About.com
  3. Gain Cleaner Official Product Page
  4. Where to buy Gain Washer Cleaner

Revision History

  • 2019-04-02: Removed ad code.
  • 2018-04-10: Revised post content for better targeting.
  • 2017-01-30: Added a Related Posts   section.
  • 2017-01-22: Added appropriate tags.
  • 2015-10-31: Originally published.