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Front Loading Versus Top Loading Stacked Washer/Dryers + What I Have at Home

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Over the weekend I posted a riveting story about laundry detergent as I Vanna White’d our TOP LOADING stacking washer and dryer closet on the bedroom floor upstairs (if you are renovating right now DO THIS). We still haven’t started building the more proper laundry closet downstairs (nor have we purchased the appliances) so this is the only way we clean our clothes these days (but I can wear the same clothes FOR DAYS without cleaning – it’s a real gift). After that story we got a lot of DMs with some questions we thought I’d answer – mostly about my feelings towards this tall little lady.

First off, I think we need to address the top loading versus front loading situation. I didn’t know this was a “thing” till we ran into a mold problem inside our front-loading washer in this laundry room. We were baffled, perplexed, so annoyed and then when we had a plumber come he said this happens ALL THE TIME with front loaders. Now I think that you can avoid this by A. Using way less liquid detergent so it makes it easier to dry out and B. leaving the door open all the time (cool). But essentially for whatever reasons, front loaders don’t drain as well and yes, mold often forms and especially in the rubber part where the door closes. Then it makes your clothes reak of mold and you hope that putting them in the dryer, your dryer balls will kill the smell and they do, or maybe you just get used to the smell – I DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ANYMORE.

So why “front load” in the first place? Well, without giving you a report on the history of the washer and when the “change” happened, it’s to save space – so you can fold clothes or add storage on on top of your front loader that you obviously can’t with your top loader. So when we were planning this house was when we were dealing with the mold. Out of fear that this would happen again I went top load with this unit without hesitation. Now there MIGHT be non-molding front loading stackable units, I’m not saying they ALL have drainage issues. But the plumber that we hired assured me that this is TRUE – front loaders are prone to mold, top loaders are not.

This is what we bought and have in the mountain house.

washer/dryer unit

So how do I feel about this little unit? PRETTY good … So far, but it’s only been a year and a half. This weekend was the first time that I’ve felt motivated to get the larger unit/closet going downstairs because as you can imagine there is less capacity in the smaller one so it takes so much longer to do the laundry unless you stay on top of it every day – which we were for most of quarantine but have gotten lazier.

So just this morning I was saying to my MIL – “I wish I had a bigger washer/dryer right now” and then Mallory said everyone was asking about my thoughts on my current one. So I figured I’d bore you with a whole post about it. So far so good for small loads.

I will say this – I’m not a really picky appliance person – like I’m not INTO appliances and I mostly want them to be super simple with as few settings as possible so I don’t mess them up. Sometimes I feel like the old fashioned dial and the “press start” button is all we need and not ones with wifi settings that speak a foreign language and a dryer that talks to your microwave.

So there you go. If you want to see our “plan” for our downstairs laundry closet (still small, but bigger) go here, or check out our laundry room HERE.

OH but seriously (and pardon me if I’ve asked this before) as I’m shopping for the downstairs set – I’d LOVE to know what you have that you love. By the way, this is why I love Good Housekeeping magazine – because they do real reviews after like many many months of using, but I actually think that your recommendations would be crazy valuable to a lot of us. For instance – I can recommend that stacking set, how about you??

Fin Mark

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Emily R

I’ve lived with both and think both work well. I had that exact stacking unit in a rental, and now I have a front-loading stacked bosch in the unit I own. I went with the more expensive bosch front loader because of space constraints and the condensing dryer (I don’t have a good way to vent the dryer). I leave the door cracked when I’m done and I’ve never had a problem with mold.

Roberta Davis

I have this, too! I don’t stack them, but I like that I could. I would definitely choose for stacking in a closet.

Bonnie Creasy

I too always leave LG front loader door open to dry out or it will smell, mold, & rust eventually. Here in Fla a lot of us have washer dryer in outside sheds, humidity +++. Mine is 8 yrs old and still works great.

Beth

I have the same and it’s even older. We honestly only do 2-3 loads a week so there’s not a lot of wear and tear, but we always towel down the inside of the door, the gasket and the detergent drawer and leave them open for a day (it’s in the garage). I read warnings about mold in front loaders after I already had it (it was an impulse buy) so that’s why we are so diligent. I have never had any mold or smell or even hard water residue and it sure is prettier than a top loader.

Alice

To get wet laundry out of a front-loader, you have to hunch down and reach into the machine in a way that puts stress on your back.

S

Top load all the way. I want an agitator in my washing machine, which is impossible with a front loader. Mine also has a “soak” setting, which I love. we soak all our bedding/towels for 30 minutes with an oxibooster (from Dropps! love!) and it stays very bright.

I think I need you to consult with me on laundry. i don’t know what an agitator is and I’ve never soaked anything and just complain about towels getting dingy. HELP

Susanna

lol … the agitator is the big spindle in the center of the machine that swirls and tosses your laundry back and forth during a cycle, churning it. Front loads just spin everything.

S

The soak feature is a game changer for me! It can be set for 15 min, 30 min, 1 hour, or 2 hours. I don’t (usually)soak our clothes, but I do for towels and bedding. Add some baking soda when washing whites and it will help brighten them up!

S

PS; it looks like the exact model I have isn’t available anymore, but it’s made by GE.

Barbara

add 1/2 cup of Borax to your whites, it really helps

Victoria L Weeks

Top loading Speedqueen is the way to go. Has an agitator and it lasts! Been my mother’s and clients favorites for years even before the beautiful yet impractical front loading era.

ann

I agree 100%! More expensive but so worth it because they last.

Mara

Agree 100%. We had front load for years and then bought a Speed Queen. I will never go back. They work perfectly and will last forever.

ANN

YES!! I have a SpeedQUeen top loader as well, it’s the only one I could find that didn’t have a computer . My dad always said the more bells and whistles the more to go wrong! I had a stackable set like yours in a rental and loved it.

stacey

I was just coming here to loudly proclaim the awesome, American made Speed Queen. It’s got no bells and whistles, just gets everything clean clean clean. Ours is so heavy, it never walks across the laundry room due to uneven loads. Our installer was 2 thumbs up, he says they rarely ever have to service these. We got the one with old fashioned controls because electric panels + humidity is the worst engineering idea ever. It was cheaper than the front loaders at our local appliance store too. I am a grandma..many thousands of loads later I can say this is the best machine I have ever had.

Ange

I agree 100%. Speed Queen is THE BEST.

Sarah M.

Why would you want an agitator?! It ruins your clothes.

Sasha

It does not ruin your clothes if you’re not using the water saving features. We never have problems with ruined clothes because the clothes are fully soaked in the drum. I would like to be environmentally friendly too, but what is the use of reducing water if you need to buy clothes more often or you need to wash two times for it to be clean.

Also + 1 to Speed Queen. We love the mechanical control and the results

S

It definitely does not ruin my clothes. Mine does not have a “water saving” feature, but just load size settings. as long as the load size is correct, everything is fine. anything that may be more ~delicate~ I put in a mesh bag, which I would do regardless. No issues here!

Emily R

You can also soak in a front loader.

tjcsrcmcar

How? Please tell me bc I’ve had mine for 10 years (HATE it, btw and will be getting a SQ soon… 2nd stimulus?!?!?!?!) and the best I can figure out is to do a pre-wash and final rinse. That’s the only way I can get the machine to use enough water to, ya know… clean the clothes.

We just had this same discussion on my instagram a week or so ago. We are currently using that same stackable set that you’re using in our three story townhome, but we’re moving to a single level home with a finished basement next week and will have a laundry room upstairs and downstairs in the new house. We recently purchased a top loader samsung washer and dryer for the new house and we’re very excited to use them. We chose a top loader without an agitator so we could do blankets and larger loads and I’m really thrilled about that. Question about your detergent. I used those dropps tabs for several months back in 2018-2019 after receiving a bunch of boxes for a sponsored post I did. I found with larger loads the pods did not dissolve all the way and left lots of residue and plastic pod remains on some of our clothes. Have you had this issue?

Laurie

We used pods for a few months and found the same thing. Couldn’t figure out what the slime was at first. Sorry Pods, had to quit you.

isabelle

I can’t use any kind of pod in the washer at my apartment. It’s some kind of ultra efficient commercial washer (aka saves my landlord money but manages to ruin all my clothes without really cleaning them) so I don’t think there is enough contact with water to fully dissolve the pod.

LouAnn

Top loader. They’re a classic for a reason: They work well with the fewest maintenance problems. And they are far less expensive than front loaders. Lots of people bought front loaders for prestige reasons (like the Subzero purchase); not for practicality.\

Kristyn

I have an LG washer/dryer combo machine due to space constraints. It has vent-less drying. My parents and in-laws thought I was insane and should have crammed a stacked unit in the space. The machine is like a full size, front loading washer and it can wash a really big load (like a King sized comforter). If you want to wash and dry it’s best to stick to normal size loads. I like it because it’s just the two of us and I like to air dry many of my clothes (it helps them to last longer). It’s nice to not have to transfer wet laundry to a separate machine, but the drying cycle does take a long time (3 hrs to wash and dry a load). I just plan accordingly. Lint can be an issue with these types of machines, so I clean the door seal thoroughly after each drying cycle with Affresh washing machine wipes. The wipes are recommended for front loaders to keep the mold away and I have never had an issue with it in the 3 yrs I have had this machine. I don’t use any fabric softener or dryer balls because the steam drying… Read more »

Darcy

I have had a similar LG combo unit for about 15 years and LOVE it, but mostly air dry clothes and only use the drying setting to “steam” out wrinkles on select clothing items. We have a standard dryer downstairs that I use just for towels. I have lived with various front load machines for 40 years and would not ever want an underwear chewing agitator ruining my clothes. We did put in a top load without an agitator for a rental unit that has been worry free for 7 years. I don’t like unloading it though since I am short.

Amber

I’m surprised no one has mentioned sustainability yet. Front loaders use a lot less water than top loaders on average. In California especially I think that would be an important consideration.

They are also more gentle on your clothes, although the new ones without agitators aren’t as harsh. I wash pretty much everything (delicates in mesh bags) except tailored blazers to avoid dry cleaning, so this is important to me.

I always leave my washer door cracked (it doesn’t have to be wide open) and switched to powdered detergent, and have never had a mold problem.

I also like being able to use the space on top of the machine. Growing up, we had a top loader, and we were always piling clothes on top of the washer and then having to move them to do a load.

That said, mother likes to be able to add things to the machine after she starts a load, which is only possible with a top loader. That might be something that matters to you too…

Amber

**my mother. Oh dear, I was not trying to sound like Mike Pence.

Leigh G

Re: Mike Pence, thank you for making me LOL today, I needed that.

I just got my first front loader 9 months ago and I dont really care for it. It’s smelly even when I leave the door open. Saving water and energy is important to me but I do need to do the tub wash cycle to clean the machine every few weeks.. Using the top for storage is nice though..

You bring up VERY good points. I didn’t know about the water and I suppose just leaving the door cracked shouldn’t be a big deal. I also should be more gentle on my clothes, but I think its something about how I was raised – I barely even ‘sort’ my clothes. Also that Mike Pence comment cracked me up.

Beth Cote

Leaving a door open a crack is very dangerous with small children– hide and go seekers always look for that special place . . . .

Rebecca

@Beth this is my exact concern since our laundry is in a bathroom. If it were down in a basement I’d be less concerned.

Tara

I agree with all you said! Except in my front loader you CAN add stuff after it has started. I do it all the time. LOL!

Roberta Davis

I can pause the cycle and add things to my front-loader.

LouAnn

Do front loaders really use less water if their overloading problems mean you have to do far more, smaller loads? Or you have to rewash things that don’t get clean?

Whether a front loader really contributes to sustainability depends on how it’s used. And friends with front loaders say they do MORE loads than they used to with a top loader.

Tiffany

I switched froma Kenmore top loader to a front loader last year and I love it. I have fewer loads because of the capacity. Washer size is a consideration when looking at front loaders. I can wash two queen size comforters plus duvet covers at once. I find myself doing fewer loads with the front loader.
As for the mold issue, I dry the rubber part on the front after each load and then leave it open for awhile, usually a few hours and I haven’t had any issues. One time my daughter came home to do laundry and she didn’t dry or leave the door open, so I had to wipe it out with bleach but no issues since then.

T

No way-I can wash a set of king size sheets along with a queen set at the same time. In my top loader it was only one set at a time and I would have to soak them first to get them clean. I do 1/2 the loads I used to do in my top loader and things are so much cleaner!! We also have a well and a septic system and need to conserve water-was advised to switch to front loading. I do leave the door cracked and have had no problems with smell but I know that isn’t a great option for everyone. You can pause my machine to add items as well. I love it! It’s a very basic Maytag front loader and it’s been great.

Sophie

It’s not just water usage, front loaders are more energy efficient also because gravity is doing half the work agitating the clothes, you don’t need the addition of the mechanical agitator that top loaders have.
Side note, I’m from Europe and had never even seen a top loader in my life before I moved to America. In the UK washing machines are usually under the kitchen counter so having access to the top is not even feasible. In the rest of Europe they’re usually squeezed in the bathroom with the top for folding/storing detergent and stuff and a lot of people have the combo washer driers for space saving reasons.

Betty

Same here, Sophie! I’m from Europe and haven’t seen a top loader until I came to the US. I am glad that front loaders have become more popular, but I do think that American manufacturers add cheaper material to their washing machines. The drum needs to be stainless steel and the rubber part (that can mold with American washers) is usually Silicon in European washers.

Elle

I’m wondering if this is an American thing too. I’m in Australia and this post is the first time I’ve ever even heard about the mould issue with front loaders? Have used three different front loaders and never left the door open on any of them (I’ve never seen anyone do that here!). Mould has never grown, there’s never been a musty smell, and I’ve never heard a friend mention mould as a consideration when in the market for a washer either. I’ve also never seen a front loader here that didn’t have a stainless steel drum.

Having used both, I prefer front loaders – gentler on clothes, cleans very noticeably better in my experience, better for the environment, and wool and handwash cycles are so handy. The only downside is that it takes a bit longer but that’s not a big deal to me.

Emily R

Yes, front loaders are MUCH more efficient!

Kim

I am shopping for a new washer,replacing my front loader with a top loader for sure. My current front loader has decided not to spin
so at the end of the cycle the clothes are sopping wet. I haven’t had any issues with mold thankfully and leave the door cracked during the day since it’s a pass through to garage, leave door open all night, part of my getting ready for bed routine. Since my current washer is only 7.5 years old and would be $700 to repair, it’sdefinitely frustrating and disappointing. Hope to get a minimum of 10 years with next one!

Natasha

I had that GE washer/dryer for 10 years in my old house and loved it I It didn’t need a lot of repairs and while small, it worked very well. I sold it when I moved to a larger space and now have a stacking Maytag front loader set. I think it’s only had a slight mildew smell once in 5 years , but that could be because I wash a lot of loads with Oxi Clean. I also run it through the “clean” cycle with bleach, but not once a month as Maytag recommends. I do it maybe once or twice aa year, at most. I have a great sense of smell, so it there were mildew or mold, I’d know it. The washer has needed repairs twice, the dryer never. Overall I love it, but wish I could do a “soak” cycle, one of the best things about having a top loader.

Cris S.

We have a front loader, stacked with the dryer on top in our house (renovated about a year and a half ago). I hate it. We not only have to leave the door open but now we’ve started taking out the detergent dispensing insert too in an effort to cut down on the molding. Haven’t seen it in the plastic door seal yet, but when I took out the detergent dispenser (there is a pull out piece that holds a separate bit that holds detergent, which we can swap out with other detergent holders – I have one for colors, one for whites, one for dark colors) and looked up in there, there was mold growing up in that area. Long story short, I hate the mold, I hate how VERY long it takes to do a load, I hate not being able to open it when I want, I hate having to bend way down to pull stuff out and then lift it up to the dryer and that stuff ALWAYS falls on the floor that I have to pick up. And then there’s the having to stand on my tip toes to get stuff out of the dryer…… Read more »

Cris S.

Oh – and I didn’t check the noise level on the washing machine and intermittently in the cycle it makes an horrific amount of noise. The first time we did laundry after we moved in, my husband was doing a load and I went running up the stairs to find out what was wrong – it sounded like an airplane engine. It’s a Whirlpool HE Load & Go if that helps anyone.

Oh man. I feel you. Glad i’m not the only one. ANd good tip about the vents on second floor. We had that issue with replacing our AC filters. Brian had to get on like a 20′ ladder (it was terrifying) to change them out because we put them up so high in the mountain house living room.

Cris S.

Your post reminded me to follow up on finally getting someone to come clean it out. I just called and we have an appointment now. It’s $90 well spent – my husband keeps threatening to borrow a ladder and climb up and there is no way I’m letting him do it. That’s a job for an insured professional! Thank you for the reminder!

Emilie

Who do you call to do the vent cleaning and how often should it be done? We just added a 2nd floor laundry about 10 months ago and I have the same concerns.

Melissa

We have front loading stacked W & D by Electrolux and love them. No smell at all. I leave the door open for a little bit to make sure it’s dry, but it’s never been an issue and I use the Tide pods so it’s not messy.

Shannon

I also have the front loading stacked Electrolux with a condensing dryer. I usually do my laundry in the evening, wipe the door and detergent tray dry, and leave the door cracked overnight. I close it in the morning and haven’t had a problem with mold. What I have had a problem with is that trap you are supposed to clean every few months but is too close to the floor to get a pan under to catch the water. What a mess.

Kelly Keitzer

I have top loading washer. My washer and dryer are not stacked but I seriously prefer top loading. I love that I can soak clothes that need some extra love and that I don’t have to bend down so much (better for my back). My parents have front loading and I really abhor doing laundry in a front loader. Top loader for life!

Lynn W

My front loaders are LG and get things nice and clean/dry. I do leave the door to the washer open after use to avoid any poss of mold. There is a prompt that tells you after 60 loads, if I’m remembering right, to run the cleaning mode. It’s a high heat cycle that cleans the washer to avoid smells etc. So far, so good.

Elise

Team top load! I’ve always had top load machines in all the houses I owned. Now that we’ve been renting, most had top load, side by side. Our current place has full-size stackable name brand front load and I truly HATE them. The washing machine is so low that you have to bend down to load and unload (bad for your back). I leave the door open a crack in between loads but the previous tenants did not do that. Fingers crossed the next place we move to has top load. The other thing I hate about a front load washing machine is that once the cycle starts, you cannot stop to add a forgotten item. Like the sock you dropped between the bedroom and laundry room! One more thing on the front load washer, it doesn’t seem to drain as well and often there are soap bubbles left in the door.

Mary

I use this handy thing called Laundry Lasso found on Amazon. It has suction cups connected by an adjustable length of cord. one of the suction cups attaches to the side of your front load washer. the second one attaches on the door. lengthen or shorten as you need. after cleaning the dampness in my gasket, i keep the door open using said lasso. never had mold or smell

Brooke

Thank you! I can’t leave my door all the way open or I can’t close the laundry room door. LG front loader. I like the washer and dryer but I do spray Lysol (or I used to!) in it a few times a week and leave it open a crack. The door has an auto option to keep it open a tiny bit but it’s not enough.

Mary

Mary
I use this handy thing called Laundry Lasso found on Amazon. It has suction cups connected by an adjustable length of cord. one of the suction cups attaches to the side of your front load washer. the second one attaches on the door. lengthen or shorten as you need. after cleaning the dampness in my gasket, i keep the door open using said lasso. never had mold or smell

Hannah

My husband and I recently needed to replace a set from the late 80s (I know, serious quality right there) that came with our house, and had the front/top load discussion. I’ve never had a front loader, so I can’t really speak to it, but if you read the reviews for all different brands you will hear the same thing over and over about the mold issue. While they might be sexier to look at/style, they have consistent issues with mold unless you leave the door open all the time from my research (and that wouldn’t work in smaller rooms/spaces). We settled on a high-efficiency LG set that’s top loading with the agitator, which came highly recommended from consumer reports and have no regrets. Best of luck!

Patricia

We have the same stacking style W/D you do and it works fine. No problems. No funky smells. I couldn’t understand people who buy machines (for their looks) they have to leave open all the time. I DON’T GET IT.

Jessie

We’ve had a top loader and now a front loader – there are things I’ve liked about each. Both of ours have been Whirlpool brand. I liked the ability to soak and manually stir soaking clothes in the top loader. Our front loader has a soak setting too, but I can’t reach in there and smush things around like I used to be able to do with our old one. However, we have one comforter that is VERY FLUFFY and I overflowed my top loader several times trying to wash it because it would take it so long to absorb the water that if I just ran the washer it would overfill before the water soaked into the comforter. I had to literally stand there with the lid open, smashing the comforter down to force air out and pausing water frequently until it got filled up enough. No worries about overflowing with the front loader – it’s all sealed in. I also had my front loader literally eat a sock – I discovered after owning the washer for over a year that the way the door seal is designed, there’s sort of a gap on the back side of it… Read more »

Jennifer Shim

I have 2 washers and dryers in my house. One stackable and one side by side, both washers are top loading washers. I still keep the top lid open when not in use to dry it out. I am not a big fan of the front loading washers because they seem to always break down. All my friend’s front loading washers have lasted less than 7 yrs. My stackable W/D unit is a Maytag and is over 20 years old.

MEP

I bought a Maytag front loading washer and dryer when I bought my house in 2018. I think I paid around $1500 for the set. I barely use the special features, so next time I’ll buy something more simple. Anyways, I lived with them side by side for a year and then stacked them 1) to reconfigure the space for storage and 2) to see if I’d like them better that way. When I re-do my laundry closet into a proper laundry/scullery room I will definitely be un-stacking them again. Stackables are great for space constraint issues, but for daily functionality, I prefer the side by side with a counter on top. Washers and dryers just don’t get me excited and I love to see them hidden behind cabinetry.

*My front loader allows you to add garments after you start the cycle (just push the pause button and the door unlocks) which is a nice feature.

Erin

I’m apparently someone with strong laundry opinions… We used to have a front loader and I loved it. The capacity was amazing, and I left the door open so never ran into mold issues. And as a short person, it is so much easier for me to get all the clothes out. Then we moved and the house had a standard top loader with agitator that was probably close to 20 years old. Nothing felt quite as clean, and the agitator in the middle made it so much more challenging to wash bulky items. That machine bit the dust, and our landlord replaced with a top loader without an agitator (it has an impeller instead – oooh, laundry terms!). It cleans wonderfully – my makeup eraser towel looks brand new every time, where the previous machine never quite got out the black eye makeup smudges – but that might be because it’s new. I can definitely shove lots of clothes in there, and it has no trouble with king-sized duvets or lots of towels. The only drawback is my height… sometimes when leaning over to grab a wayward sock I worry I’ll fall in completely. I think, given everything, I… Read more »

Jessie

Yes! I was wondering when someone would mention people height. I loved my front loader, but when we moved, the new house has a top loader. I feel like I’m going to get stuck hanging over the edge every time I have to reach for the last sock. I’ve had mold smells with both kinds in summer, when it just doesn’t dry fast enough.

Jessie

Yes to the height issue! I think what seems like an annoying “bend down” to get clothes out of a front loader is really just more convenient for short people, especially if you put your front loader up on a pedestal!

Courtney

Yes to this! I am 5’1 and the new top loaders are too deep for me. I can’t get the clothes off of the bottom unless I use a grabber or lay on top of the washing machine/dryer and basically stick the top half of my body in the machine. Front load is a must for me, and pedestals are great if you have the room & $$.

Betty

I have had my Miele washer and dryer for 23 years and never had a problem. Sure they’re expensive, but so worth it. The washer is a front loader and I never had mold either. Top loaders with these agitators are harsh on any laundry, I think the concept is more than antiquated – a definite no go for me!

Kara

I’m shocked by people not having mold issues with the front loader! I NEVER close the door and yet it gets disgusting. (I use the smallest amount of soap, too, but it doesn’t matter.) I truly hate it haha and can’t wait until I’m not renting so I can buy a top loader. My brother in law is a mechanical engineer who worked in appliances for years, and he told me that appliance engineers also hate them because of the mold issue and the only reason they make them is because it’s what the stores want. He also told me to be cautious of how much bleach you use to clean the mold because it can eat away at the rubber adhesives.

Jessie

Curious…where do you live? I wonder if this is just like the towel hook debate, where people from humid climates like Florida have way more issues with dampness and mold in general than people in drier climates (I’m in Kansas City, and we’re fairly moderate humidity because we’re near the MO river but not super close – we’ve never had an issue with mold in our front loader, and we’re only sort of careful about leaving the door open).

Kara

Hi Jessie…I live in the SF Bay Area, which is so much drier than the Midwest where I grew up. Interesting theory though! Perhaps it’s brand specific??

LJ

It’s got to be specific brands/models, right? I wish everyone put the brands… things like this can always fall all over the place when the actual products can vary so greatly!

Kara

Great point, LJ! For the record mine is a Samsung VRTplus HE and it is moldy AF.

Maggie

I got a front loader 20 years ago when we moved to the country and were on a well -they use much less water. The last load I do each week is towels and white underwear and I put a little chlorine bleach and I also leave the door open. I’m on my 3 front loader and have never had a problem with mold. I feel my clothes are cleaner with a front loader.

Naomi

We had a top loader all my life growing up and in my previous condo. Our current house came with front loaders and I hate having a front loading washer. I miss being able to soak items, add clothes after a load has started and I absolutely HATE the mold. The detergent cartridge molds and the rubber seal molds. My machines are stacked in a hall closet, so I have to keep the closet door open in order to keep the washer door open to dry it out. It’s so annoying to accidentally run into that door at times.

Next house will get a top loader for sure.

Michelle

Okay, joining this convo because I gagged once opening my step mom’s front loader from the mold smell and wondered if she just couldn’t smell it? Forever a top loader. As a mom with kids who make a lot of laundry and make it filthy I also want a high capacity set and insist on an agitator in the washer because these gentle washers just don’t get my kids dirt out. I have and recommend Maytag Bravos XL.

Anne

Thank you!!! I can not tell you how much I appreciate how responsive and interactive you are with all the questions sent your way. It is especially appreciated and impressive during these crazy times we are currently in. I can barely get it together enough to reply to messages from my friends and family and you find a way to reply to so many internet strangers!

Margaret

Team top loader here. I have a Roper that I bought in 2004 on the advice of a friend who works for Whirlpool (Ropers are very basic, no-frills machines that are marketed towards landlords, but are make with WP parts) that has needed only one repair–door switch–despite a truly incredible amount of dog hair going through it.
A big advantage for the top loader for me is that I can pour the water from the dehumidifier right into the washer and not waste it–with no sump I would otherwise have to carry it up the basement stairs and dump it in the kitchen, and this time of year in the muggy midwest it needs to be emptied 2/3 times a day. It’s also the only soft water my laundry ever sees.
For anyone who has trouble reaching the last of their laundry with either type of machine, I recommend a “reacher” of the sort that is sold for people with mobility impairments. I used one at work for a couple of months after a back injury–I do my patients’ laundry–and it made a big difference. Pharmacies and medical-equipment places carry them.

Kristen

I’ve heard awesome stuff about the Speed Queen.
Made like a tank, no frills (No problems, either) but super, long-lasting.

Carol

Team Front Load. Never (ever) had any trouble with mold – I just don’t close the door all the way. They use way less water and detergent (both of those good for the environment) and are far kinder to your clothes, since there’s no agitator beating them to death. I really don’t know what people are doing that they’re having so much trouble with mold.

Angela

We’ve had our front loader for 12 years and the rubber gasket has mold on it. I forget how many years it’s had mold. But it doesn’t smell! And our clothes are clean. So I gave up on trying to clean it. We leave the door open all the time (except when actually washing clothes).

Lisa N

For what it’s worth, my plumber said the front-loading washers were better built and used less water. I think it’s an opinion based take rather than fact. 🤷🏻‍♀️

Chelsea

I’ve never posted a comment but love my washer so much I thought I’d weigh in! My mom has had several front loaders, all with some degree of mold/smell issues so we decided to steer clear. We bought a top loader high efficiency from LG and it’s AMAZING! It does not have an agitator (the spinning bar in the middle) and still cleans the clothes so well. It spins them so the dryer doesn’t take as much time. Can handle huge loads which saves me time, has lots of settings, and has this beautiful little chime that tells you when it’s done rather than a buzzer!

Molly H

I’ve only ever had top loaders due to placement/space issues and they get very moldy as well so not buying what your appliance guy told you! I have used peroxide which is really, really great for getting mildewy towels clean and disinfecting little one’s, um, undies! Have also tried white vinegar which is super great for getting your scratchy towels soft and fab for getting your sheets to have a wonnnnderful no smell at all. (I don’t use dryer tabs; allergies.) Both of these work for a few days; less in warm summer months. The miracle worker? Super strong peroxide: 12%. Available on Amazon. That peroxide you buy at CVS, etc? Only 3%. You need to be super careful with the 12%. Wear gloves. It’s won’t gas you out or melt your skin off, but it will give you a temporary rash if you splash it on yourself. I wear those elbow length “dishwashing gloves”. Running a load of towels, etc. with it, or just running a cleaning load completely takes away the mold smell for a very long time. When it comes back, in it goes again. Also, on my top load there is a piece on top of… Read more »

CB

I’ve had both– the one you have upstairs in your mountain house and now an LG front loader set. I really liked the model you have because it was compact and worked really well! Now, with the LG we have no problems with mold because the door is held partially open by a magnet. This seems like a totally trivial feature but it makes all the difference. We have a small (24″) front loader set in our basement (Fisher Paykel) which we also love (long story on why we have two WD sets in our house). The Fisher Paykel set does not have the magnet and I hate having to keep the door hanging open!

Speed Queen makes the only washers I’ll buy from here on out. Mine is a top loading, commercial washer with old-school dials, agitator, and not cheap, but it’s a total boss. We actually dragged our washer out of the basement and up the stairs when we moved, because I couldn’t leave it behind (it was less than a year old at the time). Worth it.

Sheri Bair

Speedqueen, top loader washer, old school dials and buttons, all the way. My cousins are dairy farmers and when I was renovating I asked them for recommendations – they said Speedqueen is all they use in their barns. I’ve had my set for about four years and they are super solid workhorses – no issues whatsoever.

Kara

I’m so curious about what dairy farmers use washing machines in their barns for now!:)

Amy

Speed Queen top loader has been great. Very highly recommend! Agitator; no bells and whistles. We have 4 kids and lots of laundry. Went through 2 sets of front loaders and was looking at having to replace again.

Susanna

I’ve had stacked front-loading for nine years now (first LG, now Samsung). You do have to do a little work to keep them from smelling: wiping down the gaskets when you’re done and running monthly or so a cleaning cycle with the appropriate solution. People often forget to clean the filter and drain every month or so (takes all of 5 minutes) and they are often culprits for bad smells.

My big winning strategy though is this: I also toss a handful of scented Downy beads in there when everything is good and dry. Then they are already in the machine the next time we do laundry and it keeps the machine smelling fresh all the time.

Susanna

Forgot to note that some of the newest machines can magnetically keep the door ajar about two inches to let air continuously circulate.

Darcy

Glad some have mentioned a magnetic door feature, as I am soon to be buying another front loader for my studio ipart because of excellent longevity from what I have seen. Between the household I grew up with (they have had three front washers in 40 years, two still there working, all Maytag) and the Whirlpool from 1996 that just got replaced at my ex-spouse’s and the 2005 LG, I have been extremely happy with the longevity and performance of frontloaders. My least favorite was the Whirlpool, but it was a compact undercounter model, too small. In our dry climate, my LG just doesn’t get moldy. The Maytag ones at in my parents basement in MI were always moldy. Their new one is upstairs and they have been leaving a towel on the door to keep it cracked open, so no mildew now. And my mom could do the laundry from her wheelchair!

Emily

I have a front loading washer, and it has a soak function and let’s you pause / add things. It’s the whirlpool duet, and I’m a convert to front loafers!

Ellen Switzer

With front load (which i will always prefer) you gotta use powder detergent and not liquid. Most liquid detergents actually have animal fats in them that cause a lot of the smell/mold (apparently). You can find Tide powder detergent on amazon (have never been able to find it in store). I am also trying right now plant-based liquid detergent and so far so good.

Cie Knos

Totally front load!!
I use “Nellie’s” laundry powder for over 20 yrs. First purchased for momma’s bday – was named “Nellie”. But kept using cuz dies great job! Read label. Excellent stuff without chemical. Live it! Use wool dryer balls for anything I don’t hang out to dry…

Heidi

I had a front loader but got rid of it after only two years because of the mold. My laundry room is a pass through room to get to the garage so it wasn’t practical to keep the door open. I now have an LG top loader and love it. No more stinky mold!

Annamaria Cherian

This is totally silly, but my LG front loader works so great with Branch Basics powder /laundry detergent. It’s an amazing product. It changed everything for me. I put the powder in the rubber gasket of the front loader and it seems to dissolve the mold inside. I had so many issues before. I used to try to remove the mold with s cotton swab😂! I didn’t even know I had a musty smell issue until my SIL said she smelled something funky in my daughters’ room when she was visiting. It just happened to be her clean laundry! Now, I have no issues and can live with my front loader a bit longer!

Addie

I prefer top loaders because they are easier to load and without mold problems, although I prefer those with settings options that use less water. Different machines have different energy star ratings so don’t assume it’s a water hog just because it’s a top loader. We had a Fisher Paykel clothes washer that used very little water, had a very gentle agitator, cleaned great, had great longevity and was a top loader. Unfortunately it looks like that model isn’t available anymore. But I would look into the new front loader that Fisher Paykel makes because all their products are very well designed. We also had their refrigerator and dishwasher and we’re extremely happy with them too.

Vee

I lived in a condo for a long time with a stacked unit. It’s built like a rock and that’s why I loved it. Things aren’t made as well anymore so it’s hard to compare with my new front loading machine. We got a front loader at our current place because we thought the benefits were 1) lower water consumption and 2) no agitator. I have had clothes get caught around the agitator in my top load so I needed to use laundry bags more often. The smell is becoming a problem for us with the front loader, even with leaving the door open. I may try using less detergent to see if it dries better. Thanks for the tip!

JE

I LOVE top-loaders! I have absolutely no sense of smell except for mildew- I’ll smell it from miles away. I was so happy to upgrade 3 years ago from an agitator top-loader to this huge Samsung top-loader: https://www.samsung.com/us/home-appliances/washers/top-load/wa8750-5-4-cu–ft–activewash–top-load-washer-with-integrated-touch-controls-wa54m8750av-a4/. It has a soaking station on the top which was huge with two babies! When we built our own house I actually had the architects remove the sink in the laundry room because this works so well and we are the type of people who would leave things soaking in a sink forever if we had the room. We moved into a rental with a front-loader for 9 months while our house was built and definitely had mold issues- in CO! We are so dry here nothing molds. The brand had a “silver care” cleaning cycle that worked well though and got rid of it, plus I would leave the door open. However, nothing works for my parents’ front loader in Atlanta, it’s far too humid there. Moving back to our top loader was a huge relief- I love it. I’m 5’7” and still have to stand on my toes to get the last of the clothes out, so it’s not for… Read more »

Katrina Baker

We had a front loader for 2 years and then the drum went bad. The repair person said it would cost more to fix than buying a new washer. He went on to say the drums in front loaders only last 2 years .
When I went shopping for a new one and the sales associate tried to sell me on a front loader, I pointed out what the repair guy said. She informed me it could last up to 3 to 5 years…so yeah, they know this at the store. I only have a household of 3, so my wear and tear seems like it should be low end.
This is horrible for the environment and the bank account.

Susanna

My current front loader is 7 years old. Not a single repair on it.

Santa Josep

I just don’t undertand this – here in Europe we only have front loaders. Top loaders just aren’t a thing here, and yet our drums last for years and years. You also never hear any discussions about mould being a problem. I have only ever had front loaders, I have never, ever had mould in them, nor has anyone I know. How can your washing machines be so different to ours?

This happened to me, too. Three months after buying my condo, the stacked washer drum gave out. I don’t know how old the machine was. I had a repairman look at it and he told me it would cost more to replace the parts than buying a new one. Unfortunately, the stacked washer and dryer were attached, so even though the dryer still worked, there was no way to keep it. I decided to get a separate washer and dryer and stack them because there was no space for having them side by side and I didn’t want a combo machine in case one broke before the other again.

I have had both, and I have had one with mold in the front loader, but I still say front loader all the way! Top loaders can be okay. If it doesn’t have a central spindle it’s much easier on your clothes

We had a new fancy Samsung that had super mold issues, but I have a Maytag, and my mother-in-law has the same one, and these are about 10 or 12 years old and no mold issues… We also use powder detergent in our front loader, as I refused to buy plastic bottles of liquid detergent, and perhaps that is keeping the mold down as well?

Leaving the door open from time to time is key!
And then even though I’m in New England, I hang dry everything on fold out IKEA racks and just “finish” it in the dryer real quick. Now that it’s summer it’s so much easier!

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