Front loaders are all the rage, and rightly so. They are easier on your clothes, they can handle very large loads of laundry and some even have steam cycles for delicates and removing wrinkles. But none of this is any good if the washer is making your clothes smell worse instead of better. What's worse than drying off after a shower with a fresh, fluffy, warm towel that smells like mildew? Don't worry -- not all is lost. You can keep your front loader -- and clothes -- odor free.
Leave the door open whenever there is not a cycle being washed. This allows moisture to escape. After a wash, the tub is warm and wet, which is a hotbed for mold and mildew to grow. When the door is closed, the water has nowhere to go, except down farther under the tub. Opening the door allows it to evaporate.
Use HE or "high efficiency" detergent all the time. Super concentrated, this detergent produces fewer suds and has less fragrance than regular detergents. The volume of suds produced by regular detergents acts like sludge to water draining out of the tub.
Rub a cloth over the inside of the washer after each load, or at least once a week. Keep a roll of paper towels nearby, and wipe down the glass on the inside of the door. Then, peel back the rubber door seal and clean in there. You'll notice little grooves where water can sit. Combine 3/4 cup liquid chlorine bleach with a gallon of warm water. Dip a rag in the solution and clean in the grooves of the door seal.
Clean the drain pump filter. This should be done about every two weeks. The drain pump filter can fill up with stinky water over time. Old water that never drained sits here, as does lint and other odd items. The drain pump filter is usually located at the front bottom of the washer. If you're lucky enough to have a drain plug next to it, pull that out, put the hose in a bucket and let it empty before opening the filter. If you don't have a plug, have your bucket ready under the filter before you open it. Then pull the filter out and clean it.
Clean the tub. Some washers have a "tub clean" feature. If yours does, pour 2 cups of bleach into the detergent area. Then run the tub clean with an empty washer. If your front loader doesn't have this feature, pour the bleach and run it empty on its hottest cycle. When it's done, wipe it dry and leave the door open. Do this about once a month, or as often as you deem necessary.