The Hidden Downsides To Front Load Washing Machines

Like any home appliance, front load washing machines come with their own pros and cons. Unlike top load washing machines, they're great for small homes because the washer and dryer can be stacked atop one another. Although, the best benefit of front loading washing machines is that they're high-efficiency, meaning they use less water than top loading models (via Howards). This is because the drum of the washer faces the front of the machine and spins on its side, using gravity and friction to wash clothes more effectively than a top load washer. By comparison, top load washing machines use agitators to clean clothes, which takes up valuable space in the drum.

Front load washing machines are also a better value than top load models. At initial purchase, top load washers are less expensive and seem like the more economical option, but in the long run, they will use more water and energy to wash the clothes. Over time, this will end up costing you more than if you had spent more upfront on an energy-efficient front-load model. However, there is one area in which top load washers are superior to front load models. If you don't already know, read on to find out.

Mold and mildew

There are a few downsides to using front load washing machines, but the most significant is their susceptibility to growing mold and mildew. This issue will quickly become evident by the emergence of a strong mildew smell within the machine, and potentially, your clothes as well. This tends to be a problem in front-load models specifically because the opening is located on the side of the machine, but water evaporates upward, explains Howards. By comparison, water can more easily escape from top-load models where the opening is above. The best way to prevent mold and mildew from growing is to always leave the door open when the machine is not running, and to clean your machine on a regular basis.

Front load washers are also more likely to be damaged if the weight distribution is uneven. This is why front load washers in particular should never be overstuffed. Another mildly irritating downside is that front load washers cannot be opened mid-cycle to add in clothes you initially forgot. The door locks automatically when the cycle is started so that the water won't spill out mid-cycle. Most front load washers have a pause button for this purpose, but to open the door you need to wait for the water to drain, wasting water and detergent.