The design of front-loading washing machines can leave a laundry room smelling awful if you’re not vigilant about keeping it clean and dry when not in use. But who has time to regularly wash their washing machine? No one. So GE Appliances redesigned its UltraFresh Front Load washers with some clever upgrades that prevent odor-causing bacteria from thriving.
Front-loading washing machines are more efficient than the top-loading design that’s been around for decades; using less water and electricity to run, while being gentler on clothing and garments in the process. They’re seemingly the obvious choice, but since the drum ends up full of water sloshing around, the machines require a waterproof gasket and a sealed door which both inevitably end up soaking wet at the end of a cycle. This is why front-loading washing machines include explicit instructions to leave the doors open after a load and wipe the rubber gasket, bacteria and mold can grow which results in an awful smell that’s hard to scrub clean when it becomes a problem.
Instead of abandoning front-loading washing machines altogether, GE Appliance’s new UltraFresh Front Load washers take a three-pronged approach to the war on stink. The rubber gasket that creates a tight seal between the spinning drum and the washer’s door now features a wider design with a steeper angle that should ensure water completely drains away after a load, instead of hanging around causing trouble.
When a load is complete users should not only be able to leave the washer’s door closed, they can also activate a new feature called the UltraFresh Vent System that spins the drum at low speeds to draw in and circulate fresh air throughout the machine, sporadically throughout the day, to hopefully dry out any remaining moisture. The final line of defense is that GE Appliances has added Microban’s antimicrobial additives to the washer’s gasket, soap dispenser, drainage tube, and water pump in order to further discourage bacteria growth throughout the machine.
When the UltraFresh Front Load washers go on sale sometime in January of next year they’ll range in price from $899 to $1,199 depending on the size and optional features included. But like most appliances hitting the market now, it will include smart features enabled by a connection to your home’s wireless network. In addition to being able to remotely start and monitor loads using a smartphone app, a Washer Link feature allows a GE Appliances washer to communicate with a GE Appliances dryer, passing along information about the most recent load (like the type of clothing and fabrics, the size of the load, and how wet it still is) so that the dryer can intelligently choose the best settings to get everything properly dried, instead of the user having to guess, and possibly have to run it twice if they guess incorrectly.
Correction, 11:52 a.m. EST/EDT: We’ve updated the post to specify “GE Appliances” instead of just “GE.”