GE front-load washers now fight germs and bad smells

GE's new UltraFresh front-load washing machines are built to stay odor- and germ-free.

Brian Bennett Former Senior writer
Brian Bennett is a former senior writer for the home and outdoor section at CNET.
Brian Bennett
2 min read
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GE UltraFresh washing machines will fight excess dampness, germs and odors.

GE Appliances

Select GE front-loading washing machines will soon guard against bad smells in their washing drums. GE Appliances plans to give some models what it calls an UltraFresh system that company says will work to keep the inside of its washers clean and odor-free.

According to GE Appliances, the UltraFresh system operates by itself, meaning you don't have to leave washer doors open or perform any special wiping or scrubbing.

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A moldy, stinky washing machine is a real concern, especially with front-loading models. Front-loaders use drums that are mounted horizontally inside the body of the washing machine (opening facing sideways). To keep water, dirt and detergent from escaping onto the floor, their drums are sealed by rubbery gaskets. 

Sometimes, excess water can collect inside these gaskets between wash cycles. If it sits there for too long, that moisture can encourage mold and germ growth. That in turn leads to foul odors inside the appliance. Many Whirlpool, Kenmore, Maytag and LG washers in the past have suffered from this issue.

Watch this: How GE torture tests its appliances

Apparently, GE UltraFresh washing machines aren't prone to the same fate. They'll have gaskets designed to drain away residual water. To remove additional moisture, a venting system pulls in fresh air from outside. There it circulates within the drum, and wicks away water still lurking in the drum, gasket and door.

GE UltraFresh washers will also have specially treated surfaces: The gasket, drum and detergent dispenser pump all have technology courtesy of company Microban that GE Appliances says will further reduce the chances of microbes and odors gaining a foothold.

GE UltraFresh Washer prices

  • GFW550/GFD55: $899, $999
  • GFW650/GFD65: $1,099, $1,199
  • GFW850/GFD85: $1,199, $1,299

GE Appliances says it expects all its UltraFresh washers to ship by spring 2020, and some models will hit stores as early as this month.

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