Front-loading washers often perform better than top-loaders in Consumer Reports tests. Plus, they’re gentler on your clothes and more energy-efficient. But some consumers got more than they bargained for when buying a front-loading machine.

The issue started out as mostly online chatter about moldy odors but it turned into multiple class-action lawsuits involving more than 6 million front-loading washing machines.

Here’s how the preliminary settlements are shaping up —
If you previously or currently own an LG washing machine sold between 2002 to 2006 with mold issues you may qualify for the $35 settlement or a $105 rebate on a new LG washer.

Anther lawsuit involves Whirlpool, Maytag and Kenmore machines made by Whirlpool between 2001 and 2010. If you own one of those front-loaders you may qualify for a $50 settlement or twenty percent off the purchase of a new washer or dryer. You could also be reimbursed for up to $500 in expenses you incurred.

Not ready to splurge on a new machine? Consumer Reports says there are a few simple steps that can prevent mold and mildew.
• Wipe down the glass and door gasket daily.
• Between washes leave the door open slightly.
• Remove detergent buildup from the dispenser.
• And every month, sanitize the machine by adding a cup of chlorine bleach and running a hot-water wash without laundry.

Manufacturers claim they’ve resolved the problem by improving the door gasket and adding a tub-clean cycle. But if you want to avoid a front-loader altogether, Consumer Reports says consider a high-efficiency top-loader instead. It recommends the $500 Samsung #WA45H7000AW. It offers very good water efficiency, washing performance and is gentle on your clothes.

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