Why Does My Washing Machine Smell?

If you’re one of those asking, “Why does my washing machine smell?” we are glad to inform you that we have the answer here. Feel free to jump to a particular section by using the Table of Contents below.

The washing of clothes has become relatively easier with the advent of washing machines. 

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This hitherto luxury appliance is now considered a part of every home and is also used for commercial purposes. 

This is probably because the use of washing machines helps to save time and effort when it comes to doing the laundry. So, in this regard, it would be a better option compared to handwashing.

Quick Overview About Washing Machines

There are different machine types, like semi-automatic and/or fully-automatic. And these may be top load or front load machines. 

A fully-automatic machine does everything at the touch of a button. How it is controlled and how efficient it can be is largely dependent on the brand. 

A semi-automatic machine is not fully automated. And this translates to the fact that some part of the work will have to be carried out manually, either by manually filling up the tub with water or moving the laundry from the washing tub to the dryer

More often than not, these kinds of machines are top-loaders, i.e., clothings are loaded in from the top.

On the other hand, the front loader has been said to be the best means of automatic washing. 

They conserve water and energy better than a lot of top loaders and also provide excellent cleaning services. The price tag may, however, be your top source of discouragement.

Possible Reasons Your Washing Machines Stinks

A continuous use of the washing machine without proper maintenance can occasion a foul smell. 

This does not mean that your washer is defective, rather it means that it is in need of some cleaning.

The foul smell can be caused by a combination of multiple factors such as bacteria, mold or even mild dew. 

Over multiple washing cycles, the washing machine can gradually accumulate a build-up of soap suds, dirt and debris from clothes. 

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These are often present in the tub, pump and hoses and they naturally become a breeding space for mold. And if the smell is not taken care of, it can transfer to your clothes.

The situation can be worse for front loaders because they use a lot less water than top loaders. And the design of this washer is the use of the rubber door gasket to keep water from leaking out. 

Cleaning your washing machine at least once a year helps to get rid of the smell.

To clean your washing machine, you can make use of commercially available cleaning products or some common items found around the house.

Common household items that can be used to clean your washing machine and get rid of the nasty smell include baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and plain white vinegar.

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Getting Rid Of The Nasty Smell

To get rid of the smell, you can implement the following tips. Note that cleaning a top loader is slightly different from the front loader. So…

To Get Rid Of A Smell In A Top Loader

  • Set your washer to run on the hottest setting for the largest load. The washing machine must be empty, without clothes or detergent.
  • Add 3 cups of white vinegar to the basin. Put on the machine and allow it to fill with water which eventually mixes with the vinegar.
  • Once the machine is full, let it agitate for a few minutes then stop the machine. Add in ½ cup of baking soda. Run the machine again for about five minutes, then stop the machine.
  • Let the water, white vinegar and baking soda mixture sit in the washer basin for a couple of hours—ensure that the machine is running. 
  • Start up the washing machine again after 2-3 hours, after the washing cycle is over, drain the water from the washer.
  • After that first cycle, gently scrub the basin top using a sponge. Then, wipe off with the rim in the washer with a water-white vinegar mixture. 
  • Run another empty washing cycle with plain hot water. Do not add vinegar or baking soda. This will ensure that the debris is rinsed out. Wipe the inside of the basin with a clean cloth.

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For The Front Loader Machine

What you’ll need:

Plain white vinegar, microfiber cloth, and baking soda

  • Pour some bleach in the powder draw of the washer and run the machine on a wash cycle for about 60 minutes.
  • If the smell is a musty mildew odour, try using a bleach liquid in full strength around where you can see mildew. Be careful to not allow the bleach to touch your skin. 
  • An alternative is hydrogen peroxide which is non-toxic and is effective for cleaning different surfaces. 

After this is done, leave the door open instead of closed as it helps the moisture to evaporate. .

  • Washing machine technicians suggest that you leave the door or the lid open slightly when the loader is not being used. 

This allows the moisture to escape and stops the growth of mold in your washing machine.

  • Go ahead and run the hot cycle. Pop some sterilizing tablets in there, then  you can leave the door open throughout the night.
  • You could place some domestos where you’d usually put the washing powder and then run the cycle again. 
  • Baking soda is a good odor neutralizer. The baking soda should be poured directly into the empty washing machine, not more than two ups will do a nice job. 

This is going to help in gently scouring the inside and combat the stale and moldy odours. 

Next, run an extended hot water cycle and leave it be. If your machine is the type that has a self-clean cycle, that will suffice.

  • You can also add 1/2 cup of baking soda to 2 cups of white distilled vinegar. Vinegar disinfects and sanitizes surfaces. The high acidity level also eats at the build-up. 
  • Set the washer to the highest level and the hottest water temperature.And as the water rises, add the baking soda and vinegar mixture. 
  • Let the machine complete a full cycle. To complete the process, run a cold water cycle.
  • You could run an empty cycle with some drops of Eucalyptus Oil. This could be what removes those sludge and fat deposits in your washing machine hose. 
  • The plain white vinegar can also be poured into the soap drawer to let it wash down into the machine. That will clear out any layer of soap suds or dirt which might have accumulated in the machine.
  • You could clean the inside of your machine with soda crystals just because they dissolve grease. 
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Add 500 grams of soda crystals to the detergent drum, run your machine on the longest, hottest cycle and this will rinse away the smells, leaving you with a clean, fresh machine

If no soda crystals are available, you can also use a detergent.

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Here Are Additional Cleaning Tips For Any Kind Of Washing Machine

It is easy to be so focused on the insides of the washing machine that you neglect the top and the detergent dispensers. Don’t!

Furthermore, a lot of people often place their clean clothes on the top of their washing machines—these surfaces are also full of germs and bacteria

So, do not put freshly cleaned clothes on a surface you are yet to clean.

Also, do not neglect your detergent dispensers too as they could get clogged, get sticky, or even grimy and this could make your detergent be filled with bacteria and/or germs.

To clean these components of the washer, dip a wipe cloth in a mixture of 2 parts water to 1 part white vinegar (2 cups water, 1 cup white vinegar). 

The solution soaked cloth should be used to wipe down the top of the washer, the knobs, the doors, and the dispensers. 

If the cloth is unable to reach certain nooks of the washer, you can make use of an old toothbrush to clean out the corners.

Your washing machine must be cleaned every other month. Mould deposits in the door seals and certain other surfaces should be wiped using a soft cloth and some hot water with soap in it. 

If there is any soap build-up in the drum, you could remove that with a sponge and some hot soapy water. 

And to keep the smell from coming back, the washing machine must be routinely maintained. Following the manufacturer’s care manual can offer additional tips.

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