How to Get Rid of The Smell From a Washing Machine

Unpleasant washing machine smells are unfortunately something that you will have to deal with at some point if you own a washing machine. The good news is, you don’t have to live with them! There are a few different ways to get rid of the musty smell from a washing machine. 

I’ve just deep cleaned my own washing machine, and it’s like having a brand new machine. I spent a lot of time researching the best way to do this, and I’m happy to say, I think I’ve cracked it. 

In this article, I’m going to share some different ways you can quickly and safely remove unpleasant odours from your washing machine. After learning these tips you will never have to put up with rotten egg smell or mildew in your washing machine again!

What Causes a Smelly Washing Machine?

If you have got a smelly washing machine, it could be caused by a number of things. The main cause of washing machine smells is a build-up of soap scum, dirt, mildew, and other deposits that can become a breeding ground for bacteria.

Because modern washing machines and detergents are designed to wash clothes at lower temperatures, bacteria isn’t always killed. Bacteria can live and grow in your washing machine, and end up spreading to everything else you wash. This is why you might have noticed your clothes are coming out smelling musty.

Why it’s Important To Keep Your Washing Machine Clean

A washing machine is an essential part of the household and keeping it clean will ensure it’s in good working order when you need to use it. Aside from keeping your machine in good working order, you should also keep your washing machine clean for health reasons.

A washing machine that has a strong smell is not only unpleasant to live with but can also be dangerous to your health. It’s well known that mold can trigger allergy symptoms—asthma, in particular, so you definitely won’t want to be wearing clothes covered in mould particles

While the bacteria that grows in a washing machine probably isn’t going to be harmful in such small doses, it does cause an unpleasant smell, and you certainly don’t want to be living your life in musty smelling clothes. 

How to Remove the Smell From a Washing Machine

There are a number of ways that you can clean your washing machine. The most popular, and easiest way to clean your washing machine is to use a washing machine cleaner. I used Dr Beckmann Service-it Deep Clean, which is cheap and works really well. There are some other great options too such as the Dettol washing machine cleaner, and Ecozone. All of these can be found in hardware stores or online, so you should be able to find one relatively easily. The washing machine cleaner you choose will be able to remove any limescale and odours from your washing machine and ensure that the washing machine is clean and smell-free.

Step 1: Add your washing machine cleaner

Add your washing machine cleaner to your washing machine according to the instructions on the packet. Ensure the washing machine is completely empty before adding the cleaning powder or solution. Put your washing machine on a normal wash at at least 60 degrees, and let the cleaner work its magic.

**The most important thing to remember when using a washing machine cleaner is to follow the directions carefully. You should follow all the instructions that come with the washing machine cleaner and use the washing machine cleaner as directed. If you use the washing machine cleaner incorrectly or if the washing machine cleaner is not suitable for your washing machine you could damage your washing machine.**

Step 2: Clean the rubber seal inside the door

The rubber seal, (or door gasket) in the door of your washing machine is where mould and bacteria can grow, leaving a dark gray or black sludge. You might not even notice if you haven’t actually pulled back the seal to look inside, but if you are experiencing a musty smell, this is very likely the culprit.

Use one hand to open the rubber seal so you can look inside, and then use paper towels to wipe out any mould, slime and sludge. Make sure you do this all the way round the seal, because any mould particles left can keep growing. Once you have cleaned any visible dirt out, you can use an anti mold cleaning spray or a cleaner with bleach to give the rubber seal a final clean. This will ensure that all the mould in the seal is destroyed. 

Step 3: Clean the door

The door is another part of your washing machine that can start to harbour dirt and bacteria over time. Use an antibacterial and anti mold cleaning spray along with some paper towels to clean your washing machine door.

Step 4: Clean the detergent drawer

The detergent drawer can also end up with a build-up of mildew and soap scum. Thankfully, this part is particularly easy to clean because, with many washing machines, you can completely remove it for cleaning. *Check the manual for your washing machine to see how to do this*.

Once you have removed the detergent drawer, you can soak it in hot soapy water to get rid of any build up of gunk that has occurred. You can use an old toothbrush to clean any small parts that are tricky to clean otherwise. Dry the draw thoroughly with a towel, or leave to air dry before putting it back in the machine. Remember to check inside before putting the drawer back incase there is any visible dirt there too—if there is, wipe it out and give it a spray with an antibacterial cleaner.

Hopefully, now the smell in your washing machine should be gone, but if not there are still some other things you can check. 

Check Your Washing Machine Pipes

If all else has failed and you’re experiencing a rotten egg smell from your washing machine, the next thing that you should do is to check the pipes. The pipes are one of the most important parts of your washing machine, since they carry the water and the suds from the washing machine to the drain. If the pipes are damaged or dirty they can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can cause your washing machine to smell bad. 

You should be able to see the pipe behind your washing machine and it should be fairly easy to access depending on where your washing machine is installed. 

If you are not sure what to do you can check the pipes by running your hand along the pipes. The pipes should be clean or they will be warm to the touch. If the pipes are dirty or warm you should call a professional to come to your home and clean the pipes.

How to Stop the Smell From a Washing Machine from Coming Back

Once you have deep cleaned your washing machine, you will want to keep it clean and smelling fresh. After the initial deep clean, maintaining your washing machine is pretty easy.

Try to clean your washing machine with a dedicated washing machine cleaner at least every 30 washes. Set a reminder if you need to – don’t leave it until your laundry starts to smell again!

The other thing you should do on a weekly basis is to clean the door seal to make sure mould and bacteria don’t start growing there. The reason bacteria and mould thrive in the door seal is because it can be damp in there. 

To reduce the likelihood of it being damp, you can leave your washing machine door open so it can dry when your washing machine is not in use. If you are unable to leave your washing machine door open to dry, wipe it dry after each use with a paper towel or absorbent cloth. 

Goodbye Smelly Washing Machine!

Smells in washing machines are unpleasant, but the good news is they’re relatively easy to fix once you know what to do. It’s important to maintain a regular cleaning schedule for your washing machine to keep it in good working order, and ensure your clothes always smell perfectly fresh.

Add cleaning your washing machine to your weekly cleaning checklist to ensure it never gets forgotten again!


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Emily Brookes
Emily Brookes

Emily Brookes is an Interior Designer based in the UK. Since graduating from the National Design Academy with a Bachelors Degree in Interior Design, Emily started her successful blog, Emily May Designs, which shares ideas and inspiration on how to create a beautiful home.

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