Why Does My Washing Machine Smell Bad, and How Do I Deal with It?

Washing machines are meant to clean your clothes, meaning they should smell good. If not, odors can easily cling to your clothes and ruin them for you. If your washing machine smells bad, it’s not unusual to worry that it will pass on to your laundry.

However, before you decide to scrap that washing machine of yours, you might want to consider and try some simple steps to resolve this problem. Your washing machine might not actually be defective; in fact, it’s likely that it only needs some cleaning and tender loving care.

Why Does My Washing Machine Smell Bad?

Before we tell you how to remove odors from a washing machine, let’s look at some of the reasons why this could be happening.

The most common cause of a foul-smelling washing machine is the accumulation of detergent powder, soap scum, oil, and hair in the different parts of your washing machine. These get trapped in your washing machine’s seals, gaskets, dispensers, or even in the drum, itself. This can make your washing machine smell terrible because they usually come with the soil and stains removed from your dirty laundry. As you use your washing machine more frequently, the more these unwanted residues deposit into your washing machine, making it smell worse by the day.

After washing, the water in the machine must be completely drained. Another reason your washing machine smells bad could be a poor drainage system. Poor drainage means poor water disposal. This leads to used water accumulating in your washing machine or in the tubes. That used, stagnant water will begin to smell bad because it contains the dirt removed from your laundry and can create mildew.

How to Clean a Smelly Washing Machine

Luckily, most washing machines that smell bad can be fixed through simple cleaning and maintenance. Teach yourself how to remove odor from a washing machine with a few simple steps. Start out with baking soda, vinegar, and some water.

  1. Mix ¼ cup of baking soda with the same amount of water and pour this into the detergent dispenser.
  2. Pour two cups of vinegar into the drum where the clothes are washed.
  3. Run the washer on a normal cycle at high heat but without any clothes.

This should break down stuck residue and neutralize unwanted odors in it. After doing this, take some time to deep-clean some smaller parts by hand. You can take the components out of your washing machine, including the soap dispenser, bleach dispenser, and softener dispenser, and scrub them to remove any remaining residue. You can also do this with the drum to make sure it is perfectly clean.

Now that your washing machine has been cleaned, it is important to keep it that way. Without regular maintenance, the accumulated dirt and the foul odor will likely return. As such, you should make a habit of regularly cleaning your washing machine. Here are some tips to regularly and properly maintain your washing machine.

Use Detergents for High-Efficiency Machines

The detergent you use may be a reason for more accumulated dirt and terrible smells. Regular detergents produce more suds, making it easier for dirt to cling to it, and when you use too much detergent, some can be left behind.

Always Keep the Drum Dry

Leaving your washing machine damp for long periods won’t help. After a wash, try to remove your laundry as soon as possible and then wipe the drum dry. When no longer in use, you might want to keep the door open to let the inside of the machine air dry.

Clean the Components Regularly

Every once in a while (say, once a week), take out the components and the dispensers in your washing machine and clean them to prevent any residue from accumulating and developing strange smells.

A washing machine that smells bad might just need a little cleaning and maintenance to fix it. However, this could take some hours or even a day to rectify.

If you need help washing your clothes while you try to clean your washer, head to Kelly’s. We offer dry cleaning in Durango, CO along with other basic laundry services.