How to Fix Your Smelly Washer
Say “so long” to the stench!

If damp, dank, and mildewy are all words that could describe your laundry room, we’re here to help. High moisture areas are going to be susceptible to mold or mildew, and your laundry machines are no exception! Your washer is meant to clean your clothes, but if it’s smelly or moldy is it really doing its job? In this article, we’ll show you what causes the smell in your washer, how to clean the machine, and how to prevent further smells from happening.

What Causes a Washer to Smell?

The washer is one of the hardest working appliances in your home, and with regular use and irregular cleaning, grime can start to build up. If you live in an area with hard water, you will likely experience lime scale buildup. This can prevent soap and dirt from draining properly, which creates soap scum in your washer. This creates an environment where bacteria can grow, and with bacteria comes odors and even mold or mildew.

How to Fix Your Smelly Washer: Limescale Buildup

Dampness will be another cause of unpleasant smells in your washer. A common reason is forgetting a load of laundry in the machine. It happens to the best of us, that sinking feeling when you remember hours later about the laundry you abandoned. Set a timer or alarm on your phone to help prevent this from happening! Leftover moisture in the machine can also cause this problem. Ensuring you keep the door or lid left ajar will help the washer to dry out between loads.

How to Fix Your Smelly Washer: Damp Areas Cause Odors

How to Clean Your Washer

Regular cleaning of your washer is going to be your best method to prevent and eliminate odors in your machine. Yes, the machine that does the cleaning also needs to be cleaned! As mentioned above, the minerals in the water, along with detergent residue, lint, and the actual dirt from your laundry can be deposited around the washer seals and gaskets. It is recommended that you clean the washer monthly to get rid of this buildup and odors. To help you remember and stay on top of your cleaning routine, you can schedule a monthly reminder in the Fix App.

How to Fix Your Smelly Washer: Grime Buildup

To clean your machine, you can purchase a specialty commercial product specific to the task or use a natural cleaner. We opted to use a vinegar solution and baking soda, but lemon juice works as well. If you notice mold in your machine, you may want to escalate to a bleach solution to kill it and any further growth. For our cleaning cycle, we’re going to pour 2 cups of vinegar directly into the wash tub.

How to Fix Your Smelly Washer: Cleaning Solution

Next, we’ll mix a solution of baking soda and water; 4 tablespoons of soda and a quarter cup of water. Ensure that the baking soda is dissolved in the water. This solution is going into the detergent dispenser. Start a regular wash cycle with warm or hot water. When the vinegar and baking soda mix, they’ll work to break down any buildup and eliminate the odors. When the cycle is finished, leave the door or lid open to dry. You may also want to take a damp microfiber cloth and wipe down all the seals, gaskets, and edges to ensure any final grime is removed.

How to Fix Your Smelly Washer: Vinegar and Baking Soda for Cleaning

The last step in your monthly cleaning routine is to clean the drain pump filter. This part can collect lint, hair, and other debris and become a source of the smell. The location of the pump filter will vary depending on your washer model, but there commonly will be an access door along the bottom of the machine. Make sure you have a tray or towel placed down to collect the water that will drain out when the filter is removed. With the filter removed, clear any debris from it and then rinse it clean with hot water. Once cleaned, the pump filter can be reinstalled back in your washer.

How to Fix Your Smelly Washer: Clean Your Filters

How to Prevent Further Smells

Regular cleaning is your best prevention against smells in your washer, but there are a few other day-to-day tips to make things easier. The first is ensuring that you’re keeping the lid up or the door ajar between washes. This will let the machine dry fully and prevent mold or mildew. Next is using high-efficiency (HE) detergent. Modern machines use less water to wash your laundry, and HE detergent is designed to work with less water. This detergent creates fewer suds and disperses throughout the wash better, so you should experience less soap scum buildup. Be sure that you’re using the proper quantity of detergent per load. HE detergent can be used in a non-HE washer, just adjust the amount you use!

How to Fix Your Smelly Washer: Keep the Washer Door Open

With regular cleaning and preventive maintenance, your washer should be looking and smelling good as new! If you’ve noticed that your gaskets or door seals have seen better days, we can help you out with replacing those. Simply search for your washer model number to find the genuine OEM replacement part for your machine.