Why Does My Washing Machine Smell Bad?

The unique scent of clean linens is so beloved and calming that there are a number of products on the market today that mimic it, from candles to room sprays. Unfortunately, there is one smell associated with laundry that no one tries to replicate, and that is a musty washing machine. If you’ve ever asked yourself the question, “Why does my washing machine smell bad?” you’re not alone. The good news is, this common problem can be easily resolved and prevented with just a few simple steps.

Cause and Effect

One of the most frequent questions we receive from our clients here at Mr. Appliance® is “Why does my washer stink?” That unpleasant scent is typically caused by the growth of microorganisms within the drum or gaskets of your front-loading or high-efficiency washing machine. The hot, moist environment created by the wash cycle, coupled with the presence of leftover detergent or fabric softener, is the ideal home for mildew, mold, and bacteria. Without adequate drying time this organic matter will continue to decay, resulting in a detectable odor in and around the machine that can easily spread to your laundry, and in more extreme cases, may even travel throughout your home.

Washing Machine Odor Removal Tips and Tricks

Bring on the Heat

In an effort to save money on the cost of energy you may be tempted to use the cold water setting for the bulk of your laundry, but it’s important to run your last load of the day in hot water to help remove any existing residue.

Use the Right Products

If you own a front-loading machine it is important to use the right detergent. Those which are formulated for use in today’s high-efficiency machines produce fewer suds, resulting in less film left behind at the end of each cycle.

Increase Circulation

Proper airflow is needed to help dry the interior components of your washing machine. Promptly remove your laundry at the end of the wash cycle, and be sure to leave the door open at the end of each load to allow residual moisture to dissipate. For added protection, consider installing an exhaust fan or dehumidifier in your laundry room to speed up the drying process.

Clean Your Machine

Whether you choose to include your laundry room as part of your professional cleaning service or opt to do it yourself, it’s important to clean both the washer and dryer on a regular basis. There are a number of home and commercial remedies on the market to help make this chore a breeze, including:

  • Baking Soda – Dissolve one-quarter cup of baking soda in one-quarter cup of water and pour the solution into your machine’s soap dispenser.
  • Vinegar – Next, add two cups of plain white vinegar to your empty washing machine and run a hot cycle without the presence of any laundry. The combination of baking soda and vinegar is effective at dissolving grease, grime, and other residues that may be lurking in your washer.
  • Commercial Washing Machine Cleaner – Peruse the laundry aisle at your favorite store and look for a washing machine cleaner that can be added to your laundry. The additional height of the water and abrasive action from a load of clothing or towels will aid the cleaning process.
  • Elbow Grease – The rubber seal around the door of the machine is a common sight for mold and mildew. Use a clean, damp cloth and a mild detergent, or a mixture of vinegar and water to clean. Be sure to dry the gasket when finished with a second clean cloth and leave the door open to promote circulation.

Need additional help with your washer and dryer? Enlist a Mr. Appliance technician to get the job done right.

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