ABP-women holding a smelly tee shirt

What to Do With a Smelly Washing Machine

Just because washing machines are always filled with water and detergent, many users assume they will clean themselves, and a smelly washer is not something one would expect. However, that’s not how it works. It’s much like your shower; just because it is exposed to water everyday, it doesn’t mean that it’s squeaky clean.

A smelly washing machine is not rare at all. It’s a common problem in many households. If you want to solve it, you need to identify the cause of the smell.

Common Washing Machine Smells

The smell coming from your washer can be classified into three general types. These are listed below.

1. Moldy Smell

A musty smell is a sign that microorganisms, particularly molds, have started growing in the gaskets and the drum of your washer. This problem is prevalent in front-loading and high-efficiency washers but should not really come as a surprise. It is because washing machines are the perfect environment for molds and bacteria since moisture is always present here.

2. Sewer Smell

A washing machine may smell like a sewer if sulfur is present. It means that your machine is dirty and filled with bacteria releasing hydrogen sulfur gas. The smell could also be due to a plumbing problem that allows sewer gas to enter your laundry room.

If this is the case, the situation is dangerous because sewer gas is a flammable substance and can also expose you to several health risks. If you have a window in the laundry room, open it so the smell can go out, but don’t get rid of the smelly washing machine right away. It’s best to have the problem checked more accurately by a professional plumber.

3. Rotten Egg Smell

The smell of rotten eggs in a washer indicates that there are microorganisms in the machine that are releasing hydrogen sulfide gas. This problem can be solved easily by deep cleaning the smelly washing machine.

On the other hand, if the smell seems to be coming from the dryer, the cause could be
a natural gas leak. Turn off the gas supply valve of your dryer, open a window, and run a fan. It’s also recommended that you call your gas company for assistance.

Reasons a Washing Machine Smells Bad

Odors that a washing machine produces can be due to factors like the following:

1. Cleaning Issues

Like many home appliances, washing machines need to be cleaned regularly. If not, a host of bacteria and germs carrying unpleasant odors can eventually accumulate in your washer. These microorganisms can then be transferred to your clothes.

2. Clogs

Over time, the drain standpipe of your washer can become blocked due to dirt and debris buildup, which will eventually smell. But if you’re confident in unclogging the drain pipe yourself, you can plush a drain auger or snake into the pipe slowly until you feel resistance. Rotate the snake accordingly until it pulls out the blockage. However, for the best results in cleaning a smelly washing machine, get the services of a professional plumber.

3. Hard Water

It may not be common knowledge, but hard water can cause washer odors. After each wash cycle, your machine retains any dissolved minerals in hard water. These can accumulate over time and form limescale, which can damage your washing machine’s internal parts. More importantly, bacteria can grow in the limescale, producing a foul-smelling odor.

4. Overnight Laundry

Leaving your washed clothes in the washer for too long can also make for a smelly washing machine. It is actually one of the most common laundry mistakes that helps promote the growth of molds.

Mold growth on clothes tends to vary. Often this will depend on factors like ventilation, temperature, humidity, and fabric type. In any case, your clothes will likely have a strong, musty smell. This can be avoided by making it a point to finish your laundry as quickly as possible.

How to Remove Washing Machine Smells

Below is a list of the things you can do to eliminate foul-smelling odor from your washing machine.

1. Clean the Washer

A washing machine that smells should be cleaned immediately. Excess water is common in any washer, but if left alone, this can become standing water, the perfect breeding ground for molds.

Cleaning the washing machine will depend on whether it’s a front-loading or a top-loading unit. With the former, cleaning can be done by using a damp cloth. A cotton swab is perfect for removing any gunk or dirt that has settled around the gasket. With a top loader, you need to pay particular attention to cracks and crevices where dirt can hide.

Regardless of the type of unit you own, deodorizing a washing machine is the logical next step after cleaning. You can do so using some common household items such as baking soda and white vinegar. You may also use store-bought washing machine cleaners and deodorizers.

2. Use the Right Detergent

It is crucial that you choose a suitable detergent for your washer, especially if you have a front-loading model. Some washing machines also require high-efficiency detergents (HE), so check the manufacturer’s recommendations. When the correct laundry product is used, less film is left behind at the end of every wash cycle, significantly reducing the chances of foul odor developing.

3. Increase Air Circulation

To dry your washer’s interior, you need proper airflow. To speed up the drying process, you can install an exhaust fan in your laundry area. An alternative that you can consider is a dehumidifier.

4. Use Hot Water

To save energy and protect delicate fabrics, you can adjust the laundry settings of your washer. For removing dirt and detergent residue that could eventually lead to a bad smell in the washing machine, you should run the last wash load in hot water.

Key Takeaway

The idea of a smelly washing machine is unthinkable for some. After all, washers and water go hand-in-hand, so it’s hard to imagine a washer giving off nasty odors. However, the truth is that foul-smelling washing machines exist, although the problem can be fixed without much difficulty.

Several factors can cause your washer to smell. A blockage in the drain pipe is common, and so is hard water. However, your washing machine smells mainly because you have not cleaned it since the first time you brought the unit home. This has allowed dirt, residue, and even bacteria to find their way into the machine’s various parts. Without regular maintenance, your washer can become seriously damaged, and even the most experienced plumber may be unable to do anything about it.

Contact A Better Plumber if you need help with your washing machine.

Periodic maintenance of all home appliances is recommended to ensure they continue functioning well. This is especially true for washers that generally rely on an efficient plumbing system in order to do their job. However, since a washer is always in contact with water, it’s not uncommon to see some parts eventually break down.

If your washing machine smells bad, let A Better Plumber help you out. Our experts in plumbing in Denver CO are on hand to listen to your problem and offer you the most appropriate solution. Call now. We’ll be waiting.

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