washing machine that smells

3 Reasons Why Your Washing Machine Smells

Have you ever come home from a vacation and opened your washing machine just to be met with a cloud of stench thick enough to cut through? Here are 3 reasons why your washing machine smells? It is the worst welcome home present. Meanwhile, dishwashers can be expected to get a bit smelly, but it is completely different from the stench of a dirty front load washer.

cartoon reacting to washing machine smells

Therefore, it’s normal for top load washers can get a bit smelly over time, but as long as you clean them every 6 months, they don’t get too bad. However, front load machines develop an abominable odor that doesn’t make sense. They do wash clothes, don’t they? Aren’t they constantly filled with detergent and water? 

Here are a few things that will cause that horrid stink, and some helpful steps to clean it.

1. Too much detergent

When you use too much detergent in a front load washer, you are setting yourself up for problems. However, front-load machines use less water than top loads, and if you put in too much detergent the machine can’t rinse it all out. This starts to build upon the drum and the rubber seal around the door. To avoid this, use less detergent. 

The fix is to run your machine on a clean cycle and put a half cup of distilled white vinegar into the fabric softener. As the machine cleans itself, the vinegar will counteract the smell and return it to its pre-stinky glory. That way your washing machine smells will go away.

bacteria that makes your washing machine smell

2. Bacteria buildup Causes Your Washing Machine to Smell

Bacteria that normally live in the sewer can grow and be very happy living on the rubber seals of your washing machine. They let off a byproduct that smells like rotten eggs. If you encounter this stench, there are a few things to check. 

  1. Pull the drain pine out 
  2. Sniff the drain to the sewer
  3. If it’s coming from there, it is wafting up from the sewer. 
  4. If it doesn’t smell there, it is coming from the machine

Unfortunately, if it is coming from the sewer, you’ve probably been noticing a sewer or bad egg smell in other places in the house as well. That means it’s time to call a plumber. 

If it is in the machine, it’s time for a good solid scrub down. Use baking soda in the drum and vinegar in the fabric softener and run a cleaning cycle. Afterward, use baking soda to clean the rubber seals. That should fix the problem.

3. Too much fabric softener

Fabric softener can leave a sticky residue in your washer. This will naturally attract mold and bacteria that will lead to terrible smells. To combat this, try using less fabric softener and run a cleaning cycle on your washer. Vinegar and baking soda tend to do a great job cleaning it. Make sure to clean it on a very high heat as well. Thankfully, this will sanitize the drum.

Key takeaways

  1. Don’t use too much detergent or fabric softener.
  2. Clean your machine often.
  3. Use a very hot water setting to clean the washer.