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How to Remove Bad Smells From the Washing Machine

January 8, 2024

Ever opened your washing machine just to be greeted by a foul smell that makes you want to pinch your nose shut?

If anything, it’s a common problem – one that’s easier to fix than you may think.

In this post, we’ll be going over everything that you need to know – including what’s causing the smell and how to get rid of it once and for all. Keep reading to learn more!

What Causes a Smelly Washing Machine?

A number of things can cause ‘washing machine smells’, some of which are easier to deal with than others. Here’s what you need to know.

Mold and Mildew in Front Load Washing Machines

mold and mildew inside washing machine

Front load washers are more prone to odors for several reasons. For one thing, they’re more likely to harbor mold and mildew. This has to do with the rubber seal on the door that tends to trap moisture between each wash cycle.

Soap Scum Build-Up

The type of laundry detergent that you use can also affect the smell of your washing machine.

For example, if you have a HE washer and you use a regular laundry detergent, it can cause soap scum to build up on the inside, which will not only affect the machine’s performance, but can also lead to unpleasant odors.

DIY Methods to Remove Bad Smells from the Washing Machines

There are several household items that you can use if you washing machine smells bad, which we’ll be going over below.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and works wonders in tackling stinky smells.

To use it, mix a quarter cup of baking soda with water to make a paste. Using a soft bristle brush, apply it to the trouble areas such as the rubber seals or gaskets,.

Next, add another ¼ cup of dry baking soda directly into the drum and run your machine on a hot wash cycle. That should fix your stinky washing machine problem.

Vinegar Wash Technique

White vinegar is another option. This has to do with its acidic nature, which allows it to break down molds and bacteria, the ones that are responsible for causing the unpleasant smells.

For this method, mix ¼ cup of vinegar with some water and pour the solution into the detergent dispenser of your machine.

Tip: Remember to keep your washing machine door open afterward for maximum air circulation – that will help prevent future smells from developing.

Using Commercial Washing Machine Cleaning Products

using active washing machine cleaner

Vinegar and baking soda may not be enough if your washer is excessively dirty. If that’s the case, you’ll want to clean your washing machine regularly with a commercial cleaner such as the one by ACTIVE.

These foaming tablets are specifically formulated for washing machines and will dive deep into hard-to-reach areas, tackling residues and smells that DIY options often miss. If anything, they’re the best way to fix a smelly washing machine.

How to Use ACTIVE Washing Machine Tablets

The cleaning process is pretty straightforward – just add one tablet to the drum and run a complete cycle using hot water settings if available on your model.

Once the wash cycle (no need for a rinse cycle) is done, it’ll leave behind nothing but freshness.

Preventing Bad Odors in Washing Machines

There are several things that you can do to prevent a smelly washing machine.

First and foremost, it’s a good idea to clean the rubber seals regularly as they tend to trap moisture and dirt. You can do this with an old toothbrush dipped in a vinegar-water mix.

Your fabric softener and detergent dispensers also need attention. More specifically, you want to give them a good rinse under warm water every now and then, making sure any residue is flushed away.

That will help keep your washer odor-free.

The Importance of Regular Maintenance

Maintaining your washing machine is key to preventing unpleasant odors from taking over your laundry room.

How Often Should You Clean Your Washer?

cleaning frequency depends on how often you use washer

The answer is – it depends. More specifically, it depends on how often you use it. If you’re doing several loads of laundry each week then monthly deep cleans are necessary.

If you only use the washing machine once every few weeks, however, you can probably get away with cleaning it every few months.

How to Remove Bad Smells From Washing Machine – FAQs

How do I get rid of the horrible smell in my washing machine?

Clean your washer with a mix of baking soda and vinegar, then run a hot cycle. ACTIVE Washing Machine Cleaner tablets are also highly recommended. They work better than DIY methods and are guaranteed to give you results.

Why does my washing machine smell bad even after cleaning?

Your cleaner may not be reaching the hidden areas where grime accumulates. Try using a commercial product such as ACTIVE Washing Machine Cleaner tablets.

How do you deep clean a washing machine?

A combo of white vinegar, baking soda, and high heat works best for deep cleaning washers. You can also use ACTIVE Washing Machine Cleaner tablets.

And there you have it – a guide on how to prevent bad smells from your washer. As you can see, there are several things that you can do to keep it smelling fresh, from using vinegar and baking soda to commercial products such as ACTIVE Washing Machine Cleaner tablets.

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