Unfortunately, high efficiency washing machines have gotten a bad rap over recent years. While they receive high praise for using less water they’re prone to odor for that very reason and as with any appliance, maintenance is important. Whether you have an HE or regular washer, a top or front load model and even if your washer does not stink…it’s important to clean it.
Odor is often first noticed in towels because they are used when wet and in close proximity to the face. That odor is being transferred from the washer and it needs to be cleaned first. After the odor is gone washing habits may need to change to keep it away.
HE or Regular Washing Machines
To prevent odor:
- use less detergent. It’s odd to think that all you need is a tbsp of detergent but, generally speaking, we’re only washing perfume and sweat out of clothing.
- stop using fabric softener. It’s dispensed in the rinse cycle and leaves a film that becomes a food source for bacteria and mold to grow. Dryer sheets or dryer balls area better options.
- using mainly cold water is fine but maintain your washer by running a hot cycle as your last cycle on wash day and even an extra rinse if doing especially soiled laundry.
- Clean the filter. The filter can be partially plugged to slow the drain of water to cause problems.
- Finally, HE washers require a special high efficiency (low sudsing) detergent. They also require a lot less of this special detergent than you’re probably used to using. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and measure carefully. Detergent mistakes can cause over-sudsing and poor rinsing, both of which can cause washer odor.