We’ve all experienced it. You get out of the shower and grab a fresh towel or pull a clean shirt over your head, only to smell mildew. But don’t blame your clothes the smell is actually coming from your washing machine. If your washing machine is stinky there are several possible causes.

Residual Water

Washing machines are made to hold, cycle, and drain water, so this one may seem a bit odd. But water trapped in the rubber door gasket or detergent drawer of a front loader, or under the rim of a top loader, can be a breeding ground for washing machine mold.

Mold is a living organism. It needs food and warm, damp conditions to thrive, making your average washing machine an ideal playground.

To prevent washing machine mold caused by residual water, simply leave the door or lid ajar after you’re done using the washer. Also keep a clean hand towel in the laundry room and wipe around the door, inside the rubber gasket, and inside the detergent drawer of a front loader. On a top loader, wipe under the rim and agitator. Do this every time to prevent washing machine mold.

Detergent Mistakes

Using too much powdered or liquid detergent can cause several problems which can lead to washing machine mold. Too much detergent can cause excess suds and these leftover suds create a cozy place for mold to grow.

This problem may be compounded in a front load washer. Because these machines are high efficiency, they use less water and therefore require a smaller amount of a special high efficiency (HE) detergent.

The solution is easy. Follow the manufacturer’s guidelines for detergent and measure carefully.

Dirty Drain Pump Filter

If your washing machine is stinky and residual water and detergent mistakes aren’t the culprit, the problem may be out of sight. When a washing machine drains, it takes with it soap, dirt, lint and even skin and hair. Over time, these items can get trapped and collect in the drain pipe. So it is important to clean the drain pump filter every so often to prevent washing machine mold.

The drain is located on the lower, front panel of both front and top loader washing machines. Some, especially front loaders, are very easy to access via a flap or panel. Others are hidden behind a panel that must be removed first.

After locating the drain, have a bucket and towel ready when you unscrew it. After draining the water, the filter can be removed and cleaned. You will immediately see why your washing machine is stinky. Most washing machine manufacturers recommend cleaning out the drain filter once per month.

If your washing machine is stinky, consider these three surprising culprit. With proper care and maintenance, you can easily eliminate washing machine mold.

Posted in What Causes Odor?.