If you’re trying to clean a stinking washing machine or just want to avoid odor here are a few simple tips to ensure you always have a fresh washer.

NOTE: washing machine manufacturers and cleaning experts advise to leave the door open to remove odor. It does lessen odor by drying out the odor-causing residue but makes it more difficult to remove. Also, the residue is still present upon the next wash. If your washer smells with the door open or closed – it’s time to clean it!

The Soap Factor

Using too much detergent is the main cause for washing machine odor because it causes excessive suds.  Just above the normal waterline is invariably the area of heaviest buildup.  Suds and soiled water splash up and can’t get rinsed out.

Cleaning cycles don’t reach the splash area so your best defense is using a cleaner that can be used with laundry. You can actually clean the entire washer tub while doing laundry!

  • Using HE detergent is necessary for the warranty, use and care of HE machines.  Not using HE can void warranty on your washer.
  • Unless you have very soiled laundry don’t use more than a tablespoon of detergent in any machine.
  • Persistent or returning odor after a full load is a sign of remaining soap residue just above the normal waterline.

Don’t use fabric softener

Liquid fabric softener has a tendency to leave a residue behind that builds up on the inside of outer plastic tub. It also accumulates in hard-to-reach places such as under the agitator and above the splash line.  The residue it leaves is a food source for mold and bacteria to grow in the wet interior of the washer.  The spores then attach to towels and other laundry.

The solution is simple: switch to fabric softener sheets or dryer balls. The sheets can be cut in half and even reused and still be effective. They even have an added bonus of preventing static in the dryer. Keep in mind softener and/or sheets can be overused and cause problems with long dry times and multiple repair attempts by coating the lint screen and/or the moisture sensor in most dryers.

The Water Factor

Clean laundry starts with clean water. The temperature and hardness will make a difference in the operation of the washer and how clean your laundry is.

  • One common question customers have concerns water left behind after a cycle is complete: When a cycle is complete there’s a gallon or more of water left in the pump and motor assembly, the drain tubes and the bottom of the tub. This water shouldn’t be visible but you may hear it as the tub is shaken and it’s forced out upon the next use.
  • Many people like to use only cold water for washing in order to save energy. After all, that’s why we bought it – right! That makes perfect sense but the temperature of the water can also be a culprit of washing machine odor. While it’s unrealistic to wash all your laundry in hot water it can be used as an effective way to keep odor away as it better dissolves residue and can help prevent mildew from growing. A hot wash as your last cycle on wash day is great preventive maintenance to keep odor away and it’s a perfect chance to do more soiled laundry!
  • Also, especially if leaving for a vacation or the washer is not going to be used soon, a second rinse is a good idea. These methods are the easiest ways to prevent a smelly washing machine.

Use A Washer Cleaner

Ok, this is four but who’s counting!

Using a washer cleaner, such as Smelly Washer, monthly will ensure you always have a fresh washer. Smelly Washer uses all natural ingredients to eliminate odor, fungus and mildew that cause washing machine odor.

  • To initially clean a Smelly Washer a level capful of cleaner should be used in the hottest or clean cycle of your washer with no clothes.  After that, just a half teaspoon of either Smelly Washer or our towel cleaner added with your detergent will leave your laundry brighter, fluffier and free of odor…guaranteed!
  • For more stubborn odors, allow the solution to soak in the washer. Push “pause” to force a short soak or even unplug to force an overnight soak if desired. If odor persists add a cap of Smelly Washer or Smelly towel to a full load of whites.The added bulk of the clothing will lift the water level to include the splash area 3-5 inches above the normal waterline. This “splash area” is always the worst area for buildup.
  • Adding 2 to 5 gallons of hot water manually after agitation starts will also raise the water level. Add it directly into the tub or slowly through the detergent dispenser. Do not add too much water as it can force open a front loader door and/or cause an automatic drain.

Smelly Washer can also be mixed in a spray bottle of warm water to clean the detergent drawer, rubber door gasket, or under the lid all those hard-to-reach places! Just spray liberally and allow to soak. This method is also great to remove mildew stains from showers and tile grout.

Posted in How do I Get Rid of Odor?.