Why Your Washing Machine Smells

Washing machines are meant to make our clothes not only clean but also healthy and fresh. Even before applying your favourite cologne to the cloth, at least the fabric should have picked up a delightful scent from the machine.

smelly washing machine problem

However, it’s not funny when instead of a pleasant smell, you realise your clothes have a musty smell after a wash. Well, this issue is becoming very common, and few people know how to wrap their heads around it. Not to worry, here are top tips to get rid of this menace once and for all.

What causes washing machine odour?

The main cause of odour in all regular and high-efficiency washing machines is the presence of bacteria and mould. And several factors can cause mould odour in these machines. Here, we look at these causes and what you can do to deal with them in a bid to eliminate odour from your washing machines.

Overuse of detergents

For the most part, we only wash sweat and perfume from clothing, and so we don’t need to use too much detergent. Therefore, unless you’re washing soiled clothing, it’s recommended you only use one tablespoon of any detergent. Of course, this is particularly essential if you’re using a liquid detergent, municipal water supply or a water softener.

Use of fabric softeners

Typically, softeners are used in the rinse cycle, and they tend to accumulate on the plastic outer tub’s interior. Indeed, this ends up leaving a residue which acts as the source of food for mould and bacteria. Consequently, the mould and bacteria grow in this dark, moist environment of your washing machine. Instead of softeners, we recommend you switch to dryer balls or dryer sheets. Note that overusing the latter may cause towels to retain odour and be less absorbent.

Keeping the door and drawer closed

Mould and bacteria grow fast in a moist and warm environment and leaving the machine’s door and drawer closed will trigger their growth. Instead, leave the door ajar to enhance air circulation in the drum thus preventing bacteria and mould from growing. Remember to leave the detergent drawer of your machine open for the same reason.

Check the seal

Other than mould and bacteria, a dirty seal is the other leading cause of nasty smell in washing machines. Using a dry rag, swipe around the fold, and you may come across soap scum and grime besides loose change and hairbands, if you haven’t been so careful about emptying pockets before putting clothes in the wash. Not to mention, you might find mould growth in the seal.

How do you deal with this?

  • Mix water and bicarbonate of soda, and apply it to the mould patch. Allow it to sit for around 15 minutes, and then use an old toothbrush to scrub it away.
  • Use a cup of vinegar to run a hot wash in the detergent drawer.
  • Check out your local stores for mould spray. Just a caution: mould spray is strong stuff, and could degrade your seal’s rubber. So, always keep an eye on the packaging first.

If you try all this and the problem remains, you may want to get professional help from our washing machine repair specialists to check your machine and do the necessary maintenance.