Best Techniques to Get Rid of Smelly Washing Machines

Who loves that foul-smelling odour the washing machine gets after weeks of not getting cleaned? I don’t, and I bet that you don’t either. So, here are some ways to get that washer fresh in no time!

Photo by Marshall Williams on Unsplash

Understand the Cause

To treat your washing machine, you have to understand what causes the foul smell. It is important to know why it reeks. Without knowing the cause, you wouldn’t know where to go and what to do.

Odours that reek from your washer are mostly caused by bacteria, mildew, and moulds. Additionally, soap scum, oil, dirt, and other tiny particles get stuck inside the washer’s gasket and dispenser, thus causing an unpleasant scent. Without regular disinfection and cleaning, your washer will end up dirty, contaminated, and stinky.

Clean the Seal

Once you know what’s causing the pong, it is time to get down to getting rid of it. First, check the seal since it could be one of the main culprits of a bad-smelling washer. Bacteria can putrefy in the rubber seal, so pull up your sleeves and start scrubbing.

Soak the washer with hot water and a mixture of vinegar and baking soda for 30 minutes. Then, run a full hot cycle. While the cycle is running, make a soda and water paste. After the cycle, apply the paste to the mould patch, and leave it for 15 minutes. Then scrub it religiously until the seal doesn’t feel slimy anymore.

Scrub the Dispensers

The soap, bleach, and softener dispensers are a breeding ground for mildew. Remove the dispenser and scrub every crevice with an old toothbrush. Make use of the soda and water paste to scrub the mildew off effectively.

The pipes of the dispensers are a great breeding ground for that mouldy stench, so dig out any built-up lodge inside the pipes. Use a pipe cleaner for accuracy. Placing the soda and water paste onto the pipes will speed your cleaning up so don’t hesitate to apply it.

Sanitise the Washer

Get hold of an effective washer cleaner, as Tide Washing Machine Cleaner or Clorox, to kill the remaining mould and mildew inside the drum. Pour the washer cleaner and set the hottest and longest water setting. The hotter the water, the more effective it is in killing the germs and bacteria.

Fill in the tub, and stop once the agitator has successfully mixed in the washer cleaner. Allow the washer cleaner to soak for 30 minutes to 1 hour, and then run another cycle. If a hint of the washer cleaner is still present in the washer, run one more cycle.

If you cannot find any available washer cleaner, chlorine bleach could do the job. Make sure to follow the right procedures and take precautions when using bleach. Four cups of bleach should be added to a top-loading washer, while two cups to a front-loading washer. After adding the appropriate amount, start the cycle. The cycle for bleach is similar to that of a washer cleaner.

Deodorise the Washer

Deodorising the washer is as important as sanitizing it. White vinegar is an outstanding deodorizer. Its acidic quality is known to be an effective solution in removing any hard buildup and bacteria that haven’t been removed by the bleach.

To begin the process, set the hottest possible setting for the cycle. Add four cups of plain white vinegar to a top-loading machine, while two cups to that of a front-loading one. Make sure not to add any detergent or solvent; let the vinegar do the job. Then, fill the tub and run a cycle. Allow it to sit for 30 minutes, and another cycle to rinse the vinegar off. Leaving the lid open could keep it fresh-smelling too.

Photo by Anca Gabriela Zosin on Unsplash


Keeping the washer clean isn’t really that tough a job. It only calls for consistency and effort. Master and apply all the techniques so your washer would get the TLC it deserves. Always remember the purpose of our washing machines, and that is to clean our clothes, not to add more germs to them!



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