Everyone complains about smelling washers!? Let’s find out the root cause!

A&E Appliance
December 15, 2022
Washer Repair

If you’re dealing with bad smells coming from your washing machine, then you are not alone. As time goes by, you will notice that your washing machine is getting smellier and smellier. Even if it might not seem like a lot at first, your washing machine’s smell can end up being transferred to the clothes themselves, especially if you leave them in the machine for quite some time. That’s why the ideal thing you can do is to narrow down the causes behind these problems and then identify the ideal solutions. 

Why does your washing machine smell like sewage?

There might be a chance that the washing machine smells like that due to an accumulation of sewer gasses. These things might not seem like a lot at first, but the truth is that you can end up with a large variety of challenges. That’s why it can be a great idea to see whether the smell comes from the sewer or not. 

Sometimes the p-trap is trapping sewer gasses from the underground pipes. Those glasses are sent to the washing machine, and that’s exactly the thing that you need to deal with as much as possible. Doing that can be quite helpful, since you will be able to remove the sewage smell.

“My washing machine smells like a rotten egg!”

This smell is actually more common than you might realize, and you need to find the right way to address it. For the most part, the rotten egg smell comes from soap, fabric softener, lint, mold, mildew or dirt accumulated in the machine. The more you leave those compounds in your washing machine, the stronger that rotten egg smell will be. 

“My unit and clothes smell damp”

Damp or mildew smells will usually come from water or heat buildup in the machine. Sometimes these buildups are not cleaned out or aired. Which means water sits in the machine and that might end up leading to a lot of nasty smells. On top of that, you might even find a wet sock or other things like that which bring that unwanted odor.

That means whenever you have a damp smell coming from the washing machine, check the crevices and gaskets. It might not seem like a whole lot at first, but if you do it right, you will be amazed with the benefits and quality.

My Washer Machine has a burning Smell

Narrowing down where the burning smell comes down can be very tricky. That’s because you need to service the machine, since it might come from one of the internal parts. At least that’s the most likely situation. But what part can it be? It depends, it can be anything from a drive belt to seals, drive couplings, maybe the pump or even the motor. Without a professional checking it will be extremely difficult to figure out the cause, and that’s exactly the thing you need to keep in mind here. Also, the burning smell can also be caused by the socket or plug. That’s why you want to check those first, before saying that it all comes from the machine. Because more often than not, it will not come from the machine, and that’s something you need to think about. 

The door seal is not working properly

Sometimes you will have situations when the door seal is not working properly. In time, it might get damaged and it doesn’t seal the way it should. When that happens, it can end up bringing in a large variety of issues. With that being said, there can also be residue, debris, even detergent accumulated in the seal, and those can eat the seal in the long run, damaging it beyond repair. That’s why cleaning the door seal as often as possible is extremely important, as you will be able to eliminate a lot of potential issues that can arise in the long term.

Using the wrong type of soap and softener

A lot of people think that using a fabric softener and large quantities of high efficiency soap is the ideal option for your clothes. That’s not really the case. If anything, these are both horrible for your fibers and most importantly your machine. It’s a very good idea to take your time and narrow down what kind of softener and soap you should use for your machine. We recommend low amount of HE soap and dryer sheets w/ fabric softener.

A good way to do that is to identify the appliance model number for your machine. But how can you do that? In general, the appliance model number is shared on the inside of the door, on the top of the washing machine or at the rear. Sometimes it might be down the side. You can find more info to locate your appliance model number here.

Once you know the appliance model number, the main thing you want to do is to check online for maintenance tips. Most manufacturers will usually share a list with the necessary maintenance tasks that you need to perform. This is very important, because it allows you to save a lot of time and effort while also making sure you’re using the right softener, soap and cleaning materials. If you follow the manufacturer guidelines you will be able to avoid expensive repairs, and you can save money in the long run. We also have a wide selection of tips available  on our website here.

What should you do once you find out that your washing machine smells very bad?

Now that you know the causes behind smelling washers, your focus has to be on eliminating such an issue. The problem with a smelly washer is that it can be very difficult to pinpoint the exact cause. Which means that first you will need to try some general cleaning methods. Then, if these won’t work for some reason, you can go into something more specific, and that will help eliminate concerns very quickly.

Using a vinegar based solution

What’s great about using vinegar cleaning solutions is they won’t damage your washing machine. Instead, the main focus is on removing all those unwanted compounds that might end up generating that bad smell. Thankfully, the process here is simple. All you have to do is to mix a solution of distilled white vinegar and water. Keep the ratio 1 to 1. You can also choose to add 10 drops of essential oil if you want to bring in a better smell, that’s not mandatory but it is recommended.

Once you finish that, spray your washing machine’s interior and remember to do that inside the rubber gasket folds too, even if it might be a bit hard to reach at first. Then you just have to take the damp cloth, scrub the inside and clean the outside as well. The only thing to note during this process is that you need to avoid electrical buttons.

This method is amazing because it can help you get rid of all kinds of bad smells. It can remove that rotten egg smell, but also the sewage smell or dampness smells. So it’s a jack of all trades when it comes to removing washing machine smells. That’s the reason why we recommend to try out this particular method first, as it usually helps most people remove those bad smells coming from the washing machine. If not, then you can go ahead and try out some of the other recommended options.

Clean the pipes

As we mentioned earlier, dirty or clogged pipes might also be the cause behind a smelling washer. The first thing you want to clean is the p-trap. You just need to pour a gallon of water down the pipe, usually it removes the smell. If the smell still persists, calling a plumber might be the ideal option to keep in mind.

You should also clean the drain pipe. In this situation you need a plumber, they have sewer machines that will help clean this type of pipe. Another pipe you need to clean is the vent pipe. Sometimes vents can end up blocked by debris, leaves, even a bird’s nest. That’s why you want to check and see if there are any blockages, remove those and then go from there. The cleaning process can be quite challenging, but it will help prevent many problems, and that’s the thing you need to keep in mind here.

Drum deep cleaning

The drum might have a lot of unwanted compounds that generate bad smells. What you can do is to check manufacturer instructions, as we said you need to find the appliance model number as we guided above. Then you can use the cleaning solution they recommended. Alternatively, you can pour a cup of white vinegar/bleach into the drawer, or you can add it in the drum if you have a top loading model. You can set the machine to run for a long hot cycle, let it run and then you should leave it to dry out. Do this every single month and it will help a lot.

Cleaning the detergent dispenser

It might not be the place where most unwanted smells come from, but the detergent dispenser certainly generates bad smells too. That’s especially true if you have mildew or mold that grows there. Thankfully, you can remove the drawer most of the time, then fill a basin with some soapy water, and then let it stay in there for an hour. You can scrub any dirt if you want, debris too. And once you do that, you will need to use the pipe cleaner to remove any dirt from inside the pipes. Dry out the drawer, maybe use a surface cleaner before you put it back in, and you will be good to go.

Change the detergent

There are situations when a detergent is actually the culprit when it comes to bad smells. That’s why the best thing that you can do is to go for a detergent and cleaning solution recommended by the manufacturer. As we said, high efficiency detergents used for a regular washing machine might not be the best option, so you have to keep that in mind. Ditch the fabric softener too, since it clings to the clothes and the machine, so you will have bad smells all around.

Try to leave the door open

Moisture escapes the washing machine and it will end up in the air. That’s a great idea because it allows you to dry out the interior of the washing machine without a problem. In some cases you might even want to use a dehumidifier, as it can help generate some amazing results.

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