Mold and mildew love damp, dark environments – which is why washing machines often smell unpleasant. Keep yours odor-free by following these easy tips to maintain fresh and stink-free washing machines.
Before using your machine for the first time, the first thing you should do is clean it thoroughly with bleach or vinegar. Additionally, to help avoid future odors by leaving the door open between cycles and immediately taking out clean clothes when complete, as well as regularly checking gaskets, leaving door open between cycles may help too.
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Clean the Detergent Drawer
Your smelly washer could be due to mildew, detergent residue, fabric softener or other contaminants which have become trapped within its inner parts, drum and dispensers – this causes unpleasant odors while also ruining clothes in storage. However, with basic supplies already at hand in your house it should be simple and straightforward to get your machine clean again!
First, remove the detergent drawer and scrub away any gunk that’s built up within it, using an old toothbrush or corner of a sponge to get into hard-to-reach places. Don’t forget about cleaning out dispensers too; once every month should do just fine to prevent mold growth or soap scum build-up.
Once the drawer and dispensers have been thoroughly scrubbed, move on to cleaning the rest of your washing machine. In a bucket or sink, combine equal parts white vinegar and water and use this solution on the interior of your machine, paying particular attention to areas such as detergent drawer, fabric softener dispensers and the door seal. If your front load washer features rubber gaskets that need to be cleared away before starting up.
After cleaning your washing machine, allow it to air-dry fully before starting another load or laundry day. Leaving the door open between loads allows airflow into the inside for faster air-drying; additionally, wiping down its exterior after each use will prevent moisture accumulation in hard-to-reach places.
Every week, it is also wise to run a hot wash without detergent – this will prevent mildew and dirt build-up in your drum, detergent drawer and seals; it also kills any germs lurking within your machine! Additionally, after each load of laundry you should wipe down these areas using cloth and disinfectant so they stay fresh and free of odors.
Clean the Rubber Seals
Your washer’s rubber seal is designed to keep soapy water within its confines. Unfortunately, however, these seals also become magnets for grime that accumulates over time if left untouched – however cleaning this element of your machine is super straightforward: all it requires is white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, some cotton pads or an old toothbrush you don’t mind using and some regular maintenance!
First, ensure your washing machine is empty. Open up its door and pull back its rubber seal to expose any build-up of hair, coins, socks or any other pieces of debris in there; black stains might indicate mildew or mold growth as well.
To remove all the grime, sprinkle baking soda over the seal before wiping it with white vinegar-soaked cloths. If you own a front-loader machine, take this opportunity to also wipe down its rubber seal at the top, as well as controls on the front side, dispenser door, and dispensers themselves.
If you don’t have any baking soda handy, a quick cycle using two cups of liquid chlorine bleach is an effective solution to eliminating foul odors in your machine.
Once all the gunk has been removed from your machine, give it one final cleaning with a microfibre cloth dipped in white vinegar to leave it sparkling clean and smelling fresh. Additionally, consider adding some drops of eucalyptus oil as a natural odor eliminator and help break down soap deposits that have built up over time in your drain. Just remember essential oils can sometimes be too strong for machine seal protection! When your washing machine is looking its best and smelling wonderful again you’ll be glad you took the time!
Clean the Drain Pipe
Whenever a foul odor remains after cleaning the detergent dispenser, rubber seals, and washing machine door, it could be coming from either your drain pipe and/or vent system. Clogged drain pipes often collect dirty clothing, fabric softener and body soil which emit sewer gases – there are thankfully many ways to safely clear these smelly washing machine drains without resorting to chemical cleaners.
First step to successfully unclogging a drain pipe: find it. This should be an invisible, white pipe located behind your washer that connects with the drain hose. Identifying it involves unplugging your washing machine and disconnecting its drain hose from its respective pipe; once found it should be put under a towel to catch any leaks that might form.
Once you’ve taken care to ensure the drain cap has been unzipped, look inside for any layer of soap scum or buildup that needs to be cleared away with a wire brush. Use an extended handle wire brush in order to avoid injury and keep debris from falling down the drain. After brushing out your pipe with hot water to flush away buildup. Alternatively, boil up some pot of water on your stove before pouring it down the drain to help flush away gunk. Lastly, pour four ounces of mineral oil down your drain in order to prevent gasses being released back into the home again.
As another option, a homemade DIY washing machine cleaner containing hydrogen peroxide and lemon juice may also prove helpful in killing mold and mildew, while eliminating stinky odors. Baking soda also works effectively at eliminating smells; simply combine equal parts baking soda and water before pouring it directly into your washing machine – allow to sit for an hour, and run another cycle afterward – this method should remove all lingering mold or mildew while leaving your machine smelling fresh and clean!
Clean the Filter
If your washing machine smells of sewage, this could indicate that there is either an outdated drain trap or blocked sewage vent pipe in your home that requires repair – these issues may be more serious than simply being an unpleasant washer, and need the expertise of a plumbing specialist to address.
If your washing machine still smells foul, it is time for a full cleaning and disinfection. This will rid it of all dirt and residue that contribute to mildew growth and unpleasant odors, helping your machine run more smoothly and stay smelling clean between washes. If done right, regular maintenance visits will ensure smooth operations as well as lasting freshness between washes.
Your first task should be to empty and wash out the detergent drawer, wash out its rubber gasket around its door, wipe down all controls and dispenser with damp cloth wipe downs to eliminate any build-up of residue, mold or mildew traces that have begun accumulating, and wipe down its controls and dispenser with damp cloth wipe down. This will eliminate any potential mold or mildew growth that has started developing within them.
Once your drawer and seal have been properly addressed, it’s time to address the filter. Filters are frequently the source of bad smells in front loaders as this warm and dark area offers perfect conditions for germs and bacteria growth. While it might be easy to overlook this part of your machine’s maintenance routine, keeping on top of this one of the key tasks required to prevent smelly laundry loads is imperative in keeping things odor-free!
Start by pouring two cups of liquid chlorine bleach (opens in new tab) directly into your washing machine, then turning on its hottest cycle with no clothes or fabric in it. Allow this cycle to finish before running another hot wash cycle without water or clothes – this will ensure that both filters are thoroughly cleansed while simultaneously sanitizing the interior of your machine.
Opened door will also help to keep the inside of your machine dry, helping reduce musty smells that might have formed as well as cut back on lint accumulation which contributes to musty odors. It will also cut down on the amount of lint which accumulates which could potentially contribute to musty odors.