Help My Washing Machine Stinks!!!

Updated on July 31, 2010
R.U. asks from Gallatin, TN
18 answers

does anyone out there know how to get the smell out of a washing machine? i do lots of loads a week and the machine is in the garage where it is really hot. i think that might have something to do with it. it smells moldy and musty. even right after a wash. thank goodness the clothes don't stink. any help would be great. thanks mom of 7, R. p. s. no it isn't a front loader

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answers from Kansas City on

I have a top loading washer.

I put it on the heavy duty cycle with hot water, while it's filling up I had Simple Green, also I add it to the bleach section of the washer. I stop the washer before it drains for the rinse cycle and let it set for a few, then let it continue with the cycle.

Leaving the lid up helps it dry out as well.

You can also use bleach, vinegar, etc. I just like the way simple green smells and it does a great job.

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Asheville on

I'm having the same problem with mine. My husband took a look and said that it's water that is trapped down in the internal reservoir that mine has. Not all washers have this reservoir but mine is about 4 years old. My hubby said we need to take apart the washer and clean this reservoir out. Ugh.

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answers from Phoenix on

Is it front loading for top? For either 1st run a hot cycle with just bleach (you can do this more than once and Clorox actually makes a bleach washer cleaner. Once that is done make sure you are keeping the door open whenever you are not running it, it will help dry out so it wont get moldy. Hope this helps.
We ahve a front loading and I do a bleach one once a month just to keep clean.

edit: Also if really bad if top loading once washer is full of water you can turn off and have sit so bleach soaks fro about 15-20 min, then just run an extra rinse cycle after run,

1 mom found this helpful


answers from Raleigh on

I had that problem many years ago, when my sons were young. Try useing 1 cup baking soda to 2 cups white vinegar. in tub, wipe all around the tub, leave solution inside for 1-2 hours, the run a full cycle. I also would leave a cup of baking soda in the tub AFTER each washday. The baking soda will also help whiten & brighten your clothes as they wash. I hope this helps. C.



answers from Tulsa on

Mine stinks under the fabric softener dispenser. I tried putting bleach in it and when it spun out the area smelled better but I may try to use the vinegar next time. Of course I ran a load of whites through the next time I used the washer so the bleach left over, if any, couldn't hurt other clothes.



answers from Wheeling on

Some part of the machine must be staying damp and has some bacteria/mold staying active, but it must be on an outer or upper surface that doesn't involve the actual washing process. You probably know someone who (or you) could lift the top of the machine (kind of like a lid, but the whole top) and look down in it and spary all surfaces with Febreze, alcohol, Lysol, Odo-Ban or some such bacteria and/or odor eliminator. If you could move it outside and let it sit in direct sunlight one hot day (with the top open), it would probably help, too.



answers from Greenville on

Have you tried washing your washer with a cup of bleach thru the whole cycle



answers from Pittsburgh on

I've always heard to leave the lid/door of a washer open when it is not in use.
Also, run a load of bleach or vinegar through it with HOT water. That might help.



answers from Charlotte on

I haven't read any of your other answers but I find that When I regularly run a cycle with white vinegar, it not only helps the smell of my machine, but it also helps get residue out of the white load I typically cycle with it. Hope this helps! (:


answers from Los Angeles on

I feel your pain. Our's is in the garage too and sometimes when I open the washer...yyuuuccckkkyyy. That musty smell about gags me everytime. I run a load (just water) and dump a bottle of lemon juice in it with some baking soda and the smell goes away. Also leave the lid up when not in use so it can air out. Good Luck!



answers from Louisville on

try a cup of vinegar with no soap no clothes i do it once a month, (we have a really old washer that can get stinky with my stinky hubbys work clothes kids and doggie towels) hope this helps!



answers from Dallas on

Add some baking soda or washing soda to your wash it will help get rid of the smell.



answers from Nashville on

Mine used to stink and it DID make my towels stink so be careful with those. It never comes out of the towels, I bleached, used vinegar, etc I even ran a load of just bleach and water and it never went away. I bought a new washer and the tech that came out told me that the mold smell was in the actual tank of the old washer and the only way to get it to go away was to take it apart and replace the insides. He said that one thing that causes it is using too much detergent. At first I did not believe that but he said that when you wash your car you only put a few drops in that large bucket so why put a huge cup in your machine? He said that over time the detergent gets trapped in there and then it washer never dries out completely. If it is a fairly new washer and no where near ready to replace I would call the company and ask what they recommend. Sorry I couldn't be more help but I wanted you to know you are not alone! It has happened to two other friends too!



answers from Memphis on

I use a product called Fresh Wave that you can buy at Bed, Bath & Beyond, some specialty shops and online. I learned about it because I work for Merry Maids, and we started using it, and I was convinced right away. It's all-natural and it actually removes odors instead of masking them. I've used it to neutralize cat urine when my cat sprayed my favorite bag, and I keep the crystals near the litter box in the laundry room. I've also used the spray when I've forgotten to put a load of towels in the dryer. Rather than running them through the wash again, I spritzed the wet clothes when I put them in the dryer and was shocked that they came out without that musty sour smell. They have several products including a laundry additive.


answers from Jacksonville on

There is a product call affresh. It is formulated as a cleaner for your washing machine. You run the machine empty with the Affresh. Also leave the lid open when not in use. (as if it ever is with 7 kids)...if the clothes start to smell bad use Febrese odor eliminator.



answers from Huntington on

does it have fabric softener cup in center. if it does that needs to be cleaned. ours is in the house and did that. it fairly easy to clean. ours just twisted off.



answers from Knoxville on

I know that there are commercial items in the laundry aisle that are made for cleaning the machine. I am not sure of the cost or how they work. I would try running an XL cycle(the largest setting) of hot water and vinegar. I would try at least a half gallon, if it is a super capacity size go with a full gallon. Vinegar is a natural disinfectant. You can also use vinegar in your wash loads to get rid of those odors that seem to hang on. (I have teenage sons)



answers from Fayetteville on

This happens to me in our apartment, if I don't leave the lid open. I live in NC where the humidity is up, and for some reason I forget I use vinegar load and after that I don't have any smells till the next time we for get....

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