How to Eliminate Washer Mildew Smell: Essential Cleaning Steps Demystified

Understanding Washer Mildew Smell

When it comes to washer mildew smell, understanding the root cause is key to effectively combating the issue.

  • Moist Environment: Your washer provides an ideal environment for mold and mildew to thrive.
  • Residual Detergent: Leftover detergent can contribute to the musty smell.
  • Closed Door: Keeping the washer door closed allows moisture to linger, promoting mildew growth.

To tackle washer mildew smell effectively, it’s crucial to address these underlying factors.

Identifying the Source of the Smell

When dealing with washer mildew smell, the first step is pinpointing where the unpleasant odor is coming from. Here’s how you can identify the source:

  • Check the Rubber Gasket: Lift the rubber seal around the washer door and inspect for mold buildup or residue. This area often harbors mildew due to trapped moisture.
  • Inspect the Detergent Dispenser: Remove the detergent drawer and look for any signs of mold or lingering soap scum. Residue in this part can contribute to the musty smell in your washer.
  • Examine the Drum: Take a closer look inside the drum of the washer. Any visible mold or mildew spots should be addressed promptly to eliminate the source of the odor.

Remember, accurately pinpointing the source of the smell is crucial to implementing effective cleaning strategies.

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Precautions Before Cleaning

Before tackling the issue of washer mildew smell, it’s crucial to take some precautions to ensure your safety and the effectiveness of the cleaning process. Here are a few steps to keep in mind:

  • Unplug the Washer: Always start by unplugging the washer from the power source to avoid any accidents.
  • Ventilation: Work in a well-ventilated area to prevent inhaling strong cleaning agents.
  • Protective Gear: Consider wearing gloves and a mask to protect your skin and respiratory system.
  • Read Instructions: If using a cleaning product, carefully read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the best results.
  • Professional Help: If you’re unsure or have extensive mold buildup, it might be best to seek professional assistance.

Taking these precautions ensures a safe and effective cleaning process to help eliminate washer mildew smell.

Steps to Clean Washer Mildew Smell

To effectively combat washer mildew smell, follow these steps:

  • Inspect the Gasket: Check the rubber gasket for mold buildup.
  • Wipe Down Surfaces: Use a mixture of water and white vinegar to clean the rubber seal and drum.
  • Run a Cleaning Cycle: Empty the washer, set it to the hottest and longest cycle, and add vinegar or baking soda.
  • Inspect the Dispenser: Remove and clean the detergent dispenser drawer to prevent mildew.
  • Air-Dry: Leave the door ajar after each use to allow the washer to air out.

Remember, regular cleaning and maintenance are key to preventing mold and mildew in your washer.

Preventing Mildew Smell in the Future

To keep your washer smelling fresh in the long term, here are some practical tips to prevent mildew buildup:

  • Regularly Clean the Gasket: Wipe down the rubber gasket around the door after each wash to remove any moisture and residue where mold can grow.
  • Use Vinegar or Baking Soda: Run a cleaning cycle once a month with vinegar or baking soda to kill bacteria and prevent mildew.
  • Clean the Detergent Dispenser: Remove the detergent dispenser drawer frequently and wash it thoroughly to prevent mold from developing in this area.
  • Leave the Door Ajar: After each wash cycle, leave the washer door slightly open to allow air to circulate and prevent dampness.

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Key Practices to Prevent Mildew:

Practice Frequency
Wiping down the gasket After each wash
Running a cleaning cycle Monthly
Cleaning the detergent dispenser drawer Frequently
Leaving the door ajar After each use


You’ve learned the essential steps to tackle that pesky washer mildew smell. By following these precautions and cleaning methods, you can ensure a fresh and odor-free laundry experience. Remember to inspect, wipe, run cleaning cycles, and maintain your washer regularly to keep mildew at bay. With these practices in place, you’ll enjoy clean clothes without the unwanted mildew smell. Keep up with the maintenance routines to prevent mold buildup and maintain a clean and fresh-smelling washer. Happy washing!

Frequently Asked Questions

How should I prepare before addressing washer mildew smell?

Before tackling washer mildew smell, ensure safety by unplugging the appliance and working in a well-ventilated area. Wear protective gear like gloves and a mask and carefully follow cleaning product instructions. For severe mold buildup, seek professional assistance.

What additional steps can I take to combat washer mildew smell effectively?

To combat washer mildew smell effectively, inspect the gasket for mold, wipe down surfaces with a water and white vinegar mixture, run a cleaning cycle with vinegar or baking soda, clean the detergent dispenser drawer, and leave the washer door ajar to prevent mildew.

How can I prevent mildew smell in my washer in the future?

To prevent mildew smell in the future, regularly clean the gasket, use vinegar or baking soda for monthly cleaning cycles, wash the detergent dispenser drawer frequently, and leave the washer door ajar after each use to promote air circulation.

Charlie Thomson is Appliance Mastery's expert on laundry appliances. With a degree in mechanical engineering and over 8 years of experience in the appliance repair industry, Charlie is a go-to resource for homeowners who want to tackle common issues with their washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers.

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