How to Eliminate Washer Machine Odors: Essential Maintenance Tips

Understanding the Cause of the Bad Smell

If your washer machine has an unpleasant odor, it’s essential to understand what causes it. The main culprits behind that bad smell in your washer are often bacteria, mold, and mildew. These unwelcome guests thrive in damp and dark environments, such as your washer’s rubber seal, detergent drawer, or drum.

To tackle the issue effectively, you need to pinpoint where the odor originates. By identifying the source, you can tailor your cleaning approach to get rid of the smell more efficiently. Inspecting the common areas where bacteria and mold accumulate is crucial for addressing the problem at its root.

Moreover, unbalanced humidity levels in your washer machine provide an ideal breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria and mold. Ensuring proper ventilation and airflow between washes can help prevent the stench from lingering. Regular maintenance and cleaning routines can significantly reduce the chance of bad smells developing in your machine.

Taking proactive measures to address the cause of the bad smell in your washer is the first step towards a fresher laundry experience.

Cleaning the Drum and Door Seal

When it comes to Cleaning the Drum and Door Seal of your washing machine, it’s essential to tackle these areas to eliminate bad odors effectively. Here’s how you can get rid of the smell in your washer:

  • Inspect the drum and door seal for any visible mold or mildew buildup.
  • Wipe the drum and seal using a mixture of equal parts white vinegar and water. This solution helps kill bacteria and remove odors.
  • Scrub the seals with an old toothbrush or cloth to reach into crevices.
  • Leave the door open after each use to allow the drum and seal to dry completely.

Click here to preview your posts with PRO themes ››

Regularly Cleaning the Drum and Door Seal can prevent bacteria and mold from causing unpleasant smells in your washing machine.

Facts Data
White vinegar solution ratio Equal parts water and vinegar
Recommended cleaning frequency Regularly for prevention

Running a Cleaning Cycle with Vinegar

To tackle bad smells in your washer, running a cleaning cycle with vinegar can work wonders. Here’s a simple guide to help you freshen up your machine:

  • Start by emptying the washer completely.
  • Mix a solution of white vinegar and water in a 1:1 ratio.
  • Pour the vinegar solution into the detergent dispenser or directly into the drum.
  • Set your washer to run a hot water cycle without any clothes in it.
  • Let the washer run its full cycle to allow the vinegar to disinfect and break down odors.
  • Once the cycle is complete, open the door to air out the machine.

You can follow this routine monthly to keep your washer smelling fresh and free from mold and bacteria buildup.

Frequency Steps
Monthly – Empty the washer – Mix 1:1 white vinegar and water solution – Run a hot water cycle – Air it out

Keep your washer smelling clean and fresh by incorporating this simple cleaning routine into your monthly maintenance schedule.

Using Baking Soda to Eliminate Odors

Sometimes white vinegar may not be enough. In such cases, baking soda can be your best friend.

  • Baking soda is an excellent odor neutralizer and natural cleaner.
  • To use it, start with an empty washer.
  • Sprinkle about a half cup of baking soda directly into the drum.
  • For added freshness, you can mix in a few drops of essential oils like lavender or lemon.

Click here to preview your posts with PRO themes ››


  • Run a short cycle with the hottest water setting.
  • The combination of baking soda and hot water will help break down residue and eliminate odors.

Once the cycle is complete:

  • Check for any remaining odor. If needed, you can repeat the process or combine baking soda with white vinegar for extra cleaning power.


  • Using baking soda is a gentle and safe way to freshen up your washer without harsh chemicals.
  • For monthly maintenance, you can alternate between white vinegar and baking soda cleaning routines to ensure a clean and odor-free washer.

Preventing Future Smells

Heading into the maintenance of your washing machine, here are some practical tips to help you prevent future unpleasant odors:

  • Leave the door open: After a laundry cycle, keep the washer door open to allow air circulation and prevent moisture build-up.
  • Clean the gasket: Regularly wipe the door gasket with a damp cloth to remove debris and moisture that can lead to mold growth.
  • Empty the filter: Be sure to clean the washer’s filter trap periodically to prevent clogs and odors caused by trapped debris.
  • Use HE detergent: Opt for High-Efficiency detergent to avoid excessive suds and build-up in your machine.
  • Don’t overload: Avoid overloading the washer to ensure proper water circulation and thorough cleaning of your laundry.
  • Check pockets: Before loading clothes, check pockets for items like tissues, gum, or other debris that can cause odors in the wash.

Remember, incorporating these simple practices into your routine can help keep your washing machine smelling fresh and performing efficiently.

Click here to preview your posts with PRO themes ››


You now have the tools to keep your washing machine smelling fresh and running smoothly. By following these simple tips, you can say goodbye to unwanted odors and hello to clean, fresh laundry every time. Remember to incorporate these practices into your regular routine to maintain a pleasant washing experience. Your efforts will not only keep your clothes clean but also extend the life of your washing machine. Keep up the good work, and enjoy the benefits of a well-maintained washer for years to come!

Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent odors in my washing machine?

To prevent odors in your washing machine, leave the door open after each use for air circulation. Regularly clean the door gasket to prevent mold growth, empty the filter trap to avoid clogs, use HE detergent to prevent build-up, avoid overloading the machine, and check pockets for debris. These practices will help maintain a fresh-smelling washing machine.

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.

Leave a Comment

Send this to a friend