How to Eliminate Washing Machine Odor: Effective Maintenance Tips

Tired of that funky smell lingering in your laundry room? Ever wondered why your freshly washed clothes come out smelling less than fresh? Let’s face it, a stinky washer machine can really put a damper on laundry day. But fret not, because we’ve got your back! In this article, we’ll show you simple yet effective ways to banish those pesky odors from your washer machine for good.

Picture this: you’re all set to do a load of laundry, only to be greeted by a musty odor emanating from your washer. It’s not the most pleasant experience, is it? But fear not, because with our expert tips and tricks, you’ll soon be saying goodbye to that unpleasant smell and hello to a cleaner, fresher laundry room.

Understanding the Cause of Odors in Washer Machines

When it comes to dealing with unpleasant odors in your washer machine, understanding the root cause is key. Here’s a closer look at why those funky smells might be lingering:

  • Residual Detergent: Excess detergent can accumulate over time, leading to mildew growth and musty odors.
  • Moisture Build-Up: Leaving the washer door sealed after a cycle can trap moisture, creating an ideal environment for bacteria and mold to thrive.
  • Clogged Drain: A blocked drain can prevent proper water drainage, causing stagnant water to emit foul smells.
  • Dirty Seals: Neglected rubber seals around the door can harbor mold and bacteria, contributing to the stench.

By identifying these common culprits, you’re one step closer to banishing those pesky odors for good.

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Regular Cleaning and Maintenance Tips

To keep your washer machine smelling fresh and free of odors, routine cleaning and maintenance are essential. Here are some simple tips to incorporate into your laundry routine:

  • Wipe Down the Door Seal: After each use, wipe the door seal with a clean, damp cloth to remove any moisture or residue that could lead to mold growth.
  • Clean the Detergent Tray: Regularly remove the detergent tray and wash it with warm, soapy water to prevent buildup and bacteria growth.
  • Run a Cleaning Cycle: Periodically, run an empty cycle with hot water and vinegar to help eliminate any lingering odors and residue in the machine.
  • Check for Clogs: Inspect the drain pump filter for any clogs or debris that could be causing unpleasant smells. Clean it out as needed.
  • Leave the Door Open: After each use, prop the washer door open slightly to allow air to circulate and prevent moisture buildup.

Natural Remedies for Odor Removal

If you’re looking for natural solutions to tackle washer machine odors, you’re in the right place. Here are some effective remedies that can help freshen up your machine:

  • Baking soda: It’s a powerful deodorizer that can neutralize odors. Just sprinkle some baking soda inside the drum and run a hot water cycle.
  • White vinegar: This multipurpose ingredient can help remove mildew smells. Pour a cup of white vinegar into the detergent tray and run a hot water cycle.
  • Lemon juice: With its fresh scent, lemon juice can help combat odors. Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to the detergent tray and run a cleaning cycle.
  • Essential oils: Consider adding a few drops of essential oils such as lavender or tea tree oil to a cleaning cycle for a pleasant fragrance.

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By incorporating these natural remedies into your cleaning routine, you can keep your washer machine smelling fresh without the need for harsh chemicals.

Using Commercial Cleaners and Deodorizers

When natural remedies aren’t cutting it, commercial cleaners can provide a stronger solution. Here’s how you can effectively use them to rid your washer machine of stubborn odors:

  • Read Instructions: Before using any commercial product, make sure to read and follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully.
  • Choose the Right Product: Look for deodorizers and cleaners specifically designed for washing machines to ensure they target the root of the odor problem.
  • Run a Cleaning Cycle: Some products require you to run an empty cycle to thoroughly clean the machine, eliminating odors in the process.
  • Regular Maintenance: To prevent odors from returning, consider using commercial cleaners as part of your regular maintenance routine.

Remember, each washer machine may react differently to commercial products, so it’s essential to check compatibility and effectiveness based on your specific model and needs.

Preventing Future Odors

Now that you’ve tackled the current washer machine odor, it’s essential to take preventive measures to avoid future issues.

  • Regular Cleaning: Keep the washer clean by wiping down the door, gasket, and detergent drawer after each use.
  • Ventilation: Allow the washer door to air out after use to prevent moisture buildup.
  • Use Proper Detergents: Opt for high-efficiency detergents suitable for your machine to avoid residue buildup.
  • Run Maintenance Cycles: Run cleaning cycles with vinegar or a washer cleaner at least once a month.
  • Check for Leaks: Regularly inspect the washer for leaks that could lead to mold growth.
  • Empty Pockets: Check pockets before loading clothes to prevent lint and debris accumulation.

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Maintenance 75% of washer odors are due to lack of regular maintenance.
Detergents 83% of odors are caused by using the wrong detergent.
Ventilation Proper ventilation reduces odor buildup by 60%.


By following these simple tips, you can keep your washer machine smelling fresh and clean. Remember to prioritize cleanliness, ventilation, detergent selection, maintenance cycles, leak checks, and emptying pockets before each wash. Taking these steps will significantly reduce the chances of odors lingering in your machine. Don’t overlook the importance of regular maintenance and proper care to ensure your washer machine remains odor-free. With just a little effort and attention to detail, you can enjoy fresh-smelling laundry every time.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do washer machines produce odors?

Washer machines produce odors due to a lack of regular maintenance (75%), using the wrong detergent (83%), and inadequate ventilation.

How can I prevent washer machine odors?

To prevent washer machine odors, ensure regular maintenance, use suitable detergents, incorporate proper ventilation, run maintenance cycles, check for leaks, and empty pockets before loading clothes.

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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