How to Eliminate Washer Odors: Effective Tips for Fresh-Smelling Clothes

Understanding the Issue

When clothes sit in the washer for too long, they can develop a musty smell. Mold and mildew thrive in damp environments, leading to the unpleasant odor clinging to your garments.

High humidity or temperature in your laundry area can exacerbate the problem by creating the perfect conditions for mold growth.

Why It Happens

  • Lack of air circulation in a closed washer allows moisture to linger.
  • Leaving clothes for hours post-wash provides mold with the moisture and time needed to settle in.

The Impact

  • Smelly clothes are a nuisance and may require rewashing, wasting time, water, and energy.
  • Lingering odors can transfer to other clothes in the load, spreading the issue further.

Prevention is Key

  • Removing clothes promptly after washing is essential.
  • Regularly cleaning and ventilating your washer helps prevent mold buildup.
  • Keep the washer door ajar when not in use to promote airflow and prevent musty smells.
Statistic Data
People affected by musty clothes issue 6 out of 10
Increase in laundry cost due to rewashing 25%

Precautionary Steps

To prevent smelly clothes left in the washer, consider the following precautionary steps:

  • Promptly Remove Clothes:
    After the wash cycle ends, ensure you take out your clothes right away to prevent musty odors from developing.
  • Ventilate Washer:
    Regularly clean and ventilate your washer to avoid mold and mildew growth due to stagnant moisture.
  • Air Circulation:
    Keeping the washer door slightly ajar between washes can improve air circulation and help prevent unpleasant odors.
  • Maintenance Checks:
    Periodically inspect the washer’s seals, hoses, and filters for any signs of mold or mildew buildup.
  • Use the Right Detergent:
    Opt for detergents that are specifically designed to combat odor-causing bacteria in your laundry.

Click here to preview your posts with PRO themes ››

6 out of 10 people affected by musty clothes
25% increase in laundry costs due to rewashing

Remember, implementing these precautionary steps can help you keep your clothes smelling fresh and free from musty odors caused by leaving them in the washer for too long.

Vinegar Solution

If you’re facing stubborn odors in your clothes, vinegar can be a game-changer. Here’s how to use it effectively:

  • Add half a cup of white vinegar to the rinse cycle.
  • It acts as a natural deodorizer, breaking down lingering smells.
  • Vinegar also helps prevent mold and mildew growth in your washer.

Baking Soda Method

How does it work?

  • Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and cleaner. It works by neutralizing odors instead of just masking them.
  • Its fine particles help to dislodge dirt and grime from fabrics, which can contribute to lingering smells.

How to use it?

  1. Add half a cup of baking soda directly into the drum of the washing machine.
  2. Run a short wash cycle using hot water to allow the baking soda to penetrate and deodorize the clothing.
  3. Let it sit for about 30 minutes to an hour (time permitting) before finishing the full wash cycle as usual.

Extra tip:

  • For extra stubborn odors, you can also let the clothes soak in a mixture of water and a cup of baking soda for about an hour before washing.

Why it works:

  • Baking soda’s alkaline nature helps to balance the pH levels in the washer, making it harder for odors to linger in fabrics.
  • It’s safe to use on most fabrics and won’t cause damage or fading to colors.

Click here to preview your posts with PRO themes ››

  • Adding a cup of white vinegar to the final rinse cycle alongside your detergent can also help eliminate odors and leave your clothes smelling fresh.

Proper Maintenance Tips

  • Empty the Washer Promptly: Leaving clothes in the washer can lead to dampness and unpleasant odors.
  • Regular Cleaning Schedule: Wipe the washer’s interior and gasket regularly to prevent mold and mildew.
  • Air Out the Washer: After each cycle, leave the washer door ajar to let it air out and prevent musty smells.
  • Use Odor Absorbers: Place a box of baking soda or activated charcoal in the washer between uses.
  • Inspect Hoses and Filters: Periodically check hoses and filters for mold and debris that can cause odors.
  • Choose the Right Detergent: Use high-efficiency detergent to prevent residue buildup that can cause odors.
  • Run Empty Hot Water Cycle: Once a month, run a hot water cycle with vinegar to clean and deodorize the washer.
  • Dry Clothes Properly: Avoid leaving wet clothes in the washer for an extended period; always transfer them to the dryer promptly.
Word Limit: 250 words


You now have a range of effective strategies to banish those pesky odors from your clothes and washer. By incorporating baking soda into your cleaning routine and following the maintenance tips provided, you can ensure that your laundry smells fresh every time. Remember to empty the washer promptly, air it out, and use odor absorbers like baking soda or activated charcoal. Regularly inspecting hoses and filters, using high-efficiency detergent, and running a hot water cycle with vinegar will keep your washer odor-free. By taking these simple steps, you’ll not only maintain a clean and fresh-smelling washer but also prevent musty odors from lingering in your laundry. Enjoy the satisfaction of clean, odor-free clothes with these easy-to-follow tips!

Click here to preview your posts with PRO themes ››

Frequently Asked Questions

How can baking soda be used as a natural deodorizer for clothes?

Baking soda can be sprinkled directly on clothes or added to the wash cycle to neutralize odors effectively.

What maintenance tips can prevent washer odors?

Emptying the washer promptly, establishing a cleaning schedule, airing out the washer, using odor absorbers, checking hoses and filters, using high-efficiency detergent, running hot water cycle with vinegar, and transferring wet clothes promptly to the dryer can help prevent washer odors.

Why is it essential to maintain a fresh-smelling washer?

Maintaining a fresh-smelling washer not only enhances cleanliness but also prevents musty odors in both the machine and the laundry.

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