How to Remove Mildew Smell from Your Washer: Essential Maintenance Tips

Tired of that musty odor lingering in your laundry room? Ever wondered how to banish that stubborn mildew smell from your washer for good? Picture this: You’re about to do a load of fresh laundry, only to be greeted by that unpleasant scent. But fret not, as we’ve got your back with simple solutions to tackle this common household nuisance.

Identifying the Source of the Smell

When facing a mildew smell in your washer, the first step is figuring out where it’s coming from. Here are some key areas to investigate:

  • Rubber Gasket: Check the door seal for mold and mildew buildup.
  • Detergent Drawer: Remove and inspect the detergent compartment for trapped moisture.
  • Drain Pump Filter: Clean the filter to remove any debris or stagnant water.
  • Internal Tub: Examine the inside of the drum for mold growth or residue buildup.

Taking the time to identify the source of the smell is crucial in effectively combating the mildew issue in your washer.

Cleaning the Gasket and Seal

To eliminate mildew smell from your washer, start by focusing on the gasket and seal. Here’s how you can effectively clean these areas:

  • Inspect the rubber gasket: Look for any mold or mildew buildup along the folds and crevices.
  • Use a cleaning solution: Mix equal parts of water and vinegar or bleach. Dip a rag in the solution and wipe the gasket thoroughly.
  • Pay attention to the seal: Check for any cracks or gaps where moisture might be trapped.

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Remember to regularly clean and maintain these key areas to prevent the return of the musty odor in your washer.

Running a Cleaning Cycle with Vinegar

Run a cleaning cycle with vinegar to help eliminate mildew smells from your washer.

  • Add 2 cups of white vinegar to the detergent dispenser.
  • Run the washer on a hot water cycle.
  • Vinegar’s acidity can help kill mold and mildew.
  • Repeat this process monthly to maintain a fresh-smelling washer.

Remember, prevention is key! Regular maintenance is the best way to avoid musty odors.

Using Baking Soda to Eliminate Odors

If vinegar isn’t your preferred method for combating washer odors, consider using baking soda as an effective alternative. Here’s how you can harness the power of this common household ingredient to eliminate mildew smells from your washing machine:

  • Step 1: Create a Baking Soda Solution

Combine 1/4 cup of baking soda with 1/4 cup of water to form a paste that you’ll use to tackle the odors.

  • Step 2: Apply the Paste

Spread the baking soda paste along the rubber gasket, focusing on areas where mold and mildew tend to accumulate.

  • Step 3: Let it Sit

Allow the baking soda paste to sit for about 15-20 minutes to give it time to break down and eliminate odors.

  • Step 4: Scrub and Wipe

After letting it sit, scrub the gasket with a clean cloth or sponge to loosen any residue, then wipe away the paste.

  • Step 5: Run a Rinse Cycle

Once you’ve cleaned the gasket, run a rinse cycle with hot water to ensure all remaining baking soda is removed.

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Harness the deodorizing power of baking soda to keep your washer smelling fresh and free of mildew odors.

Maintaining a Fresh Washer

  • Leave the door ajar: After each use, keep the washer door slightly open. This allows air to circulate and prevents moisture buildup, reducing the chances of mold and mildew growth.
  • Wipe down after each use: Get into the habit of wiping down the rubber gasket and door seal with a clean cloth to remove any lingering moisture and detergent residue.
  • Run cleaning cycles: Regularly run cleaning cycles using a washing machine cleaner or a cup of white vinegar to disinfect the washer and eliminate odors.
  • Clean the detergent dispenser: Remove and clean the detergent dispenser tray frequently to prevent the buildup of mold and mildew in this area.
  • Inspect and clean the filter: Check the washer’s filter regularly and clean it as needed to ensure proper drainage and prevent odors.
Key Tips for Maintaining a Fresh Washer
• Leave the door ajar after each use to prevent moisture buildup.
• Wipe down the rubber gasket and door seal to remove moisture.
• Run cleaning cycles using washing machine cleaner or white vinegar.
• Clean the detergent dispenser tray frequently.
• Inspect and clean the washer’s filter regularly.


You now have the tools to banish that pesky mildew smell from your washer. By following these maintenance tips, you can keep your washing machine fresh and odor-free. Remember to leave the door ajar, wipe down the rubber gasket, run cleaning cycles with vinegar, clean the detergent tray, and check the filter regularly. With these simple steps, you’ll ensure your washer stays in top condition, ready to tackle your laundry without any unwelcome odors. Happy washing!

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Frequently Asked Questions

How can I prevent mold and mildew growth in my washer?

To prevent mold and mildew growth in your washer, leave the door ajar after each use, and regularly wipe down the rubber gasket and door seal.

How do I clean my washing machine to keep it fresh?

To keep your washing machine fresh, run cleaning cycles with washing machine cleaner or white vinegar, clean the detergent dispenser tray, and inspect/clean the washer’s filter regularly.

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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