How to Remove Washer Machine Odor: Practical Tips for Fresh Laundry

Understanding the Cause of Odor in Washer Machine

When it comes to odors in your washer machine, there are a few common culprits you should be aware of. By understanding what causes these unpleasant smells, you can take steps to prevent them in the future.

  • Dampness: Leftover moisture in your washer drum provides the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew, leading to that musty odor.
  • Residue Buildup: Soap scum, dirt, and fabric softener can accumulate over time, creating a smelly environment inside your washer.
  • Inadequate Ventilation: A poorly ventilated laundry room can exacerbate the issue by trapping moisture and odors inside the machine.

To tackle these odor-causing factors effectively, it’s essential to adopt regular cleaning and maintenance routines for your washer machine.

Common Mistakes That Cause Odor Build-Up

When it comes to washer machine odors, avoid these common mistakes that can lead to unpleasant smells lingering in your laundry room:

  • Overusing Detergent: Pouring in too much detergent can leave behind residue that traps odors over time.
  • Ignoring the Seal: Neglecting to clean the rubber seal around the door can result in mold and mildew growth.
  • Leaving Wet Clothes Inside: Leaving damp laundry sitting in the washer can lead to bacterial growth and musty smells.
  • Using Cold Water Too Often: Cold water washes are great for many items, but occasional hot water cycles can help prevent odor build-up.
  • Neglecting the Dispenser Drawer: Regularly clean the detergent and fabric softener compartments to avoid mold growth.

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By avoiding these mistakes and implementing proper maintenance, you can keep your washer machine smelling fresh and clean.

Natural Remedies to Remove Odor from Washer Machine

If you’re dealing with stubborn odors in your washer machine, natural remedies can be a great solution. Here are some effective methods to help you get rid of that unpleasant smell without harsh chemicals:

  • Vinegar: Run a hot water cycle with a cup of white vinegar to eliminate odors and kill mold and mildew.
  • Baking Soda: Sprinkle baking soda inside the drum and run a hot water cycle to neutralize odors.
  • Lemon Juice: Add a few tablespoons of lemon juice to a hot water cycle to freshen up your washer.
  • Essential Oils: Mix a few drops of your favorite essential oil with water and wipe down the rubber seal to combat odors.

Remember that prevention is key, so be sure to leave the washer door open after each use to allow it to dry properly. By incorporating these natural remedies into your cleaning routine, you can ensure that your washer machine stays fresh and odor-free.

Using Commercial Cleaners for Odor Removal

When dealing with stubborn odors in your washer machine, commercial cleaners can be a convenient and effective solution. Here’s how to properly use them:

  • Choose a high-quality cleaner designed specifically for washer machines.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s instructions carefully to ensure safe and efficient usage.
  • Run a wash cycle with hot water after using the cleaner to thoroughly rinse the machine.
  • Consider using a cleaner with a pleasant scent to leave your washer smelling fresh.

Commercial cleaners can provide a quick fix for persistent odors in your washer machine, supplementing natural remedies for a comprehensive approach to odor removal.

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Maintenance Tips to Prevent Future Odor Issues

To keep your washer machine smelling fresh, it’s crucial to establish a regular maintenance routine. Here are some practical tips to prevent future odor problems:

  • Wipe Down the Rubber Seal: After each wash, wipe the rubber seal on the door to prevent mold and mildew buildup.
  • Leave the Door Ajar: Keeping the door slightly open when not in use allows air to circulate, preventing moisture that can lead to odors.
  • Clean the Dispenser Drawers: Remove and clean the detergent and fabric softener dispenser drawers regularly to prevent residue buildup.
  • Use High-efficiency Detergent: Opt for HE detergents to reduce soap scum and buildup in the washer.
  • Run Cleaning Cycles: Periodically run a cleaning cycle with vinegar or baking soda to keep the washer drum fresh.
  • Inspect and Clean the Drain Pump: Check the drain pump filter for lint and debris that can cause odors and clean it regularly.
  • Avoid Overloading the Washer: Overloading the washer can lead to inadequate cleaning and trapped odors in clothes.
  • Replace Old Hoses: Inspect and replace old washer hoses to prevent leaks and mold growth behind the machine.

Remember, regular maintenance is key to preventing unpleasant odors in your washer machine.


By following these simple tips, you can easily maintain a fresh-smelling washer machine. Remember to keep the rubber seal clean, leave the door slightly open, and use the right detergents. Regular cleaning cycles with vinegar or baking soda can also help. Don’t forget to inspect and clean the drain pump and avoid overloading your washer. With these preventive measures, you can say goodbye to unwanted odors and enjoy a pleasant laundry experience. Happy washing!

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Frequently Asked Questions

What are some tips for preventing odor issues in washer machines?

To prevent odor issues in washer machines, make sure to wipe down the rubber seal after each use, leave the door ajar for air circulation, clean dispenser drawers regularly, use high-efficiency detergents, run cleaning cycles with vinegar or baking soda, inspect and clean the drain pump, avoid overloading the washer, and replace old hoses. These maintenance tips help keep washer machines odor-free.

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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