washing machine smell bad
Hints & Tips
6 min. read

Why Does My Washing Machine Smell Even After Cleaning?

It’s a little ironic that the very appliance in our homes used to give us fresh-smelling and clean clothes is responsible for emitting some of the worst smells around. These may include a rotten egg smell, the smell of a lavatory, burning, damp/mildew smells or a combination of all these. Ultimately, this is a symptom that your washing machine is not operating optimally and that something is wrong. This can be the case even after running it through a self-clean cycle with no load of laundry added to the machine’s wash cycle. So, what are the causes of this and how can you prevent this in the future so that you don’t end up with a smelly load of laundry after a wash? Let’s explore in more detail below.


Why does my washing machine smell bad?

It may sound quite obvious but what we put in the washing machine can play an important role in its smell. Clothes that are very soiled and dirty will naturally result in a bad smell after a wash cycle. But there are other contributing factors as well. These include a combination of mould, mildew and bacteria. However, that’s not where it ends. There is also body oil, dirt, hair and scum. All these can get trapped in the gasket, seal and detergent dispenser to leave a not-so-fresh-smelling result. And if you live in an area with a lot of hard water, the excess chalk can cause problems as well. Coupled with the humidity in your laundry room and you have the perfect breeding ground for an unpleasant smell coming from your washing machine.


What is the solution to a smelly washing machine?

Your washing machine’s odd and unpleasant smells do not have to be a permanent feature of every wash cycle. There are some preventative steps you can take to avoid and prevent this from happening in the future. 

  • Give your washing machine a good clean: this means cleaning it inside and out. Most washing machines have removable parts, such as the detergent tray, which you can easily remove, soak with bicarbonate of soda, scrub with a toothbrush to get all the gunk out and then give it a rinse before putting it back in place. Don’t forget that the interior will also need a clean as should the door seal. This is the perfect place where grime and dirt accumulate and wiping it with a cloth can unearth some interesting odds and ends. We’re talking about coins, hair clips, soggy pieces of paper, detergent, dirt, debris and residue, which are left behind. Consider creating a water and white vinegar solution and use a toothbrush or a nail brush to clean the door seal. Once clean, wipe it dry with a cloth. You do not want a moist environment where bacteria can continue to breed. 
  • Run the machine on an empty cycle: this means that you run a washing cycle without adding any clothes to the drum. Use a higher than usual temperature (usually above 40 degrees Celsius) and consider making the service cycle a standard practice in your home at least once a month.
  • Clear your p-trap, drainpipe, vent pipe and stand pipe: any of these could be partially blocked and for this exercise, you can use a drain unblocker to address the build up of residue or simply pour a lot of water through them to clear out any potential blockages.  
  • Check your drain: this is where stagnant (and smelly!) water builds up. You can begin to fix this by simply using boiling water and baking soda to unclog the drain. Alternatively, there are commercial unclogging agents that you can put to use as well. 
  • Clean your filter: this should be done periodically (around once a month) by emptying and cleaning it with warm soapy water and then put it back in place. 


How to prevent bad odours

As the saying often goes, prevention is better than cure. So, why wait until you’ve got a smelly washing machine if you can stop this issue in its tracks altogether? For this purpose, we recommend the following:

  • Alter your wash cycle temperature: using higher temperatures will mean killing off bacteria more effectively. If you don’t want to damage your clothes though, consider running an empty cycle at a temperature higher than 40 degrees Celsius.  
  • Run an empty cycle: this is a great way to keep your washing machine running well and prevent a build up of unpleasant smells. 
  • Keep your drum dry: do this by removing your load of laundry from the washing machine as soon as a cycle is complete. This can help ensure that mildew and mould do not quickly accumulate. Once you’ve done this, you should give the interior of the drum a wipe with a clean dry cloth. Also consider keeping the washing machine’s door open when not in use to enable air to circulate better and keep them dry. Finally, keep your detergent drawer open for the same reason.
  • Use a recommended detergent: some manufacturers recommend what type of detergent should be used. Whether you use powder or pods, check your owner’s manual for the correct instructions.


Still encountering bad odours and your clothes smell after washing?

If you’ve taken all of the suggested steps above and you’ve also taken the precautionary measures, and your washing machine is still emitting bad smells, then it may be time to call in a professional. They’ll be able to thoroughly check your washing machine, examine individual parts and diagnose where the smell is coming from followed by addressing the problem. If you are unsure of where to start, you’re not confident in taking the steps mentioned above or you’d simply prefer a professional to look at your washing machine, then don’t hesitate to get in touch with us. At Domex, we offer high quality washing machine services – from replacement of parts to repairs and everything in between. Get in touch with us for a consultation and we’ll be able to resolve your problem as quickly and efficiently as possible.

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