Open washing machine smell
3 min. read

Why Does My Washing Machine Smell?

When you’re pulling your washing out of the machine after a wash, you want to be hit by whatever fragrant scents you’ve chosen in your detergent. But what if that doesn’t happen? What if, instead, you’re hit with foul-smelling odours or an underlying musty smell? No one wants smelly clothes, nor do they want a washing machine which gives off bad smells wherever the door is left open.

We’ve touched on the topic of smelly washing machines briefly before, but this month we’re dedicating a post to answering the question “Why does my washing machine smell?”. We’ll talk about the potential causes and then give some basic cleaning tips which might help eradicate the smell you’re noticing.

What makes a washing machine smell?

Unclean machine

With many of us using a lower temperature wash these days to help the environment, it means that more mould and dirt is likely to build up inside your machine. This, in turn, can mean that there is a smell in your washing machine.

Unclean seal

Similarly, it could be the seal of your washing machine which is dirty. Most machines have a large, circular piece of rubber between the drum and the door, usually featuring a flap which you can gently pull back. Under this rubber seal, if you notice a build-up of grime and dirt, then you may have found the cause of any bad smells.

Blocked filters

Blocked washing machine filters prevent proper drainage, allowing dirty water and debris to accumulate in your machine. This stagnant water becomes a breeding ground for a combination of mould, mildew and bacteria, which release foul-smelling odors. Regularly cleaning your filters ensures proper water flow and prevents these odor-causing microbes from thriving.

Detergent drawer

If you use the detergent drawer to fill your washing machine with liquids and powders, it might be this area of the machine which is giving off a bad odour. If any residue is left behind and sits for long enough, it will become grimy and eventually gives off a less than appealing smell.

Poor plumbing

Another reason for a smelly washing machine is poor plumbing. If your washing machine doesn’t drain properly, stagnant water could be sitting in your pipes or drum for days. Not only could this create a bad smell, but it also makes it easier for mould and bacteria to populate. In some cases of bad plumbing you could also have dirty water from your kitchen sick returns to your appliance (not all types of washing machines could be affected).

How to get rid of bad smells in washing machines

If you’ve been able to narrow the cause of the smell down, you might have a chance of tackling it. Even if you’re unsure, some of these following steps are likely to help.

Wash the machine

Yes, it might seem a little silly to wash your washing machine, but all appliances suffer from a grime or dirt problem every so often. Newer machines come with specific cleaning setting these days, but a hot wash on empty with non-bio detergent (whites) ought to work, too.

Open washing machine smell

Clean The Seal

Under the lip of the rubber seal, there could be dirt lurking. You can get rid of it by gently peeling the lip back and using some warm soapy water and some elbow grease. Sometimes, if the dirt won’t lift, it might mean that you’ll need a new seal to get rid of the smell it’s creating.

Hand pulling washing machine seal to show mold on the rubber

Clean The Drawer

You should be able to remove the detergent drawer so that you can give it a good wash in warm soapy water. If it won’t come out, you will have to be careful not to use too much force when cleaning. For any really stubborn grime, an old toothbrush is a handy tool.

Dirty washing machine detergent drawer

Use Of Mould Remover

You can use a product that is purposely designed to remove oudor, mould and mildew from washing machines. One which has good reviews and also recommended by Domex is WPro Cleaning Tablets.

Woman pulling on washing machine seal to show mold and limescale

Call A Professional

Where there is a plumbing or drainage issue, it’s likely that you’ll need a professional to help. Sometimes you might not be able to identify the cause of the smell from your washing machine, or you simply might not want to go pulling bits of your washing machine apart to find out. If this is the case, getting a qualified appliance engineer to inspect your machine is the right step. With professional help, you’ll get a quicker diagnosis and peace of mind knowing that the smell from inside your washing machine will be eradicated properly.

If you’re experiencing unpleasant smells from other kitchen appliances, take a look at our article about how to fix the horrible smell of appliances.

Domex Engineer at customer door

At Domex, we provide award-winning washing machine repairs in London and the South East. Our engineers work around the clock and can help if you have any plumbing issues or need a problem with your washing machine diagnosing – regardless of the brand or model. You can even manage your appointment and track any repairs online using our ‘My Repair’ function. Call us today to discuss your washing machine issue or for an appointment and we’ll be happy to book you in.

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