How to eliminate musty washing machine smells

Is there a musty smell coming from your washing machine? You probably need to clean it thoroughly. Check out this article for a guide on how to remove the small and leave the washing machine smelling fresh.

You will notice your machine has a musty smell issue when your laundry won’t come out fresh, even after several washes. There are multiple reasons why washing machines begin to smell. Soap scum, bacteria, mold and mildew are some of the reasons why washing machines begin to smell. What do you do when your machine has a persistent, foul, musty smell?

How to eliminate musty washing machine smells

The only way to eliminate any smells from your machine is to clean it thoroughly. The following process will help you get rid of any musty smells from your washing machines immediately.

Step 1: Begin by cleaning parts of the washing machine. First, remove the bleach, fabric softener and bleach dispensers for cleaning. During laundry, water can get into these parts of the machine. When mixed with soap residue, it can make your dispenser smell. Clean the dispensers with hot soapy water to remove any smelly reside. If they are not detachable, you can wipe them with the same. Use a small brush to get into the corners of your dispensers and remove any difficult build up.

Next, you need to clean the gasket. Use a rag with the hot soapy water and wipe it down thoroughly. You can use that, or opt for a spray bottle filled with mildew cleaner and a rag. Make sure to use gloves as mildew cleaner can be harmful to your skin. Alternatively, you can use a 50/50 mixture of bleach and water to wipe down the gasket.

If you are working with a front loading machine, make sure you wash around the rubber seal. With a top- loading machine, pay attention to the corners around the door where dirt may hide. If there is persistent reside on the gasket, try scrubbing it down with a soft brush then wiping it with the water solution of choice afterwards.

Step 2: Once you are done washing and scrubbing off dirt from the machine, you need to sanitize chlorine water is one of the best solutions for sanitizing and killing mold and mildew. Alternatively, you can use ½ a cup of commercial washer cleaner, ½ cup of baking soda and a cup of bleach to really make sure the washing machine is clean and sanitized. Add your solution to the washing machine, set it to a high temperature and start a cleaning cycle. Once the tub is filled in, give it 30 min to rest and resume the cycle. Finally, start a rinse cycle to remove traces of the solution/

Step 3: Once you are done cleaning and sanitizing your washing machine, you can deodorize to remove any lingering smell. White vinegar is great for removing any more smells and its acidic quality helps remove any leftover bacteria from your washer. Set a high temperature on your washing machine, add 2-4 cups of white vinegar and start a cleaning cycle. Once the rinse cycle is complete, open the washing machine door and let it air.

How to prevent your washing machine from smelling

Now that your washer is clean and free of musty smells, you need to follow steps to keep it that way. How can you do that?

Use appropriate detergents

Using normal detergents on a front loading machine can leave behind a lot of residue which will eventually start to smell. This is why high efficiency detergents are recommended for such washing machines. Use the right detergent in the recommended amounts to avoid any mould/mildew issues in the future. Avoid using liquid fabric softeners as they can leave residue inside your washing machine.

Keep the drum dry

To keep your washing machine’s drum dry, make sure you remove wet clothes immediately after a wash cycle. This will ensure the drum/tub does not stay damp for long periods of time.

Clean the drain pump.

Front load washing machines have drain pump with a filter that can trap hair, lint and more. Debris build up in the pump can lead to smelly mold/mildew.

Air out the washing machine between loads

To prevent old build-up, ensure you leave the door open immediately after your wash. This helps the drum/tub dry out completely, allows circulation of fresh air and prevent mold/mildew build up.

Final word

While the guide above will help you get rid of the musty washing machine smells, it is not permanent. You need to develop regular cleaning schedules to avoid the musty smells from mold and mildew completely.


Is there a way to keep the washing machine open throughout?

Yes, fold over a towel twice, hang it out over the washing machine door and close the hinges. This keeps the door from closing up completely and keeps the dump, musty smell under control.

Can I use baking powder in place of baking soda when cleaning my washing machine?

No, they are not the same.

Dennis Vaughn

Dennis Vaughn is a certified plumber and has been offering apprenticeship experiences to most of his employees for the past 12years. Dennis owns and runs an appliance store, and has a team made of different expertise from electricians, appliance repair individuals, and plumbers. According to him dealing with appliances is one thing but the after-sales services are what makes for the loyal clients. Many people don’t know who to call when their appliances break or become faulty, and a good number are not aware of the varieties of appliances in the market tailored to fit their expectations. The above is what necessitated the creation of the extensive excerpts on the washing machine units, which come complete with directions on the simple home repairs.