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How to Remove Odors From a Washing Machine

Check out these tips and tricks to remove odors from your washing machine the right way.

Is there anything better than the smell of fresh laundry? The notion of pulling warm, clean clothes out of the dryer can make anyone feel at ease. Just as your washing machine takes care of cleaning your clothes, it’s equally as important for you to take care of your washing machine. And no, your washing machine isn’t washing itself every time it spins around soap and water. You’re not getting off that easy!

According to Business Wire and the National Cleaning Survey, 20% of households have never cleaned the washer. While we aren’t necessarily saying it should be at the top of the weekly chore list, getting rid of smell in the washing machine can positively impact other areas of your home, making closets smell fresh and eliminating other common household odors from storage bins, dresser drawers, and more! And no, your washing machine isn’t washing itself every time it spins around soap and water.

Over time, you may start to notice a sour, mildewy, or even sewage-like smell emanating from your washing machine. Don’t panic. You’ll be able to get rid of washer smells no problem, after you read some of our tips below.

Three Ways to Remove Odors From a Washing Machine

  1. Get Rid of Smell in a Washing Machine With Baking Soda
  2. Use Vinegar to Deodorize a Washing Machine
  3. Fresh Wave Laundry Booster

Why Does My Washing Machine Smell?

Let’s first get to the bottom of why your washing machine might smell. Even though washing machines are constantly being filled with detergent and water, they’re also being stuffed with dirty and smelly laundry. Think about all of the sweat and dirt that has built up on your clothes and towels before you throw them in the wash. It’s no wonder you’re trying to get rid of the smell in your washing machine! 

The main culprit for washing machine odors is a combination of mold, mildew, and bacteria. There’s so much humidity accumulating in and around your washing machine, that it only makes sense for bacteria to grow there. A secondary culprit may be a pipe or sewage issue. If the smell isn’t going away, even after a deep clean, it’s time to call a plumber. Keep in mind the best way to remove odors from your washing machine will depend on what you’re smelling.

You should also take into consideration the type of washing machine you own before you start to get rid of washer smells. Front-load washing machines are typically more energy-efficient because they use less water, but this means that mold can accumulate faster. Front-load machines also use a rubber door gasket to seal shut, making it easier for water to get trapped. Top-load washing machines, on the other hand, tend to have more issues with drainage tubes. 

If after assessing the situation with your washer and you believe the source of your washing machine’s odor is grime and not a problem with the pipes, it’s time to learn how to remove odors from your washing machine, and keep them from coming back.

Three Ways to Remove Odors From a Washing Machine

1. Get Rid of Smell in a Washing Machine With Baking Soda

Baking soda is used to remove many odors throughout your home and it works just the same for washing machines. Start by mixing ¼ cup baking soda with equal parts water. Pour the mixture into where you’d normally put your laundry detergent and run a normal cycle (without laundry in it, of course!)

2. Use Vinegar to Deodorize a Washing Machine

You can also use vinegar to get rid of washer smell. Simply add 2 cups of distilled white vinegar into your washer’s detergent dispenser and run a cycle on your machine’s hottest setting and longest cycle.

 For a top load washing machine, increase the amount of vinegar to 4 cups and allow the machine to fill up part of the way before opening the lid and pausing the cycle. Introduce the vinegar into the water and allow it to sit for one hour.

You can also throw vinegar into the mix with your baking soda/water combination. This combo will help to remove moldy residue and the foul odor from built up grime.

Pro-tip: Don’t use bleach! You may think it is the easiest solution to clean and remove odor, but bleach can be very harsh on your machine and erode the surface of the drum.

3. Fresh Wave Laundry Booster

To deodorize a washing machine while clothes are in the wash, add 2 or 4 capfuls of Fresh Wave Laundry Booster to the wash or rinse cycle. Fresh Wave’s line of odor eliminating products is free of harsh chemicals and harmful ingredients. 

You can add the laundry booster to your regular detergent to fight odor as you wash, or, you can wet a soft cloth and wipe your machine’s rubber gasket, lid, and other visible seams to get rid of built up grime.

If your washing machine is frequently used to clean sweaty clothes, Fresh Wave also has an Athlete’s Kit, specifically for those tough sweat and dirt odors that are difficult to remove. The kit is perfect for making gym bags smell good and keeping your athletic clothes smell fresh.

How to Prevent Washing Machine Smells

Sure, you can take care of your washing machine odor as soon as you notice it, but there are also preventative measures you can take in-between every wash to ensure the odor doesn’t return too frequently:

  • Use detergent for high-efficiency machines so less suds and soap scum are left behind.
  • Leave the washing machine door open after every wash so moisture doesn’t get trapped.
  • Remove wet clothing from the washing machine as soon as possible.
  • Wash clothes inside out so the odors and dirt that are trapped inside of your garments get a more thorough clean. 
  • Check to make sure your pipes are properly draining.
  • Clean your gasket every couple of weeks to ensure moisture isn’t getting trapped.

Are you ready to get rid of the smell in your washing machine? We hope laundry becomes pleasant and relaxing again once you eliminate the odor!

Fresh Wave products can help you remove odors from any room in your house. Shop odor removing Sprays, Gels, and more, today!