What to Do When Your Washing Machine Stinks

What to Do When Your Washing Machine Stinks

We cannot even remember and imagine not using our washing machines. The convenience of being able to throw all of our dirty clothes into a machine that washes them for us now feels like a chore until something happens that causes you to have to revert to the dark ages of handwashing everything. When your washing machine is emitting an unexplained odor, it can make it almost impossible to wash your clothes at home.


For something that is supposed to be making your clothes and laundry smell like a fresh spring day, there is not a more frustrating problem than a gross smell coming from your washing machine. In this post, we are discussing what is likely to make your washing machine smell bad and what you can do about it. 

Reasons Your Washing Machine Reeks

Your washing machine is supposed to make your clothes smell fresh, but sometimes, it can be the reason your clothes have a sour, mildew odor. The key to fixing this problem is determining the source. Unpleasant odors emitted from your washing machine may have these qualities:

  • Rotten eggs
  • Mildew and mustiness
  • Sour odor
  • Sickly sweet
  • Wet dog smell

These odors can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

Bacteria: Just like the bacteria that grow on spoiled food, when it forms, it emits foul odors that serve to protect it and allow it to flourish.

Soap Scum: Soap that does not get rinsed away thoroughly will build up and begin to smell if not cleaned.

Mold and Mildew: Mold and mildew love moisture, especially when it becomes trapped behind seals and gaskets. When mold and mildew develop, you can be sure they will reek.

Poorly Draining Water: If the water is not draining from your washing machine between cycles, it will contribute to unpleasant odors and provide a breeding ground for mold, mildew, bacteria, and contribute to soap scum.

What to Do About Your Stinky Washing Machine

If you are ready to rid your machine of the foul odor, here are a few tips:

Scrub the Scum: If you can see a ring or collection of soap scum, use a warm rag or even an old toothbrush to scrub it away.

Check the Seals: Rubber seals are key hiding places for any kind of bacteria or mildew. Check and clean behind the seals to help the smell.

Commercial Deodorizers: You might consider purchasing commercial deodorizers if the problem persists; however, these will not solve the problem if the issue is with your washing machine’s performance.

Fix the Problem: If there is a drainage issue with your washing machine, no amount of scrubbing will prevent the problem from returning. You need to have your unit repaired. Whatever is causing the water to remain in the drum should be addressed as soon as possible to avoid additional, costly repairs.

Ask the Experts: Before you wash with vinegar or baking soda, ask the experts at Appliance Pro what they recommend. Their experience and expertise extend to helping restore a stinky washing machine to its intended purpose.

At Appliance Pro Unlimited, has seen our share of stinky washing machines. We have many years of repair experience that helps us quickly identify your issue and make the necessary repairs. If you want your washing machine to stop stinking up your clothes and do its job, contact Appliance Pro. We serve Asheville, Hendersonville, and the western North Carolina area with timely appliance repair and installation services.