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Why Does My Washing Machine Smell So Bad?


Every household depends on its washing machine to not only render our clothes and linens clean, but we also expect everything to smell clean and fragrant when we open the washing machine door.

Unfortunately, very often instead of a pleasant fresh aroma, the machine gives off a horrid stench like rotten eggs, sewage or the stink of mould and mildew.

Smelly washing machines are an issue that our washing machine repair engineers at Bath Domestic Appliances are often called in to investigate by baffled and distressed owners of hard-working washing machines so we thought we’d explain where the smell comes from, how to stop the machine from smelling and how to prevent your washing machine from becoming odiferous.

What Causes a Washing Machine to Smell Bad?

Generally, it is a build-up of bacteria and mould in one or more of the parts that make your washing machine emanate an unpleasant odour. It’s a problem most likely associated with machines that are used often on a low-temperature cycle, which is the usual case nowadays when most of us wash our clothes at 40°C or below to save on energy bills and be environmentally friendly. Low temperatures, coupled with a humid environment inside the machine, allowing bacteria and mould to thrive and multiply in your wet washing and inside the washing machine.

The bacteria buildup commonly occurs in washing machine parts like the filter, heating elements, door seal, detergent dispenser, hose, drum or drain.

How do you Get Rid of a Bad Smell in Your Washing Machine?

Ironically the answer to this question is that you should clean your washing machine.

Many modern washing machines have a special hot wash programme for cleaning out a machine – consult the manufacturer’s manual to check what is recommended for your make and model, whether it is a front loader or a top loading washing machine. If there isn’t a designated service wash then just run the machine through the hottest available cycle without any washing in the drum, using soda crystals instead of detergent, or a commercially available washing machine cleaner preparation.

You need to also make sure the filter is as clean as a whistle, and thoroughly wash out the detergent drawer and the inside of the door seal (including the rubber folds).

If your machine is still smelly after this try using a drain cleaner on the drain pipe. If all else fails then call in a washing machine repair professional for help before you decide to throw in the towel and get a new washing machine.

How to Prevent Your Washing Machine from Smelling Bad

Your washing machine is one of the most frequently used appliances in the home, and it’s easy to expect it to just go on working with little or no maintenance.

All it needs to prevent the machine from developing an unpleasant smell – which can permeate through the whole home if it becomes bad enough – is to make sure you clean it regularly using the procedure described above. Most manufacturers recommend you do a thorough clean of the filter and detergent dispenser and run a hot service wash at least once a month.

It’s also wise to leave the door open when the machine is not in use so it has a chance to dry out, giving mould and bacteria no opportunity to fester and grow in the drum and door seal.

Never leave a load of damp or wet washing shut in the machine for hours after the cycle is complete – try to remove the washing within around 15 minutes of the machine stopping.

If you need advice about caring for your washing machine, washing machine repairs or need to buy a new washing machine at a good price in or around Bath and North East Somerset, contact Bath Domestic Appliances – we look forward to being of assistance.

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