Washing Machine Smelling Mouldy: Why and What to Do

You might think that your washing machine is the cleanest place on earth, but not so much if it gets mouldy. Believe it or not, one of the reasons this could be happening might be your soap, amongst other things. While your clothes may still be coming out smelling fresh as a new day after a rainstorm, your washing machine may smell like an old damp basement. Learn some of the different reasons this happens and things you can do to help.

What Are The Reasons My Washing Machine Smells Mouldy?

The obvious answer is that you wash dirty clothes in it, but it may be things like your actual soap, sewer issues, and forgetting your clothes (we all do this). Here are some of the main reasons your washer may develop a musty or mouldy smell:

  1. Less Water

Newer high efficiency washers use very little water to get your clothes clean. While they do a great job on your clothes, there may not be enough water to rinse away all of the products of washing. If you are loading dirty clothes with things like; soap, laundry perfume crystals, and thick softeners, then you may have a lot to rinse down the pipes. Couple this with a dark, damp place for happy mold to grow, and you get a stinky washer.

  1. Tight Seals

Newer washers, especially front loaders, have very tight seals so the water doesn’t run out all over your floor. The problem is mold and some bacteria love things like lack of oxygen, darkness, and warmth. When your washer is all sealed up and churning away, these guys are growing silently in the background.

  1. Shared Sewer Lines

If your washer shares sewer lines near your kitchen, you may be smelling the by-product of putting food down your garbage disposal. This is a common issue where the washer hook-up is in the kitchen area or nearby. You may actually be smelling last night’s dinner, or even last week. That and what is coming off your clothing can come together for a not-so-nice aroma. Then, with the issue in #1 all of this is just not getting rinsed through the pipes.

  1. Overly Smelly or Damp Clothes

Washing machine smells mouldy? This is another thing we have all done a few times: left wet clothes in the hamper. If you leave wet clothes to sit a few days prior to washing, they can begin to grow mold and mildew before they even go into the washer. Mold and mildew love to hitch rides to other places, like the inside of your washer.

  1. Keeping the Lid Closed

Mold, mildew, and bacteria love dark, warm, moist areas. If you leave the lid closed on an empty washer, you give them the perfect place to thrive and grow. It can get especially bad in summer or areas that have warmer year round climates.

  1. Leaving Wet Clothes in Washer

This is a common problem. We wash clothes and get sidetracked. Go back to put the clothes in the dryer the next day and the smell of mildew hits your nose. Of course, the clothes have to be re-washed or rinsed with softener and this can compound the problem. This means more cleaners and thick liquids for things to grow in.

What Can I Do About It?

If you develop a washing machine that smells mouldy, you have to be tough on it. Mold is a tough thing to get rid enough, especially in your washer. Here are some things you can do to help the problem and leave your washer smelling fresh:

Give It a Good Scrubbing

It may be that you just need to scrub off any dirt, grease, and grime from dirty clothes. Mix up a natural cleaning solution of baking soda with vinegar and use a kitchen sponge for the scrub. Baking soda is a great all-natural deodorizer. If you are into clean living, this won’t harm your clothes, your skin, or the paint on your washer. Here are the steps:

Tips For Washing Machine Care

Washing machine smells mouldy? Once you get rid of any smells, you should take measures on a regular basis to prevent them from coming back. Here are some weekly or monthly maintenance tips:

Keeping the kid open when your washer isn’t in use will keep fresh air moving through and some light to prevent mold growth. If your washer sits under a cupboard and the lid won’t stay up, just place a magnet in the lower lip of the cupboard to help hold it up. The magnet will also help when removing clothes to put in the dryer (This brings us to the next point).

Set some type of alarm or reminder to remember to put your clothes in the dryer promptly. It takes 24 to 48 hours for mold to start growing, but in ripe conditions like warm weather it could start even sooner.

If you have a newer washer, high efficiency laundry soap is designed for low suds to leave less residue in the washer. It takes very little water to rinse away, and doesn’t get “gummy.” With this, mold has nothing to cling onto. 

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