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Musty Smell in a Washing Machine

Front loading washers in particular can develop a musty odor. This is a guide about a musty smell in a washing machine.

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April 20, 2010 Flag
12 found this helpful

I have a great tip for making a smelly clothes washer smell fresh and clean, given to me by a Maytag repairman. Simply run dishwasher detergent powder, not liquid, through your machine with no clothing in it, about once or twice a month.

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It works and it is cheaper than the specialized products that do the same thing. Use the same amount you would use of laundry detergent for your particular machine.

Source: Maytag repairman

By Diane H. from Louisville, TN

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July 20, 2010 Flag
0 found this helpful

I have a LG Tromm front load washer. The clothes smell musty after washing. I have used Affresh to clean it several times. The clothes are briefly OK, then after a few days the musty odor comes back. We are on city water so I don't think its that. I was told not to use fabric softener any more and to use HE detergents. Still no improvement. Please help.

By Mark from Tyngsboro, MA

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June 21, 20110 found this helpful

Jess,

I am largely a firm believer in "do what works for you"! That being said I also like to know, as far as is possible, what could be the consequence(s) could be should I follow a certain course of action. To that end, on 27, June 2010, I forwarded the following message to Church and Dwight, the owners of the manufacturer's of OxiClean and the owners of the Arm And Hammer brand, concerning OxiClean: -

Your website states that the PH for this product is up to 11.0 when it is diluted. Is this correct?

I understand that the principal ingredients are:

Sodium carbonate and sodium percarbonate, is this correct?

I further understand that when mixed with water the sodium percarbonate breaks down into hydrogen peroxide (for the cleaning) and sodium carbonate, is this correct?

MSDS's for both these chemicals rate their pH at well above 8.0

It is a well-known and well-established fact that aluminium is corroded when immersed in an aqueous solution with a pH above about 8.0. As the MSDS's for the subject chemicals available 'on the web' almost all make reference to the corrosive capabilities against aluminum, some do just say 'metals'.

I would be interested in your comments on the performance, in this regard; of your product on the aluminum spiders found in front loading washing machines. There are numerous reported incidents of spider corrosion and failure on the internet and/or although most of these seem to claim it is galvanic corrosion I do not agree. For it to be galvanic corrosion one would expect the majority of the corrosion to be at the junction of the dissimilar metals and on none of the photographs, or from the written descriptions, am I able to find one instance of this.

Thank you in anticipation.

Regards

Xxxxxxx

To date I have received no response except, coupons and offers for Arm And Hammer products in my email.

The MSDS for OxiClean can be found at: -

http://www.autolaundrysystems.com/MSDS/vendpdf/Oxi%20Clean.pdf

(Note the pH value). Orange Glo is totally owned by Church and Dwight.

Some Arm and Hammer MSDSs can be seen through: -

http://www.ahprofessional.com/MSDS/

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September 12, 2011 Flag
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My 2008 LD front loading washer and the cloths washed in the machine smell very bad, like mold. We also have several pets and I am unable to get to where the dog and cat hair lodge in the washer.

I paid a lot of money for what I thought would be my last purchase of a new washer and dryer as most of my previous appliances over the last 40 years have served me well. I also have a Master Protection Plan that we purchased at the same time as the purchase of the washer and dryer.

I had nothing but trouble with a washer that didn't work most of the time until Sears finally declared the washer unfixable and let me pick out another replacement washer. This one smells terrible. Even with the Master Protection Plan I could not get anyone out to assist me and was told to periodically throw in a cup of bleach and run a cycle. That didn't work.

After spending a thousand bucks on a washer that I hate and being a good constant customer for more than 40 years, I was finally able to get a tech out to look at smell my washer. He said this was a problem with all the front loaders. He then laid a bath towel across the front of the washer to keep the door slightly open. That was his solution! How and where do I go to find some resolution regarding this matter?

Joan

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December 7, 20150 found this helpful

Switch to powdered HE detergent. All the liquids are petroleum based and stick to the plastic hoses and gaskets and other parts. Hint given to me by a repairman. Worked for me. Use only a tablespoon for an average load. Don't use liquid fabric softener either. Eventually same stink.

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July 16, 2011 Flag
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My front loading washer has the worst sour smell. I need some help. I bought the washer cleaner, but it did not phase the smell. I used Clorox bleach and used the hottest water and ran it through two loads, but that still did not fix it. I need help immediately, please.

By Betty from Hurricane, WV

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August 17, 20110 found this helpful

I have a front loading HE washing machine as well. The cause of the odor is using too much detergent! We are all used to using too much detergent because of the older style top loading machines. These use less water and need less detergent. The detergent companies love us for these old habits.

The solution is to get down and dirty and clean out the mold from the rubber gasket. It is smelly and gross but you need to get rid of it. It is behind the gasket, under the folds of rubber or silicone whatever. Get an old washcloth, dampen it with water and scrap it out using the washcloth as your scraper. Next, use white vinegar and go over it all again.

Next, run the washer through a regular cycle or quick cycle with a quart or so of white vinegar. Make a habit of leaving that door open when you are finished with a load. Above all, learn to use less detergent so the mold doesn't have anything to grow on. You should hate having to clean out that disgusting mold. It is dangerous to your health and the health of your family. The clothes will be clean with less and your pocketbook will love you for it as well with a savings in detergent. Best wishes to all.

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June 24, 2011 Flag
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I have a top loader washing machine that I purchased that is a terrible design. It is almost new, but it has this horrible smell of mold. I have tried everything I know to get rid of it. I was hoping someone could help me. I have tried bleach and baking soda. Neither worked and my clothes smell awful. I would appreciate any advice you could give me.

If I didn't think it would be inappropriate I would indicate what brand of washer and dryer and encourage people not to purchase this set. The dryer has a terrible lint screen that is so hard to get the total lint out of it so I have problems with it also. Thanks everyone.

By MLS

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June 28, 20110 found this helpful

I run an empty load with bleach or vinegar and that takes away the bad smell. For the lint trap, we clean ours out after ever single load and once a month, I hand wash the screen with Dawn to remove the oil buildup from the fabric softener. I hope that helps you.

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October 28, 2013 Flag
1 found this helpful

Those of us with front load washing machines know how important it is to keep the inside of the machine dry between uses to avoid unpleasant smells. Leaving the door open is one way to do that, but many machines don't let you just leave it ajar to dry out. I personally didn't like the leaving the door completely open where it would be in the way of traffic in my laundry room.

So to solve that, I put a plastic coat hanger in the opening to the machine, letting a little bit of it extend beyond the gasket and door frame, and just let the door close up against it. It leaves about an inch to an inch and a half opening, just enough to let moisture evaporate from the machine. No more smells!

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    September 13, 2014 Flag
    2 found this helpful

    Some high efficiency washers have a bad smell inside. Rather than leave the door hanging open to air out (and risk hitting into it or a pet or child climbing inside and having it shut) I thought, for safety, that looping a bungee around the hinge and hooking it to a suction cup might allow you to keep the door open to air and not automatically snap shut.

    front load washer with bungee cord keeping it open
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      March 16, 2012 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      Any tips for ridding a washing machine of a foul odor would be helpful.

      By KO

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      March 18, 20120 found this helpful

      Everything suggested did not work for my machine, but someone mentioned using less detergent so I cut back to 1 1/2 teaspoon - way less then what I had been using. The clothes get just as clean and no more odor. I even accidentally purchased soap that was not HE so I mixed it half and half with the HE and cannot tell the difference. I do not have grubby work clothes or little children but do have soft water so I guess you would need to experiment? I had previously switched from liquid fabric softener to dry sheets, which did help some.

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      April 3, 2010 Flag
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      How do I get the moldy, mildewy smell out of my washing machine? It makes the clothes smell awful.

      By Patricia from Le Sueur, MN

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      December 16, 20100 found this helpful

      The rubber gasket around the door turned out to be the problem I had. I now use a cleaning product once a month to keep the washing machine clean. I got the idea from easythings.org/washing-machine-smells-washing-machine-cleaner-musty-smell The site has a bunch of good info.

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      September 8, 2011 Flag
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      How do I get rid of the moldy/musty smell in my front load washer? It smells like wet towels that have been sitting in the damp basement of an abandoned house! Please help.

      By Hunter

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      September 13, 20110 found this helpful

      I had the musty smell whether I closed the door or left it open. I was about to throw the machine away even though it was only two years old. A repairman told me to stop using liquid detergent, use only powdered, and no liquid fabric softener. The liquids are petroleum based and leave a residue on plastic pipes and rubber gaskets etc.

      Powdered HE detergent is hard to find, but worth the effort. Also, he said not to use as much as recommended, he said most people use way too much soap. There is absolutely no smell in my machine now, and amazingly the clothes are just as clean. For two people washing a small load of clothes I use only a rounded tablespoon of HE powdered detergent. Try it... the only thing you have to lose is a moldy smell.

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      December 24, 2010 Flag
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      My top loading washer has a very musty smell. How do I get rid of it?

      By Betty from FL

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      December 27, 20100 found this helpful

      Hi Betty, Leave the top open on your washer for a few hours after your last wash and you won't have the odor.

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      September 13, 2011 Flag
      2 found this helpful

      Remember to not close the washer door until it has completely aired out. I have a pretty dishcloth I hang over the door so it won't close and everyone knows that the washer is drying out. Closing the door on a wet washer is what gives you that musty odor. Should you have a musty smell, run your washer on a quick cycle with some baking soda and 1/4 cup bleach.

      By Maile from Onalaska, WA

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      July 20, 2010 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      *Fixed* There is a drain hose next to the Filter (little trap door). Drain this line and clean the filter.

      Using vinegar or bleach, clean the front rubber seal inside that touches the tub, you'll see lint buildup

      Stop using fabric softener. Switch to Tide HE Power, and a small amount is all that is needed. Remember to remove the liquid tray for powder use.

      By ahardytx from Keller, TX

      Answers:

      Musty Smell In Front Load Washer

      Bio-Kleen. (biokleenhome.com) I have a bottle of their Bac-Out concentrate for stain removal. Since the concentrate can be used to de-clog drains, I emailed their customer service to see if I could use it in my washing machine. They said the natural enzymes in Bac-Out are perfect for cleaning the smelly gunk in water drains and advised me to use the cold water wash (hot water would kill the enzymes). I put 1/2 cup of the Bac-Out concentrate in the bleach filter of my front loading washer and ran a cold wash with a few rags. The bad moldy smell is gone. Yay! (03/28/2010)

      By trinap

      Musty Smell In Front Load Washer

      We've tried everything posted on internet at least once with disappointing results. Affresh, bleach, wiping the interior, adjusting the drain hose, cleaning out the drain port, leaving the door open, etc. and nothing worked for long. Then I read a post somewhere which suggested simply trying powdered detergent. Blam, two days later smell almost completely gone.

      Two months later we've basically forgot we ever had the problem. Towels are fresh smelling again. I'm rarely one to post comments, but this worked. We use dry detergent (HE type) into the front of the loader (not in the detergent dispenser). We never leave the front open. We never wipe the interior. We never use bleach. I have not idea why liquid detergents make front load washers smell, but it does. Best of luck to all! (04/12/2010)

      By Joe Schmoe

      Musty Smell In Front Load Washer

      Washing machine problems?
      Bad Smell?
      Error Codes?

      Today while using my Kenmore front loading washer I got an error code E20 and it did not finish it's cycle! We have had foul odors while washing our clothes for a few months now.
      I searched the internet for a solution and found one.

      It suggested I get a wet/dry shop vac and vacuum out the water, then vacuum out the hoses and then locate the pump to the washing machine and vacuum that out as well and also reverse the vacuum if you can, then hook it up again. So I did that, ran a cycle when it came time to drain I heard the pump make a funny noise and then a pop. The hose popped off at the pump. I had water everywhere! Oh no! Oh well, it went down the sewer drain anyway, so I unplugged it and opened it back up to reconnect the hose again only to find my 1 year old son's sock had come out of the pump.and yes it stunk. Check your washing machine's pump, there is a possibility you have a blockage in the pump.

      While using the shop vac the water it was picking up smelt like raw sewage, but it's working like a charm now. (05/03/2010)

      By fixitnow

      Musty Smell In Front Load Washer

      It's nice that there are temporary remedies. However, if you do a search on front loading washer class action suits, you may find that you have the opportunity to join in a suit. Various firms are handling suits against different manufacturers. One should not expect to pay a premium price on a Duet, e.g., and go to extraordinary means to keep one's clothes from having a musty smell.

      I used various cleaners and replaced the rubber front gasket and even used a toothbrush to clean around the door (the entire circumference). The only thing I haven't tried is to get at the filter in the lower part of the washer. I'm told that one can remove the screws to get at the filter for the Whirlpool Duet, but have a bucket of some type to catch all the filthy water. Keeping the door open is not going to help. I suspect that if one washed every day, no mildew/mold would accumulate once it's cleaned. Best of luck. (06/15/2010)

      By TopHat

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      April 3, 2010 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      How do I get rid of a musty smell in my washing machine?

      Julie from Cape Cod, MA

      Answers:

      Getting Rid Of Musty Smell In Washing Machine

      I've been using vinegar in my laundry for over a year now, and find my clothes are cleaner and softer and my washing machine seems to be cleaner and odor-free. Just put 1/2 cup to a cup of white vinegar in the rinse cycle. You'd think your clothes would come out smelling like salad. But, no hint of vinegar odor can be detected. I don't use fabric softener in the washer or dryer sheets; this is all you need, so it's cheap. (05/20/2008)

      By Kentucky Viola

      Getting Rid Of Musty Smell In Washing Machine

      Musty smells are caused from mold. Run your washing machine with hot water and lots of bleach added and it will kill the mold, thus eliminating the musty smell. Blessings. (05/22/2008)

      By Sher

      Getting Rid Of Musty Smell In Washing Machine

      Believe it or not a friend was told to use Tang by a manufacturer. She did, and it smells wonderful now. Run it through empty, of course. (05/23/2008)

      By daiquiri

      Getting Rid Of Musty Smell In Washing Machine

      Is your washer an HE front loader? Affresh will remove and prevent the build-up of odor causing residues in all brands of HE Washers. Bleach only kills the odor causing bacteria, while Affresh washer cleaner removes the root cause of bad odors. Using surfactant chemistry, Affresh is a slow dissolving, foaming tablet that gets underneath built-up residues, breaks it down into small particles, and then washes the residues away. This product will leave your washer and clothes clean and smelling fresh.

      By APWagner

      Getting Rid Of Musty Smell In Washing Machine

      Even if you don't want to add the vinegar to your laundry, you can run through a complete cycle and add a cup to a cup and a half of white vinegar to the water, and that should take care of your "musty" smell. I do this periodically and my machine stays fresh. (05/23/2008)

      By bailegirl

      Getting Rid Of Musty Smell In Washing Machine

      Clean like others have suggested and then leave the lid/door ajar when not using it. That dries up the little excess of water all machines have left after washing. I found if I do this, I do not get that smell. If I forget and close it for some reason, then I start getting that odor again. Also, where is your washer located in your house?
      (05/23/2008)

      By carnation037

      Getting Rid Of Musty Smell In Washing Machine

      I prevent that by leaving the lid open all the time (when it's not doing laundry). When I brought my washer home from a garage sale, it stank, but one load of water-only solved that. (05/23/2008)

      By kimhis

      Getting Rid Of Musty Smell In Washing Machine

      I have the same problem and wish I never bought a front loader. My problem is my towels stink. I have spent a small fortune replacing many of them. I have researched this before and found a solution. Run the longest and hottest cycle your machine allows. (sanitary) After the machine fills with the water, push pause and add more hot water (almost to the lower lip of visible drum) and 2 cups of vinegar. Then continue to run the cycle. This cleans the inside drum where softener accumulates and molds. (08/27/2008)

      By Maureen

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      February 19, 2010 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      How can I remove mouldy smell from my front loading washing machine, please?

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      December 21, 2009 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      Does anyone know how to get the musty smell out of a front loading washing machine? I have tried cleaning the rubber seals, bleach, vinegar etc., and nothing is working.

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      November 6, 2008 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      With my first front load washer, I continually had problems with the spin cycle not spinning the clothes properly.

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      August 27, 2008 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      My washing machine stinks like molding cloth. Is it possible for small articles of clothing to wash up over the drum and sit in between the casing and the drum?

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      May 29, 2007 Flag
      0 found this helpful

      My washing machine stinks like rotten eggs almost every time I do a wash. I've put bleach through the wash and it helped for a short time.

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