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Washing Machine Smell

With my first front load washer, I continually had problems with the spin cycle not spinning the clothes properly. Clothing would be sopping wet and I would have to spin 3-4 times to get them in a non-dripping condition. My boyfriend and I moved in a house together and now we are using his front loading washer. I don't have the same problem, but now his machine smells like mildew (it did not before in his apartment).

Clothes come out clean and clothing does not smell. But the inside of the machine smells. How can I get the smell out of the washer? I've checked inside and around the rubber seal thing where coins sometimes get caught, but there is no stray sock or anything else stuck in there. I've tried running the machine with nothing inside and on a hot wash, but the smell stays. Any ideas?

My aunt suggests running a hot wash with a full bottle of white vinegar or bleach since both products are good for cleaning. I want to use a front load washer since it is supposed to be more energy efficient and saves on water, but I haven't had good luck and am ready to go back to a top load washer. Thanks for any help or ideas.

Fran from Dallas


Washing Machine Smell

Your aunt is right. I have a front loader too and I run it once a week or so with hot water, a cup of white vinegar and bleach. Then scrub it in addition to make sure I've got in all those rubber crevices. The newer front loaders have drains in the rubber that fixed this problem, but the main reason behind the smell is because water gets trapped in the rubber area next to the door. So clean that really well. Also, when you are turning your laundry over, keep a towel nearby to just dry that out between loads. (08/27/2008)

By jediwa72

Washing Machine Smell

I have owned a Kenmore front load washer for about six years and have never had a problem. I keep the detergent/bleach/softener drawer open and the washer door open when not in use. I know some people can't do this due to space.

I have hard water and use Borax in every load. I use about 1/4 - 1/2 capful of Wal-mart brand liquid clothes detergent. The amount depends on the size load.

I use warm or hot water, at times I will use an extra rinse depending on the load. I very seldom use diluted liquid softener. Most of the time, not always, I use diluted white vinegar.

I never leave any clothes in the washer for long lengths of time. When I do use bleach, I dilute it and use a small amount. I do wipe the bottom of the front gasket before I remove the clothes with a washcloth.


I never fill any of the dispensers up to the fill line. My clothes come out clean and fresh. I would like to add that majority of our clothes are 100% cotton because we like the feel of cotton. (08/29/2008)

By Ellen

Washing Machine Smell

The way you use a front load washing machine is different than using a top load machine.

There is less water, so you use less detergent. I have talked to a Tide rep and was told that most people think it's the suds that clean but that's not true. Manufacturers made the detergents sudsy because that's what consumers want.

On front loaders, your wash load size goes more by bulk than amount. You should not wash heavy items and light items together. For example, you should not wash heavy cotton denim jeans with lighter type clothes like thin t-shirts or pants. Its how much water an article of clothing "holds" as opposed to the physical appearance. If the load is mixed like that the washer will go off balance and will not spin properly.

This is true for top load machines also. Your washer and dryer should be cleaned, inside and out on a regular basis. It's a good idea to listen to your washer and dryer at times. Sometimes you can hear a problem before it starts to become bigger.

I always have the radio on in my car but I take the time on occasion to listen to my car with the radio turned off. There were times when my car needed some type of maintenance work done because I told my husband that the car didn't sound right. (08/29/2008)

By Barbara

Washing Machine Smell

Warning: vinegar will help; bleach will help more -- but NEVER mix these two -- the acid base of vinegar will turn the chlorine in the bleach into chlorine gas. Poisonous gas; very deadly. Chlorine bleach (and products containing it) should never mix with anything but water! (08/30/2008)

By Lesliv

Washing Machine Smell

My problem is solved, wife was complaining of clothes not getting clean, and smelling funny. Turns out I forgot to turn the hot water back on last time I was fixing something else. Figure that will make a big difference.

Good luck everyone (09/01/2008)

By Gary

Washing Machine Smell

I understand that putting super lime may help in some cases. - (09/02/2008)

By Jerrick

Washing Machine Smell

There is a product that you are supposed to by specifically to use by itself in the washer every so many wash loads to keep it from mildewing. (09/09/2008)

By Tiffany

Washing Machine Smell

Run a cycle using hot water and vinegar. Vinegar works well at removing stains and odors.

Jerrick from (09/10/2008)

By Jerrick

Washing Machine Smell

Front load washers do not drain the same way as traditional top loaders. So if you leave change or paper in your pockets it doesn't lay in the tub when your done! It cost me allot of money to find such a simple answer to the terrible smell- find out where the drain is in your machine! Ours was so plugged full after several months of an odor I started reading web sites for answers but nobody looked in the obvious place, it's where the water leaves the machine (neither did I).

Our machine from Sears had a lower front panel under the door that came off with with a screwdriver and some patience. As advised by an employee of Sears's contracted repair service we found the drain full of paper candy wrappers and change the kids left in their cloths and other assorted items. We were washing our money, it plugged the drain and cost us allot more money to get it fixed.

Do yourself a favor, forget all the other ideas posted and check out the drain first. And forget about the little bit of mold that builds under the boot, it's likely not source of the odor. (09/14/2008)

By no common sense

Washing Machine Smell

I just finished doing a thorough clean of my LG Tromm Steamwasher using the tub clean cycle. I followed the directions exactly as listed in the owner's manual (they recommend bleach), cleaned out the drain at the bottom - it had some paper and candy wrappers stuck in it. The machine smells great! I use liquid fabric softener for most loads but have started using the "extra rinse" cycle to ensure that all detergent and softener is removed from my clothing/towels (just in case I'm adding too much) - everything is coming out wonderfully now.


Don't forget the reason for a front loader is not only less water use but also that it's better for your clothes! Whenever I accidentally leave towels in the washer (horrible smell here in humid Florida), I just run an extra rinse with vinegar and the problem is solved. Good luck! (09/18/2008)

By Smelling great in FL!

Washing Machine Smell

We just bought a house with a washer and dryer both Kenmore. The washer is a top loader and had a terrible smell that stunk up the whole basement. At first we were going to scrap it but then I took the thing apart and found the mold. After removing the inner drum which was coated with mold I cleaned the outer basket. I took the inner drum wrapped in plastic outside in the sun treated both the outer basket and inner drum with mold killer and cleaned them both.

It was a big job but got rid of the smell and no more mold. From now on we will run a cycle with chlorine bleach every month to keep the problem from happening again. Drastic action yes but it did save me $800 on a new washer. Believe me if you saw the mold on the drum, which I suspect is in many washers that smell, you wouldn't wash your clothes in it! (09/20/2008)

By orionwest

Washing Machine Smell

When I complained to my local appliance store, I was told it was a design flaw in all HE machines. Does not matter on the brand. The sales person recommended a product called WasherFresh, use on hot water setting, and the mold and mildew residue is gone. (10/03/2008)

By Victoria

Washing Machine Smell

I don't understand why people think that mildew is the washer's design or designers flaw. It is combination of how you use your washer, how much detergent, luck of hot water! And bleach is not that good for your laundry either.I am allergic to bleach so I never used it.

I've been using mostly FL all my life. In Europe and USA and never ever had any mildew or mold or stains in my washers. At one time I kept washer outside to do laundry and no mildew either. Number one ingredient is HOT WATER. And use hot water often. Warm water isn't really warm. Unless you have water heater right next to your washer or you have a heater in your washer to keep the water at set temperature.

Using extra chemicals? use extra rinse cycles. Laundry isn't science, just little common sense and proper dosing of detergents. Yeah FL are energy efficient, maybe too efficient,so just try little extra hot water and extra rinse and you smells will go away. (11/01/2008)

By Maria

Washing Machine Smell

And don't forget to clean your filters every couple of months too! (11/01/2008)

By Maria

Washing Machine Smell

I was having problems with a mildew smell coming from my front load washer for over a year (Whirlpool Duet). I tried several recommendations, but finally found one that worked for me on one of the morning shows.

The first thing I did was wipe down the rubber around the door opening with petroleum jelly to remove any mold buildup. Make sure to get underneath it. They recommended a cotton cloth, but I just used paper towels.

The second step was to add 1 gallon of vinegar to the washer and run an empty load on the hottest setting. I poured the vinegar in thru the detergent dispenser.

It has been about a month and the smell is still gone. I use a liquid laundry detergent, but only about half of what they call for. I also leave my washer door open in between loads.

I hope this helps. (11/03/2008)

By Allieg

Washing Machine Smell

We tried everything for our Maytag Neptune washer: ran separate loads of vinegar, Affresh, bleach, you name it. Scoured the machine and was ready to ditch it. Then, stopped using the liquid fabric softener and tried an HE powder (Tide) and it worked! At the beginning, combined the Tide HE powder with Clorox 2 (go figure). Have been using the Tide powder for 8 months now: the whole laundry area smells fresh, the once horrible smelling towels smell fresh. Occasionally I do run a load with hot water, just to make sure. Thrilled with the results. (11/03/2008)

By guest nancy


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