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Front Load Washer Smells Terrible


Anyone know how to get rotten egg smell out of a front load washer?

By bigpig from Indian


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By tikko marie 2 15 01/07/2011 Flag

I had that problem. Serviceman told me to cut back on the softener and to run a full wash with vinegar, no clothes.

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By Deanj 917 01/08/2011 Flag

We add vinegar to the wash. Doesn't harm the clothes.

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By DEBY 18 145 01/10/2011 Flag

Put 2 cups of C.L.R. In washer and set washer on hot water and for the longest time possible, let it go through entire cycle. This will also clean out the drain holes in washer tub. Then let it go through another cycle. This should do the trick, if it still has a lingering odor which it shouldn't repeat it again. This C.L.R. Is wonderful stuff and removes hard water like a champ.

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By shirley 2 17 01/11/2011 Flag

Actually it's the gasket from the door, the water gets in there, keeps it moist and mold sets in. That's where the smell comes from. All front loading machines have this problem. Use Bleach in a warm water wash. I would do this frequently, at least on a monthly basis.

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By Jonnie Shambarger 2 148 01/11/2011 Flag

Use white vinegar in the fabric softner recepticle instead of fabric softener and when the wash load is finished remove the dispenser drawer and leave the door of the washer open until it has a chance to dry out. I also take an old towel and wipe the door gasket (also under it). This eliminates the damp surface on which mold can grow-hense the smell.

I have used this method on my 2 year old machine with each use and have never had a problem with smell/mold.

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By Elaina Monteiro 1 8 01/11/2011 Flag

I use vinegar to rinse my clothes and leave the door slightly ajar after the last load. Between these two things there is no odor anymore.

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By iluvcarync 2 02/05/2011 Flag

Clean the filter! We tried everything! The only strategy that worked temporarily was adding a little Borax to every load. Then, finally, the machine stopped draining. We read online how to unscrew the front panel and clean out the filter. This not only is going to save the drainage pump, but it got rid of the smell. The interior filter (that is not easy to get to, but a do-it-yourself possible project), was clogged with sewage smelling water and lint. This may not be what's causing the terrible smells in your machine, but it fixed ours! I'm still going to add Borax to every couple of loads of laundry. Hope this helps anyone. The smell was so awful and now it's gone! We're going to clean the filter every few months, hopefully extending the life of the machine as well as keeping the terrible smell far, far away!

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By Bambitx 2 02/20/2011 Flag

Replace the big gasket in front. All the bleach and cleaner in world won't fix. There's a class action lawsuit against LG in progress. Replacing gasket costs about 200 unless you do it yourself.

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By GiveGodPraise 1 05/23/2012 Flag

I've had a moldy mildew smell I have been fighting for a few months in my Samsung Front Load washer, and nothing and I mean nothing has helped! I have scoured the internet trying every tip imaginable & wasted so much money in electrical energy costs trying to eliminate the problem, to no avail. But in a desperate attempt to diffuse the problem for good (before I threw in the towel and trashed the nasty appliance), I got to thinking.

We have a pool sitting in our yard with plenty of pool supplies, so I grabbed one of the many hth dual action chlorinating tablets (the #2) that you put in a floater to keep your pool water sanitized and decided to try a chunk of one.

You shouldn't allow it to come in contact with your skin, so before I unwrapped it, I threw it onto concrete so that it would break into pieces and I took the largest chunk I could find, threw it directly into the tub of my washer with an old towel to help it stay put while "washing", then set the washer to sanitize (which takes about two hours and runs with the hottest water temps possible), and let it rip.

I then ran another cycle on normal wash cold water to rinse out the bleachy contaminants, and every load thereafter smells so fresh, just like the day I had the appliance installed! I was beyond happy! Goodbye mildew! Yes, its that easy after all. Now why didn't the manufacturers think of that?

Note: If you should be one to try this at home, Please do not touch the bleach tablet, and allow the sanitize cycle to run completely before opening the washer door, or the CI bleach fumes will get you! Hot water can release some of the chlorine in the bleach as a gas. They do go away once you run a rinse cycle.

It's truly amazing what a little sanitize tablet meant for a pool can do. Please post back with your results! You can thank me later. 

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By Janet M. 1 02/12/2013 Flag

I have a Frigidaire Affinity front loader about 5 years old. I started getting the septic smell after about 2 years. I thought it was something to do with the plumbing but found out today that is not the problem. The washer quit spinning so I went online and found out how to fix it. My sons took the machine apart (very easy - all front access) and there is a sump that is attached to the pump. It is like a large balloon thing that takes any stuff that has made it that far (lint, coins, screws, etc) and keeps it from getting into the pump.

The minute they took it off the house filled with the septic smell. The stuff in it was like black slime and stunk to high heaven. Also the filter for the pump was clogged with lint which also stunk. I don't what idiot decided the filter should be inside the machine but it is. They cleaned everything up, my machine is running again and the smell is gone.

As far as a mildew smell you will get that because it is a front loader. I found a really good solution but you have to be very careful when doing it. Put 1 cup of bleach right in the drum of the machine and put it on the sanitize cycle. When the machine has stopped filling and is starting to agitate add 1 cup vinegar. Put the vinegar in the detergent dispenser.

DON'T ADD the bleach and vinegar at the same time. It will produce a gas that is lethal. Once the bleach is diluted with water it is safe to add the vinegar. Let the cycle run and when it is finished the smell will be gone, as well as any build up and stain on the seal and outer side of the drum.

I have always had a problem with the clothes not rinsing well enough. I use less than the recommended amount of soap and still have to double rinse, sometimes a third time. I found if I do this bleach/vinegar thing about once a month the sudsing issued isn't as bad. I hope this helps.

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By LisaWalter 1 06/23/2013 Flag

I've tried cleaning the drum with vinegar and all kinds of other things. The only way I got away from the sour smell was to go back to soap powder instead of liquid. I double rinse most things, especially towels, or after they are dry and you use them, they smell awful. I love front loaders to save on water and detergent, but it took me several years to figure out why I was getting the sour smell. Vinegar helps, but it wasn't gone until I switched to powder.

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By darmarkin 3 10/04/2013 Flag

We tried everything to "clean" our front loader because it smelled terrible. Even the clothes had started to smell! It wasn't until it stopped draining properly and we called in a professional did we figure out where the nasty smell was coming from. There was a softball sized ball of disgusting moldy lint in the drain. Sorry don't know the technical term of exactly where it was. Once that was removed and I ran a few bleach loads the smell is gone. This will be my last front loader! Also this repair person pointed out a bubble the size of a golf ball in one of my hoses. If it had blown we would have had a huge flood. Check your hoses people, or better yet shut off the water supply when you are done for the day.

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By Magie S. 1 11/27/2013 Flag

Also, rather than closing your washer while its not in use, just keep it open. That way your washer is constantly air drying. The bits of water in the washer gets trapped and gets moldy.

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By joysun242 1 03/19/2014 Flag

My brand new front loader LG started smelling soon after purchase. I stopped using the HD powder in the dispenser. I now use Oxy (liquid and powder) directly in the tub. The clothes are cleaner and smell good and no more odors. Evidently, something is wrong in the detergent line and maybe with the HD cleaners. Plus, it is cheaper to buy Oxy.

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By David H. 1 04/06/2014 Flag

We had an eggy smell coming from the machine, but only immediately after the main wash part of the cycle. Now we tried bleach, disinfectant and other chemical cures but found they only masked the smell.

Now this model is only 12 months old, and yes, I have the extended warranty, but after reading the reviews of lg's help lines I decided to open up the machine after reading that some machines have a small sump at the bottom of the drum where crap can sit and stagnate. Alas this model only has the 3 inch diameter 11 inch long rubber hose from the drum to the coin trap.

Our model is the 12 kg direct drive motor model which fills from jets mounted just above the door, one on the left and one on the right and I noticed that the jet on the right wasn't filling so from inside the drum I had a look and found a piece of sticky tape in the jet.

I removed the pipe that fed the jet and found a thick clump of lint that smelt exactly the same as the original odour. After refitting everything I ran the machine and found out the left jet was for filling the drum and the right jet was for circulating the water whilst the drum was turning.

And success! No more smell, so from now on we will be watching out for that jet when it shows signs of blocking. It is possible to pull out any future blockage with tweezers. Its just I noticed the blockage while the machine was in bits. I can only assume where the water couldn't circulate it became stagnant.

Hope this helps. I only wish I could have described it much clearer.

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By laura.k.davis 1 01/13/2015 Flag

Did you figure out how to fix this problem? I'm having the same issue. I suspect there is something blocking the area to my pump filter because the water smells terrible, but there is never anything in the filter. My washing machine is an LG.

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By Kim S. 1 01/25/2015 Flag

We also suffered from the problem of clothes smelling very unpleasant immediately after they were washed. It was obvious the Washing Machine had something wrong. Much research on the interest and the suggested treatments did not help.

I reverted to my swimming pool knowledge and after viewing a video showing what caused the problems, we treated our machine in the following way.

Our Machine has a Trommel Reinigung program (drum cleaning program  we are in Germany). So using this program we put the machine through 4 consecutive cycles:

Cycle 1 : using a supermarket drain cleaner (caustic soda / sodium hydroxide would also work). This is very good for removing the greasy/fatty building ups that cause the stink problem. Some of the liquid cleaners may cause a foam problem  use small amounts.

Cycle 2 : using white vinegar (about a liter) and with the drum cleaning program

Cycle 3 : using Cloudy Ammonia (it may be difficult to buy  in Germany you can by it from hardware stores in the paint section under the name Salmiak Geist / Ammoniak). Be careful and DO NOT BREATHE in the fumes. This product is very good at removing fat . but it is harsh.

Cycle 4 : using a cheap supermarket powder designed for dishwashers. We used quiet a lot, about 1 full tea cup of powder. The cheap powders have the strongest cleaning agents.

Maximum Heat should for each cycle (95 degrees if possible).

In the future we will use sodium bicarbonate and sodium per carbonate at least once per month in conjunction with the special drum cleaning program.

After this process we appear to have solved our stinking washing problem.

As we understand the problem, it is caused by the new technology washing liquids .. and low wash temperatures.

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By BanAnna 1 02/09/2015 Flag

I fear that the previous 'swimming pool' cleaner question can cause terrible damage to your washing machine. This works effectively & safer: place 1/2 cup bicarbonate of soda in soap dispenser & 2 cups vinegar in the softener dispenser. Run your machine on rinse cycle. When m/c has finished, take a cloth & clean around the door seal rubber. (always clean door seal rubber after all wash cycles.)

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By Rose S. 1 03/04/2015 Flag

Sometimes cleaning cycles can be tedious, using all those cleaning solutions, vinegar etc takes lots of time as well as lots of water.
Don't know but this can be helpful

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By Donna K. 1 03/27/2015 Flag

You can get commercial washing machine cleaners but I find about a half cup of Borax works just as well. Run the empty machine through a whole cycle on hot water and with a half cup of Borax in the soap dispenser. It will kill the mold that is growing in the seals. To prevent it from coming back, wipe down the door and the seal then leave the door open for at least an hour so it can dry thoroughly. Also, a cup of white vinegar run through on quick cycle once a week will help retard mold growth from coming back but the key is letting it dry completely before closing the door for long periods of time.

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By Taylor S. 1 07/10/2015 Flag

The trick is not to clean the machine after it gets gunked up, but to use a detergent that continuously cleans the washer AND the clothes. Charlie's Soap works like that.

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Thrifty Fun has been around so long that many of our pages have been reset several times. Archives are older versions of the page and the comments that were provided then.

Archive: Front Load Washer Smells Terrible

I made a large batch of liquid laundry detergent. I have a front loading washing machine (which I love). My problem is when I go to remove the clothes, if it isn't the second it stops, they begin to get a foul odor. I can't say it's the musty smell that occurs if you leave the clothes in overnight either. Has anyone else had this problem?


Kim from Sutton, NH


RE: Odor From Front Loading Washing Machine

Front loader washers need to be cleaned once a month. They tend to build up mold and mildew if not cleaned in the rubber seal. My front loader washer Duet Sport comes with a cleanwasher cycle. Bleach "only" is added and it washes through a complete cycle. I also leave the door ajar to help with ventilation as recommended by the manufacturer. I have not had any odors at all. (07/31/2007)

By caddie

RE: Odor From Front Loading Washing Machine

I had a problem with my clothes not smelling clean and then I read an article that too much soap can cause this. I started using less detergent, and the smell went away. I use a little less than 1/2 of the detergent I did when I had a top-loading washer.


By Linda in AL

RE: Odor From Front Loading Washing Machine

Our front load washer had a fungus odor. There was a thick buildup from using too much detergent and also liquid fabric softener. I read on other posts to use a product called "Purewasher" sold on the internet. It took two tries, but you only use a couple of tablespoons. Green fungus that was covering the outside drum came out. After cleaning the washer you soak any clothes or towels in a solution of the cleaner to get rid of mildew smell. It works great. (09/27/2007)

By Tina

RE: Odor From Front Loading Washing Machine

Although the jury is still out, the odor problem with front loaders seems to come from standing water (just a little bit) in the drum. Here are some approaches to alleviating the problem:

  • Every fourth or fifth load should be run on hot, such as bath towels. Washing all time time with cold water aggravates the problem.
  • Use HE detergent.
  • If you have a drain filter, service it regularly. Maybe more than just "regularly".
    <lli>Keep the door open between uses. I have cats and cannot.
  • Check out "Affresh", a tablet (not cheap) that seems to help.
  • Look into using a little bit of tea tree oil occasionally (maybe an empty "hot" load).
  • Live in the southwest (low humidity), yuk I live in New England. (11/12/2007)

By WeBMartians

RE: Odor From Front Loading Washing Machine

Let me start by saying that I also love my front loading set. Previous to purchasing (on July '07), I did a lot of research and decided it was the set for me. I had also read about the clothes' smell from posted reviews. I figured if I'm careful and I leave the door open overnight, it wouldn't happen to me. Well, it did.

My towels (regular clothes were fine), started to smell awful, even right after washing and drying. I used bleach, but didn't help. Then, I read the manual in more detail, and my Kenmore HE5t machine has a feature called "Sanitary". I used it to wash my towels with a little bleach and, Voila! Problem solved.

That washing cycle takes almost 2 hours to complete, but I must say I love it. I have not had that problem since then, even after washing the towels on a regular cycle. If the odor returns, I'll just wash them that way again. For added measure, I'm going to start using the "Clean Washer" cycle at least once a month. (11/16/2007)

By Mayra

RE: Odor From Front Loading Washing Machine

Check the rubber ring that is around the door. There often builds up some muck in the flaps near the tub. You need to clean it out with a rag and wipe it with some bleach. Also leave the door open after you finish a load of laundry so it can air dry inside. (11/18/2007)

By Jerry

RE: Odor From Front Loading Washing Machine

Message to Nancy T. I also called the manufacturer and was told to order a cleaner called "Affresh" that they sell. I bought it and it didn't make a bit of difference. I called again and was told to buy some more. Then a neighbor let me use just a tablespoon of a natural washer cleaner from:

My washer smells like new. I ordered some and it takes only a teaspoon to get rid of mildew smell from a load of towels. Also, their tech support is great. It's been 2 months and still no smell.

By Joann

RE: Odor From Front Loading Washing Machine

Use the special HE soap. We use the cheaper one from Sears in the big bucket with the pink lid. My sister said you cannot use the regular laundry soap in the front loaders or they will get smelly in time. (02/20/2008)

By Chris

RE: Odor From Front Loading Washing Machine

You can buy the tablets at Best Buy to reduce odors. (04/17/2008)

By Jeff

RE: Odor From Front Loading Washing Machine

I had/have the same problem. However my Sears repairman showed me a part underneath the washer a shaped drain pipe that holds lint, tissue, paper, hair, etc. He removed it and then sold me a product that looks like a big salt tablet than removes the gunk and smell. You have to run this tablet once a month or use three tablets every 3 months. But it just like lint in your dryer filter that is causing the smell. (05/29/2008)

By Emily R.

RE: Odor From Front Loading Washing Machine

Stop using Biological powders. Run machine several times, empty, on a very hot wash, adding a small amount of bleach. The smell might take several weeks before it is eliminated altogether. (07/02/2008)

By littletoe46

Archive: Front Load Washer Smells Terrible

I have a Bosch front load washer that smells terrible. A friend researched this and claims that it is from the "fish oils" in the liquid detergent. Has anyone ever heard of this?

Archive: Front Load Washer Smells Terrible

My top loading washing machine smells like an old sock, or something is stuck inside. It just smells so bad, and as a result the house is smelling too. How do I clean this?

Archive: Front Load Washer Smells Terrible

How do you get the smell out of an older Maytag front loader washing machine?

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