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Front loading washers in particular can develop a musty odor. This is a guide about how to remove and prevent musty smells in your front loading washing machine
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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 Loverink from Le Sueur, MN
Try wiping the inside the drum with some white vinegar.
The Maytag Man told me to run powdered dish detergent (any brand) through my machine once a month (with no clothing in it) and it would do away with the smell. It has worked for me. Hope it works for you!
If it's a front loader there is another outer container that some water sits in so it gets gross. A top loader tends to spin out more of the water so it doesn't keep as much in the washer as a front loader.
Anyway, leave the door open. It helps big time. Run an empty, small load with bleach and use the larger amount.
For the past week I have added 1/4 cup of baking soda directly into the washer before adding the clothes. After just two days my washer has had no smell. I also keep the door slightly ajar after each use to dry the interior.
Any tips for ridding a washing machine of a foul odor would be helpful.
For me switching to powdered HE detergent got rid of the smell in my new front loading washer. And no more liquid fabric softener either. A repairman told me the liquids are petroleum based and they cling to the outer plastic drum causing smells.
Last year I bought a front loader washer and dryer. It wasn't long before my washer started smelling. Rather than buy the stuff they advertise to clean your washer, I just leave the door open for a couple hours (or longer) to let it completely dry out inside. Just inside the door is a large rubber ring. My guess is that the rubber is causing the smell. Anyway, as long as I let it dry out thoroughly, I don't have that problem anymore.
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.
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My washer is about 8 years old. Recently it has started to smell AFTER I wash a load of clothes. It smells very bad, almost like cat urine, but no cats can get to it. I've tried running hot water and strong bleach through it, no effect at all. Once I was away for 2 weeks, it seemed to be gone when I got home (but came back later) so maybe water is holding up somewhere?
You've been such a big help before. Any suggestions on this one?
Jeneene from Cincinnati, OH
I have a front loader which is about a year old now. A tech that came out to try to fix the old one told me that you should run an empty load with cascade every so often to clean the drum and it also helps calcium deposits from forming. Also, as others have said, try to leave the door cracked when not in use. It does seem to help! (04/01/2006)
By karen zetzer
Try running vinegar through a rinse cycle. Works for me! (04/02/2006)
If you have a fabric softener dispenser, take it apart as much as you can and clean it out. I took mine apart after having a horrible smell in my clothes and what gunk build up!! It was gross! I used a long handled screwdriver and a paint stick to dig down in there. I bet there was a least a half cup of built up softener in there. Has been fine ever since. (04/03/2006)
I am an engineer and my recomendation would be to run the machine on the hottest wash (90 degree) without detergent or clothing. Once it has finished leave the door open to let the air dry it out. (04/18/2006)
I've been having a problem with a moldy smell coming from my washing machine for quite some time. The smell never left whether I left the door open or not. I've tried everything from running vinegar to baking sode to javex and still it continued. Finally, I had my husband take the whole thing apart because I just couldn't take the the smell anymore. Towels, were the biggest problem because after one use they'd smell musty and so would you if happened to use them. Once, we took the whole thing apart we saw that the build up of mold and old soap around the top and bottom of between the drum and the basket. Since then I haven't had a problem. (05/06/2006)
Been a while since anyone posted on this, but I wanted to share my experiance here as well. I have a Maytag Neptune top loader, bought in late 2003. About a year ago I had the most horrid mold/mildew smell coming from it and our clothes were flat out nasty! Seemed fine until they got damp then hands and face as well as entire body would smell horrible after drying off or washing. I started doing research and found numerous problems with the brand that I bought, but because I wash A LOT of clothes and need a large capasity machine that can take blankets, comforters... etc, I want to try everything I can before getting another brand/type of washing machine.
I had done everything from bleach to vinegar, and nothing helped. Recently, I sprayed my entire machine with a mixture of bleach water, wiped down all exposed parts, seals, lid, dispensers.. then I combined 5 tablespoons of baking soda with 1/2 cup of vinegar in the dispensor & ran an empty cycle, after that I let it sit overnight with the top open to dry any excess.
The next day I washed all day and decided I would 'test' the machine! I put a large blanket in there and washed it, let it sit overnight and woke up to check it... smelled fresh as if it had just completed the cycle. Normally the smell would have knocked me down!
I don't know how long this will last, but I'm willing to do this every week if I have to.
I've seen people use baking soda and vinegar but have never seen anyone put them together and let the stuff fizz up, so I tried that... sounds like a lot but it took me about 5 minutes to spray and wipe everything down, and of course just dumping the baking soda in then the vinegar, and set the machine. This has been my experiance, and might be worth a shot.
If this doesn't last and the smell returns I've made up my mind that I will do away with these and get another brand! (06/12/2006)
By just me
We purchased a Maytag top load washer FAV6800A in March of 2005. Every 3 months I followed the Manual instructions on Pg. 9 to run bleach through for maintenance. I use TIDE detergent, liquid and about 1/4 cup only. I do laundry for 3 people. For almost a year now we have been battling with the moldy, mildew smell that is constant. The repairman from the Appliance dealer we purchased it from came and took apart the area around the pump and cleaned it out. Then he ran Rust Remover through. Again, a couple weeks later, same smell, so we ran more Rust remover through again. A couple weeks later, the smell still existed, so he came out again and took the entire machine apart. It was caked with soap build up, mold, mildew etc. I took 2 hours to clean and it wasn't a pleaseant task. That was obviously causing the smell. He then ran a load on extra hot with bleach. I thought the problem was solved. 3 days after he was at my house, I walked in the laundry room and again I could smell that horrible odor. Put my head in the drum of the machine and it was back again. I talked with Maytag and emailed customer service and found out they no longer make this machine surprise, suprise. I am willing to bet this is one of the reasons why. We have also had our clutch replaced and circuit board. Maytag told us there is nothing they could do. How is that for customer service. We paid $1,000 for that machine and now have a lemon! I wouldn't ever recommend purchasing a Maytag. (06/22/2006)
Kools, I'm really sorry and disturbed about your Maytag problems. I have been such a great fan of that brand for years. I own a washer and dryer, glass top cookstove, and dishwasher... all Maytags! They range in age from 3 years to 18 years and all have given excellent service! I absolutely love each one! I do so hope they get their heads out from under their armpits (fooled you!) so they'll have reliable products again by the time I need replacements! I would be sending a letter to the TOP dog at Maytag company and also one to the attorney general in your state. If they're discontinuing that model that acknowledges something is wrong with it. They should replace it with another model.....free of charge to you! (06/22/2006)
By Marge Mayhew
I had this problem and it nearly drove me nuts, in the end I spoke to a repairman who said its because we usually wash everything at 40 degrees and it causes a build up of gunk everywhere. He said to just run a boil was with soda once a month to clear it out and hey! no more smell! (06/30/2006)
I have a 4-year-old front-loaded Frigidaire Gallery washer, which hadn't given me any headace before. About one month ago, it developed digusing mildew smell. I will try the different methods introduced here and will let you guys know the result. (07/10/2006)
I bought a used front loader. Got home and smelled. Pulled out the dispenser tray and sprayed vinegar water blend until all the gunk came apart. You may want to put a rag to filter the gunky chips from going into the lines to the washer. When done, just throw away the rag. I cleaned the rubber gasket around the door. It was nasty. I ran a vinegar drenched towel along the seam of the rubber and the door where I spotted the gunk. The smell reduced but I can still smell some in the drum. I am not going to take it apart. I will try running a cycle with Cascade, vinegar, baking soda, and hot water individually to see what happens. Bleach did nothing. To prevent, I will not use liquid fabric softener and make sure I use about 1/4 capfull of laundry soap instead of a capful now that I have a front loader. (07/12/2006)
I had a very bad smell in my front load washer after I left a load of clothes in for 3 days. (just forgot them) I have tried cleaning it out, running beach through with hot water several times and the smell kept coming back. My clothes smelled sort of like mildew. I finally think I found something that works. I cleaned out the washer really well around the inside of the door and under the rubber seal. It was gross with junk. Then I just add a 1/2 cup borax with my regular detergent and the smell is gone. I also make sure I leave the door open slightly so it can dry between washes. I did some research on the net and found that borax when mixed with water turns to peroxide which kills mold. Hope this helps. (07/19/2006)
I've had my washer almost 8 years and have never had a smell problem. I read that so many people do. Is everyone using plenty of hot water. I wash in hot water alot. Towels, underwear, sheets, etc. I know, I know, global warming, but I pay the bills and need the laundry to be CLEAN and smell good.
One thing, I go easy on the Tide, or I rinse twice. I also switch detergents from time to time, to what's on sale. You folks with the smell problem, you might try turning up your hot water and extra rinsing for a week or two and see if it makes a difference. (08/29/2006)
By Ruth Counter
This maybe related to a colder hot/cold water mix + liquid Tide.
We have had the same problem for the past 6 months and it's most obvious with thicker laundry such as towels. We have a 12-year old Maytag top loader and had no major problems other than a hose and a belt change. I removed the agitator (attached only wiht one screw) and cleaned out a thick layer of soap scum from under it. I also noticed two plastic access panels under the agitator so I pulled them open, and noticed an even thicker layer of soap scum inside, below the spinning drum. It was tricky to clean up the whole surface through the two small access doors but I managed to scrape much of it with various implements (3M scrubber, old toothbrush, etc...) Then I soaked it with a michture of soap scum remover and boiling water. I let it cycle after an hour and repeated the cleaning, removing 80% of the deposits. It's much better now but I think we need all new towel, because the old ones are permanently "contaminated."
I also noticed that the hot water was flowing much slower than the cold water, so I clean out the host filter. So that may have affected the water temperature.
My wife had switched to liquid Tide (from powder form) approximately a year ago, and we believe that that had a lot to do with it. I'll be returning the unsused portion to Costco soon.
I wonder if anyone can confirm my findings. (08/31/2006)
How do I get rid of a musty smell in my washing machine?
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?
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.
There is a mildew smell inside my washing machine. I've tried leaving it open to let it air out and I've run it without any clothes thru a wash cycle with a cup of bleach.
I have a problem with my washing machine, it has a musty/mildew smell inside the machine itself.