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How to Get Rid of Musty Smells in a Washing Machine

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

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April 3, 20100 found this helpful
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Try wiping the inside the drum with some white vinegar.

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April 5, 20100 found this helpful
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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!

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April 6, 20100 found this helpful
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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.

Ria

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April 7, 20100 found this helpful
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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.

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8 More Questions

Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

March 16, 2012

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

By KO

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March 17, 20120 found this helpful
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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. It is hard to find powdered, but using so little it goes a long way. Most people think more is better and use way too much detergent.

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March 17, 20120 found this helpful
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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.

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March 18, 20120 found this helpful
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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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February 1, 2013

Front loading washers in particular can develop a musty odor. This is a page about how to remove and prevent musty smells in your front loading washing machine

Washing Machine

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September 4, 2006

My washer is about 8 years old. Recently it has started to smell AFTER I wash a load of clothes.

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April 3, 2010

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

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August 27, 2008

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

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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February 15, 2007

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.

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January 1, 2006

I have a problem with my washing machine, it has a musty/mildew smell inside the machine itself.

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