Why Does a Washing Machine Smell?

Last Updated on: 2nd August 2023, 08:54 am

Are you wondering why a washing machine smells? It’s not just the washing machine drum that stinks; the smell transmits into the clothes too.

If you’re curious why your clothes smell bad after every wash, then perhaps the fault is most likely in the washing machine.

Most of us keep our appliances spotless in our houses. Cleaning a washing machine on the outside isn’t a difficult chore, but cleaning your washing machine from the inside is also important.

It reminds me of the eco tub clean feature in my Samsung top-loading washing machine – it thoroughly cleans the tub.

Anyway, let’s look into a few possibilities to determine why your washing machine smells and what you can do to eliminate the odor.

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Once everything goes back to normal, there will be nothing else to smell but the wonderful scent of the detergent — hopefully!

A photo image with a women looking at the stinky laundry inside the washer and the text reads, "washing machine smells? Everything you need to know!"

Why does a washing machine smell?

To understand how you can finally say goodbye to smelly washing machines, it’s necessary to understand what causes your washing machine to smell so bad in the first afterward here could be several explanations for this:

Isn’t it ironic that the ultra-fragrant detergents that keep your clothes smelling may contribute to the molding machine’s odor?

Occasionally, the detergent, along with all the debris and junk it extracts from your clothes builds up in and around the drum or filter. This, combined with the moist environment inside the washing machine, creates an ideal environment for bacteria to thrive.

Three common reasons why a washing machine smells

1. Water trapped inside the drum

Front-loaders washing machines occasionally trap moisture inside the drum, which can become smelly over time due to the odors of the nasty stuff inside. If you keep the washing machine lid closed or close it right after the wash, it will trap a lot of humidity and moisture, which will cause a smell.

2. Filter needs to be cleaned or changed

A clogged filter is also a reason why a washing machine smells. Every washing machine has a filter that collects dirt and residue from clothing. Often, these filters go months or even years without being cleaned. Cleaning them thoroughly can make a difference.

3. Drain tube gets clogged

If your washing machine smells like sewage, the issue is most likely with the drainage system. As with the filter inside the device, the drainage hoses, filters, and tubes can become clogged with gunk over time, significantly reducing the efficiency of your washer and making it smelly.

So try to keep the filter clean and remove the debris from the clothes before the wash. It will keep the drain tube clear, which could reduce clogging. Therefore, you minimize the chances of making your washing machine smelly.

Furthermore, you can cover the washing machine with a plastic or fabric cover to keep it clean.

How to make your washing machine stop smelling like a rotten egg

First, remove the rubber seal from a front-load washer and inspect for any debris that may have become stuck inside. Afterward, you’ll want to disinfect the seal.

Use a vinegar-and-water solution on a rag to remove the stains. (If you like, you can use bleach instead of vinegar to clean the soap scum and mold buildup.)

After that, turn on the machine — see what happens. Add a few cups of baking soda and 1 cup of distilled white vinegar to the detergent tray in front-load washers.

Moreover, if you have a top-loading washer, put half a cup of baking soda and 2 cups of distilled white vinegar in a top-loading washing machine when it is half full.

Keep the washer door open to let air circulate and eliminate odors. If you have a front-loading washing machine, make sure to dry it well after each use, especially around the rubber gasket.


And make sure to follow the manufacturer’s cleaning directions for your washing machine regularly as it’s important to keep your washing machine clean.

How to cope with washing machine sewage odor

Washing it according to manufacturer directions and cleaning it down and between crevices with a vinegar/water solution should eliminate the sewer smell if it originates from the washing machine itself.

After cleaning the machine, if the sewage odor persists, check your sewer.

Disconnect the drain pipe from the vertical line and check for leaks. The three most likely causes of sewage smell originating from a vertical pipe are as follows:

1 – P-trap that’s been dried out or installed incorrectly. There are two reasons why you should have a p-trap on every drain in your house. One is that it collects debris, preventing a clog from occurring farther down the line. Cleaning out a p-trap is much simpler than locating and repairing a clog under the slab.

2 – Additionally, it serves as a sewer gas trap by collecting sewer gases from your sewer lines. A p-trap will always have a small amount of water in it. Sewage fumes cannot enter your home through the drain because of the water barrier.

3 – You will get a sewer-like odor in your laundry room if your washing machine’s p-trap is dry. In the same way, improperly placed p-traps or drain hoses can lead to machine failure, especially in indoor laundry rooms.

The solution: Use a gallon of water to flush out the odor. This should solve your problem with a dry p-trap. You should contact a plumber if the sewage odor persists so that the plumber can inspect the drain line and make sure it is correctly fitted.

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What is the ideal way to unclog a washing machine pipe?

A washing machine pipe or drain that gets clogged with things like lint, hair, soap, or dirt will lead to the growth of bacteria and an unpleasant sewer odor. If this blockage is not addressed, it will worsen, resulting in increased smells and drain clogging.

The solution: Hire a plumber to change the washing machine drain pipe. He will clean and repair the pipe. Otherwise, the washing machine pipe would be replaced, which would do the trick.

These were some possible issues with washing machines and potential solutions to get rid of the smell in your washing machines or laundry area.

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