What To Do If Your Washing Machine Smells Moldy And Gross

A moldy smell from your washing machine is not ideal—you want that machine to get your clothing smelling nice and clean, and mold odors aren't part of the equation. If your machine is emitting odors, the water may not be draining correctly, and you may need a washing machine repair.

In the meantime, however, try these tips to get rid of and avoid mold.

1.  Run a Cycle With Vinegar

To kill whatever mold is lingering in the washing machine, try running a cycle with no clothing. Add a cup of vinegar or use a commercial washing machine cleaner. Run the cycle on the hottest temperatures possible. Cold water does nothing against mold.

If that takes care of the problem, you've found your culprit. To keep the mold away, replicate this cycle on a regular basis. Even if you regularly wash your clothes on cold, try to run at least one hot cycle once a week to give the machine a bit of a clean.

2.  Check the Seal Around the Door

With front loading washing machines, dirt and debris can get stuck in the rubber seal around the edge of the door. To clean that area, peel back the sides of the gasket and run your finger through there. Pull out any debris.

Then, use a white rag dipped in bleach and hot water to clean the inside of the seal. Change the rag as it gets dirty and repeat the process until the rag comes back clean. Then, dry the area with another rag.

3. Clean the Trap

If the above tips don't solve the odors coming from your machine, you may want to clean the trap. This is a bit complicated, and if you're not comfortable with the steps, a washing machine repair professional can easily handle it for you.

Unplug the washing machine and look for a small door. It's usually in the front below the door or in the back, and it sits below the tub.

Pull open the door using a screwdriver or a butter knife. Then, grab a small bowl or pan to catch drips, and locate the black hose behind the door. Detach the hose and let any water run into the bowl. Then, look for the trap. It may be connected to the hose, and it may have its own cap that you need to remove. Traps collect all the odds and ends that end up in your washing machine such as coins or small toys. If the trap gets overfilled, the machine can't drain correctly, and that may lead to sitting water which can lead to mold and mildew odors.

4. Use the Right Detergent

When your machine doesn't rinse away all the detergent that you use, that can leave a layer of soap scum all over the inside of the machine. That can also cause a mildewy odor. If you have a front loading machine, keep in mind that these machines don't use as much water as top loaders. As a result, they should only be used with high efficiency detergent.

Even with a top loader, if you notice soap scum, you may want to change the type of detergent you use. Experiment with different types until you find one that works well with your machine, or try using a bit less detergent or setting the water level higher than you normally do.

5. Keep the Drum Dry

Finally, mold and mildew ned moisture to exist. If you cut off their moisture, you prevent them from coming back. Consider drying the drum of your washing machine after you use it. Also, unless otherwise instructed by the manufacturer, keep the door open when the machine is not in use. The ventilation helps with odors as well.

If these tips don't solve the issue, it's probably more serious. Contact a washing machine repair professional, like one from Affordable Appliance Repair, for help.