With time and regular usage, any washing machine can develop bacteria and molding. This causes a particular smell to discharge from a washing machine in various forms. You do not have to be alarmed about this, as it is quite common. To some extent, it may not be bothersome to the user.

But, sometimes, the smell can be too severe. In such situations, your washing machine may be facing some issue that causes the odor to become unbearable. To help you understand this smelly situation, continue reading the following reasons. 

Why Does Washing Machine Smell?

1.     Due To Prolonged Usage Of Detergents and SUDS

Even though people tend to follow the instructions for using detergents, using the wrong cleanser and that too for a long time can lead to unpleasant smell in the washing machine. For instance, high-efficiency or HE washing machines require an HE-friendly detergent. Using the wrong type of soap can lower the efficiency of the appliance as well.

Sometimes SUDS can also develop in the detergent that stops specific machines from operating to avoid clogging the drainage system in it. To get rid of suds in the machine, you can first run the washer of the machine with hot preference. Do not add detergent in it.

Let the washer of the machine run for a few minutes. You will notice the presence of suds in the water in the washer. To remove it, add 1 teaspoon of cooking oil in it, and turn the washer on for some more time. After that, drain the water from it. This should help improve the machine’s efficiency and take care of the smell.

2.     Due To Fabric Softener

When fabric softener is used in a washing machine, it is likely to accumulate as a residue in the tub made of plastic. Bacteria tend to flourish on this residue as they get a natural, cold and dark habitat to populate. This can cause a heavy odor in the machine if left unattended.

A practical solution to deal with this issue is by using dryer balls or sheets. You can use the sheets again and again. These work better than towel if you are thinking of using them as absorbents for removing the residue.

3.     Due To Use Of Only Cold Water

If you are going to continuously use cold water to wash clothes in the washing machine, then it will decrease the efficiency of the machine. This happens because the detergent residue sticks to the inner surface of the machine. As a result, there are high chances of developing intolerable smell in the washing machine.

To deal with it, make sure that you use hot water to wash the clothes at least twice a week. Hot water will help dissolve the clogged and coagulate residue from the plastic interiors of the appliance. Use clothes that are hot-water friendly for this so that they do not get damaged.

4.     Because Of Bleach

Using bleach for your clothes will not damage the clothes or the washing machine. But, if the drainage hose of your machine is made of a rubbery material, then bleach may react with it and make it decompose. Plus, any other components in the machine that are made of rubber can become damaged in the long run if you use bleach. So, avoid using it to stay away from the unwanted smell.

5.     Due To Leaving It Unused For Too long

Sometimes regular usage of your washing machine can keep it clean and odorless. But, if you stop using it for several weeks or months, you will notice that it starts smelling. This happens because of improper cleaning before leaving the machine unused, which can cause the machine to mold due to the presence of moisture and detergent residue.

If you are not going to use it for a couple of weeks, make sure that you use a machine cleaner to clean it before storing it for later use.

6.     Due To Clogged Drainage

Clogged interiors of the drainage pipe can also cause the machine to discharge bad odor. This happens because of a filter valve present in the machines (usually front-loaded ones), which gets clogged because of dirt and soap mixture.

If left unchecked, it blocks the filter, which starts molding with time. This filter can be detached to clean regularly. Do that and avoid unnecessary smells.  


While going through this guide letting you know why does washing machine smell, you must have noticed that the odor is mostly due to bacterial presence. So, your main priority should be to prevent your machine from developing such molds in it.

With the right tools and cleaning methods, you can get rid of the smell from your appliance and ensure its longevity and efficiency for many years. Just remember to follow a relevant guide that gives you the right technique of dealing with the situation.

About the Author James S

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