How to Clean a Washing Machine When Your Clothes Smell

Updated February 21, 2017

Washing machines need regular cleaning to prevent the build-up of bacteria, mould and algae on the inside of the unit. Without proper cleaning a smell may build up due to these organic organisms. Cleaning your clothes consistently at a low temperature will allow the build-up of these organisms in the clothing as well, causing the clothes to smell long after they are out of the washing machine. Simple cleaning at high temperatures will kill any organic build-up in your washing machine.

Remove the lint filter from your machine, if it has one, and remove any lint from the screen.

Mix together 1 cup of bleach in 1 gallon of warm water. Put on plastic gloves and use a sponge to wipe the inside of the washing machine tub with the bleach and water.

Throw old towels into the washing machine and wash them at the highest temperature setting for your machine. Very hot water will kill the bacteria in the washer. Remove the towels from the washer after and discard them.

Pour 1 to 2 cups of white vinegar into the washing machine and close the door. Fill the washer halfway with water then let the water sit for five hours. Run a wash cycle with the vinegar solution and allow the machine to drain.

Things You'll Need

  • Bleach
  • Bucket
  • Plastic gloves
  • Sponge
  • Old towels
  • White vinegar
Cite this Article A tool to create a citation to reference this article Cite this Article

About the Author