Why Do I Smell Sewer Smell Around My Washing Machine?

Written by andrew leahey
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Why Do I Smell Sewer Smell Around My Washing Machine?
Establish whether the odour is emanating from inside the washing machine. (Jupiterimages/Goodshoot/Getty Images)

Your washing machine, regardless of brand, has inlet hoses that feed water into the machine, and a drainage hose that feeds wastewater out to your sewer line. A sewer smell around your washing machine means there is something backing up in the sewer line or your washing machine was improperly installed. Considering a few potential causes can help you narrow down what needs to be repaired.

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If your washing machine is a new installation, it is possible the drain trap was not installed properly. A drain trap is an elbowlike piece in your drain that holds water and prevents sewer gas from backing up from the sewer pipe back in to your house. If you installed your machine yourself, consult a plumber to see how to install a trap to code. Otherwise, have the service centre that did the installation return and ensure that the trap is installed properly.

Smell Inside the Washing Machine

If your sewer smell is emanating from inside the washing machine, it is possible your sewer is backing up and filling your machine with wastewater. Any clothes washed since the odour began should not be considered clean; you should rewash them prior to wearing. Check the drain hose from the machine for clogs, and ensure that your sinks and tubs are functioning properly. If they are also backing up or emitting an odour, you may need a plumber to asses the condition of your main sewer line.

Smell Around the Washing Machine

If the sewer smell seems to be originating in the vicinity of the machine but not coming from within it, it is possible you have a faulty connection at your drain line or a cracked hose. Examine the area around your machine for leaks while the machine is running, specifically when it is draining after the spin cycle. A hairline crack in a hose or pipe can leak sufficient air and wastewater to cause a strong sewer smell.

Cracked Main Drain Pipe

Closely examine your main drain pipe. This is the pipe that all of your wastewater feeds into and leaves your house through. If your washing machine is located in your basement or is otherwise near this pipe, you may be smelling a sewer smell because of a fault in the pipe and not your machine. Closely examine the entire pipe, and wrap it in newspaper or paper towels to spot any slow leaks.

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