Home Remedies for Stinky Washing Machines

Mold, mildew, cheap detergents, hard water, accumulated grease, and bacteria in stinky clothes -- all these are culprits that can contribute to your stinky washing machine problem. Although a smelly washing machine can be an annoying problem, you may find a simple solution for remedying the situation in your pantry or household cleaning kit.

Hot Water and Bleach

If you find that your washing machine is only slightly stinky, you may have the start of a mould or mildew problem or a build-up of grease. To help clear the smell, run an empty cycle in the washing machine on the hottest water setting and add bleach. After the washing machine completes the whole cycle, leave its door open and allow the washing machine to air dry completely. If you continue to smell mould and you have a front-loading washing machine, check the rubber ring around the front for mould or mildew. Use a bleach solution kill the mould on the rubber gasket, and allow it to dry completely. If the gasket continues to grow mould or mildew, consider purchasing a replacement.

Baking Soda and Vinegar

Vinegar is a natural cleanser and odour killer that you can safely use to help eliminate the stink in your washing machine. Soak a cleaning towel with distilled white vinegar and thoroughly wipe the inside of the washing machine, including any rubber gaskets and detergent trays, with the towel. Then, wipe down the lid of the machine. Place the towel inside the washing machine, set the machine up to wash a small load of laundry with the water on the hottest setting. Add two more cups of vinegar to the water, and a cup of baking soda. When the washing machine has stopped running, open its lid and allow the machine to completely dry. The Washing Machine Wizard recommends you wash your washing machine with baking soda and vinegar every few weeks to keep odours at bay.


Another cleaning tool you may already have in your arsenal, ammonia can also work as a deodoriser. Add 1/2 cup of ammonia to an empty washing machine and run it on the hottest water setting. If you do not mind a slight smell of ammonia, you can add a 1/2 cup of ammonia to your coloured laundry to prevent odours from returning. Never mix bleach and ammonia together, as this can create toxic fumes.

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About the Author

Flora Richards-Gustafson has been writing professionally since 2003. She creates copy for websites, marketing materials and printed publications. Richards-Gustafson specializes in SEO and writing about small-business strategies, health and beauty, interior design, emergency preparedness and education. Richards-Gustafson received a Bachelor of Arts from George Fox University in 2003 and was recognized by Cambridge's "Who's Who" in 2009 as a leading woman entrepreneur.