Are your clothes coming out of the washer smelling rather funky? Does it seem like no matter how many times you run a cycle with detergent or how much detergent you use, they just don’t come out fresh and clean? Don’t worry—it may be time to deep-clean your washer!
So many homeowners neglect their washing machines or may not even realize there is a smell. However, ensuring your washing machine is clean will, in turn, ensure that all that is washed will come out of each load fresh and clean. With a few simple steps, we promise that your clothes will smell great in no time!
Front Load vs. Top Load
Each style of machine offers unique advantages and disadvantages, so the best choice for you may depend on your laundry needs. Top-load washers are generally more affordable and easier to load with larger items. Additionally, top-load models are often more efficient when it comes to water usage.
On the other hand, front-load washers tend to offer gentle cycle cleaning and improved spin speeds, allowing clothes to dry faster after removal from the machine. Because there are two types of washing machines, it's important to know which one you have to clean better.
Whether you’re looking for answers on how to clean a smelly washer or want to prevent odors in the first place, read on to find out what causes a washer to smell and learn the best tips and tricks for maintaining a fresh-smelling washing machine.
How To Clean Your Stinky Washer
After you have determined what type of washer you have and how to properly use it, cleaning various parts correctly will be important to remove odors. First, we will go over what needs to be done before choosing a cleaning solution.
Remove Your Soap, Bleach, and Softener Dispensers to Scrub Each Carefully
This is a very important step in the cleaning process. It is crucial that you take apart bits of your washer and clean them thoroughly. This can be done using simple dish soaps, bleach, baking soda, or laundry detergent. Depending on what one you choose, you can easily make a cleaning solution to clean all parts of your washer thoroughly.
Once this is done, you need to choose a cleaning solution, preferably the same that was chosen from the step above, and run an empty cycle.
Run Your Washer With One of The Following Solutions
You need to set your washing machine for a clean cycle with one of the solutions listed below. Having an empty load will allow your washing machine to clean itself instead of focusing on cleaning the clothes.
Below are great options that can be used for cleaning. You can use variations of all three or just choose one. It's up to you in the end!
Bleach It Away
Because mold can be a huge cause of smells in washing machines, mold control is essential to cleaning. Mold can accumulate in the appliance over time if left unchecked. This is why bleach is often used to kill mold and mildew.
It's important to keep safety in mind when doing so by wearing protective rubber gloves and ensuring adequate ventilation. For top-loading machines, four cups of bleach should be added to the wash cycle; for front-loaders, two cups are generally sufficient.
Letting the wash cycle sit for 30 minutes before finishing with a rinse cycle helps to ensure all bleach traces are removed from your machine. It's important to use the recommended amounts and be careful washing clothes after using bleach for cleaning. As many know, bleach can damage fabrics, and to save your clothes from disaster, be careful if you choose this cleaning solution.
Baking Soda & Vinegar Wash
Another simple and effective way to get your washing machine to smell fresh is by using a mixture of baking soda, water, and vinegar. Of course, baking soda is a great odor remover, and by mining vinegar, it's a perfect cleaning solution.
Start by adding ¼ cup of baking soda mixed with ¼ cup of water into the detergent container. For top-load machines, pour four cups of plain white vinegar into the drum; for front-load models, two cups are needed. The cycle should run at a high temperature (with an optional 30-minute soak), followed by wiping down the inside with a washrag or sponge if necessary.
Once this is done, you may find that there are bits left over of this solution. If this is the case, you can run a rinse cycle to get rid of all excess bits.
Using laundry detergent is another great way to rid your washing machine of foul smells. No matter the type of washing machine you have, all you need to do is add the proper amount of detergent and run your washing machine on the basic cycle with warm water.
It's important to ensure that your laundry detergent is right for the job. This is why we suggest Tru Earth's laundry detergent strips. These strips are made with the safety of your clothes and the environment in mind.
Our laundry detergent is an eco-friendly, ultra-concentrated cleaning solution that offers powerful results with beneficial ingredients. Formulated to be free of parabens, phosphates, and added dyes, this hypoallergenic product is also vegan-friendly, having been tested by independent dermatologists for safety and effectiveness.
Clean out the Drum by Running a Service Wash With Hot Water One Last Time
Once you have run an empty wash with one of the solutions listed above, you need to run another service wash with hot water. This way, any leftover ingredients from your solutions will go away and make a safe space for your clothes next wash.
What Can Cause Your Washing Machine to Smell?
If you are wondering what has caused a bad smell in your washing machine, you should know that it's quite common. Typical causes of washing machine smells include a build-up of dirt and detergent residue in crevices of the washing machine, bacterial and mold growth in water chambers, and fabric softener residue left on clothes after drying.
The good news is that all of these causes have simple solutions to avoid these washing machine mistakes. Regularly cleaning the washing machine with special washing machine cleaners will help prevent dirt buildup, while regularly rinsing away bacterial and mold growth should help maintain fresh-smelling washing.
Last but not least, using only the necessary amount of fabric softener will reduce cloth residues after washing. With these steps, you can ensure your washing machine maintains its great odor-free performance for many loads to come.