Written by Using Guide

5+ Quick Fixes For Smelly Washing Machine

Your washing machine smells foul?

Well, you are not alone. At least twice a year, this happens to every washer owner. You can fix this. But daily maintenance or a few changes in your washing habit is required to finally get rid of this problem.

There are several reasons which may contribute to the bad top or front loader washing machine smell. But mostly it is because of the build-up bacteria, soap scum, slime, or just the poor drainage of the washer.

Don’t worry we can fix all of these.

Caution: You can get rid of the smell for now but until and unless you don’t start maintaining your machine’s good health, issues will continue to come back.  

Try to follow some easy maintenance tips especially for front-loading washers, along with occasional cleaning of the washing machine. Top loader owners may just clean the dirty washing machine once in a while with the help of the following natural cleaners, or any of the top 5 washing machine cleaners in the market

Get Rid of the Washing machine Smell Right Now with Kitchen Ingredients 

Does washing machine stink? Not anymore. Your remedies are in the kitchen right now. Get them out and start following the below procedures. 

1. Bleach:  

My grandma’s old washer smells like mildew sometimes. I figured out the reason. It is the detergent drawer that gets dirty often. Even the brand new washing machine models may give you the same trouble. If your detergent drawer is clean and you still have sewage like smell in the washing machine, then bleach is going to resolve your problem for sure. 

Here are some steps to fix your smelly washing machine.


  1. Start with removing the soap detergent drawer. Follow the instructions in your manual to do so. 
  2. Scrub the mold if any by using kitchen bleach spray and an old toothbrush. 
  3. Scrub the drawer inside and out thoroughly, rinse it properly. Dry every part of it and then put it back into the cavity. 
  4. Now pour some bleach in the detergent drawer and run the machine on a 60 wash cycle. It will give your washing machine a good clean wash and get rid of the stinking smell.

2. Baking Soda: 

If you want to try out a gentler cleaning method for your smelly washing machine, use baking soda. Baking soda has an extraordinary ability to clean tough grease. That’s why to clean commercial kitchen equipment and large machinery, baking soda is widely used in the industries. 

It acts as a natural cleaning agent because of its mild alkali nature and a great option when it comes to removing the smell, bacteria, mold, etc from your smelly washing machine. Also, it is a natural cleaner and will not affect your washer’s health. 

And the best part is we all have baking soda in our kitchen. You can use this antibacterial soda with or without distilled white vinegar to do away with the foul smell from the washing machine. Some folks complain of the washing machine drain to smell like rotten eggs. For them, this is a lifesaver!

A. Using Only Baking Soda To clean Smelly Washing Machine: Take one-fourth cup of baking soda, mix an equal amount of water, and pour the solution into the detergent container. Now run the machine, obviously without the clothes. Baking soda will clear out the drain of any possible bacteria build-up. The washing machine will also be cleaned out of mold from the inside.  

 B. Mixture of Baking Soda & Distilled White Vinegar: Baking soda is a mild alkali and itself has great cleaning ability. Vinegar, on the other hand, is an acid that has an effective, non-toxic, deodorizing, stain killing capability.  

Mixing them has the sole purpose to remove tough stains, stubborn bacterial growth, and unbearable stinking smell. So be the judge of your washing machine’s condition and try to figure out if only baking soda is enough or you need to mix these both. 

Procedure of Mixing: 

You need to mix half a cup of baking soda to two cups of white distilled vinegar (or cleaning vinegar). Begin a wash cycle while using the machine’s hottest setting. As the water rises, add the mixture. Once the machine completes a full cycle, run a cold water cycle to remove the washer’s odor.  

3. Using Only White Vinegar (Or, Cleaning Vinegar) To clean your dirty Washing Machine: 

Like baking soda, you can use vinegar alone to remove the bad smell coming from the washing machine. If you are uncertain of the reason for mildew smell in washer then simply use vinegar from your kitchen. Over time, the washer accumulates soap scum and this is usually the reason behind a musty washing machine. Vinegar is an effective way to clean any tough stains or bad smells. 

Here’s how to clean a smelly washing machine with white vinegar. 

My advice is to add a cup of white vinegar and run the washing machine on a normal cycle (don’t add clothes). You can wait until the washing machine fills about 30-40 seconds, then pour the white vinegar into the detergent drawer. Let it wash down all the scums and clean out all the accumulated stubborn dirt. Trust me vinegar works like magic. 

Other Natural options to clean a smelly washing machine: 

4. Eucalyptus Oil: 

Eucalyptus oil is widely used for its tough cleaning abilities. If you haven’t tried it yet then maybe this time you should give it a go.  

It is a natural disinfectant, antibacterial cleanser, and deodorizer. The best part is, this oil is non-toxic for drains, including septic systems, and is an environmentally friendly way to clean.  

Not only for your washing machine, dishwasher, or refrigerator this oil is great at cleaning tough stains from almost all household surfaces including benchtops, mirrors, sinks, glass, tiles, porcelain, hard surfaces, floors, and carpet. So, I will suggest you to always keep a bottle of eucalyptus oil like the Artizen Eucalyptus Essential Oil (100% Pure & Natural – UNDILUTED) (Amazon link) in the kitchen. 

It will come to great help in cleaning the hoses of your washing machine if the washer has poor drainage because of bacterial build-up, or accumulation of soap scums. 


The bad smell of the washing machine can also be caused by sludge deposits in the hoses and to remove them try running an empty wash cycle with Eucalyptus oil in the water.  

Start washing off for a minute and leave the machine to soak in it overnight for better results. Finish the wash cycle the next day and you will get a fresh washer to clean your clothes. 

5. Soda Crystals: 

Soda Crystals have fallen out of fashion, with the rise of several harsh chemicals filled detergents, but if you ask your granny nothing can beat the cleaning ability of soda crystals. This natural cleanser can kill stains of your washing machine, prevent drains from clogging, remove hard stains from pots and pans, clean your clothes when mixed with laundry detergent, kill moss and algae from patios and paths and whatnot. 

I still don’t understand why we stuff kitchen cabinets with chemicals from the market rather than using these natural ingredients which are better in every way. 


Just run a hot wash with an empty machine and one cup of soda crystals. And all of your washer’s troubles will be at bay. 

6. Washing Soda To Fix a Smelly Washing Machine: 

Washing soda helps in degreasing the inside of the washing machine. Prolonged usage of washing machine and not maintaining the cleanliness, usually result in the build-up of soap scums and foul smell because of the bacterial growth on it. 

If the inside of the washing machine is stinking then, follow the below procedures. 

Take a few handfuls of washing soda and dissolve it in a pot of hot water. You can pour some of it into the detergent box like any liquid detergent, and pour the rest into the drum. Now run a hot wash cycle with no clothes. Your issue will be resolved. 

Top 5 Washing Machine Cleaners You Can Invest Your Money On, To Avoid Smelly Washing Machine Forever 

Truth is some of the popular washing machine cleaners are filled with harsh chemicals that give you instant cleaning and deodorized washer. I know it is really a tough call to live our daily life without chemicals, but we can try bringing balance.

I will suggest you to use the natural methods more often to keep your washer mold-free and pick a good washing machine cleaner to use it once in a while. By doing this you are ensuring your washer’s good condition and less chemical usage.  

These are the top 5 washing machine cleaners you can go for. 

1. My Pick: Clorox Washing Machine Cleaner 30 Oz (Amazon Link)

I am using this product currently. So, giving my thoughtful review. The rest cleaners in the list are some popular names on the market that buyers usually go for along with Clorox. I have picked them very carefully and placed them according to their popularity and performance. You can choose any of them based on your requirement and budget. 

Clorox washing machine cleaner is the best on the market (seriously! no exaggeration). It cleans, freshens, deodorizes both your regular and HE machines. I even clean my sink drains and bathtubs with this. It works really well on tough grease and foul smell. So, it is a great pick when you want a cleaner that has multiple usages. It saves you precious money.  

This Clorox cleaner has a higher concentration of sodium hypochlorite and has silicate added to make it more viscous and less likely to splash when poured. And works better at cleaning, deodorizing than the regular Clorox. I have a very sensitive nose, really can’t stand any foul smell, Clorox has surely resolved my issue. 

If you are wondering, I follow the natural cleaning techniques more often and use Clorox once in two months. It helps me to keep a balance between going natural and using only chemicals. 

Rest of the 4:

  1. Glisten Washer Magic Machine Cleaner, Remove Odors and Buildup, Cleans Front Load & Top Load Washers, Safer Choice Winner,  (Amazon Link)
  2. OxiClean Washing Machine Cleaner (Amazon Link)
  3. Glisten Washer Magic Washing Machine Cleaner and Deodorizer (Amazon Link)
  4. Lemi Shine Natural Washing Machine Cleaner + Wipes (Amazon Link)

How To Maintain Your Front Loader Washing Machine To Avoid Foul Smell? 

Avoiding front load washer smell: 

Front loading washing machines are built for high efficiency and there is no doubt about that. But the less water usage in these machines sometimes becomes the sole reason for the laundry soils, hard-water minerals build up in areas you can’t even see, thriving mold and mildew in washer lids and doors. 

Often using laundry detergents that are not designed for high-efficiency washers give you such smell trouble quite often. And just changing the detergent can solve half of your issues. 

Other important things to take care of after doing laundry: 

Keeping the drum dry: 

To increase the durability and avoid front loader washer smell, always make sure your drum doesn’t stay wet for a long time. Remove your laundry just after the cycle ends and keep the door open after unplugging the washer to let it wind-dry.

Let the moisture escape for good. As the front-loading washers use rubber door gasket, dirt and soap get trapped under the gasket which creates a breeding ground for bacteria, mold, and sewage like smell. You can even switch on your ceiling fan and keep the door open to let it dry completely. 

Clean the gasket:

I know it is a lot of work to maintain the durability and freshness of your high-efficiency washer but to avoid the hard trouble in the near future, try to clean the gasket of the door on weekends. Just look for trapped debris, wipe it down with a cleaning solution (mix equal amount of water and vinegar). 

Clean The Drain Trap Filter: Take a good look in the drain trap filter to dispose of any lint. 

That’s it. You don’t have to do anything else to keep your washer’s bad odor at bay. But that doesn’t mean you can avoid using washing machine cleaners. To keep your washer in good health always clean it once in a while with a good quality washing machine cleanser.

Hope the blog helps 🙂

(Visited 59 times, 1 visits today)
[mc4wp_form id="5878"]