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How To Clean A Smelly Washing Machine

Many factors can lead a washing machine to be plagued by a foul, distinct odour; the main culprit is a buildup of detergent residue and mould growth that will become a breeding ground for bacteria and smells.

Hard water areas can lead to an increase in limescale; this can be another common cause to your stinky washer as the buildup will provide additional areas for bacteria to grow as well as clogging up your machine reducing its efficiency.

This article highlights 7 steps that will help give your washing machine a good clean out, resulting in less muck which will of course drastically reduce the rotten odours from your appliance.

What You Will Need:

Step 1 - Safety Advice

Before you start ensure that you remove the power cord or isolate the power before starting any cleaning.

Step 2 - The Cleaner Steps Up

We recommend using a good quality, professional cleaner before your begin the task of cleaning your washing machine.

There are many out there, however, we recommend our very own eSpares dishwasher & washing machine cleaner. With great reviews from over 800 eSpares customers, you are guaranteed to get fantastic results after each and every use.

Step 3 - The Pre-Clean Prep

To begin, dissolve a sachet of dishwasher & washing machine cleaner into a spray bottle filled with warm water. Now you can tackle the main problem areas where bacteria and mould are likely to build up.

Using the cleaning solution in the bottle will allow you to reach those awkward places, such as the inside of the detergent drawer and behind the door seal.

Step 4 - The Detergent Drawer

Carefully remove the detergent drawer and place it in a bowl of hot water. Soaking the drawer will help rid your machine of the muck which could leave your clothes stained and smell unclean.

After a good soak - using a dish brush give the inside of the drawer a scrub to remove any of the more stubborn grime. Also, ensure to give the detergent drawer a good rinse and allow it to dry before putting it back.

However, before you put it back take a look at the drawer housing.

Step 5 - Cleaning The Spray Jets

Inside the drawer housing sits the spray jets - these are located above the soap drawer, shining a torch will allow you to clearly see the level of dirt which needs removing.

Careful not to get any cleaner in your eyes from splashback.

Spray the solution generously and remove any scum using a long handled dish brush.

If clogged up the spray jets may stop delivering conditioner to your washer, so it’s worth spending time on this.

Step 6 - Cleaning The Door Seal

Over time, if not cleaned regularly; the rubber door seal will hold onto the water and detergent and when not cleaned it can fester, creating a home for any kind of harmful bacteria. To clean the gasket carefully pull back the folds on the seal and visually check for mould spores or leftover detergent. 

Once again spray generously and gently scrub with a dish scourer to remove as much as the residue and mold as possible. If the seal has been tainted with sun bleaching - fear not this is not a cause to your smelly washer and should not be a concern.

Also be aware of black mold on or inside the rubber gasket. If it cannot be removed with your finger don’t panic! That’s dead bacteria which won’t affect your washing machine smell or performance.

Step 7 - Running an Empty Hot Wash

Also known as a service wash - empty the remaining solution from the spray bottle into the detergent drawer before putting the washing machine onto the highest temperature cycle.

Washing at a high temperature of 60°C or above with a suitable washing machine cleaner and an empty drum helps to eliminate any harmful bugs and bacteria while giving the inside of your washer a good clean.

It is recommended to perform a maintenance wash once a month to keep your washer performing and smelling great.

Additional Tips For Keeping Your Appliance Smelling Great

For added protection to help keep those smells away see these top tips for keeping your washing machine smelling like roses.

  • Removing damp clothes out of the drum as soon as possible will help reduce any and all bacteria from multiplying. 
  • Open the door and dispenser to allow your machine to dry out after each completed cycle - all while allowing the air to circulate, keeping the smells at bay.
  • Check the filter - loose change, hairs and fibre deposits can clog up and cause more damage to your machine - removing any unwanted articles and cleaning the filter in warm water can help reduce those musty smells.

To Summarize

Unfortunately keeping your washing machine clean and smelling great is not the most glamorous of jobs. However, these helpful tips will hopefully help keep your clothes clean and smelling great with no worry of fault or breakdown to your washing machine.


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