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My Washing Machine Smells

If you are plagued by a foul, distinct odour coming from your washing machine the main culprit could be a build-up of detergent residue and mould growth. If this is the case, it will soon become a breeding ground for bacteria and damp - and even possibly sewage smells.

Providing areas for bacteria to grow and deposit may eventually clog up your machine - which will reduce its efficiency.

The best way to tackle any muck and grime causing your smelly washer is to use a washing machine cleaner.

Our highly recommended eSpares Dishwasher & Washing Machine Cleaner is a simple and effective way to help tackle and thoroughly clean all areas accessible within the machine.

Cause 1


A lengthier and perhaps messier step to perform on your washing machine - but removing blockages will help ensure that any unclean water can drain away, along with any crud which could block and build up in your washer.

Read on below to see the steps you can take to identify potential blockages, and 

Safety First! Please make sure that you have disconnected the appliance from the mains before beginning any repair.

  • Remove the pump filter; this can be located at the bottom of most machines, however, please refer to your user manual for directions on how to remove the filter.
  • When the filter is removed, remaining water will exit - possibly leading to your floor being flooded, ensure you have something to catch the water.
  • Once drained, clean and remove any debris or build-up of slime or sludge from the filter and its housing before reinserting the filter.
  • For a more thorough clean, ensure a washing machine cleaner is run through the appliance to clean the hoses you can not get to making the cleaner an effective option.

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.

For a more in-depth look into maintaining your appliance, see our guide.

How To >

Cause 2

Door Seal Contamination

Using a good quality washer cleaner is a must, and adding some into a spare spray bottle will ensure you can target the cleaner exactly where you need it.

As the title suggests, we are going to help you clean your door seal.

Safety First! Please make sure that you've switched off your appliance and disconnected it from the mains before beginning any repair.

  • Carefully fold open the door gasket and look for any mould or muck build up.
  • Using a plastic scouring pad carefully wipe away any loose sludge. Once the seal has been cleaned put your washer on a service wash using the washing machine cleaner (running your machine, while empty at a high temperature of 60°C or above).
  • Be aware that black marks may have stained the seal, this is identified as the spots can’t be rubbed away – these no longer produce an odour. So, now your door seal has been cleaned, it won’t be long until the inside of your washing machine begins to once again smell fresh.

If you want to see how to clean a smelly washing machine now you’ve read about it, check out our simple to follow video guide and allow us to show you how to keep your washer smelling great.

If after getting your door seal smelling great after vanquishing the bacteria and mould you might be disappointed to find that the mould has still remained.

Therefore if the appearance of mould is too much of an eyesore you can replace it with a new gasket from our range of replacement spare door seals which can be found within our offering of washing machine spares.

if you do now need to change over the old seal with a new one – see our video guide below that shows you how below:

How To >

Cause 3

Bacteria in the Machine

A very common cause to a smelly washing machine is because it is the result of bacteria! Over time bacteria forms inside the washing machine - this can happen whenever moisture is left in a damp and warm location and is allowed to fester where it will eventually grow.

Some may think that the next step is a replacement washing machine - but it isn’t! With some elbow grease, time and a cleaning solution you can reduce and remove the smells and bacteria from your appliance to save your money.

Below are some simple to follow steps to get your washing machine smelling fresh once again.

Safety First! Please make sure that you've switched off your appliance and disconnected it from the mains before beginning any repair.

  • Create a cleaning solution which will safely remove any mould and mildew from the machine - you can do this using our highly rated eSpares Limescale & Detergent Remover, mixed with water this can be applied via a spray bottle for easy application to the troubled areas.
  • Remove the detergent drawer and clear any old detergent residues and mould deposits - usually located in the spray jets which are located on the roof of the detergent housing.
  • Open the door and inspect the seal - clean around the folds of the door gasket; this can be done with a brush or gently wipe with a plastic dish scourer.
  • With the remaining washing machine cleaner - pour it into the detergent compartment and begin a wash cycle on 60°C or above to help remove the bacteria which was hiding under the drum


 If after a good clean you are disappointed to find the smells still reside - repeat the process and remember to allow the appliance to dry between use. Leaving the door open after use can air out the drum and allow the moisture to escape.

For additional tips and tricks on cleaning your washer see our how to clean a smelly washing machine guide for a more detailed look at maintaining your washer.

How To >