Bad Washer Smells? How to Clean a Washer and Remove Mold and Mildew

how to clean a washer

Do you scream, “Ewwwwww,” when you open your washing machine? If so, chances are you have a mold problem on your hands. This is a fairly common issue we see with our customers and their washing machines, particularly those with front-load washers. Learning how to clean a washer will resolve your bad washer smells fast!

How To Clean a Washer: Learn How to Remove Mold and Mildew from Front-Load Washers

When it comes to front-load vs top-load washing machines, front-loaders have many benefits compared to their top-loading counterparts. However, the front-load design can cause moisture to get trapped inside the machine, leading to that stinky mold problem. You’ll want to learn how to clean a washer to eliminate and prevent future washer smells.

bad washer smells

Why Does My Washer Stink?

To prevent troublesome water leaks, front-loader doors have rubber seals, also called gaskets, to make them water and airtight. Those gaskets, combined with high-sudsing detergents that leave behind residue, create a perfect mold and mildew-growing spot. Does your washer smell like mold?

Reading this, you’re probably itching to eliminate that foul smell. Keep reading to find out how to clean a washer to remove mold and bad odors!

How Do I Clean the Rubber Seal On My Washing Machine?

Be forewarned! Cleaning out the rubber door seal requires a bit of elbow grease! Use a rag and some hot, soapy water to remove the mold and mildew wherever you can find it (including underneath and around the seal). Wipe it dry with a separate rag.

Make note: if the mold is widespread and/or difficult to remove, you might be better off, in the long run, getting the gasket replaced.

why does my washer stink

What Is the Best Way to Clean a Washer?

If you are wondering how to clean a washer, you have a couple of different options to choose from. A common approach is to use bleach, but we actually recommend a residue-busting cleaner such as Affresh. While bleach is effective at killing off bacteria, it doesn’t remove soap residue as well as Affresh does, in our experience. Getting rid of the soap residue will prevent the mold from growing back right away.

Whether you elect to use bleach (about 1 cup) or a tablet like Affresh, make sure to use them in an empty, hot water wash cycle.

How to Clean a Washer Detergent Dispenser

Completely remove the dispenser from the washer (if possible) to thoroughly clean it with hot, soapy water and a brush. If you cannot remove the dispenser, use a bottle cleaner to remove as much mold and debris build-up as possible.

Preventing Mold Growth in Front-Load Washers

Once you’ve cleaned your washing machine, you’ll want to keep it smelling fresh. To prevent the build-up of smelly debris, mold, and mildew, you’ll need to clean your washer once a month. Other tips include:

  • Consider Using Less Detergent (Or Switching Detergents) – Excess detergent sudsing will accelerate mold growth in your washer. Using less detergent or finding a low-sudsing alternative (such as powder detergent) will help curb this problem in the future.
  • Leave Your Door Ajar in Between Loads – Leaving the door open in between loads can help air out any trapped moisture. Just make sure no little ones or pets climb inside.
  • Regularly Clean Door Seal – Get in the habit of regularly wiping out the door seal to help prevent troublesome mold growth.

Washer Still Smelling Moldy?

Tried these suggestions, but your washer is still left smelling funky? This is likely an indication of mold growth behind the drum or a clogged drain or filter. Contact your local qualified appliance service professional if you’re not comfortable dismantling and cleaning out this mold yourself.

For washer repair in Rogue Valley, Oregon, contact Just-In Time Appliance today! We would be happy to assist you.

Justin Duby

Justin Duby

Justin Duby, a Grants Pass native, opened Just-in Time Appliance Repair in 2014 after working with his grandparents in the appliance repair business for almost 10 years. Just attends various training programs throughout the year to keeps his skills sharp.

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