how to & get rid of washing machine smell (clean a top & front loader)

If you enter your laundry room and feel an unpleasant odor coming out of your washing machine, it’s time to clean it. It’s no wonder that any household appliance gets dirty after constant usage. Do you clean your sink once in a while even though it is constantly in contact with water and soap? That’s right. Exposure to detergents is not a guarantee of cleanliness for your bras.

Kenmore washing machine

Washing machines often get smelly after a long time of operation if you don’t clean them. No matter if you have a top-load or front-load machine, they will eventually get dirty. A logical question: why does it happen?

Why does my washing machine smell?

LG front-loading washing machine

The type of machine you use influences how frequently it develops a smell. Top-load washers develop a smell less often, and it’s easier to get rid of it if that misfortune happens. The only thing you need to do is to run an empty cycle. The case with top loads is that they often accumulate unrinsed soap, which gets smelly with time.

With front loads, you’ll worry about an unpleasant stench more. When a front-load washer works, the inside of the drum is half covered in water. It is a good thing from an economic perspective. Less water inside of the drum means less money spent on it. However, the downside of this economy is that the water does not manage to rinse all the soap out of the drum.

Soap scum

older washing machine

As a result, leftover detergent accumulates inside your washer. It creates soap scum. It’s more than just the remains of detergent on the drum surface that smells. Scraps and fibers of clothes do not leave the machine after washing. They can be removed only with proper cleaning. If you don’t do that, it will rot and develop a smell.


Another reason for them stinking is bacteria that like to reside in soap. When the wet environment inside your washer also contains leftovers of detergents, it becomes a perfect place for bacteria to grow, spread, and multiply. As a result, they stink. You can feel it with your nose.

Hot vs. cold water

The smell will get even worse if you often use cold cycles instead of hot ones. As you might know, hot temperatures destroy bacteria. In cold water, they have a good environment because of the detergent. The temperature is perfect for propagation.

Drainage pipes

The bad smell can come out of drainage pipes as well. If that is the case, you won’t be bothered by an odor after resolving the issue within the system. Don’t forget about regular cleaning of your washing machine, even if the smell comes from the drain pipes. If you don’t clean your washer next time, the stench will come out of the drum.

Best products

If you search on the internet for ways to get rid of an odor from your washer, you will find many products and alternative methods. Some of them might attract you because of their cheapness. Others offer the easiest way to get rid of the washing machine smell. The choice is yours.

Before you go shopping, look at these 9 best products on the market. You can order them online and don’t bother yourself with going to the store.

1. Affresh Cleaner

Affresh washing machine cleaner

One package of Affresh Cleaner consists of 6 tablets of product. A single pack will give you several months of effective cleaning before you’d have to buy a new cleaner. Unless you have to clean your washer more often than usual, Affresh is an economical choice.

This product is also superior in efficiency. All you need to do is put one tablet into the drum and run the cycle. Affresh suits every type of washer. Whether you have a top-load, front-load, or GE washer, it cleans all the particles equally well.

Affresh eliminates all the soap scum and mildew. You will not smell any disgusting stench after productive work with your washer. The thing you’d smell is a delicate citrus fragrance. If you are looking for a cheap cleaner that gives an impressive result, Affresh is all that and more.

2. Renuv

Renuv washing machine

If quality always comes first for you, consider buying Renuv. It has six big tablets in one package. You do not need to use two tablets during a single cleaning. Renuv manages to get the job done even non-highly efficient washers in one go.

The producer also does not add any additional fragrance to the product, so you won’t be bothered by it if you don’t like lemon. The only function tablets do effective cleaning that does not require additional rinsing after one cycle. With Renuv, you save money and time. It’s because of its efficient cleaning that you can do just once per month or once per two months.

With Renuv, you’ll forget that washing machines can smell. Don’t hesitate to put it into your cart. 

3. Lemi Shine

Often, using only cleaners is not enough to achieve a perfect result. You also need to wipe the inside of the drum, detergent tray, and gasket door to get rid of scum leftovers. Lemi Shine offers four packets of powder and four wipes that you can use after the end of the washing cycle.

The powder is as effective in cleaning as tablets. It reaches the deepest parts of a drum and leaves a clean and shiny surface afterward. You should just put the powder inside the drum and run the hot cycle. In the end, you can wipe the hard-to-reach places and forget about cleaning for a month.

If you care about choosing environmentally safe products, Lemi Shine is one of those. It does not contain toxic components and will cause no harm to you and your family. That said, Lemi Shine cleaner is a product you won’t regret buying.

4. OxiCleanWashing

OxiClean is packaged in small pouches containing the necessary amount of powder you need for one cleaning. It is made to fight residue in your washer. Without exaggeration, it wins every time you put it inside the drum.

OxiClean Powder is good for every type of washer, from GE to standard ones. It successfully gets rid of any musty smell from your washer. Knowing you won’t object to having such a helper at your home.

5. Lysol

One of the reasons for the bad smell in your washing machine is the pile of bacteria residing there. Lysol cleaner kills 99% of microorganisms and gives your appliances a sterile touch. It also helps with sterilizing clothes. If you don’t want mold to eat your clothes, Lysol will prevent that from happening.

Lysol is a liquid, and you should measure the right amount of it before pouring the product into your machine. Don’t be discouraged by this little inconvenience because the result is worth the effort. You will not see any grime or smell a nasty stench after using it. This effect is something every owner of a washer dreams of. Choose Lysol as your cleaner. The only thing you’d feel afterward is satisfaction.

6. Eco-Gals Eco Swirlz

If you prefer eco-friendly products, Eco-Gals cleaner is safe for the environment. It means it does not contain noxious elements. It is advantageous for nature and you because chemicals are generally harmful to respiratory tracts and skin.

Besides being safe, Eco-Gals is also economically beneficial because one package contains 24 tablets. With all the mathematical calculations, it will take you a year to empty the box. It’s even if you use two tablets at one time. Does it not sound like a smart financial choice?

Regarding Eco-Gals’ effectiveness, it is a worthy competitor among all other products on the market. Eliminating mildew, limescale, bad smells, and soap scum is not an issue for this cleaner. Consider buying it, and all the advantages it has will be yours.

7. Glisten Cleaner and Deodorizer


Glisten is one of the most popular products people willingly spend their money on. It is not cheapness that attracts customers to buy it. On the contrary, this product is an expensive one. It doesn’t matter how much money an item costs as long as it is worth that money. With Glisten, it’s the same story.

This product is highly efficient against bad smells and any other uncleanliness in your washer. It even leaves no residue after the cycle is done. That is not something a lot of products can do. If you have Glisten, you won’t need to tire yourself with extra wiping. The process of cleaning will be as easy as buying Glisten.

plink washer

Pink Washer Tabs are made for you if you like multifunctional items or don’t have much space to keep many bottles for different purposes.

The washing machine is not the only appliance in your home that needs cleaning. The dishwasher also builds up scum from soap and emits a stench. You can use Plink tabs for both purposes. It will reach every corner of the appliance, washing away every bit of filth on its way.

Moreover, Plink will deodorize your machine. The only scent you’ll feel afterward will be lemon fragrance. If you need both a multifunctional and an efficient cleaner, choose Plink Tabs. They are all of that and more.

9. Better Life Naturally Filth-Fighting Wipes

If you find a multifunctional cleaner, it might also be profitable to find multifunctional wipes. You can use Better Life wipes for your washer and any other dirty household appliance.

Wiping is a tiring task. It’s easier to put any cleaner inside of the drum and wait for the result. Sometimes there is no other choice than to use wipes for a more profound effect. When it happens, it’s better to have some good wipes at your service. Better Life products are certainly good ones.

It has no overpowering chemical odor. On the contrary, it contains only essential oils that will be pleasant for your receptors. When you buy Better Life cleaning wipes, they’ll become indispensable helpers in your home.

The washer smells like mildew.

red washer and dryer

Your washing machine is constantly exposed to moisture. As you know, too much of it creates a perfect environment for different bacteria to multiply. If you forget to leave the drum door open after the end of a cycle, you’ll likely smell mildew when you open it again.

Cleaning the washing machine not less than once a month is necessary. You should not forget about it. If you don’t do that regularly, the bacteria and soap will accumulate inside of your appliance. It results in a mildew smell.

Roper washer

It is also necessary for you to wipe the detergent drawer and all the interior of your washer. The most frequent place for mold to gather is the rubber gasket that is situated around the door jamb. Make sure you thoroughly wipe it with vinegar or a special cleaner. If you do that, there will not be any mildew in your laundry room.

The washing machine smells like sewage.

One of the most common reasons for a sewage smell in your laundry room is a leak in a drain pipe or a clogged drainage system. Naturally, sewer gas forms from waste that drains inside sewage pipes. It is toxic because of the high concentration of ammonia and hydrogen sulfide. The other quality of this gas is that it smells like sulfur, which is often compared to the smell of rotten eggs.

Samsung washaer and dryer combo

When your washer smells like sewage, it means the problem is within the drainage system. To resolve it, you should call the plumber. He will provide professional assistance. Remember that postponing repair is harmful to your health.

There are a few different ways how to get rid of the washing machine smell. Here are simple steps that you can follow to achieve a satisfactory result.

How to get rid of washing machine smell

  1. Use any washing machine cleaner of your choice.

    If it’s a liquid one, pour the necessary amount inside the detergent tray. Powder or tablets you can put directly into the tub. Then run the hottest cycle on your machine.

  2. Use special wipes to clean the tub from the residue after the first cycle.

  3. Give special attention to the detergent drawer.

    If you see any remaining grime or soap, you can soak it in hot water and then clean it with a toothbrush or wipe.washer and dryer combo

  4. Next, proceed with wiping the washer’s door and rubber gasket.

    Do it meticulously so that no mold will have a chance to survive.Samsung washer

  5. Ensure that the washing machine is completely dry after cleaning.

    Don’t forget to leave the door washing machine

After you follow all those steps, you’ll get your appliances as clean as new.


Washing machine outside
Why does my washing machine smell like sewage?

Sewage smell is often a sign of issues within the drainage system. Your sewer pipes might be clogged, or there could be a sewer gas leak. If you smell sulfur in your laundry room, it’s time to call the plumber to fix the draining pipes.

How do you deodorize a washing machine naturally?

When your washing machine stinks, you might consider deodorizing it in a natural way. The only thing you need for that is vinegar. Depending on whether you have a top-load or front-load machine, the places where you pour vinegar are different.

If you have a top-load washer, fill it with water and then pour two cups of distilled vinegar in. For front-load machines, just put the same amount into the detergent tray. Run a hot cycle with vinegar and then do an empty cycle. Finally, wipe the interior of your appliance for better effect.

Can you get sick from mold in a washing machine?

Any type of mold will make you sick, no matter where it spreads. You can develop respiratory issues, such as lung infection or simple sneezing and coughing. That is why cleaning your washer is necessary as soon as you notice mold or a bad smell.