Why your washing machine smells and how to clean it

Your washing machine has to deal with a lot, and we only really pay any attention to it when it breaks down. Keeping your machine clean and hygienic can help to prolong the life of the appliance. One of the first signs that your washing machine needs to be cleaned will be a nasty odour. You might notice it in the drum, in the detergent drawer or even on your clothes. 

If your washing machine suddenly starts to smell stale, damp or just unpleasant, follow these steps to clean your machine and get it back to full working order.

Check the manual

The first step is to dig out your washing machine manual and check the instructions. Some washing machines will have a filter which needs to be cleaned. Others will have specialist instructions for cleaning the drum, seals and drawer.

Clean the detergent drawer

Front loading washing machines will have a removable detergent drawer. If there is a build up of detergent or mould in the detergent drawer – and this isn’t always visible – you will need to remove it and clean it. Follow the instructions in the manual for removing it. Soak it in water and then use an old toothbrush to clean all the nooks and crannies. Rinse and let it dry before replacing it.

Clean the drum

You don’t have to spend a lot on fancy cleaning supplies to get your washing machine drum smelling fresh. You may have the perfect cleaning product lurking in the back of your cupboards. Pour a cupful of white vinegar into the drum and set the machine on a hot cycle without any clothes in it. This should help to sanitise your machine and remove any bad odours.

Air dry the machine

Once the hot cycle is complete, open the door to your washing machine and let it air dry fully. If the bad smell is still there once the machine is completely dry, repeat the process. To keep your machine smelling fresh in the future, always leave the door open and let it dry completely after each wash cycle.

Clean the seals

The final step is to take a clean, damp cloth and wipe the rubber seals around the door of your machine. Carefully pull back the seals and check for mould and hidden residue. If there is a lot of black mould, you will need to use a bleach-based product to wipe this away. Make sure that you run another empty cycle before putting any clothes in the drum or you could risk damaging your clothes with the bleach.

Your washing machine is just one component in your home that can cause you a headache. If you want to enjoy peace of mind that your home is taken care of, consider home and boiler cover from YourRepair.