Washing Machine Smells

Photo of a man with his head inside a front load washer

Do you have a smelly washing machine? In other words, does your washer have an odor, mold or mildew in it? Well if it does you are not alone. Washing machine odor is a very common problem. In fact because a lot of people try to save energy by washing with cold water, washer odor is much more prevalent today than in years past. So what could be the culprit? Well I am here to report that when it is all said and done, the proliferation of liquid laundry detergents is to blame.

Now I know that the folks in the laundry detergent industry will argue that using liquid detergents don't cause washing machines to stink. Well I have news for you, using a liquid detergent instead of a granular detergent will definitely cause your washer to smell bad. And that includes liquid detergent in the little balls that you throw in the washer like the colorful ones that kids often mistake for candy.

Want proof? Well I have a washing machine, a front load washer in fact that smells exactly like it did when I plugged it in 10 years ago. There is absolutely no odor in my washing machine and never has been. And that's because I have never used a liquid detergent. I only use granular detergent or powder detergent and no fabric softener.

The reason that washer odor is such a mystery to most people is that it is unseen in the washer tub. And that's because the clothing will not allow anything to adhere to the tub while it rubs against it. But that's not the case behind the scenes! I have seen plenty of front load washing machines with a tremendous build up of stinky nasty detergent once the drum has been removed.

So if you want your washing machine to stop stinking, the first thing you should do is switch to a granular detergent.

The second thing you should do is use a product such as Affresh or some other product designed to remove odor for high-efficiency HE washers. If you use a cleaning product and do not switch to a granular detergent you were just fooling yourself and the odor will return.

Believe it or not one of the things that seems to work well in washing machines at removing odor is the breakfast drink Tang. That's right a breakfast drink can help eliminate odor from your washing machine. You simply fill the washer with cold water so that the granules will stay intact longer and dump an entire container of Tang inside and let it run through a cycle. It actually works!

Remember switching to a granular detergent is the number one thing that you can do to reduce washing machine odor. And did I mention to you that fabric softener is a no-no! While fabric softener is great for making your clothing smell better because it coats your clothing and your washing machine with a substance that is very sticky. Otherwise it would not stick to your clothes. And by the way if you are using fabric softener on your towels, you will find that they are actually less absorbent than towels laundered without fabric softener.

I recognize that the information here is going to go against what the laundry detergent industry is preaching, but I can only tell you from 30 years experience working on washing machines, folks that use granular detergent and no fabric softener do not have smelly washing machines