What to do about a smelly washing machine

It’s a paradox we all face: we put our dirty laundry in the washing machine, expecting it to come out fresh and clean, only to be greeted by a foul odour emanating from the very machine. If you find yourself holding your breath while loading and unloading laundry, you’re not alone. So, what causes these unpleasant smells in our washing machines?

According to Natasha Brook, assistant brand manager for Dr. Beckmann, there are several factors which can contribute to a smelly washing machine.

Natasha said: “When it comes to the unpleasant odour emanating from washing machines, it’s important to address the issue promptly to maintain the machine’s performance and freshness of your laundry.”

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One common cause is residue left behind by detergent and fabric softener, “which can create a breeding ground for bacteria and mould”.

With your machine being “damp and dark” it provides “an ideal condition for microorganisms to grow and produce an unpleasant odour.”

Another possible cause is the presence of trapped lint, hair, or other debris in the machine. To combat this, Natasha suggests running an empty cycle with hot water and a dedicated washing machine cleaner.

This not only cleans the machine but also eliminates up to 99.9 percent of bacteria and viruses, and can prolong the machine’s lifespan.

In addition to using a cleaner, it’s important to keep the drum and seals clean by wiping them down with a mixture of water and mild detergent to remove any residue or build-up.

Proper ventilation is also crucial in preventing the growth of mould and bacteria. Leaving the machine door slightly open after each wash allows fresh air to circulate in the drum, minimising the chances of developing bad smells.

Cleaning your washing machine requires a few simple steps. Jo Jackson, head of product at Fisher & Paykel UK & Ireland, advises starting by disconnecting the washer from the power source. Then, use a soft damp cloth to wipe all exterior surfaces, including the drum and rubber area around the door, before drying them thoroughly.

When it comes to cleaning the detergent dispenser, Jo emphasises its importance, especially if you use fabric softener. Remove the drawer and wipe it with a damp cloth, followed by rinsing it under warm water.

Jo said: “The filter is what is commonly forgotten about, but this should be cleaned approximately once a month,” suggests Jackson. “Open the filter cover typically found on the base of most washing machines.

“Remove the plug and allow any water to drain into a shallow dish. Remove the filter and clean and rinse it in warm water.”

This article was crafted with the help of AI tools, which speed up Express.co.uk’s editorial research. A news editor reviewed this content before it was published. You can report any errors to [email protected].

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