There are many who delight in the smell of clean laundry, and that’s why it’s frustrating when a pungent smell comes from the washer.

While an unpleasant smell can stem from a simple maintenance issue that you can fix yourself, certain washer issues are best left to the professionals.

What’s that smell?

Mildew is usually the culprit of the moldy smell on your clothes. While a moldy smell is unpleasant, it can also be detrimental to your health. Mold is linked to asthma, infections (especially nose infections) and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS). Mold thrives in damp or wet areas with little exposure to light. The washing machine is the perfect breeding ground for mold.

Sometimes the problem is that you just let your damp clothes sit too long in the washing machine.  An easy solution is to run the clothes in the appliance for a second round.  Another possibility is mildew is hiding in some crevice of the machine.  One of the most common spots for mildew build-up is the lip of the seal. Small clothing items, such as socks, have a tendency to get stuck there. The other common spot for mildew build-up is the lip of the drum seal.

Simple steps to fix smelly washing machine

There are simple steps that you can take to remove mildew and fix your smelly washing machine.  While each machine is different, running a routine service wash is a good first step. Service wash cycles have no clothes and run at higher temperatures. You can switch up your wash cycle by adding baking soda, vinegar or a cap of bleach during a rinse cycle is also effective (no clothes). Leaving the machine’s door open can also helps with air circulation. If you choose to scrub your machine, then make sure that it is completely turned off first.

When you need a professional

If you have gone through the simple steps and the smell continues, then contact a appliance repair company for advice or to book an engineer visit. The underlying issue might be too much for you to handle. Also, if you see any kind of rust in your machine, then it is also a sign to call an appliance engineer. Rusted washing machines usually produce clothes that smell dirty and have brown flakes. Finally, you should contact a professional if you need to replace parts. For instance, mold commonly accumulates on the door seal. Fortunately, replacements are available. Professionals have the tools and know-how to properly replace the door seal and prevent the likelihood of future mold build-up.


Peter has received many accreditation's including many from the Times Online. As founder of You Could Save (2005) , What Stationers (2007) and more recently, Peter Millikin (2018). Peter regularly helps consumers and national organisation ‘save money’. He believes that the only successful way to bring people together online is to provide an open marketplace where people can all work together in a friendly, unbiased environment.

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