So your washing machine smells like rotten eggs? It’s definitely not your imagination! It’s happened to me too – and I know how to fix it super easy. A rotten egg smell coming from a top load or front load washing machine is a very common problem. The culprit? A build-up of mold, dirt, detergent residue and mildew that is stuck in your washing machine somewhere causing that awful, sour, moldy, rotten egg smell.
Let’s talk about WHY your washing machine smells like rotten eggs or sewage, how to get RID of that smell – and how to prevent it from coming back.
WHY Your Washer Smells BAD:
A lot of people who deal with the rotten egg smell in their washing machine think that it’s because of something specific they’ve washed (or wash often, such as really dirty work clothes or workout clothes).
However, this is not the case.
While that probably didn’t help anything, it’s not the real reason for that stinky washing machine.
The main reason is lack of air circulation.
Air circulation in a washing machine is critical for removing bacteria, mold spores, and other impurities that cause hydrogen sulfide gas to build up… and that gas IS what’s causing that rotten egg smell.
Here’s how to FIX that rotten egg smell in your washing machine right NOW…
And this fix usually gets rid of the smell right away.
The very FIRST thing I try when my washing machine starts to smell stinky, mildewy and like rotten eggs – and my laundry smells sour after washing – is to wash my washing machine.
Yes, it sounds counter-intuitive, but your washing machine DOES need to be cleaned.
It’s very simple to do, too!
Pour a couple cups of bleach in your washer drum and run it totally empty on the hottest water setting your machine has.
Many newer washing machines have a “Tub Clean” or a “Sanitary” cycle – if yours does, use that.
As soon as the washing machine is finished running that cycle, open it up and let it dry out completely!
If washing your washing machine doesn’t work (i.e. it still has a smell of rotten eggs), then you should thoroughly inspect the rubber seals (also called a ‘bellow”) and rubber gaskets.
Mold can grow in all KINDS of places inside your washing machine, so make sure to check and clean each of these places to get to the root of the stink.
Heck, I’ve actually found a long, lost baby sock stuck behind a rubber seal of my washing machine door!
No telling HOW long that little sock was stuck there… growing mold… and stinking up my washing machine AND causing my entire laundry room to have a sewer smell – yuck!
Crazy, right? But it happens – more often that you’d think.
If you still can’t find the source of the washing machine smell, hang tight because we haven’t tried everything yet.
Next, get in there and check the drain hose, drain plug or drain areas for your washer for any gunk, goo, debris, mold, items or mildew.
Front Loader Washing Machines
Front loading washing machine can be a bit more tricky to fix that rotten egg smell.
Here is a quick video from Consumer Reports that shows how to FIND the source of the smell – and how to get rid of it.
How to Prevent the Smell:
Once you get rid of that gross stinky sewer-like smell coming from your washing machine, it’s time to be sure it does NOT come back.
Here are some tips to PREVENT your washing machine from stinking again in the future:
Regularly clean your washing machine with vinegar and water, using a cleaning solution of 1:10.
Make sure to remove all traces of laundry soap, debris and other gunk from your washing machine at least once a month. You can either use a commercial cleaning product or just some vinegar to do so.
Me? I run the bleach in an empty tub on tub clean hot cycle trick about once a month – that works best for me.
Some people use baking soda, but that has never worked well for me at all.
This laundry soda works much MUCH better than baking soda – definitely worth a try.
If you’re not comfortable using vinegar, baking soda, or bleach on your washing machine, you can spray a diluted solution of lemon juice and water around the rubber seal of your washing machine and leave it for an hour.
Not the best solution, but it might help.
Best Washing Machine Cleaner
I also LOVE this washing machine cleaner!
It’s fairly inexpensive and it smells SO good!
In fact, the whole house smells amazing after I use it – so fresh and clean!
Just empty a pack of this in your washing machine and run it on hot.
(nothing else in the load, just the cleaner)
Above all, especially if your have a top loader washing machine – leave the lid OPEN after every load and when not in use.
Water trapped in your constantly wet washing machine with no air ventilation equals… mold.
And mold leads to STINK.
More Tips for Busy Moms:
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