The last place you want to clean your clothes is in a washing machine that smells like old shoes. Smelly machines are more common than ever now because of some small laundry changes people have made for financial and environmental reasons. Is there any way to get rid of the smell in your washing machine?
What Causes the Foul Smell?
A combination of three factors accounts for the increase in foul washing machine odors. Front-loading washers were seen as an economic godsend when they first hit the market, because they use less energy than top-loading models, and they extend the life of machine-washed clothing. However, there is one drawback. They are much more likely to trap moisture than top-loading machines. This wouldn’t be a problem if you were routinely washing scalding hot loads of laundry with harsh chemical detergents in your machines, but for economic and environmental reasons, almost everybody washes their clothes in cold water now, and uses much milder detergents than in the past. The combination of trapped water, colder water cycles, and mild detergents that don’t break down grease, mold, and mildew leads directly to smelly washing machines.
How to Get Rid of the Smell
If your machine smells like mildew, clean out the inside with a regular household cleaner and then run a load without clothes on the hottest setting with a solid detergent that contains bleach. If it still smells like mildew, you may have to remove the casing to see if water has accumulated at the base of the machine. If it has, remove the water, clean the base of the machine, and check for loose hoses. If you do have a loose hose, call a repairman to fix it. It’s also possible for grease and black mold to accumulate on the door seal and soap dispenser. Black mold can release spores that are health hazards. You can use a stiff brush and a household cleaner to attack grease and mold.
Most manufacturers now recommend that you run a monthly maintenance wash to keep your dryers clean. Once a month run your washer without clothing on the hottest setting with a solid detergent that contains bleach.
Time for the Professionals
If your foul odor smells like burning rubber, it’s probably a mechanical problem that you can’t fix yourself. Call an expert unless you have washing machine repair experience.
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“Washing machine usage (part 2).” Washing Machine Help and Advice – Washer Help UK. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2010. http://www.washerhelp.co.uk/usage_2.html#cl_q1.
“Washing Machine Tips Site : Washing Machine Odor.” Washing Machine Tips Site : DIY Washing Machine Repair. N.p., n.d. Web. 6 Apr. 2010. http://gowashingmachines.org/Washing-Machine-Odor.php.