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Bad Smell From Front Loading Washing Machines

Bad Smell From Front Loading Washing Machines

A bad smell from the washer is a very unpleasant feature by all means. Still, it can happen with any given model of any given brand. You smell something weird during the wash, and then your freshly washed clothes come out with an odour slightly different from the “dried lavender and camomile” promised by the detergent manufacturer… That is a good time to think about some actions to be taken.

A brief search on the Internet might give you a lot of ideas. These ideas are good and practical, but what we think is lacking in these numerous forum threads is the systematic approach. And that is our humble goal to provide you with a methodical guide – how to locate the reason for the bad smell from the washer and then how to get rid of the bad smell.
First of all, let’s have a look at our front loader as a system. We have water from the water line that comes into the washer, circulates, and goes out to the sewer. On its way into the tub, where the rinsing of the clothes happens, water flows through the detergent dispenser and takes the detergent for a ride (if you put one). Water, detergent and clothes are mixed up and rotated happily together inside of the shiny stainless steel drum. Then water and detergent leave the tub, drained out by the action of the drain pump.
So where should we look when we have a bad smell in the washer?

Dirty Dispenser

Water comes into the machine. At this stage, the dispenser is a main source of problems. For example, the detergent is not washed fully out of the dispenser. The leftovers mixed with water stay in for a couple of days… Then this yucky mixture goes into the tub, and then you smell your clothes after washing…


  • Check your dispenser cavity and try to locate any obstacles. Do a couple of cycles without clothes and detergent – just observe. If the water in the tub is too soapy or is released into the tub too slowly – we know whom to blame.
  •  Try to use detergent capsules instead of putting detergent in the dispenser. If the smell issue is eventually improved, then we know that the dispenser is a possible cause of the problem.

Mold Inside the Washing Machine

Wash stage – water is circulated inside the tub. The key point to check is a door boot – a rubber seal preventing water leaks through the door. Look at it, and you will see what is happening outside and inside the tub. If not maintained properly, you can see a perfect environment for the mold to grow. Mold will spread, and besides the odour and hygienic issues, the rubber can break and cause a flood in your house.


  • Prevent the mold from growing and spreading. Start with this when your washer is still new. Every 3-4 months, you should inspect the door boot and make a cleaning wash with special cleaning detergents manufactured by most big brands (Tide, Finish, Affresh). The big advantage of such a treatment is that the detergent takes care not only of the visible parts of the boot but also of the inner side, the tub cavity and the drain hoses. Plus in addition to the mold, other formations like calcium deposits are also reduced.
  • If your boot is already molded, clean it with a bleach solution or white vinegar. And then, perform a wash with a cleaning detergent 2-3 times in a row. Hopefully, it helps. If not – the boot should be removed and replaced to prevent the mold from growing again.

The Soiled Filter Causes Water Drain Problems

Drain stage – water goes out of the machine. An important checkpoint – if you have a debris filter (not available in all the washers), make sure to look inside. A filter that is full of coins, wool threads and other treasures significantly slows down the water flow and often makes excessive amounts of water remain in the tub. The odour you get from that remaining water is simply unforgettable.


  • Clean the filter (if your washer has it). Run the cleansing detergent wash.
  • Check the drain hose. Watch the water flow from the hose while your machine is on the drain cycle. If the flow is reduced or it takes longer than usual – you need to fix it or call the appliance technician.

Think Forward

It is good to think “out of the machine”, too. When the water is drained out, it goes to the sewer pipes of the house. So, if we have clogging there, you will get a bad smell of arousal or even a gross paddle near the machine each time you wash your clothes.

FAQ: Frequently Asked Questions

How should I clean the dispenser drawer of my washing machine?

First, let’s start by removing the dispenser drawer. Give it a gentle pull, and it will come right out. Now, let’s give it a nice rinse under some clean, warm water. Make sure to get rid of any lingering dirt or residue.

Next, grab a warm, wet washcloth and give the dispenser drawer a good cleaning. Just wipe it down and make it sparkle. We want it to look as good as new!

To keep your dispenser in tip-top shape, it’s a good idea to clean it every five to 10 washes, or about once a month. This will prevent any buildup from sneaking in and causing trouble.

Oh, and here’s a helpful tip for you: if you come across any stubborn corners or tougher buildup, grab a toothbrush! It works wonders for those hard-to-reach spots.

Now you’re all set to enjoy a squeaky-clean dispenser drawer. Happy cleaning!

What is the best way to clean washing machine filters?

To clean the drain filter of your washing machine, follow these steps:

1. Locate the drain filter: The drain filter is typically located at the front or bottom of the washing machine. Refer to your machine’s manual if you’re unsure about its exact location.

2. Prepare for cleaning: Place a towel or shallow container beneath the filter area to catch any water that may spill out during the process.

3. Open the filter access: Depending on the model, there may be a cover or panel that needs to be removed to access the drain filter. Use a screwdriver or simply twist and pull to open it.

4. Remove any water: Be prepared for water to flow out once the filter is opened. Allow the water to drain into the towel or container until it stops.

5. Remove the filter: Carefully pull out the drain filter from its housing. It may be secured with a handle or simply twist off.

6. Clean the filter: Rinse the filter under running water to remove any debris, lint, or obstructions. For stubborn dirt, use a soft brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the filter. Make sure it’s thoroughly cleaned.

7. Inspect the pump cavity: While the filter is removed, check the pump cavity for any foreign objects or debris. If you find anything, remove it to ensure proper functioning.

8. Reinstall the filter: Once the filter and pump cavity are clean, reinsert the filter back into its housing. Ensure it is securely in place and properly aligned.

9. Close the filter access: If there was a cover or panel, close it tightly to secure the filter in its position.

10. Test the machine: Run a short cycle with no laundry to ensure there are no leaks and that the washing machine is functioning correctly after the filter cleaning.

Remember to consult your washing machine’s manual for specific instructions or any additional steps required for your particular model.

How do you remove mold from rubber seals?

To clean the rubber seal gasket of a washing machine, please follow these steps:

1. Preparation: Put on a pair of rubber gloves to protect your hands during the cleaning process. You may also need a soft cloth, a mild detergent or vinegar, and a toothbrush or soft brush.

2. Open the door: Fully open the door of your washing machine to access the rubber seal gasket. Take a moment to inspect the seal for any visible dirt, mold, or residue.

3. Wipe down the seal: Dampen a soft cloth with water and gently wipe the rubber seal to remove any loose debris or dirt. Pay close attention to the folds and crevices of the seal, as dirt tends to accumulate in those areas.

4. Prepare a cleaning solution: Create a mixture of mild detergent or vinegar and water. Dilute a small amount of detergent or add vinegar to a bowl or bucket of warm water. Stir the solution to mix it well.

5. Clean the seal: Dip the cloth into the cleaning solution and wring out any excess liquid. Use the cloth to wipe the rubber seal thoroughly, ensuring you cover all areas, including the folds and crevices. The detergent or vinegar will help break down any grime or mold on the surface.

6. Target stubborn stains: For stubborn stains or mold, use a toothbrush or soft brush dipped in the cleaning solution. Gently scrub the affected areas to lift away the stains or mold. Be careful not to scrub too vigorously, as it may damage the rubber.

7. Rinse the seal: After cleaning, rinse the rubber seal gasket with a clean, damp cloth to remove any soap residue or cleaning solution. Make sure to wipe away all traces of the cleaning solution.

8. Dry the seal: Take a dry cloth and wipe the rubber seal gasket to remove excess moisture. Leave the door of the washing machine open for some time to allow the seal to air dry completely. This helps prevent mold or mildew growth.

It’s important to note that regular cleaning and maintenance of the rubber seal gasket can help prevent mold and keep your washing machine in good condition. If you notice persistent mold or a strong mildew odor, it may be necessary to consult the manufacturer’s guidelines or contact a professional for further assistance.

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