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How to Clean a Smelly Front Load Washer and Prevent Odors


Every homeowner’s joy of having a laundry room comes with its set of challenges. One such pesky problem? That unexpected odor from your washing machine. If your smelly front load washer has been causing laundry day blues, we’re here to help!

Understanding the Stinky Situation with Your Smelly Front Load Washer

Before you can effectively tackle the issue, it’s crucial to get to the root of what’s causing your washing machine’s unpleasant aroma.

Why Does My Front Load Washer Stink?

There’s science and reason behind why your washer might emit a less-than-pleasant aroma:

  1. Mold and Mildew Build-Up: Front load washers, due to their design, retain moisture within the drum and rubber gaskets. This trapped moisture creates an environment where mold and mildew can flourish.
  2. Soap Residue and Build-up: Over time, excess detergent, fabric softeners, and other laundry additives can leave residues. These residues become breeding grounds for odor-causing bacteria.
  3. Drainage Issues: Blocked or slow-draining pipes can cause standing water in your machine. If your front load washer smells like a sewer, it might be due to stagnant water or even sewage backflow.
  4. Laundry Habits: Leaving wet, soiled laundry in the machine for prolonged periods can lead to odor development. Even residues from heavily soiled clothes can contribute to the stench.

front load washer smells like a sewer

Steps to Clean a Smelly Front Load Washer

Failure to clean your washer can lead to bad smells and more problems like a leaky washing machine. For those with a smelly front loader, these in-depth steps can rejuvenate your machine:

  1. Empty the Drum Completely: Ensure there are no items or forgotten socks left.
  2. Inspect and Clean the Drain Filter: Located usually at the front bottom or rear of your machine, this filter can trap debris, lint, and small items. Regularly cleaning it can prevent odors.
  3. Hot Wash Vinegar Cycle: Vinegar acts as a natural cleaner and deodorizer. Fill the detergent tray with two cups of white vinegar and run your machine on the hottest setting.
  4. Baking Soda Refresh: A day after your vinegar cycle, sprinkle a cup of baking soda inside the drum and run a hot water cycle. This smelly washing machine home remedy is proven to neutralize stubborn odors.
  5. Manual Gasket and Door Cleaning: Using a solution of warm water and vinegar (1:1 ratio), scrub the rubber gasket, door interiors, and other nooks and crannies where mold might hide.
  6. Check for External Drainage Issues: Ensure that your drainage hose isn’t kinked and is positioned correctly, preventing any stagnant water situations.

how do i get my front load washer to stop smelling

Tips to Stop Odors from Returning

Maintaining freshness is a continuous effort. Here’s how you can ensure your front load washer stays odor-free:

  1. Gasket Care: Post every wash cycle, take a minute to wipe down the door gasket. It’s a small effort that can prevent mold and mildew build-up significantly.
  2. Optimal Detergent Use: More soap doesn’t mean cleaner clothes. In fact, excess soap can contribute to residue build-up. Always use the recommended amount.
  3. Ventilation is Key: Always leave the washing machine door slightly open after a cycle, ensuring the interior dries out completely.
  4. Monthly Cleaning: Dedicate one day a month to run a cleaning cycle, with vinegar or a washing machine cleaner.
  5. Sort Your Laundry: Washing heavily soiled clothes separately prevents the transfer of dirt and contaminants to the machine.

Remember, sometimes, issues are more profound than they appear. If your machine continues to smell even after thorough cleaning, it’s time to call the experts. Contact the skilled washing machine repair technicians at DeserTech Appliance Service for a professional diagnosis and solution.

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