Nothing bombs your mood so much as a musty smell on your clean clothes just when you were planning a weekend outing.
Where did the scent of clean clothes go, and could the culprit be the socks or something else?
But as much as you would want to put the blame squarely on the socks, they are innocent of your suffering sniffer. They have nothing to do with it.
In most cases, the moldy smells could be from your washer, so it looks like your washer needs a bath, literally. Now, here’s a shocker!
When was the last time you gave your washing machine a good dose of scrubbing? Can’t remember? Never? If your answer is never, you are not alone.
So what can you do about it? But first, why does the washer smell so awful?
Why the Washer is Smelling Awful?
Like many other people with a washer for the first time, you are guilty of making the grave mistake of assuming that the machine cleans itself when cleaning your laundry. But that is similar to thinking that your bathroom shouldn’t be cleaned because of its constant exposure to soap and water. You still clean the shower, don’t you?
A smelly washer was such a common issue that it was subject to a lawsuit in 2006. This was when some users claimed their front loader was a little too “green,” with a mold smell building up.
The front-loading wash machines had just become popular among people who wanted to use less water and “go green.”
Typically, those who filed the lawsuit cited a mildew smell so intense that it infected their clean laundry and other parts of the house. The customers also claimed the machine failed to self-clean, leading to the build-up of bacteria. To them, the problem was in its design.
Even though the case was finally settled, it did not solve the mildew smell developing inside the washers.
The old model top loaders can smell, but it’s not mostly from mold and mildew but standing water and leftover soap. You can clean this out with water.
And unlike their front-loading counterparts, top loaders do not have a gasket to keep water, but that doesn’t mean they don’t have their own problems.
Your dirty laundry contains dirt and oils, which eventually end up on the catch basin of front loaders. Over time, these substances develop mold and host various contaminants such as bacteria and mildew, where the musty smells originate.
The combination of soap scum, hair, and body oil accumulates in dispensers, gaskets, and lids. This concoction and the constant humidity of the room create an ideal environment for the bacteria to thrive. The result is the not-so-pleasant odor that wafts from the washer and which makes your humble abode unpleasant to the nostrils.
Such irony! The machine that should be cleaning your clothes smells worse than your socks. But this is a lesson that even the most helpful machines require some tender love and care, at least once in a while.
Also read: Washing machine error codes
Cleaning the Washing Machine
Every piece of the washer needs to be cleaned individually. As the water splashes on the dispensers, they become breeding grounds for bacteria. Get an old toothbrush and scrub every corner, crack, and space, and use a pipe cleaner for the gasket pipes.
You see, the washer gasket is often the culprit for most of the mildew smells, and you can banish it with a wipe down of the exterior and the interior using a damp cloth. This removes any grime on it.
Wipe it using a paper towel dipped in water mixed with little amounts of bleach and spot any visible residue. Scrub it out using the damp towel, and then reinstall the gasket.
Don’t forget to clean the accumulated gunk around the gasket with a Q-tip and use a wet cloth to wipe it. Give special focus to the cracks and crevices if yours is a top loader. Fortunately, top loaders may not require a lot of cleaning.
You can move on to the tub after the parts are clean.
Cleaning the Washer Tub
To clean the washer tub, use a cleaning solution with a blend of a quarter cup of water and a quarter cup of baking soda and pour it into the detergent dispenser.
For the empty washer tub, two cups of white vinegar will do the trick. Run the washer with warm or hot water. Note that vinegar should run solo, and you shouldn’t mix it with anything.
Lastly, wipe the machine down, and it should now be free of any smells.
Vinegar has excellent acidity that removes the build-up of hard water and gets rid of bacteria and its musty smell.
Sanitize the Washing Machine
Chlorine bleach has these special powers that exterminate mold and mildew. The only caveat with bleach is that you shouldn’t mix it with other cleaners. Make sure also to follow instructions for your cleaner, and take the necessary instructions.
Set the washer at the highest temperature setting and use the correct quantity of bleach for your machine. The top loader will need four cups of bleach, while the front loader will do well with two. Start the cycle and only stop when the bleach has mixed with the agitator.
Allow the site of the bleached water for around thirty minutes and then restart the cycle. An additional run of the rinse cycle will remove any traces of bleach.
So the next time you open the washer, don’t hesitate to breathe in a large one and feel the freshness in the air. That’s what triumph smells like.
General Instructions to Prevent Odors
To keep your washer from developing odors, do the following:
- Regular wipe down of the gasket and cleaning of the washer tub
- Using the recommended detergent for your type of washer
- Removing the laundry from the machine immediately after every wash cycle
- Often leave the front loader door open to allow the drum to dry