Thursday, March 04, 2010

Smelly Front Loading Washer?

Are you dealing with a smelly front loading washing machine? I've been getting lots of questions about the smell coming from these new washers. One of my clients actually had me come over and see if I could help. Lets take a look at what's happening:
This is the inside of her washer. It's about 2 years old, and look at the black mold around the edges of the seal. Also, the water has stained the rubber so that is has a red tint to it. This may be causing some of the smell....

But look what happens when we pull the seal out! There is a slime and soap build up all inside this area. And look at the bubbles and moisture that is there. She said she hadn't run the washer in 24 hours, yet the seal is still soaking wet inside! This is where the smell is coming from. We need to clean this out and then make sure we leave the washer door open all the time.

We scrubbed the seal with a mixture of table salt, baking soda and borax. This mixture is safe to clean with and won't hurt the clothes if we don't get it totally rinsed off. Notice how the stain is starting to come off the rubber seal. But the black mold has permanently stained the rubber.
We wiped the entire drum with a microfiber cloth, which absorbed the remaining moisture and the rest of the cleaner.

Here you can see that the "green scrub" started to remove the stains on the rubber, but the black mold has stained the seal and it's not going to come off. There are a few things you can do to prevent this.

1. Keep the washer door ajar whenever it's not being used

2. Use a laundry soap the rinses totally out of your washer.

3. Wipe the inside of the seal on a regular basis with a microfiber cloth.

4. I advised my friend to schedule her repair man to come and replace the seal on her washer. Once it's been replaced she'll know how to keep this from happening again.


  1. Thank you for the general purpose cloth in our bloggy boot camp swag bags! I look forward to using mine and I'm glad to have found you!!

  2. Thank you! This has been driving me crazy also. I had a washer for twenty years that never had this problem. But the last two (yes, two in 5 years?!) washers I have purchased have been awful and they collect a musty smell. I appreciate your advice. To a larger point, I believe manufacturers are planning parts to break so we have to buy appliances every 5 years. This is criminal. What are your thoughts on this?


  3. Wow! I have never seen anything like that before. Anti-bacterial microfiber cloths are pretty awesome, aren't they?

    Do you think the hardness of the water has anything to do with the stains and smell?

  4. It could be, but I haven't noticed it as a pattern. I think most of the problem is moisture in a confined area with no air flow. I'm off to Europe in a few weeks and can't wait to see if they have the same problem! Thanks for the visit!

  5. It is very important to maintain the washing machines in a clean condition.Since they function with the use of water the possibility of damp not leaving the gadget could be extra care has to be taken to clean it and be free from mold and mildew.

  6. This looks EXACTLY like our washing machine. We're a professional cleaning company so we do a LOT of laundry. Another source of the smell can be the drain filter. Open the panel underneath the door (3 hex-shaped screws), and you'll see a cylindrical white plastic thing. Unscrew the cap (the part facing you) and be prepared with either a wet-vac or a bunch of towels- because it'll dump a couple gallons. I've found everthing from legos to pencils, and always a few bobby pins. Mold grows in this piece too, so soak in a borax solution.