Banish Your Smelly Washer With 2 Easy Steps
Front loading washing machines can get downright smelly. Moisture clinging to the rubber seal after normal use can lead to a buildup of mold and mildew that makes clothes stink, and can even funk up the entire house. The same companies that sell detergent are now making a fortune selling “smelly washing machine cleaner” that is over-priced and unnecessary. By using two simple household cleaners you probably already have in your cleaning arsenal, you can make your smelly washer smell as fresh as new.
Step 1: Clean With Equal Parts Bleach and Water
In a small bucket, mix equal parts chlorine bleach and water. Try one cup of each to start. Mix thoroughly. Saturate a clean rag in the solution (be sure to wear protective gloves) and wipe down the entire surface of the rubber gasket and the metal drum. Make sure to pull back the inner rubber seal to expose the metal underneath where mold lurks.
Repeat the process using more bleach and water solution until all of the visible mold and mildew is gone. If there are stubborn areas that are hard to see or reach, press the rag into the spot and let it soak for at least 30 minutes to kill all the bacteria. If the buildup is especially hard to remove, try using a nonabrasive nylon sponge or toothbrush to help dislodge the grime.
End the first step by running a regular wash cycle (don’t add clothes) on the hottest water setting to rinse away any remaining bleach.
Step 2: Rinse With Vinegar
After the drum and rubber gasket have been sanitized, it’s time to finish the process with a vinegar rinse. Add 16 ounces of plain white vinegar (two cups) into the washer tub and run a second full wash cycle using hot water (again, don’t add clothes). Voila! You now have a sparkling, clean smelling washer.
Caution: Never mix bleach and vinegar together for use as a cleaning agent. The mixture will result in the release of chlorine gas, a poison that can irritate the eyes, nose, and throat.
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Keep The Smell From Coming Back
It’s not your fault your front loading washing machine smells. The very design that drastically cuts water and detergent usage lead to an accumulation of soap scum. Moisture trapped in the rubber gasket, which is essential to preventing water leakage, is a breeding ground for the soap scum to grow mold and mildew. Now that your machine is clean and you know what causes the smell, try these tips to banish “smelly washer syndrome” for good.
- Avoid using liquid fabric softener. The dense, sticky liquid deposits a film in the machine that is a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Keep a clean rag handy. Quickly wipe down the drum and rubber gasket after you’ve finished your laundry for the day.
- Leave the door open. Let the washer air dry naturally by leaving the door open overnight after finishing the day’s laundry.