From the beginning, your washer should have had a light scent of fresh clean clothes. However, if your washer smells like rotten eggs then you have a problem. There can be numerous reasons why your clothes smell like sulfur. The important thing is to find out what the cause is, and then you can fix the problem.
You wash your clothes. You expect them to smell good. You don’t expect them to smell like rotten eggs or sewage.
And you shouldn’t have to deal with that smell if there’s an easier way to do it. Here’s how you permanently solve your smelly washing machine problem — and prevent it from ever coming back.
Smelly Laundry is a common problem among homeowners, which can drive you insane. But there is an easy way to fix it.
If your clothes smell like rotten eggs when you pull them out of the washer, it’s because they’re covered in hydrogen sulfide gas. Hydrogen sulfide gas is naturally released from bacteria as it metabolizes and can be found in sewers, but you probably won’t find it in your sink or bathtub. The smell can mean that there’s a problem with the plumbing or septic system, so it’s important to have the problem fixed.
If you can smell a musty or rotten egg odor emanating from your washing machine, it could indicate that there is mold or mildew buildup in the machine. There could also be a problem with an old soap bar or residue on the gasket of the washing machine door.
Washer Smell Like Rotten Eggs – Troubleshoot And Diagnosis
Your washing machine may be giving off a stink. If your clothes leave the washer smelling like rotten eggs, it’s likely due to bacteria build-up. The main culprits are the black rubber gaskets and seals, as they get saturated with water and mildew over time.
The smell is caused by the buildup of hydrogen sulfide gas which occurs when the cleaning process doesn’t remove bacteria, mold spores, and other impurities.
When your machine is not properly ventilated, the odor gets trapped inside the drum, gradually intensifying and developing into an offensive scent.
1. Clean The Door Seal
It’s important to keep your washer in top working order. Without a good door seal, water could spill out of the front loading washing machine, not only damaging your property but also causing soil from the clothing to get into the machine and clog up the works or even short out your electric system. The good news is, this is an easy problem to fix as long as you’re willing to do some troubleshooting.
Your washer has a door seal, so that when it spins, the water won’t get out of the machine.
Sometimes the door gasket of a front-loading washer can get clogged with lint, which can make it harder to close — leaving the possibility of mildew growth. It’s not entirely uncommon, but it is something that can be easily prevented by simply cleaning out the lint trap regularly.
One of the most common problems that people experience with their washing machine is mildew on the gasket around the door. This occurs when a small clothing item, like a sock, gets caught in the machine’s seals over time and starts to decompose. If it goes unnoticed, the stench can be enough to prevent anyone from using the washer or dryer until it’s cleaned.
To prevent door and seal issues, follow these easy steps:
- Remove any obstructions from the door gasket.
- Clean the door gasket with hot water and soap if necessary.
- Allow the washer door to dry completely after cleaning, so no moisture is trapped in the rubber sealing.
It is super easy to clean your door seal. To keep it from becoming stained and smelly, simply remove any loose clothing, give it a good clean with hot, soapy water, then dry it out. This will ensure that your clothes are clean and dry for their next washing cycle!
Tip: To keep your washing machine mold-free, you’ll need to allow it to dry out after each use. Leaving the door open to your washing machine also helps it to dry quicker.
It’s not enough to clean our clothes with detergent. We need an extra boost to tackle the remains of our laundry from the days before. In order to keep your machine in good condition, your best bet is a monthly dose of bleach and water. Mix up a small solution, fill your machine’s wash tub, turn it on, and let it run for about an hour.
Use Fresh Cycle, a new setting on some washing machines that’s designed for keeping your machine clean and fresh. If your machine doesn’t have it, you can use Sanitary Cycle or Clean Cycle instead.
2. Clogged Drain Plug / Pump
There are a lot of front-load washers that come with a drain plug and filter system. These parts tend to be either at the bottom of the appliance or on the side or back.
You can easily remove the washer cover plate to access the drain plug. Once you remove the plug, slowly turn it counterclockwise until it pops off and water begins flowing out. Make sure you have a cloth handy to mop up any spillage.
After the washer drain plug has been removed, thoroughly clean around the area. The rotten egg odor will likely intensify. Reach inside the hole and remove the drain filter. Wearing a pair of rubber gloves is recommended because things will get messy from here on out.
A hose with a small hole in the end can often be found on washer machines. It usually has a cap over its small opening. If you remove this cap and make sure that there is no blockage, water should pour out.
When a washing machine has been sitting stagnant, it can develop a moldy or musty odor. The first thing to do is remove the drain connector and clean out any debris that may be clogging the drain line. If this doesn’t solve the problem, replace your filter and run a few cycles of hot water through it to be sure you have flushed out all of the old detergent and build-up.
Now, go back to the washing machine and remove the drain plug. Use your towel to wipe out any excess dirt that may be caught in the drain pipe. Do this until you are certain that all of the sludge has been cleaned away, then stuff your towel in the drain hole and give it a few more turns.
For particularly stubborn smells, take a cup of water and pour it into the laundry drum. Watch as the water comes out of the drain of the machine — if you can still smell the unpleasant odor, try pouring in two or three tablespoons of white vinegar and letting that run down the drain. If there’s still the faintest hint of odor, you can try letting a mixture of baking soda and water sit in the drum for an hour or so.
Let it sit for 15 to 20 minutes. Drain and rinse, then run your machine on an empty cycle to dry.
As a general rule, it is recommended that you remove and clean out the washing machine filter at least once every four to six months. However, if you notice water leaking from the sides of your machine, or if your detergent dispenser is not working properly, you should clean out the filter sooner rather than later.
From time to time, washing machine filters will break. Don’t fret, though! With a little help from online tutorials, you can simply replace the filter for about $10 to $15. It’s easy, and your machine will be back to working like new in no time. We’ve even seen that Amazon has the filters regularly on sale.
3. Clean The Washing Machine
Before you do anything, make sure you give your washing machine a thorough cleaning. Check the hoses and connections to see if any of the seals or o-rings have dried out. Also, check to see if there are any small holes between the hoses and the seals.
Remove the detergent, bleach, and softener containers from your washing machine if you can. With a toothbrush, scrub all the crevices of the containers to remove any buildup inside. This will help your washer run as smoothly as possible.
Run a pipe cleaner through the tubes that run from your washer dispenser to eliminate funky gunk.
When cleaning the washer, don’t skip this area. Even if you already cleaned it and were totally sure there wasn’t anything left behind, be thorough anyways. You’ll extend the life of the dispenser — and save a lot of time in the future, since the dispenser shouldn’t give you trouble again.
Fill the drum of the washing machine with a solution of either 1:1 of distilled white vinegar and water or 1:10 of bleach and water to clean it. Run the machine through its wash programme, emptying it every now and then so that all surfaces are covered. Remove any limescale build-up with a lime scale remover and leave it to dry completely before using again.
Don’t use cleaning vinegar in your washing machine. While it’s stronger than white vinegar and has a higher proportion of acidity (6 percent, versus 5 percent), it’s the wrong type of acid to clean with. It’s unsafe for human consumption, and you shouldn’t keep it around kids — the same is true with toilet bowl cleaner.
In addition, cleaning vinegar has too high acidity and can make surfaces prone to rust, which is also dangerous. Always use household vinegar because it is safe to use.
You can avoid your next mold problem by wiping down the inside of your washer once a month. Simply wipe down all accessible parts of the washer with a rag soaked in white vinegar. Scrub under the lid of top-load washing machines and around the door and wash gasket of front-loaders.
There are a lot of ways you can clean your laundry machine to get the most life out of it. Mix one cup of bleach with two cups of hot water and a few drops of liquid soap, then use an old toothbrush to scrub the inside of the machine. Make sure you clean around the lint trap and scrub the lint screen as well to remove any film created by dryer sheets.
Make sure to clean your machine after every use with soap and water. To sterilize, run the hottest cycle using chlorine bleach — 2 cups for a top loader and 4 cups for a front loader. Let the bleach-filled washer sit for at least an hour or until it smells like bleach.
Run an empty cycle on the hottest setting, then add full-strength bleach as directed. While you don’t want to submerge your washer in bleach, make sure that it gets a bath.
Start the hot wash cycle and add bleach to the detergent dispenser. Once the washing machine is full, let it agitate for a few minutes to mix in the bleach. Once it’s mixed, switch the cycle to its final rinse and let the machine run for a few more minutes to ensure all the bleach is rinsed out of the washer. Then, finish up as usual.
To deodorize the washer, run the washer on the longest and hottest wash cycle with a cup or two of white vinegar. Vinegar is a great mildew remover and a natural odor eliminator, so it’s perfect for getting rid of the stale smell that builds up in a washing machine after you’ve been using it for a while.
Set aside some time to clean your washing machine once a month. Yes, it’s a bit of a chore. But, if you stick to a schedule, it’ll soon feel like second nature, and your clothes will be all the cleaner for it.
4. Check The P-Trap
Your washing machine’s P-trap is the connection between your sink and your laundry compartment (or tub). Without water, it can’t function properly — which means that odors are going to start to take over. Before you go out and buy a new washer, though, you need to check its P-trap.
Sometimes there are things that are out of your control when you’re using the washing machine. You can’t account for an overflowing sink or a broken water main — but there is one problem you can fix: if you run out of water during a cycle, you might end up with some dirty laundry. Over time, the washer can build up scale and corrosion if it’s used without water.
Get hot water. Not boiling water, but still warm. Pour it down the drain. Don’t pour a ton at first, slowly turn up the volume of your stream until you see that the water is draining in an acceptable pace. Once you’re done, add 4 oz of mineral oil to slow future evaporation from your P-trap. That’s all!
5. Check the Drainpipe
If you’re dealing with a bad smell and the cleaning methods above haven’t worked, it’s time to take a look at your pipes. Drains can get clogged and filled up with soap scum and hair. A plumbers’ snake is useful for clearing out clogs, but if your pipes are seriously backed up, you may have to have them professionally cleaned.
If your washer’s drain pipe is clogged with old gym socks, Fluffy’s fur balls, or anything else that needs to be thrown away, the smell will permeate your laundry room and create a stench. Fortunately, you can unclog that pipe by clearing it with a plumbers’ snake or other tool, which should restore clean air to your laundry room.
If you have checked all of the above and the odor is still present, then it may be time to call a plumber. If this is not the case, then routine care and maintenance is your best option — as it will help keep your machine running its best.
If your washer is still under warranty, the plumber should be able to repair the unit for free. Otherwise, you can try to hire one as a last resort — many plumbers will do this for an “evaluation fee”. It costs only a fraction more to have the gook professionally cleaned and evaluated.
Cleaning up a laundry room can be a hassle, but there are a few simple steps you can follow to help prevent mold and mildew from growing within your washer. Wipe out all water using towels even if the washer contains an automatic dryer function. Leaving the door or lid open after use will help evaporate any leftover water to keep your washer dry. The more moisture you take out of it, the less chance that bacteria will grow.
Hi there! I’m Sam Hendricks, and I’m a repair technician and expert. I created this website to help people like you save money and time by fixing your own appliances.
Over the years, I’ve seen people spend a lot of money on unnecessary repairs or replacements. That’s why I decided to share my expertise and create easy-to-follow guides for fixing appliances on your own.