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Smelly washing machine

Updated on February 1, 2011

If you have a smelly washing machine, and want to clean it, there are four steps that you need to do:

  • Remove the limescale
  • Clean the Filter and outside of the machine
  • Clean the inside of the machine
  • Check the outflow pipe.

The first thing you have to do is clean any limescale from the element. Now, this is not too difficult to do. While there are preparations that you can buy, by far the best thing you can do is simply put a cup full of distilled white vinegar into the machine, and run it for a cycle.

Distilled white vinegar is great for cleaning limescale and calcium stains from washing machines and even limescale from shower stalls.

The next step is to clean the filter of the machine. This can clog up, making the machine smell badly. Removing the dirt from the filter of the washing machine should be a regular occurrence, but to be honest most people don’t realize you need to do it.

Swipe over the outside of the machine with a damp cloth, making sure you remove any soap marks or residue dirt from the door of the machine.

If the inside of the machine is still a little dirty, give it the once over with a damp cloth.

Now, the next step is to run the machine again, and go outside. Check the plumbing on the machine is right. If the outflow pipe is too low, and it gets flooded, the machine can actually start sucking up the dirty water.

If none of these steps have worked you can bring out the big guns. Run the cycle with a cup full of bleach. This is really effective at killing germs, and you probably already have it for domestic tasks around the home.

If that doesn’t work, my local appliance store recommends running a cycle with bleach and dishwashing powder, and wiping over the front gasket where the washing machine closes. But to be honest, I think this is over kill.

One of the best things to do with this problem is prevention. So, rather than messing around, I suggest that you use a dash of distilled white vinegar every couple of weeks to clean the machine. Also, I think it is a good idea to simply keep the door of the machine shut, and put an odour absorbing cotton bag full of charcoal, because this will prevent the build up of smells in the first place.


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