How to Deal with Mold, Mildew Smells in Your Washing Machine

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Washing machines provide a level of efficiency most of us couldn’t imagine living without. The problem? We’ve also had to deal with a funky smell coming from the machines that seems to be impossible to eliminate completely.

We have a solution for even the grimiest of washing machines.

Smelly Washing Machines and What to Do About Them

Front-loading washing machines are a standard nowadays, but consumers are slowly gravitating back toward top loaders due to a simple reason: that awful smell. Mold and mildew have been a source of concern. The problem seems to be a given with front loaders and are somewhat tricky to resolve on our own.

The damp stench and mildewy residue left after a load have been keeping manufacturers up at night for years now. The humidity levels inside a front-loading washing machine contribute to the odor-causing bacteria, so it is necessary to reduce them to prevent any foul smells. Unfortunately, unlike top loaders, such machines are closed systems that are sealed by gaskets, which traps moisture and water inside.

The famous brand GE worked out a possible solution for high humidity levels last spring with its new front loader. However, even that isn’t a guarantee if we’re not taking steps to prevent mold and mildew inside the drum in the first place.

How to Reduce or Prevent Foul Washing Machine Smells

Many people keep forgetting that mold spores are found everywhere around us and can even end up on the clothes we wear. Once that clothing is due for a wash, we toss it in the machine, hoping to have it clean soon. But the washer may contain residual matter left over from previous loads, like detergent, hair, and lint. In combination with moisture, this makes the machine a perfect breeding ground for mildew and mold.

So what can we do? You may be thinking, the easiest solution would be to stop fighting a losing battle and replace our front loader with a top-loading machine. But even though these are proving to be almost as efficient as front loaders, not everyone has the funds to drop hundreds of dollars on a new machine, let alone a washer and dryer set, to combat mold.

Fortunately, there is another option — we can try to keep your washing machine spotless! Mold Solutions recommends:

  • Running the Clean setting regularly to ensure mold doesn’t have much to feed on. In case the machine doesn’t have that feature, consumers can add a cup of bleach to the drum and run a cycle on the highest water temperature setting, while it’s empty.
  • Cleaning the rubber gasket carefully after each load (or every other load, at least). Pull it back to pick up all the scum that could contribute to mold and mildew growth.
  • Drying the inside of the door to remove excess moisture. Use a rag or keep the door ajar after the load.
  • Opening the dispensers and letting them dry. Remember to clean them regularly as well by soaking them in some hot water to remove the residue. Add some bleach in case there is lots of dirt to get rid of.


Many frustrated consumers are giving up and purchasing top loaders. However, tests are showing that many high efficiency top loaders are performing nearly as well as the front loaders now.  If you follow the tips provided above you should be able to reduce or prevent the foul smells and lessen your frustrations.


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