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Washing Machine Odor

What’s That Smell? Do Your Clothes Smell Like Mud?

Problems with your washing machine developing an unpleasant odor are not that uncommon. But sometimes just figuring out where the smell is washing machine odor - smelly clothescoming from and what caused it can be tricky. The cause of the smell of mildew or bad food will be much different from what might cause the smell of burning rubber. So, as difficult as it is to identify smells, it is best to try to figure out what the washing machine “smells like” before you begin your diagnostic process.

Probably the most common smell that comes out of a washing machine is that of standing water or mildew. The causes of this can be pretty simple. If you left a load of laundry running and it became unbalanced, the washer will stop and your clothes will sit in standing water for a while. Many of us get a load started and forget about it for a few hours or, in some cases, days…YUK! If that happens, your clothes pick up the stale smell of the water along with a good amount of mildew.

If this happens to you, follow these basic steps:

  • Take the wet clothing out of the washing machine and put them aside.
  • Place the washing machine on the spin cycle to drain the stale water.
  • Use a good spray cleanser to clean the inside of the tub thoroughly.
  • Put the clothes back in and spin the water out.
  • Run that batch of clothes through again to get the mildew smell out.
  • When the clothes are finished (re-washing), promptly place them in the dryer.

Cleaning the inside of the washing machine tub is always a good move for almost every kind of smell. However, the problem with standing water may not be in the tub. It might be inside the washing machine where you cannot see it. The interior of most washing machines has a lot of open space to allow for room for the connection of the hoses to the mechanism and the drum. If there is a leak in one of the hoses, water can accumulate on the floor of the washing machine and begin to smell. You might not even know it is happening if the leak doesn’t escape the washing machine itself.

Taking the back off of the washing machine is one of the fastest ways to get to the bottom of an odor problem. If the odor is from water accumulation, it will be obvious if the water is on the floor of the washer. After cleaning it up, you can investigate where the leak in the hoses is. If the odor is more like food going bad, you may find the offending item under there too after escaping clothing and working its way inside the machine. But if the odor is burning rubber, it isn’t hard to spot where one of the hoses or belts is being frayed and to figure out what to do about it.

All of these steps to diagnose the problem are relatively easy to do, as are the solutions. So there is really no reason to panic just because your washing machine has developed a bit of an odor. You can find the source of the problem, fix it and get your washer back to smelling good as new in no time.

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