14 Simple Hacks For When Your Washing Machine Smells

This morning after I gathered my dirty laundry from my bedroom, I went to my washing machine and guess what?

My semi-old washing machine smells like sewage!

So gross and I couldn’t believe it.

I had to IMMEDIATELY go to Tik Tok and Pinterest to find out how to combat this smelly problem.

I mean, how do you get rid of smells in your washing machine?

It’s a pain to have to run your washing machine all the time and still have to deal with lingering odors, amiright?

Well, after spending the morning down the Tik Tok rabbit hole, I’m learning and tried several things to get rid of the smell without investing in an expensive appliance repair or calling a professional!


You don’t have to live your life with a washing machine that smells like mildew!

With some simple hacks, you can get rid of those pesky smells and keep your laundry machine from stinking in the first place.

Let’s get to it!

Why Does My Washing Machine Smell Bad?

So look –

There are a gazillion reasons why your washing machine has a funky odor.

For example, the smell may be coming from mold or mildew, a buildup of lint, or even a problem with the drain pump.

Or it could come from these:

  • A leak. If water has leaked into your washing machine and has not been cleaned up, it can leave behind an unpleasant odor. You should also check for mold or mildew in areas where water might have pooled.
  • Mold growing on clothing. This is caused by dampness in your home’s air conditioning system (or lack thereof) during humid weather, which can lead to mold growth on clothes that were hanging out in a damp environment for too long before being washed. To prevent this problem from occurring again next summer when humidity levels rise again, make sure that you’re keeping things dry!
  • A buildup of detergent residue inside pipes leading up into the drum itself. This causes detergent build-up over time until your washing machine smells like rotten eggs.

Now that you know what causes washing machine smells, let’s talk about how you can get rid of them!

How to Get Rid of Smells from Your Washing Machine

1. Clean the Lint Trap

You can clean the lint filter in your washing machine by following these steps:

  • Turn the machine off and unplug it from the wall.
  • Remove the filter cover, which is usually on top of or near your drum.
  • Clean out any excess lint with a brush or vacuum cleaner attachment, then reinsert it into place when finished cleaning.

Yes, washing machines have lint traps, too, and the longer you leave it uncleaned, the more it will cause your washing machine to smell like mildew.

2. Clean the Door Seal

The seal between your washing machine and its door can get dirty over time (especially if you have a front load washing machine like me), which can cause odors to linger inside.

To clean it, use mild soap and water – or even a sponge if you need to get really into those crevices!

A microfiber cloth does well to give it a sweep over and get all that sitting water at the bottom of the rung.

If you have an extra minute or two (or are feeling extra motivated), feel free to use a lint roller or vacuum with a brush attachment as well.

For day-to-day use I leave the door open to avoid water sitting in the rubber seal.

3. Use a Washing Machine Tub Cleaner

There are washing machine tub cleaners designed specifically to keep your laundry machine smelling fresh!

One of the best washing machine cleaners is Tide Washing Machine Cleaner Tablets.

It powers through odors and residues to eliminate those annoying washing machine smells.

4. Switch to Eco-Friendly Detergent

One of the best ways to get rid of the smell is to switch to a natural detergent.

Look for eco-friendly products that don’t contain harsh chemicals that can damage your washing machine.

For example, many detergents contain bleach or other bleaching agents that can harm rubber seals in the machine’s tub.

When you’re shopping for eco-friendly detergents at your local grocery store or online, be sure to check out reviews, so you know what people are saying about them before purchasing any products!

5. Run a Self-Clean Cycle

Most modern washing machines include a self-clean cycle.

Just make sure your washing machine is empty and hit the self-clean button!

While you don’t need to add any cleaners, you can throw in a cleaning tablet to double down on washing machine smells.

This cycle can take a while, so plan on having your washing machine run for over an hour.

How to Clean a Top Loading Washing Machine

Okay –

With those easy ways to clean your washing machine because of the funky smell, let’s get more granular and look at how to wash a top loading washing machine.

6. Clean the Grates

If you’ve found that your washing machine smells musty, it may be because of mildew in the grates under the tub.

To clean them, fill a bucket with warm water and add 1/2 cup of bleach.

Dip your soft brush into this solution and scrub away at all sides of each grate until they’re clean.

If you don’t have a soft brush handy or if that doesn’t work well enough for you, try using an old toothbrush instead – it’s just as effective at removing soap scum.

7. Remove the Agitator

The agitator is that piece in the middle of your washing machine that moves the clothes around to knock off dirt and grime.

If your washing machine has one and it’s removable, make sure you take it out and run a cycle to get rid of top-load washing machine smells.

How to Clean a Front Load Washer

8. Clean the Detergent Dispenser Tray

Haul out the detergent dispenser tray and give them a good clean.

Lots of soap residue and water get trapped in here, which can make your washing machine smell bad!

If there’s a bunch of soap caked on, let the tray soak for 10 minutes in hot water.

Let the tray air dry before putting it back in.

9. Give the Gasket a Good Clean

The gasket is the rubber piece that runs around the opening of your washing machine.

Over time, mold and mildew can grow because it’s not drying properly.

This is especially true when it comes to the gasket’s crevices.

Gently pull the edge of the gasket forward and clean out any debris and mold. Be sure to give it a good dry!

The Best Naturals Ways to Get Rid of Smells in Your Washing Machine

Are there natural ways to clean a washing machine?

Of course there are!

10. Baking Soda

Baking soda is a great natural way to eliminate odor.

Sprinkle it on your laundry, leave it overnight, then throw the clothes in with your regular wash.

Or put in a cup full of baking soda. Run an empty cycle on hot water and soap (do not add clothes). This will help draw out any lingering odors from inside the drum.

11. Vinegar

Vinegar can also help remove odors from clothing and linens.

I mean, vinegar is used for any cleaning task. I use it to clean my bathroom and kitchen counters! Miracle cleaner!

Add one cup of vinegar to a load of laundry and set it aside overnight before washing as usual.

Vinegar works as a natural deodorizer because it breaks down odor-causing bacteria and releases its own scent into clothing that masks smells naturally.

So no need for artificial fragrances here! Plus, it won’t harm fabrics like other sprays might do over time either!

12. Why Not Both?

If you’re wondering how to clean your washing machine with vinegar and baking soda, there are different ways you can do this.

You may want to experiment with different blends depending on how strong an odor removal effect you need:

  • 1 part apple cider vinegar mixed with 4 parts water, or
  • 1/2 cup white vinegar plus 2 cups warm water, or
  • 1/4 cup distilled white distilled vinegar + 3 cups cold water

All of them work well!

13. Essential Oils

Essential oils are another option if you want something stronger than baking soda or vinegar but don’t have any essential oils on hand.

Simply add 5-10 drops of lemon oil or lavender oil into each load along with detergent before tossing it into the machine!

14. Coffee Grinds

For those who want an even more potent solution: coffee grounds can work wonders at removing odors from anything from gym bags to shoes!

Just sprinkle some grounds over whatever surface needs freshening up – they’ll absorb all those gross smells right outta there!

How to Prevent Washing Machine Smells in the First Place

Okay, so we talked about how to get rid of smells in your washing machine, but how about making sure they don’t happen in the first place?

Here are some tips for preventing gross smells in your washing machine:

  • Use warm water for washing instead of hot or cold water. Hot water can trap moisture inside the fibers and promote bacterial growth if not dried properly after each use.
  • Use detergent that is made specifically for high-efficiency (HE) machines. Choose low-sudsing detergents that don’t leave residue behind after rinsing out completely during spin cycles.
  • Run vinegar through your laundry machine every couple of months. This will help kill off any mold spores that might be hiding in there and causing washing machine smells!
  • Clear out your filters regularly. This includes the filters inside the drum and the ones attached to the water lines.
  • Leave the lid/door open. After you finish a wash, leave the door or lid open to let the inside of your washing machine completely dry. Otherwise, your washing machine might smell like sewage!

Whether you are just running through your pile of laundry or trying to get rid of stains from your clothes, you need a washing machine that smells nice!

Goodbye Gross Smells!

Nothing is worse than trying to keep your clothes fresh and clean, but your washing machine smells like a garbage can.

Thankfully, keeping your washing machine from smelling is super simple!

These hacks will for sure eliminate those moldy, mildewy, and sewer smells from your laundry machine.

And as long as you do the things I mentioned above to prevent smells, you won’t have to deal with them that often.

Because who has time for that?

Please pin me and make sure to follow me on Pinterest for more cleaning and organizing tips!