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Why Does My Washing Machine Smell?

Learn more about how to work with your washing machine, cooker, oven, dishwasher, refrigerator and other home and office appliances

It can be a major inconvenience if you spend time loading, washing and rinsing your clothes, only for them to come out smelling musky from the washing

Faulty heating elements

If your clothes are smelling once they leave the washing machine, it may be because the heating element within your machine has become faulty.
In order to kill bacteria from clothing and other washable items, hot water must be used. If your appliance is only washing items with lukewarm (or even cold!) water, it provides bacteria with a breeding ground and may give off a foul smell as it builds up over time.
This can also happen when clothes are persistently washed at a low temperature. It’s better to have clean, bacteria-free clothes rather than slightly cheaper energy bills!

Clogged filters

Another reason why your washing machine may smell musky is down to a blockage in the filters. From small hairbands to a coin left in your pocket, this can result in a build-up of dirt, bacteria and detergent and give off a bad odour.

Your Detergents

Your choice of washing detergent can also have an effect on the smell of your washing machine as bleach-free options don’t contain the chemicals needed to kill bacteria.

This, combined with low washing temperatures, can mean that detergent clogs up within your machine at various points, including the dispensing tray. This can be fixed by checking that you’re using detergents containing bleach and regularly cleaning the detergent dispenser.

How to Clean Your Washing Machine

If you’ve checked that your washing machine’s filters and heating elements aren’t faulty, you may want to carry out a full clean of the appliance.
This can be done by removing the detergent dispenser and soaking it in hot water. You can use a scrubber or small toothbrush to remove any build-up of bacteria or mould, and then set your machine to run (without any clothing in it!), whilst adding a cup of white vinegar to sanitise the internal parts.
Once the cycle has been completed, leave the door to the appliance open to allow air to circulate. This will also prevent dampness and should have removed any bad odours.

machine.
Mouldy, musky or damp-smells are often associated with a lack of cleanliness and you may even end up spending more money on a new machine, not knowing that there may be a simple solution to fixing your current appliance.
However, there are many reasons why your washing machine smells with solutions that you can fix at home.
We share some of the most common, and how to fix it to ensure that your clothes smell fresh every time they’ve been washed:

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