7 causes of odors in the washing machine

Even cleaners can get an unpleasant odor in the washing machine. It is caused by mold, installation errors, or misuse. Read more about all the reasons for the smell – in this article.

Hard water
Water hardness refers to the amount of various natural elements dissolved in it. The most important hardness salts are calcium and magnesium. The amount of salts in tap water, ideally, should not exceed 4 meq / l, otherwise it is considered hard. Grease, dirt and detergents mix with salts during washing and settle on the inside of the machine. The more salts, the more sediment and, accordingly, the stronger the smell.

Washing machine Samsung WW65J42E0HWDLP 26 899 *
To accurately determine the level of concentration of hardness salts, iron, hydrogen sulfide and other impurities, the water is submitted for analysis to the laboratory. But it is difficult, time consuming and expensive. The easiest way to figure out what kind of water is in your city is to look at a water map .

There are four levels of hardness: According to SanPin, the permissible level of hardness is up to 7 mg-eq / l. But in practice, even moderately hard water can leave scale on metal surfaces and a film on rubber parts. By the way, hard water harms not only the washing machine, but also things. Salts also settle on the laundry, which eventually becomes grayish and wears out faster.

Low wash water temperature

Many people are afraid to wash at high temperatures, but this is one of the reasons for the unpleasant smell. 30-40 degrees is not enough to break down fats and completely dissolve impurities. Therefore, the dirt from the laundry settles on the walls of the drain hose, filter, seal and begins to decompose.

Washing machine DEXP WM-F610NMA / WW 13 999 *
At least occasionally wash your laundry at 60 degrees or higher to avoid this. By the way, there are categories of laundry that must be washed in very hot water to kill bacteria. These are bed linen and underwear, socks, children’s clothing, T-shirts, T-shirts and towels.

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Dairy, egg and sweat stains make the water harder due to the high calcium content in the dirt. Pre-soaking is recommended to wash them.

Quality detergent and conditioner
The very first thing to check when buying streak products is the expiration date. Chemistry goes bad too! Expired conditioners and powders turn into a sticky lump that does not wash out even under a strong pressure of water.

An example of the composition of a washing powder

Then we look at the composition. Pay close attention to the following components:

Surfactants – they fight fat well, but do not rinse out to the end. Used in most laundry detergents and detergents.
Phosphates (Phosphate, Phosphonate) – soften water, but harm the skin and accumulate in the body if you rinse your clothes a little. A more expensive and safer analogue is zeolites.
Optical brightener is not real brightener, in fact it is a fluorescent dye that reflects blue color and makes whites appear bright. It is not rinsed out of fabrics, otherwise it simply will not have an effect, therefore it can provoke allergies.
Flavors – mask the chemical smell of powders, and can also provoke an allergic reaction.
Phthalates (phthalates or DEP) are added to keep the laundry smelling fresh for as long as possible, and not the chemical components of the powder. These volatile substances enter the respiratory tract and lead to hormonal imbalances.
Chlorine (chlorine, hypochlorite, sodium hypochlorite) – with constant use causes respiratory diseases. Means with chlorine-containing components, contrary to advertising promises, poorly clean dirt, stick to the walls of the washer and dissolve poorly. If it is written on the washing powder that it contains optical brighteners, and the surfactant content is more than 15%, it contains chlorine.
The safest phosphate-free products, which include natural ingredients: vegetable or sugar surfactants, oxygen bleach.

There are special detergents with enzymes. They do a great job of removing organic stains such as blood, sauces, coffee, beets, sweat, grease, etc. Enzymes effectively remove dirt when washing up to 40 degrees. At higher temperatures, their effectiveness decreases.

The amount of detergent for washing in soft water must correspond to the minimum value indicated, for hard water – the maximum value. Be sure to follow the dosage indicated on the package.

A sealing rubber is needed to seal the tank tightly. Due to the peculiarities of the form, water constantly gets into it, which itself does not disappear from there. If the elastic is not wiped after washing, mold will appear there sooner or later. In this case, the “moldy” smell is provided. If mold does appear, first wash the gum with detergent, after half an hour wipe it with a sponge, and then turn on the rinse without spinning.


If the mold is not removed in time, it can “eat through” the gum. It will have to be changed.

The tray is the second most common place for mold to develop. This is due to the fact that the tray after washing is not opened to dry, and also not washed from the plaque that appears from water and detergents. When you take out the tray, check for mold in the feed duct by shining a flashlight into the hole. If there are traces of mold, clean the canal with a small brush or call a specialist. Dirt in the canal forms if you do not monitor the condition of the tray.

How to remove the tray on the Indesit WT 62 top-loading washing machine

To remove all dirt from the tray, it is enough to soak it in soapy water or disinfectant composition. You can brush away mold from hard-to-reach places with a toothbrush. After – rinse the tray thoroughly with clean water, preferably with good pressure.

Garbage in pockets

Washing machine LG F1296HDS3 27 899 *
Crumbs, wrappers, husks, candies, gum, pieces of paper, money – all this people constantly put in their pockets, but they do not shake them out before washing. All this debris, along with wool, lint and hair, clogs the drain filter and eventually sour, spreading the “aroma” throughout the machine. Manufacturers recommend cleaning it every 20 washes or every 1-2 months.

To clean the trap filter, turn off the water supply and unplug the washing machine, and then do the following in sequence:

Find a filter, most often located near the pump. Open the manhole cover or remove the bezel. See the instructions for your clipper for the exact location of the filter.
Place a rag and drain the remaining water into a basin. There is always some liquid in the drain system of any washing machine. It will pour out as soon as you unscrew the filter.
Unscrew the filter carefully and pull it out.
Clean and rinse. You can remove plaque from the surface using the harder side of a kitchen sponge. Do not wash the filter with hot water, otherwise the plastic of the housing and the sealing gum may be damaged.
Remove plaque and mucus from the filter opening with a sponge.
Check the condition of the drain pump, which may also be dirty. If the impeller turns easily, there is no need to clean the pump.
Then install the filter and turn on the machine.
This is not an easy task, especially if the machine is built into the furniture or stands in a hard-to-reach place. In these cases, it is better to call specialists.

Improper operation

Do not use the washing machine in place of a basket for storing dirty laundry, and remember to remove clean laundry immediately after washing. The musty smell is well absorbed into the sealing gum, but it is very difficult to get rid of it.

Plus, a humid environment is ideal for mold and mildew discussed above. After washing, be sure to ventilate the drum and powder tray. Manufacturers recommend leaving the machine open for 3-4 hours.

Installation errors
Drain hose connection.

If a characteristic sewer amber is felt from the drum, then the drain system is connected to the inside of the device without a hydraulic safety device. Sometimes an odor occurs if water remains in the drum after washing. Both reasons are signals of technical problems:

The drain system is not connected correctly, the hose is kinked or there is a blockage.
The drain pump, pressure switch or electronic board is out of order.
If water leaks when the machine is turned off, you need to check the filler valve, if the hoses are connected correctly and if there is a blockage in the drain. To solve these problems, you need to call the wizard.

Breakdown of heating element

If the cuff, tray, filter and drain hose do not have the above problems, and the washing powder has been the same for several years, perhaps the cause of the unpleasant smell in the heating element. For washing machines, hard water is harmful, since during boiling magnesium and calcium are destroyed and deposited on the heating element in the form of scale. If the machine stops heating the water and a moldy smell appears, contact a specialist. Perhaps the reason is precisely in the heating element.

How to get rid of the smell and what not to use
Sometimes the cause of the unpleasant smell is not associated with the machine itself, but with problems in the sewer system. If the pipes in the house are old, it will smell not only from the typewriter, but also from the sink, dishwasher, bathtub and other open sources. This problem cannot be solved without replacing the pipeline.


There are many popular methods for softening water, combating limescale and descaling. But we highly do not recommend using them, because the result is unpredictable, and under the guarantee, a machine cleaned in the “old-fashioned” way will definitely not work.

Fortunately, now you can buy special products for all occasions. They will take care of the technique and extend the life of the unit. You can remove limescale deposits with a washing machine cleaner. Special gels soften the water. There are also descaling agents. All these substances must be used strictly according to the instructions.

Do not use solvents, bleach, alcohol or abrasive powders for cleaning. Otherwise, you will only aggravate the situation.

What not to use to remove odor
Lemon acid. It negatively affects silumin tanks, which are installed in most inexpensive washing machines. Citric acid destroys the top layer of the drum. With repeated use, loaded parts begin to crack, and the metal collapses.

The result of cleaning the machine with citric acid

Vinegar. Has the same effects as citric acid. In addition, vinegar has a pungent sour smell that is almost impossible to remove. It bites into plastic and rubber parts and stays on clean laundry.

Soda. In a modified form, it is included in some products. Used to soften water and fight mold. If you use baking soda for washing or washing the machine, keep in mind that over time, its particles settle on the walls of the drum and other parts of the washing machine, and things deteriorate due to the alkaline environment.