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What are some causes of smelly washing machines?

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Quick Answer

Some causes of smelly washing machines include using too much detergent or fabric softener, only using cold water during the wash and rinse cycles and experiencing an obstruction in the drain pump.

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Full Answer

Homeowners experience a smelly washer for a number of different reasons, most of which can be easily resolved. For example, the main cause of a smelly washing machine is using too much soap or fabric softener. When a homeowner does not follow the manufacturer's directions, it causes a build up of soap scum on the drum, which in time, begins to smell. By cleaning the wash drum with a mixture of vinegar and water, and using a detergent made for high efficiency machines, this problem will go away.

Those who use liquid fabric softener may also experience a smelly washing machine. Softener is placed in in a specific container and dispersed during the rinse cycle. However, this softener tends to build up in the dispenser and along the sides of the wash tub, where it becomes a breeding ground for mold, mildew and bacteria. Clean the dispenser with vinegar and water to remove the source of the odor.

Another cause of washing machine odor is a clogged drain pump. When a drain pump becomes obstructed, water can't drain properly from the machine. Most machines come with instructions on how to clean the drain pump for proper water flow.

Using nothing but cold water during the wash and rinse cycles can also lead to washing machine odors. To solve this issue, devote one cycle to a hot water wash and cold water rinse each week.

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