What's the Best Way to Clean a Smelly Washing Machine?

What's the Best Way to Clean a Smelly Washing Machine?

Odors are one of the common complaints about high-efficiency washing machines, especially front loaders. This three-step routine allows you to eliminate odors in just a few minutes more than it takes to run two normal wash cycles. The only materials needed are vinegar, water and chlorine bleach.

  1. Clean the door gasket and dispensers

    Soap and fabric softener residue often builds up around the dispensers. Use hot water and a rag to clean away the residue so it doesn't provide an environment for mold to grow. Use an old toothbrush or cotton swab to clean the little cracks and crevasses. Clean the rubber door gasket using a mix of equal portions of vinegar and water. Be sure you clean both sides of the gasket, and remove any mold growing there.

  2. Sanitize the machine

    Add 4 cups of chlorine bleach to the drum of the washing machine. Close the lid, and allow the machine to fill and operate through the first 5 minutes of the wash cycle. Stop the machine, and allow the bleach and water to sit inside for 30 minutes. Start the machine again, and allow it to complete the cycle. Run a second rinse cycle to remove any traces of bleach.

  3. Deodorize the drum

    Pour 4 cups of vinegar into the drum. Repeat the same routine used with the bleach. There is no need to run the second rinse cycle after the tub drains.