Noticed a funny smell when you open the lid of your washing machine?
Worried that it isn’t washing your clothes hygienically?
Unwilling to share this smelly little secret with your local white-ware specialist?
It’s not as unusual as you might think. Read on:
Washing machines can sometimes develop an unpleasant smell. Remember that the tub of your washing machine is almost constantly damp and nasty little bacteria love warm, damp environments! Smelly washing machines are usually caused by bacteria feeding on soap scum (a yucky mix of soap residue, skin cells, dirt, crumbs and anything else that might come off your laundry!).
It’s a horrible thought. But you needn’t despair, fixing a smelly washing machine is a fairly easy D.I.Y job. Before you call in the professionals, try these 5 simple steps to clean and deodorize your machine:
1. Wipe the inside of the drum clean of all visible soap scum with a warm, wet cloth. Make sure you rinse the cloth regularly so that you’re not just diluting the scum and spreading it round. Don’t forget about the seals around the lid: clumps of hair and other residue often get trapped here and it can be the main source of the smell. If your model drains into a laundry tub, make sure you clean that thoroughly, too.
2. Remove all filters, covers, soap dispensers and anything else that lifts out of the machine and wash them with hot, soapy water. Leave to dry naturally.
3. Sanitize the machine. Chlorine bleach is the ultimate tool for this task. Washing machines are made to be durable and can certainly cope with a little household bleach, so don’t worry. Mix 1 part bleach and 10 parts water: spread this thoroughly over the inner surfaces of the drum and all of the removable parts. Use a tooth brush or cue tip to get the bleach into all of the little nooks and crannies of the machine. (Note: If anyone in your home suffers from sensitive skin and you’re worried about the bleach, a half and half mix of water and white vinegar will also do the trick).
4. Run a full cycle of your machine, empty. It’s best to use the heaviest cycle and to make it a hot wash.
5. Leave the lid open for several hours (or, even better, overnight) to allow it to air dry.
Now that you’ve been through all that, you don’t want it to happen again!
To prevent the smell from returning, give the inside of the tub a quick wipe every two or three loads. Make sure you regularly clean the filters and removable parts. Monthly sanitizing with bleach is also a good idea. After sanitizing, run an empty cycle and leave the lid of the machine open to allow the drum to air dry. If possible, try and get into the habit of always leaving the lid open between washes. This should keep your washing machine free of any residue and stop bacteria from reforming.
If you’ve followed these steps and find that you can’t get rid of the smell then it’s likely that there’s something going on within the pipes. Time to call your friendly plumber or white-ware specialist!