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Your Washing Machine Smells? Get Rid of Washing Machine Odors Using These Home Remedies

washing machine smells stink odor how to clean your washer naturally
Photo: CC0 Public Domain / Unsplash - Emily Chung

If your washing machine smells, it’s probably time for a thorough clean. Here’s how to keep your washing machine odor-free without any harmful chemicals.

When you wash your laundry on your machine’s energy-save mode, this generally means you’re washing at low temperatures. While these eco-functions do indeed reduce electricity consumption, they tend to leave behind grease and grime in your washing machine. Anything deposited in the washing machine is no longer properly dissolved and removed without heat.

Dirt and grime buildup can settle on the rubber seal and in the detergent compartment. These deposits form the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold, which can later lead to unpleasant washing machine smells and laundry odor.

Your Washing Machine Stinks? Clean it!

washing machine smells stinks eliminate odors in laundry
These natural methods will leave your washing machine clean as ever and eliminate odors. (Photo: © Utopia)

So what do you do when your washing machine stinks? When it’s time to get rid of smells in your washing machine, commercial cleaning agents aren’t the only options out there. There are also numerous all-natural methods you can use to clean your washer and get rid of any lingering washing machine smells.

We’ll show you how easy getting your washing machine odor-free is and what you need to pay special attention to throughout the process.

Read more: Water Conservation: 10 Tips on How to Save Water at Home

1. Clean Lint Filter and Detergent Compartment Regularly

To keep washing machine stinks to a minimum, you should be sure to clean two of the machine’s core components on a regular basis (i.e. every month):

  • the lint filter
  • the detergent compartment

How to clean the lint filter:

  1. Proceed in removing the lint filter from the washing machine according to the instructions provided in your washing machine’s manual.
  2. Empty and wipe it clean.
  3. Rinse it thoroughly under running water.
  4. If your laundry or washing machine smells really bad, you can also leave it to soak in a soda bath for a few minutes. This should help remove stark odors from your washing machine.

How to clean the detergent compartment:

  1. Remove the detergent compartment or drawer as far as possible.
  2. Wipe it clean of any visible detergent residue.
  3. Leave it to soak in a hot vinegar bath for about half an hour.
  4. This dissolves lime, but also removes bacteria and bad odors that may be lingering in your washing machine.
  5. Rinse it off and put it back into the washing machine.

2. Get Rid of Washing Machine Smells with Citric Acid

Lemon juice citric acid get rid of washing machine smells
You can use lemon juice to clean the rubber of your washing machine to help eliminate unpleasant smells. (Photo: © Utopia)

Citric acid helps rid your washing machine of limescale. It acts like an acetic acid but is far less corrosive. Plus, citric acid leaves your washing machine and laundry with a pleasant smell. Here’s how to get rid of washing machine stinks with the citric acid method:

  1. Every three to four months, add five to ten tablespoons of citric acid directly into the empty drum of your washing machine.
  2. Choose a programme with a maximum of 104°F/40° C (at higher temperatures calcium citrate is formed and deposited in the washing machine).
  3. Pause the wash cycle is at its halfway mark and let the citric acid take effect for one to two hours.
  4. Finish the wash cycle as usual.

You can use lemon juice to clean the rubber seals of your washing machine (another common source of smells). Simply moisten a soft cloth with lemon juice and run along the rubber seal located on the edge of the drum. You’ll be amazed at the amount of dirt and grime that can accumulate there over time.

3. If Your Washing Machine Still Smells, Try Baking Soda

Baking soda how to get rid of washing machine smells
Baking soda is another natural and effective way to get rid of unwanted smells in your washing machine. (Photo: © Utopia)

Another effective method of removing washing machine smells is with baking soda. Sodium bicarbonate will rid your washing machine of bacteria, fungi and other sources of foul odors.

Here’s how to clean your washing machine with baking soda:

  1. Add 3 1/2 tbsp. into the main detergent compartment of your washing machine.
  2. Run a wash cycle at a minimum heat of 104°F/40° C.
  3. Remove and clean the detergent tray.

Note: Baking soda doesn’t help remove calcium buildup.

Utopia’s tip: Homemade Oven Cleaner: 3 DIY Methods Better Than Chemical Cleaners

Don’t Use Vinegar: It’s too Corrosive

Vinegar is another wonderfully effective, cheap, and sustainable household hack used for a variety of different tasks – like getting sweat smells out of clothes, unclogging your drain or cleaning your refrigerator. It can easily replace many expensive chemical cleaning products at low cost.

Read on: Washing Clothes with Vinegar: Benefits of Adding Vinegar to Laundry

However, when it comes to ridding your washing machine of smells, you should be extra careful. Many people swear by the tried and tested household remedy and put a cup of vinegar in the drum of the empty machine and run a cycle at 90° C. The acetic acid loosens and rids the machine of limescale deposits.

However, experts advise against it. Acetic acid is corrosive and can cause long-term damage to the rubber seals and hoses. For this reason, we only recommend you use vinegar for cleaning the detergent drawer.

Tip: After a wash or cleaning, be sure to always leave the washing machine drum and the detergent compartment open so it can dry out properly and no mold can form and cause unpleasant washing machine smells!

Another Cleaning Challenge: Limescale Deposits

In addition to undissolved grease, dirt and mold, limescale deposits can also cause problems in washing machines. Lime can not only cause great damage to the machine, but can also increase energy consumption as soon as the heating elements are affected. That’s why we recommend using the citric acid method described above on a regular basis.

This article was translated from German to English by Evan Binford. You can view the original here: Stinkende Waschmaschine reinigen – so geht’s mit Hausmitteln

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