How to Get Rid of Washing Machine Odors
For an appliance that cleans and freshens up your dirty laundry, your washing machine can get quite dirty and smelly. Dirt, grime, and all sorts of odors will eventually make their way into the interior surfaces of your washing machine. If you do heavy loads of laundry, your washing machine will eventually smell like a vile combination of sweaty socks, undergarments, wet towels, and just about every article of clothing you wash in it.A dirty, smelly washing machine is no place for you to do laundry. Grime and scum stuck on a washing machine not only smell bad, but they can also harbor disease-causing microorganisms that are harmful to you and your family. It's important to get grid of those foul odors from your washing machine to keep your clothes smelling fresh and looking clean.
You Get What You Put In
The odors that stink up your washing machine come from the clothes you put in it. Soap residue and hard water contribute to the foul odor. Sweat, dead skin cells, pollution, and bodily odors will eventually make your washing machine smell bad.
Foul odors in your washing machine are caused by a film of scum. It may sound disgusting, but that disgusting layer of filth are the stains and dirt that come off from your clothes. Clothes are cleaned in a washing machine through a process called agitation, where the clothes are pushed around in soapy water. The water and the detergent then get forced in between the fibers of your clothes.
The good news is that your washing machine cleans itself every time you do laundry. Water and detergent, along with your clothes, gently clean and scour the interior surfaces of your washing machine for every laundry load. The problem is that washing clothes is not a self-cleaning function. You still need to clean your washing machine every now and then to get rid of the scum.
If you do heavy loads of laundry every week, you need to get down and dirty, and clean your washing machine at least once a month. A bit of elbow grease, coupled with the right cleaning tools, can keep your washing machine clean and odor-free. Whether you use a top-loading machine or a front-loading washer, the cleaning method stays the same.
Here are the tools you need to clean your washing machine:
- Extra-strength detergent powder
- Worn scouring pads
- A couple of new, stiff kitchen sponges
Follow these steps to remove the odor-causing scum that coats the insides of your washing machine:
- Wet the inside walls (for agitator-type machines) or the drum surface (for drum-type machines) with warm water.
- Using a worn, soft scouring pad and some detergent powder, gently scrub away at the scummy film coating the inside surfaces of the washing machine. Use as much soap as you need to dissolve the oil-based chemical bonds that hold the scum and grease molecules together.
- Empty the lint remover or receptacle (if your washing machine has one), and wash the fabric thoroughly. Clean the drainage slots thoroughly, and make sure to remove all the fibers, hairs, dirt, and other scum that have built up on the holes, pores, and slots of the drain covers.
- Rinse the surface with water. Do not add bleach to the soapy surface, because you'll only end up making toxic, potentially fatal gases.
- Add bleach to the dry, clean interior surfaces of the washing machine. Bleach will help disinfect the surfaces, and inhibit the growth of bacteria, mold, and other microorganisms. Spread the bleach around with a stiff kitchen sponge.
- Allow the bleach to set before washing it away. Don't worry about the bleach wearing out the enamel or the protective paint coating the interior surface of your washing machine. Washing machines are built to withstand the effects of the cleaning chemicals.
A thorough cleaning of your washing machine takes time and effort, depending on how much scum is found in the machine. If you have a tumble-dryer, then you can use the same cleaning technique to get rid of the residue from soap and detergent.
Smart Tips for an Odor-Free Washing Machine
There are many other ways to keep your washing machine free from odor-causing grime. The next time you wash clothes, try the following smart washing tips:
- Use detergent made from 100% soluble cleaning agents. Cheaper detergents contain impurities like chalk, lime, talc, and gypsum-based substances that do not dissolve in water, causing scum to form.
- Check the water supply to see if it contains hard water. Impurities can cause odor-causing molecules to form and build a foul-smelling film of scum inside your washing machine.
- Use the recommended amount of soap, and the recommended wash setting, for different articles of clothing with different fabrics.
- Soak very dirty fabrics in a bucket of soapy water before popping them in a washing machine. The soaking process gets rid of some of the stinky particles of grime.
Just because your washing machine is a place to wash dirty, smelly laundry doesn't mean it has to stink. A clean washing machine will always lead to those clean, fresh-smelling clothes. Smart washing, proper hygiene, and a bit of elbow grease is all it takes to get rid of the scum and grime that stink up your washing machine.