How can I get rid of a weird smell in the washing machine?

Asked May 17, 2015, 8:36 PM EDT

Hi, There is a weird smell in my washing machine. I used to think there was a dead mouse stuck in a pipe or something. Now my clothes come out smelling of garlic. My detergent is scent-free. What type of repair do I call for a problem like this? Thank you!

Cook County Illinois

2 Responses

Front loading wash machines have heavy, rubber gasket to prevent leakage. This gasket also remains wet for a long time after using the machine and is a perfect habitat for mold. To prevent mold and odors from happening:
- Leave the door open so it can air out. When you shut the door after running a load, any residual water left in the machine has nowhere to go and the perfect breeding ground for mold and mildew is born. By simply leaving the door ajar, that water is allowed to evaporate. And always remember to take wet clothing out of the machine when the cycle has completed. It’s also a good idea to leave the soap dispenser door open as well.
- Use hot water- Running wash cycles on the highest temperature setting periodically is a wise idea when it comes to preventing odors. Once a month or so (more frequently if your machine gets a lot of action) run a load on hot to kill any lingering odor-causing bacteria and wash away any stubborn residue that may be living inside your machine. If your model of washer has a “clean cycle” option, by all means use it. This is a cycle exclusively meant for removing any gunk in your machine. Run the machine on the clean cycle (or a hot water cycle if your machine doesn’t have it) with a cup of white vinegar. After every load, it’s a good idea to sprinkle a bit of baking soda in the drum to absorb any odors.
Use the right detergent and less of it. Use only specially formulated,low-suds level HE detergents as other detergents could lead to a residue build up and more odors. And even with the HE detergents, do not over use.
To remove existing odors, spray the gasket with a mixture of one part vinegar to one part water and wipe down thoroughly with cloth towels with extra attention to the inner areas of the gaskets.and then run the machine on a full cycle with hot water and one-half cup vinegar in the water. Leave the door open to air dry. If your machine is still under warranty, you may want to consider replacing the gasket if the odor persists.

Thank you for the ideas. I always leave the lid open, but I will try the hot water and vinegar.