cleaning washine machine door and gasket

Total Estimated Time Required: 60 – 90 Minutes

Have you ever opened the door of your washing machine and been overwhelmed with a nasty odour? You know what I’m talking about – it’s that pungent smell of mildew and soap residue.

The good news is that getting rid of the smell doesn’t have to be complicated. All you need is a few simple steps, some elbow grease, and you’ll be on your way to having a fresher smelling washing machine.

Now let’s get down to business and learn how to deodorise a smelly washing machine.

Why Does Your Washer Smell Bad?

The design of front-load washing machines is a major factor in the development of foul odours. High-efficiency front-loading washing machines fill only the bottom half of the washtub with water, and the drum revolves on a horizontal axis, tumbling the clothes through the water.

This removes the need to completely fill the bathtub, but it also reduces the amount of water available to rinse away soap and softener. If you use a detergent that is not high-efficiency, the lower amount of water may not be sufficient to thoroughly rinse it. This can lead to the accumulation of soap scum in the drum, which can attract dirt and debris from your soiled garments.

This scum can serve as a breeding ground for mould, mildew, and bacteria in the humid, warm atmosphere of the washing machine. Rubber door gaskets in front-load washers can trap dirt, soap, and fabric fragments, contributing to unpleasant odours.

anatomy of washing machine
anatomy of washing machine

Front Load vs Top Load

Front-load washing machines are prone to soap scum and bad smells thanks to their design – the rubber door gasket can trap grime, soap residue, and other particles that contribute to odours. And if you’re not using a high-efficiency detergent, there may not be enough water to rinse it away, leading to soap scum buildup in the drum. To avoid these issues, use a high-efficiency detergent and clean the rubber door gasket and drum regularly.

Top-load washing machines, on the other hand, don’t have a rubber door gasket, so they’re less likely to get stinky or accumulate soap scum. But don’t forget to clean these machines regularly to keep them fresh! This includes using a high-efficiency detergent and cleaning the drum and detergent dispensers.

How to Clean and Deodorise Your Washing Machine

Below are the steps you can take to clean and deodorise your washing machine, whether it is a front-load or top-load model.

What You’ll Need

To clean and deodorise your washing machine, you will need a few simple supplies:

  • A sponge or washcloth
  • 2-4 cups of bleach
  • ¼ cup of baking soda
  • ¼ cup of white vinegar
  • Rubber gloves
  • An old toothbrush
  • Essential oils (optional)

Scrub Everything Down

The pre-scrub is an essential part of cleaning a stinky washing machine, but it’s frequently ignored. The soap, bleach, and fabric softener dispensers should be taken out and cleaned first.

Get down into the crevices and corners with an old toothbrush or the tip of your sponge to give them a thorough cleaning. If you can, clean out the buildup in the dispensers’ pipes as well.

Wipe and clean around the door and hinges of top-loading models, where dirt can hide. Wipe and clean around the rubber seal on front-loading models to get rid of the gunk that has built up in the rubber gaskets.

All of this should be done before a thorough cleaning of the drum.

washing machine detergent tray
washing machine detergent tray

Drum Cleaning and Disinfecting

Mould control is the most crucial part of washing machine cleaning. Mould and mildew can be killed with bleach, but it’s important to take safety precautions when using it, such as wearing rubber gloves and opening a window.

Note: Bleach should never be combined with any other type of cleaning product.

washing machine drum
washing machine drum

Add four cups of bleach to a top-loading machine or two cups to a front-loading machine if you want to disinfect the drum. Use the hottest wash setting possible. This will help kill any mould and mildew that may be growing in the drum.

Baking Soda & Vinegar Wash

A combination of baking soda and white vinegar can be used to remove soap scum and grime from the washing machine drum. Put one cup each of baking soda and vinegar in the detergent dispenser. Start a standard cycle wash at the highest temperature. Together, the baking soda and vinegar will break down any dirt or soap scum and get rid of it.

Use Essential Oils

Use essential oils to give your washing machine a fresh and aromatic smell. Just put a few drops of your favourite essential oil(s) on a cotton cloth and put it in your washing machine. Then start a normal wash cycle on the hottest setting. The aromas from the essential oils will get released by the heat from the wash cycle, leaving your washing machine smelling clean and fragrant.

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Regular Maintenance

Maintaining your washing machine on a regular basis is important for keeping it fresh and in good condition.

Try these simple steps to keep your machine clean and smelling great:

  • After each use, leave the door open to allow for proper airing out.
  • If you have a front-loading machine, be sure to clean the rubber seal after every use to remove dirt and soap residue.
  • Run a hot water and vinegar cycle about once a month to remove any built-up dirt and odours.
washing machine with door open
Remember to leave the washing machine door open

Troubleshooting and Maintenance Tips

  • If your washing machine still smells bad after cleaning and sanitising, a clog might be the culprit. Check for visible clogs in the drain hose or pump, and try a vinegar wash cycle to see if it helps.
  • Keep the door open when you’re not using the machine to prevent the growth of mould and mildew.
  • If your machine is making strange noises or not functioning properly, consider calling a professional.

When to Call a Professional

If your washing machine still has an unpleasant smell or isn’t working well after trying to clean and deodorise it, it may be time to call in a pro. A trained technician can figure out the problem and come up with a plan to fix it.

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