Unpleasant smells can come from both top loading and front loading washing machines. This problem usually increases with age and is often an indication of mold. After you use the washing machine, it is not uncommon for small amounts of water to be left standing. This often happens when you overload the washing machine and the clothing does not completely spin out. It does not take much standing water to for mold spores to start growing. Even if you operate the washing machine on a regular basis, mold spores may remain.
To help eliminate the smell, try the following suggestions.
First keep the lid of the washing machine open. Leaving the door open allows fresh air to circulate inside the machine. This in turn helps evaporate standing water. If your washing machine happens to be in a closet, you will also need to keep the closet door open. This will help allow fresh air to circulate.
Next run the washing machine while it is empty using hot water. When the rinse cycle starts, add one cup of liquid bleach. Bleach is a great sanitizer and is very effective at killing not only mold but also bacteria.
Once the washing cycle has completed, repeat the process a second time.
After the second complete cycle has finished, take one more cup of liquid bleach and pour it into the washing machine. The bleach will settle to the bottom where the residual water usually is and help kill off any remaining bacteria and mold.
If you add a cup of bleach to the washing machine while empty, be sure that you run the washing machine one time prior to adding a load of laundry. If you don’t, the standing bleach will damage your load of laundry.
If the smell remains, the problem may not be with the washing machine, but rather the walls and floor surrounding the washing machine. You can pull out the washing machine to check the floor and walls for mold damage. A surface application of bleach will usually kill off the mold. Be sure that you wear proper protection (eye, mouth and nose mask, and gloves) when cleaning with bleach.
You can also go to your local hardware store and pick up a cleaner specifically designed for mold.
Finally if there is a lot of mold, you may need to remove the wall and any insulation inside the wall. That’s a job you may want to have a professional handle.