There are a variety of culprits which may cause bad odours in your washing machine. First check the lint filter and detergent container before anything else.
The lint filter traps lint, hair and other build up from your washing. It can cause a rank odour if it isn’t emptied regularly; lint filters can usually be found near the front base of your washing machine.
If you use your detergent container remember to remove it and give it a good clean with an ordinary domestic cleaner.
If these quick fixes don’t remove the smell, other common causes may be:
- Low temperature washes
- Liquid detergents
- Hard water
Lower temperature washes
Lower temperature washes - 30 and 40 degrees Celsius and below - are good for the environment but they don't adequately destroy bacteria that breeds in moist environments.
If you want to continue washing your laundry at low temperatures, it is recommended that you run a maintenance wash once a month to eliminate the build-up of bacteria and the bad smell it creates.
Using bleach based detergent, run your washing machine completely empty through its hottest cycle - at least 60 degrees Celsius. When it’s finished, wipe down the drum and leave the door open to help the air circulate and dry. Click on the link below for more details.
It’s also a good idea to wash your towels, tea towels, under garments and bed sheets using a higher temperature wash cycle. Click on the link below for more details.
Washing at low temperatures – is it worth it?
Once you’re rid of the smell try running a wash like this every three to four weeks. This should stop the smell from returning.
Many liquid and colour-friendly detergents don’t contain bleach. This allows bacteria to thrive possibly resulting in a really offensive odour.
Try using washing powder instead - it cleans better and is more eco-friendly. Also try and avoid fabric softeners, they may make the problem worse.
Try adding vinegar to your washing load occasionally too. The acidity helps kill off bacteria and it’s also a great clothes smell eliminator.
Hard water leaves limescale deposits causing molecules to form a film of scum inside your washer. Check your water supply for hard water. If your water is hard or you live in a hard water area try adding water softener to your washing - use as directed on the water softener instructions.
If there are still bad smells lingering around your washing machine it could have been wrongly connected when it was installed and is not draining properly. Please refer to you washing machine manual for instructions.