How to Clean a Mildew Smell From a Washing Machine

It is common for a mildew smell to come from a washer. Whether you have a front-loading or top-loading washer, the musty odor is often overbearing and can ruin entire loads of laundry. These smells are the result of detergent residue, excess moisture or dirt from your laundry. Removing washer smells is necessary if you want your laundry to smell fresh and clean. Musty washing machine odor not only ruins your laundry, but can also stink up your home.

Wipe out the inside tub of the washer after each use to prevent moisture from sitting inside.

Cleaning Top-Loading Washers

Step 1

Fill the washer with hot water. Add 3 cups white vinegar and ½ cup baking soda once the washer is filled with water.

Step 2

Allow the wash cycle to run nearly a full cycle. Once the water begins to drain, advance the wash cycle to the spin setting. This will cause the washer to spin and drain at the same time.

Step 3

Wipe down the interior tub of the washer with a damp rag once the cycle is done. This will remove any loosened debris. Follow up by running a complete cycle of cold water.

Step 4

Wipe down the inside of the washer with a clean towel to remove excess moisture. Leave the door of the washer open so that it dries completely.

Cleaning Front-Loading Washers

Step 5

Wipe out the interior tub of the washer with a damp rag. This will remove any loose lint or dirt from the tub.

Step 6

Set the washer on the hottest water setting and the shortest wash cycle. Fill the bleach dispenser tray with bleach.

Step 7

Allow the washer agitate for about 20 seconds. Stop the wash cycle and allow the bleach and water to sit in the washer for about 15 minutes.

Step 8

Add the usual amount of laundry detergent to the laundry dispenser tray. Restart the washer to the beginning of the wash cycle. Allow the washer to run a complete wash cycle.

Step 9

Wipe down the seals of the washing machine with a bleach, water and detergent solution. Fill a bucket with 1 gallon warm water. Add ¾ cup chlorine bleach and 1 tbsp. powdered laundry detergent. Clean the rubber seal along the door with a rag dipped in the bleach solution. Wipe out the dispenser tray with this solution as well.

Step 10

Keep the door of the washer open to allow the tub to dry out completely.