Washing Machine Smell Like Mildew? You Need This Simple Solution

Washer and dryer, with plant in modern planter
credit: Nicole Mason

Ever notice a not-so-fresh smell on your clothes after your wash them? Unfortunately, that's from your washing machine. Washing machines can harbor bacteria, hard water buildup, and mildew in all the tiny spaces throughout their interiors. So, it's a good idea to thoroughly clean yours every two to three months. And luckily, in order to get your washing machine really clean, you only need a few simple household items.

Things You'll Need

  • Distilled white vinegar

  • Toothbrush

  • Cleaning cloth

  • Spray bottle

Step 1

To start, add some distilled white vinegar to a spray bottle and generously spray the inside of your washing machine, making sure to cover the agitator, any rubber pieces, and the inside of the lid.

Step 2

Use a toothbrush to scrub the agitator and any small rubber pieces in the washing machine. If your washer has any removable pieces or areas where laundry detergents and fabric softener can be added, make sure to scrub them too. No need to rinse.

Step 3

Pour 2 cups of vinegar into the washing machine.

Step 4

Run your washing machine on a regular cycle using hot water. Do not add any clothes or linens to the washer during this cycle so that the vinegar and hot water can reach all of the washing machines nooks and crannies.

Step 5

Use a clean, dry cloth to wipe down the inside of the lid and agitator.

Step 6

Let you washing machine air dry overnight.

Your washing machine should now be nice and clean! Before using it again, let it air out overnight by leaving the lid/door open. This will allow the vinegar smell to dissipate and dry thoroughly.


Jessica Kielman

Jessica Kielman

Jessica owns two blogs, Mom 4 Real and Pour Me a Cocktail. She has been sharing easy cleaning tips, recipes and ideas with her readers for over 7 years. She has been featured on the Rachel Ray Show, TODAY Parenting, MSN, Country Woman Magazine and more.