how to fix a smelly dryer

My Washer Smells Like Mold. What do I do?

If your front load washing machine smells musky or like mold, you’re not alone. Many owners of front load washing machines complain that their washers smell like mold. The good news is that you can easily get rid of any unpleasant odors and prevent future problems with good washer cleaning habits.

How to Remove Musky or Mold Smell from Your Washer

If you already have accumulated an unpleasant odor in your machine, the first step is to get rid of the mold, mildew, and bacteria causing the smell. To get your washer smelling good again, follow these simple steps:

Clean the Wash Tub. For a completely natural clean, pour 1 cup of vinegar and 10 drops of tea tree essential oil (a natural oil scientifically proven to have antimicrobial qualities as effective as bleach!) into the bleach dispenser. Run your washer’s Tub Clean cycle. This homemade washer cleaner recipe will kill any mold, mildew, and unpleasant bacteria in your machine naturally! You could also use a product such as Affresh washer cleaner.

Clean the Door Boot. The door boot is the most common culprit for nasty mold growth. Worst of all, many front load washer owners don’t even realize that there is mold growing on the door boot because it is hiding under the boot’s fold. To clean your door boot, mix the following ingredients in a spray bottle.

  • 1 part vinegar
  • 1 part water
  • 10 drops tea tree oil
  • 10 drops of lemongrass oil

This combination of natural ingredients will effectively clean mold without damaging your door boot from harsh chemicals (plus, you can use any leftover spray to effectively disinfect your kitchen and bathrooms!

Spray the door boot with the cleaning solution, paying special attention to the area under the door boot fold. Let the solution sit for 5-10 minutes to let the solution kill any mold or bacteria. If the solution has dried, respray to dampen. Finally, use a scrubber (like a sponge) to loosen any stuck on mold and then wipe clean with a clean damp rag.

Washer Smells Like Mold

Clean the Soap Dispenser. An often overlooked area to clean is the soap dispenser. After several months or years of washing clothes, your soap dispenser is likely covered with dry, stuck on detergent. Remove the dispenser housing and clean it in the sink with warm water. Wipe down any residue on the machine, and then reinstall the dispenser.

How to Maintain a Clean Front Load Washer

Now that your front load washer is clean, be sure to follow this easy monthly cleaning routine to ensure your washer stays fresh year around.

Clean the Washer Tub Monthly. It’s a good idea to run the Tub Clean cycle on your washing machine at least once per month. Use the natural washing machine tub cleaner recipe above, or invest in a supply of Affresh or Clorox Washing Machine Cleaner tablets. Following this practice will eliminate 75% of your washer problems.

Wipe Down the Door Boot and Exterior Monthly. After you clean the washer tub, clean the door boot, soap dispenser housing, and washer exterior as described above. When you’re working with a clean machine, this step should only take 3-5 mintues each month.

Leave the Door Ajar. When you’re done washing a load of laundry, leave your door ajar to allow the water to evaporate and steam to escape. When the washer door is closed immediately after you run the cycle, you trap in hot, humid air that is perfect breeding ground for mold.

Use HE Laundry Detergent. Modern washing machines are High Efficiency, which means that they use less water than the machines manufactured a decade ago. For this reason, it is important that you use an HE Laundry Detergent, and don’t use too much! Carefully follow the measurement guidelines to ensure you’re not using too much soap. Too much soap can lead to severe washing machine problems, including issues that will require a repair.

$10 Off
Appliance Repair

sign up for your coupon

Sign up for our Newsletter to get our best recommendations on products, maintenance, and cleaning.

You’ll also get $10 off your first repair!

I need help with my...