Front-loading washing machines (aka “front loader washing machines”) have a problem – an inherent design flaw that means that all of them will eventually start to develop very unpleasant odors. Around the washer drum there are areas that funky-smelling goo can collect in spots where nobody can get to it. Stinky vapors can get out, but you can’t get in to stop them.
There are several methods people try to fight this horrifying smell – here are the most popular:
Destroy Bad Odors with NonScents Odor Control Products
Both NonScents Shoe Deodorizers and NonScents Fridge Deodorizers will get rid of the washing machine’s bad smells if you put one of them in the machine when you’re not using it. The odor control technology will emanate from the deodorizers and kill the odors as they sneak out from your machine’s nooks and crannies.
Be sure to remove the deodorizer from the washer before you use it (running it through the wash will wear it out very quickly), and be aware that because of the washer’s high humidity, these products, while very effective, will probably get less than their usual six-month lifetime (for this application they’ll likely last a couple of months).
Neutralize Bad Odors with Baking Soda and/or Vinegar
Some odor compounds can be neutralized by changing their pH level. To work on these odor compounds, you can put some baking soda (mixed with water into a slurry) and vinegar in the machine, then run it without clothes inside and the water temperature set to high.
Destroy Bad Odors with Bleach or Washing Machine Cleaner Additives
Running your machine without clothes in it, on high heat, with bleach in the system will help clean out the bacteria that cause bad odors. There are also various washing machine cleaner products on the market that try to fight bad smells. Some of them are meant to be added to normal laundry loads, others are designed to be used in special loads without clothes & the washer set to specific settings.
In our experience neither of these methods can reach all the odor compounds that hide in the upper portions of the drum, but they will help.
Clean Your Machine!
It seems counter intuitive to clean a machine that’s primary purpose is to clean, but grime can accumulate around the door seals, in filters, and in soap scum deposits on the drum. Scrubbing these spots clean with diluted vinegar or the appropriate household cleaning spray will help eliminate unpleasant odors. Again, there are areas where odor compounds gather that you can’t get to by hand, so this may not solve the problem completely.