Bad smell in washing machine

Our washing machine has a funky smell … I will admit there have been times when I’ve forgotten a wet load of laundry overnight, so I’m assuming that has caused this odour.

What is a safe, effective way to get rid of this smell? I tried baking soda in a load, but no luck.


I’ve had success clearing this up by running my washing machine empty a couple of times in a row, adding bleach to the first wash and several cups of white vinegar to the second wash. I used hot water for both washes.

It goes without saying that you should never try ammonia to clean the washing machine, though - bleach and ammonia together produce toxic gases.

Is your machine a front-loader? Those can get very funky around the whole rubber seal thingy. Give that part a thorough wipe-down, front and back, and see if that helps.

Sour laundry.

It’s bacterial. Chlorine bleach!

If you always add about 1/3 cup of bleach to your normal loads of laundry, then you can forget it for a few days and it won’t start stinking.

For the bacterial coating in your washing machine, perhaps try a full cup of liquid bleach, running empty?