Keep Your Washing Machine and Laundry Smelling Fresh

It pretty gross to think that the one machine you depend on to keep your clothes clean could actually be dirty, but the truth is that it is a perfect environment for yucky stuff. Here are some ideas that you can use to fix this problem.

It’s a dark, moist, and warm environment that allows bacteria and mold to grow and thrive.  Sure, your drum may look shiny, but look closer at the gasket, the nooks and that crannies.  Chances are you’ll spot the smelly gunk taking up residence there.

Sometimes the nastiness on our clothes can get stuck in these spots and allow bacteria to grow.  There’s plenty for the buggers to eat as they feast on soap scum, dead skin cells, and body oils.  This increases when we use too much laundry soap and the machine is unable to rinse it completely away.  What’s left is a scummy goo that stays in the machine and on your clothes.

 No one wants these guys sticking around and stinking up the place!


Enough of that; I’m sure you get the picture here.  You’ve identified the enemy, so now what?

Clean Clean Clean!

Wipe down the outside of the machine with the door closed using a clean, damp rag.  See if your knobs come off and soak them for a bit in a 50\50 mix of warm water and white vinegar.  If needed, use an old toothbrush to scrub.

Sweep or vacuum under and around the machine.  You just might find that orphaned sock that went missing a month ago!  Check to make sure the floor under the machine is dry.   If it is wet or even slightly damp, you may have a leak.  Get your machine checked out and serviced if needed.  Leaving a leak unattended may result in the growth of even more bacteria and mold and could damage your floors.

Open the door to the washer and examine the rubbery parts, seals, gaskets, etc.  These hiding spots are usually the main homes of odor causing bacteria in washing machines.


Pretty yucky, right?  Wipe the areas down with a damp rag and you’re sure to find deposits of some kind of hairy, greasy, goopy mass.  Wipe that mess away.  Really get the cracks by attacking it with a Q-Tip, toothbrush, and even a toothpick.

You can attack the area with more of the water and vinegar mixture if you like, but I prefer to use a capful of bleach in a cup of warm water to sanitize the area.  Wipe the bleach mixture onto all of the previously gunky parts insude the drum, around the door and on the outer portion on the gaskets.  Allow the mix to sit for a few minutes and wipe down any of the esternal surfaces with plain water.

The Finale

If your machine is a front loader, pour in 2 cups of bleach.  Top loaders need 4 cups.  Adjust your machine’s settings to “hot”, or “whites” and allow the tub to fill.  Once it’s completely filled, interrupt the cycle and allow the solution to soak for 30-45 minutes.  Finish out the cycle and be sure to run a second full cycle of just hot water to wash away any remaining bleach.

Sniff your machine.  If there is any bleach smell, run another full cycle without bleach for a second rinse.  If you still smell the funk, follow the above instructions using white vinegar.


Final note:  If you still have a stinky smell, it may be a filter that is located in the “guts” of the machine.  I’d recommend getting your machine professionally serviced.


It’s a lot of work to maintain a washing machine but it’s imperative in getting the best performance out of it.  If you just don’t have the time, remember that Marky’s Dry Cleaners in Denton Texas can take care of all that laundry for you.  From pristine Dress Shirtsto our wash, dry, and fold service, we can help take the headache out of laundry day.


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Professional Shirt Laundry by Marky’s Dry Cleaners serving Denton, Highland Village, Lantana and Corinth (940-323-2200)

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