Help!!I am getting a funky smell on the clothes after washing!

by Marie

I have cleaned the filter and run two empty loads with only LCR in the machine. What can I do to get rid of the smell or what laundry detergents might work?

  15 answers
  • William William on Mar 09, 2017

    Why your washing machine smells, and how to clean it

    When we think of washing machines, we think of clean, fresh-smelling clothes. Laundry is supposed to have a comforting aroma—one that’s so well-loved that there are even colognes designed to mimic its scent.

    But what do you do when your front-load washer, well... stinks?

    Before you resign yourself to a musty, mildewy, sour-scented existence, consider this: Your washer probably isn’t defective—it just needs some TLC. A few simple steps could help eliminate that stench forever.

    That’s right, my friends: It’s all smooth, fresh-smelling sailing from here on out. Grab your hampers, keep your heads high, and scrub stinky clothes from your life for good.

    Why your front-loader stinks

    I took an in-depth look at the relative performance of front- and top-load washers, and found that front-loaders are superior in virtually every way. That came as no surprise, since front-loaders are designed not only to be more efficient, but also to be gentler on clothes while cleaning them better.

    But it's that efficiency part that can cause some headaches when it comes to smell. See, high-efficiency front-loaders use a lot less water than their top-load counterparts, since they fill just the bottom of the wash tub with water. Since the drum rotates on a horizontal axis, your clothes tumble through the water, eliminating the need to fill the tub up all the way.

    That's all fine and dandy if you use high-efficiency detergents, but when you douse your laundry with the wrong kinds of soap and softeners, the smaller amount of water can’t fully rinse them away. The drum ends up getting coated with a layer of soap scum, which is itself peppered with debris and dirt from your clothing. In the heat and damp of your washer, this scum makes a happy home for mildew, bacteria, and mold.

    The stinky situation is compounded by the fact that front-load washers use a rubber door gasket to keep water from leaking out. Dirt, soap, and bits of fabric can get trapped under the gasket, creating yet another breeding ground for nasty smells.

    How to get rid of that smell

    1. Bring out the baking soda.

    Your first inclination may be to reach for the bleach, but I prefer to use something a little gentler. I suggest mixing 1/4 cup of baking soda with an equivalent amount of water. Add this solution to your machine’s detergent container.

    2. Bring out the vinegar.

    Pour two cups of white vinegar into the drum, then run a normal cycle at high heat—without any clothes, of course.

    The baking soda and vinegar should break up any residue stuck to your drum and kill any mold that might be present. They’ll also help remove any foul odors.

    3. Scrub away any remaining grime.

    If stubborn spots remain, attack them with the rough side of a kitchen sponge and a mixture of one part white vinegar, one part water. Ta-dah, good as new!

    You can repeat this cleaning method once a month for maintenance if you’d like, or try some other odor prevention techniques.

    How to keep your front-loader fresh

    Your washer is finally free of nasty odors, and you want to keep it that way. But how?

    1. Break up with your old detergent.

    If you own a front-loader, you should always use detergents made for high-efficiency machines. Normal detergents simply produce more suds than your front-loader can handle; less suds means less scum for stinky lifeforms to cling to. Liquid fabric softener is also off-limits for front-loading washing machines, so do yourself a favor and ditch it.

    2. Keep the drum dry

    Once you’ve got the soap situation under control, it’s time to make sure the drum doesn’t stay damp for long periods of time. Always remove your laundry promptly after the cycle ends, and be sure to leave the door open when it’s not in use, so the moisture can escape.

    You can also run a fan in the room where your washer lives to improve airflow, and consider investing in a dehumidifier. Remember: You don't want bacteria or mold to feel at home here, and nothing invites bad smells quite like wet, stagnant heat.

    3. Clean the gasket.

    Even with the correct detergent and anti-humidity efforts, there's no guarantee your washer drum won't develop some mold-friendly buildup. The rubber seal around the doors is especially problematic, so you should regularly remove any debris you see trapped in the gasket and wipe it down with a cleaning solution made of one part white vinegar and one part water.

    Finally, be sure to dispose of any lint that may have accumulated in your machine’s drain trap filter. Once a week should do the trick.

  • Mel21058367 Mel21058367 on Mar 10, 2017

    run the machine with some bleach!

  • Nancy Gonzalez Nancy Gonzalez on Mar 10, 2017

    I like twenty mule team Borax is safe to use with clothes the box for amount ....keeps clothes and washer smelling fresh .... boosts cleaning ....dont have to use every time , just occasionally ....great for dish washer, disposal anything

  • Mary Lapointe Mary Lapointe on Mar 10, 2017

    I always leave the soap dispenser and door ajar after each use. Mine never smells.

  • Donna McKim Donna McKim on Mar 10, 2017

    Throw some vinegar in with your next load of towels, it will get rid of excess soap and make you towels feel fluffier and your machine smell better. I leave a big bottle of vinegar in my laundry room at all times to add to the wash. Also leave the door to your machine open to air out will help. Hope this helps :)

    • Nancy Nancy on Mar 10, 2017

      Me too! I buy cheap white vinegar in the large size bottle. Every load, I add the vinegar from the "bleach" compartment and use detergent and softener as usual. Sometimes it takes two washes to get the funky smell out, especially if you forget to dry stuff right away. When that happens, I wash 1/2 the yucky load with 1/2 light weight stuff (but not towels or sheets). Works every time. I found bleach doesn't do the job, especially in the summer.

  • Neva Dew Neva Dew on Mar 11, 2017

    Seems we never had this problem before I got a top load HE machine. To me the best solution is to scrap the darn things and go back to the regular, agitator in the middle ones. My machine is supposed to save on water as it cleans my laundry. But I'm to "clean" it with a special cycle every 30 loads, followed by a rinse only cycle . That negates any water savings I may have had. Also, I have washed a winter jacket twice now, and both times it came out of the wash with dry spots that never got wet - even though I used the "Deep Water Wash". Fie on these machines!

  • Kate Pigula Kate Pigula on Mar 12, 2017

    You really should have a deep rinse for towels and maybe a second rinse.I had that problem and the second rinse helped..

  • Darryl Fiorina Darryl Fiorina on Mar 12, 2017

    When I bouget my current house, it came with an HE washer/front loader that smelled from day one. I bought commercial washer cleaner-okay for a week.

    Then bleached an empty load.

    One day I realized that when I closed the doors to the laundry area a little too hard, it closed the washer door. Next time I washed, funky mildew.

    CURE: 1 Jump start things with a load of clothes washed in HOT water & BLEACH.

    2 AFTER that NEVER NEVER NEVER NEVER close the washer door when done.

    3. LETTING it dry out thoroughly after laundry day sends the mildew away.

  • Darryl Fiorina Darryl Fiorina on Mar 12, 2017

    PS: If you can' remember to keep the door from closing, put a washcloth or hand tower in the door by the hinge so it can't close all the way. Darryl.

  • Diana Deiley Diana Deiley on Mar 12, 2017

    I wash everything in cold water and use Purex laundry detergent, adding Suavitel fabric softener in the Morning Sun scent. Comes clean and smells great.

    Best of luck.

  • Kathymh51 Kathymh51 on Mar 17, 2017

    I don't use any laundry soap for my towels any longer. Wash them first time in a cup of baking soda. Then do another wash with a cup of white vinegar. Makes yours towels more absorbent and fluffy. Also leaves your washer smelling cleaner.

  • Linda Valesquez Linda Valesquez on Mar 17, 2017

    When we bought our front load washer, the sales lady told us to dry the door gasket, making sure that all the folds were dry, and leaving the door open. Our LG has a an outer tube drain, we usually get about a pint of water when we drain it. We have never had an odor. Good Luck

  • Kim Kim on Mar 17, 2017

    Several friends of mine have front load washers and always complain about the smells. I would never buy them! 10 years ago I bought a new top load washer with an agitator. I grew up with these and mine is still going strong. Yes, the front loaders look fool, but I'll take the old fashioned ones!

  • Liz Liz on Mar 18, 2017

    I run my washing machine to wet down the clothes that i am planning to wash. Turn it off and start it again. It drains all of the water and weighs the clothes that are wet and heavier. Then I start my machine with wet clothes and it uses more water. Pain in the neck! Before using this problem solver, I would find clothes that had never even gotten wet. Hate this new "water saver". Now I know why they can advertise the machine that way.

  • Shirley Heikkinen Shirley Heikkinen on Mar 19, 2017

    We have a 14 yr old Maytag front loader that had the same issue, so I contacted the manufacturer and they said to buy SunLight brand dishwasher powdered detergent and use 1/4 cup in the washer. I used the longest cycle, hot water, and rinsed thoroughly. The only variety of SunLight I found was floral, which I didn't like so I recommend a few tablespoons of diluted lemon juice in the rinse cycle. Be sure it gets rinsed after the lemon juice as it can affect the colors of your clothing much like bleach.