Portia said, “My washer does not smell like mildew; it smells like dirt from my boyfriend’s work clothes. And vinegar does not work. What do I do?”
Sometimes the things we use to clean need a good cleaning as well. When your washer starts to smell, start by giving it a thorough cleaning using our guide on How to Clean a Washing Machine. If the smell can’t be beat with a cleaning, use the steps below to remove the stink.
Removing the Smell
You Will Need:
- White vinegar
- Washer deodorizer
Steps to Remove the Smell:
- If you haven’t tried using vinegar, that’s the best place to start. It’s cheap, natural, and safe for your laundry. Let the empty washer fill with the hottest water possible, then add up to a gallon of distilled white vinegar.¹ Let the water and vinegar sit for about an hour, then run the cycle as usual. Repeat if needed.²
- If the vinegar isn’t strong enough to tackle your problem, try using chlorine bleach. The bleach should kill any bacteria in the washer that could be causing the smell. Add four cups of bleach to the empty washer, then fill it with hottest water possible. Run the cycle as usual.³
- As a last resort, you can use a commercial washing machine deodorizer. Select one that is right for your type of machine, such as Smelly Washer or Washer Magic. Follow the instructions on the label of your selected product.
Additional Tips and Advice
- Don’t forget to regularly clean out the bleach dispenser and any other dispensers as well.³
- If you have laundry that is very soiled, consider hosing it off in the yard or rinsing it in the sink to remove as much dirt as possible before putting it in your washing machine.
- If you have any clothes that need to be deodorized as well, use the article How to Deodorize Clothes.
- Talking Dirty Laundry With The Queen of Clean by Linda Cobb
- Homemade by Reader’s Digest
- Don Aslett’s Stainbuster’s Bible by Don Aslett