My Washing Machine Smells Like Sewage: What To Do

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Does your washing machine smell like rotting eggs? Your washing machine should give you clean and pleasantly smelling clothes. Washing your laundry should also give you a sweet aroma if you use a fresh-scented detergent or conditioner to wash. But this is not always the case. There are times when your washing machine will smell like rotten eggs. In some extreme cases, your laundry room may smell like mildew, and it becomes unbearable to stay in there while washing. The rather simple task of doing your laundry now becomes a daunting experience with this sort of smell.

This pungent smell may affect the way your clothes smell, so you should consider finding a solution to your smelly washing machine quickly. But before you think of throwing your machine away, you should find out why your washing machine smells like a sewer, and what to do about it. You would be surprised that a little problem could be the reason why your wash machine smells like a sewer.

Where The Washing Machine Smell Comes From

A washing machine that smells like sewage smells that bad because of some parts in the machine. This smell that can cause the entire house to smell like sewer when doing laundry may originate from;

  • The Filter
  • Heating Elements
  • Door Seal
  • Detergent Dispenser
  • Hose
  • Drum
  • Drain

Surprisingly, your washing machine should not smell bad if your clothes have a bad odour before washing. As long as you are using a fresh-scented detergent or conditioner, one of these parts is the cause of the terrible smell that your washing machine has.

Why Your Washing Machine Develops A Smell

washing machine smell

So, what causes this foul odour you get from your washing machine? You may get a rotten egg smell in your laundry room because;

1. There are built-up bacteria in the parts of your washing machine

Bacteria generally causes a lot of problems for humans and are the primary reason why a washing machine drain smells. These bacteria cannot be spotted in the parts that make up the washing machine, which makes it difficult to identify which part exactly is affected.


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Bacteria multiply quickly when subjected to low temperatures because water at low temperature does not eliminate bacteria effectively. So, if you do your laundry under low temperatures, it should be no surprise to you when your washing machine drain smells like sewage. Bacteria could also fester in the lines of clothes as mould, and these thrive in humid temperatures.

2. You use too much detergent

This is ironic, but using too much detergent can also cause your wash machine to smell like a sewer. If you do not use enough water to do your laundry, a lot of detergents would be left after washing. Detergents are excellent agents for bacteria to hide in, so always make sure that you use the optimum quantity of detergent while washing.

3. You use unclean water to wash your clothes

This is pretty obvious, and most people should have this figured out already. If you use unclean water to do your laundry, your washing machine and laundry room will smell like sulphur (which is a pungent smell). Always make sure that you use clean water to prevent a smelly washing machine.

4. You haven’t cleaned it in a while

If you do not clean your machine and its parts regularly, then you should not expect a fresh-smelling washing machine. Some pieces of clothing or insects can get trapped in your washing machine and then cause a bad smell. Regular cleaning of your machine should be done to prevent foul smells. However, be careful not to wet the electrical wires. Also, make sure that you know how to fix every part you remove for cleaning. The washing machine manual should help you out with that.

What To Do When Your Washing Machine Smells Like Sewage

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You do not need to press the panic button immediately your laundry room begins to smell like rotten eggs. It could be a minor problem. Things you can do when you get that pungent smell from your washing machine include;

1. Get rid of the smell yourself

This is not as simple as it sounds, but what you should do when your washer smells like a sewer is to try to get rid of it. The first step in ridding-off the foul odour of your washing machine is identifying where the smell is coming from. If you can find out why your washing machine or its drain smells, then you have solved half of the problem.

After identifying the cause of the smell, try and get a solution for it. There are several home-made and professional steps you can take to make your washing machine have that fresh smell once again.

2. Contact a plumber or the company you purchased your washing machine from

If you cannot find what is causing the smell you are getting from your washing machine, you can easily seek professional help instead. Every company that sells a washing machine has a technical team that they can send to come to help you out. Your warranty should also conveniently cover the parts that need to be changed. If the washing machine drain is where the rotten egg smells originate from, you can give a plumber a call to come to check it out.


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These are fast ways to get rid of a smelly washing machine.

How To Clean Your Washing Machine And Get Rid Of The Smell

If your washer smells like a sewer, and you think you can get rid of the smell yourself, then follow these steps to get a fresh scent from your washing machine.

  • Service wash your machine

This means to remove all the clothes from the washing machine and spin it at a high temperature. Bad smells coming from a washing machine may also be as a result of damp or wet clothes, so spinning at high temperatures helps to remove the smell. Also, bacteria cannot survive under high temperatures. You should run a service spin on your washing machine at least once a month. Manufacturers of washing machines usually include instructions to follow when you want to service run your washing machine.

  • Clean the washing machine’s seal

Mould, bacteria and tint can accumulate in the seal of the washing machine. The seal is located close to the door. You should clean the seal regularly to prevent the smell that comes from your washing machine. If you take too long before you clean it, it might sink into the rubber of the seal, and the door may need to be replaced.

  • Wash the detergent drawer and the filter

Bacteria can also fester in your detergent and filter. Using too much detergent may also increase the tendency of the bacteria to accumulate in these parts of the washing machine. Use a scrub to cleanse the drawer and filter at least once in a fortnight.

  • Open the washing machine’s drawer and door

After cleaning the washing machine, leave the door and drawer open so that air can circulate in the machine. You can remove the detergent drawer so that it can dry out in the sun.

  • Check the washing machine’s drain

If the smell persists, then it might just be from the drain of the washing machine. The drain of a washing machine can get blocked after several months of usage. You can use a drain unblocker to quickly clear out the drain and remove the bad smell from the machine.

  • Scrub the grime away

When washing stained clothes, some spots can stick to the body of the machine and cause a bad smell in the laundry room. You can easily remove stubborn stains by scrubbing off with a sponge that has been dipped in a mixture of vinegar and water. You should scrub your washing machine once a month and carefully, so you don’t scratch the walls of the machine.

How To Prevent The Bad Smell From Returning

Carry out these preventive measures to protect your machine from smelling bad:

  • Use the right detergent and follow the manufacturers’ instructions: Different washing machines allow for the use of different quantities of detergent. It is essential that you use the quantity of detergent that is suitable and optimum for your washing machine. Also, make sure you follow the instructions and recommendations in the manual. They will help you make the right decisions and quickly find the part that is causing the smell.
  • Remove wet or damp clothes immediately after washing: Immediately you finish washing, remove the clothes to prevent a smelly machine. Damp and wet clothes can easily cause a bad smell, so you should dry them quickly. Unless the washing machine comes with a drier, your clothes should not be in the machine for more than fifteen minutes.
  • Air the machine often: Don’t run your washing machine all day long. Allow some time for the air to circulate inside it. You should have a well-ventilated system in your laundry room to allow air to circulate and prevent the rancid smell that can come from a washing machine.

How To Clean Washing Machine With Soda Crystals

Without cleaning your washing machine, you run the risk of bacteria such as e.coli. A recent survey has proven that only 1 in 5 brits wash their machines using soda crystals.

Soda crystals aka washing soda has been used for over 100 years as a water softener and more recently a cleaner of washing machines. Using soda crystals will help loosen dirt, dissolve grease and soften the water in general. They will help de-oderise and clean limescale within the machine.

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