Women cleaning Whirlpool washing machine

How to Remove Odours from Washer

How do you clean a washing machine? This step-by-step guide will help you maintain your washing machine to help keep it performing at its best.

Does Your Washer Smell Musty to you? Guide to Cleaning Your Washing Machine to Help Remove Odour-Causing Residue

Following these steps every 30 washes can help keep your washer and clothes clean.

It might seem strange that an appliance you use for cleaning should be kept clean - especially your washing machine. It is important to keep your washing machine clean to help prevent odour-causing residue, such as dirt, mold, and other residue that can accumulate over time. For more information, check out this step-by-step guide.

Remember to check your owner's manual for specific information on how to clean your machine before you get started. Methods and products may differ for front-loading and top-loading washing machines.

Watch this video or continue reading for a detailed guide on how to clean washing machines.

It is recommended to clean your washing machine in order to keep your family’s clothes looking clean and smelling fresh. Follow these steps every thirty days to help prevent soils and detergent from building up in your washer.

How to Help Prevent Bad Odours

Step-by-Step: How to Clean Your Washing Machine

Another question that may cross your mind is: How do I prevent odour-causing residue from building up in my washing machine? The following guide will walk you through how to get started.

Step 1: Clean the Washer Tub

  • Remove all items from the tub.
  • Clean your washer with a washer cleaning tablet, such as affresh® Washing Machine Cleaner tablets
  • Affresh® tablets are designed to dissolve slowly throughout the cycle, giving you a thorough cleaning. Always follow the directions on the washer cleaner package when using affresh® tablets.
    • For front loading machines, place a tablet inside the washer drum.
    • For top loading machines, place a tablet at the bottom of the wash basket.
  • If you don’t have washer cleaning tablets, you may be able to use liquid chlorine bleach, but always check and follow your use and care guide first, as it should be your primary source of information.
  • Close the door or lid and select the “Clean Washer” cycle, if this is a feature available on your washer. Usually, this type of cycle is set to use more water than normal cycles and to use hot water, as it helps the tablets dissolve in the proper time frame.
  • Otherwise, use a normal cycle with the hot water setting.
  • Run a rinse and spin cycle on top-loading washers after your cleaning cycle ends to remove any leftover cleansers.
  • Let the tub dry by leaving the washer door open.
PRO TIP

REFER TO YOUR OWNER’S MANUAL When cleaning top-loading or front-loading washers, the methods may vary slightly. Please refer to your model's owner manual for specific cleaning instructions.

Step 2: Clean the Dispensers

  • Your washer may or may not have a dispenser drawer. If it does, it should be cleaned regularly, approximately every thirty days.
  • You should feel resistance when pulling the dispenser drawer out. In some washing machines, the drawer may or may not be completely removable.
  • Use washing machine cleaning wipes to clean all surfaces. Alternatively, use a damp cloth or clean with a general-purpose household cleaner if you don't have any wipes. Afterwards, dry the dispenser with a towel.
  • Please be aware that many dispensers are not dishwasher safe.
Cleaning Whirlpool washing machine dispenser
PRO TIP

LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN Between washes, open the lid or door of the washer to help it dry out and to prevent odour-causing residue from building up.

Step 3: Clean in and around the door

  • Make sure all clothes and other items are removed from the washer.
  • For top and front load washers: open the washer door or lid and use a machine cleaning wipe or damp cloth to wipe down the inside glass or metal.
  • For front load washers: clean both the inside and outside of the rubber door seal with a machine cleaning wipe or a damp cloth.
Cleaning Whirlpool washing machine door
PRO TIP

WASH WITH WARM OR HOT WATER ONCE IN A WHILE You can help slow down soil and detergent build-up by occasionally washing in warm or hot water (not exclusively in cold).

Step 4: Clean the Washer's Exterior

  • Wipe your machine's surface with an all-purpose cleaner or damp cloth to clean any residue, dirt and dust.
  • If spills occur, you can also use a soft, damp cloth or sponge to clean them up.
  • Clean outside surfaces only with mild soaps or cleaners.

Additional Tips on Preventing Odours

There may be multiple reasons why you're experiencing bad odours in your washing machine. Here are some additional tips on preventing such odours.

  1. Let the door stay open between uses - Washers have tight seals to prevent leaks, so leaving the door open helps keep the washer smelling fresh.
  2. When your washer cycle is complete, remove your load immediately - Leaving your load in the washer will increase moisture, which can lead to odours and mildew.
  3. Wash your clothes with warm or hot water once in a while (unless the fabric requires cold water) - this will assist in the reduction of dirt and detergent build-up.
  4. Use only HE High Efficiency detergent - this will help prevent detergent buildup within the washing machine which will cause an odour or smell. Click here to learn more about HE detergent.
  5. If your laundry area is damp, use a dehumidifier to help remove excess moisture.
Clothes inside Whirlpool washer

Do you need help with your washing machine? Visit our Support Center for answers or schedule a service appointment so a technician can inspect it and find a solution.

Want more from your washer and dryer? Learn more about Whirlpool® washers and dryers and discover how they can make laundry day easier.

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