Why Does My Washing Machine Smell?

Why Does My Washing Machine Smell?

Does your washing machine smell like a wet dog? Are you noticing a strange odor coming from your clothes after they’ve been washed? If so, then you may be wondering what could be causing this issue. The answer to this question is sometimes hard to determine, as there are a number of reasons why a washer might have an unpleasant smell.

In this article, we’ll explore some possible common causes of why your washer might smell and how to fix them. We’ll also provide some tips on how to prevent it from happening in the future.

5 Reasons a Washing Machine Might Smell Like Wet Dog

If you’ve noticed a strange smell coming from your washing machine, you’re not alone. This issue might be more common than you think and there are a few reasons you might notice an unpleasant smell. Some common causes of washing machine odors are: drainage issues, mold and mildew buildup or even an excess amount of detergent residue.

Determining what is causing your washer to smell is the first step in eliminating the odor once and for all. Here are some common reasons your washing machine might smell and ways to solve the problem.

A person wiping a washing machine with a rag to clean

1. Washing Machine Needs To Be Cleaned

Over time, soap scum, dirt, lint, water minerals and fabric softener can build up in your washing machine and create the perfect environment for grime and bacteria to grow. This buildup can occur in various parts of the washing machine including: the gasket, drum, in the dispensers, around the door, under the washer’s lid and in any area on the appliance where wash water reaches. If left un-cleaned, this buildup can result in an unpleasant, wet dog smell.

Clean Washing Machine Regularly

To avoid your washer smelling like a wet dog, make sure to keep your washer clean by regularly washing the appliance monthly or after every 30 wash cycles. Using washing machine cleaner tablets can help ensure buildup is removed and that the washer is thoroughly cleaned inside resulting in an odor-free appliance. Liquid chlorine bleach is another possible cleaning agent to try in your appliance to help fight off unwanted odors.

2. Using Too Much Detergent

Another reason you might notice an unpleasant smell coming from your washer could be due to using an excess amount or wrong type of detergent. A traditional high sudsing detergent will usually result in detergent residues throughout the water.

Excess detergent can sometimes accumulate in or around the drum or filter of the washer. This accumulation combined with the damp environment inside of the appliance can sometimes produce a foul smell. A washer that hasn’t been properly maintained may have detergent buildup that only becomes apparent when running a washer maintenance cycle, so regular maintenance is key to keeping a buildup-free washing machine.

Precisely Measure Detergent

To avoid excess detergent in your laundry loads, make sure to measure out the amount of product for every wash. By using an accurate amount of detergent you will be able to ensure your clothes are cleaned properly and avoid buildup of excess detergent in your appliance. 

Cup of overflowing washer detergent

3. Using Wrong Type of Detergent

It’s important to know which type of detergent works best with the type of washer you have. For instance, regular detergent tends to produce more suds than high-efficiency detergent and could potentially lengthen the time of wash cycles and impact the overall cleaning performance of high-efficiency washing machines.

Check Which Type of Washer You Have

Most newer washing machines are high-efficiency, so make sure to check before purchasing. If you have a high-efficiency washing machine, you should make sure you’re always using the correct, high-efficiency detergent. Determine which type of washer you have and ensure you’re using the best type of detergent to accommodate your appliance. By using the right type of detergent and keeping up with regular maintenance, you can keep your washing machine smelling fresh and clean. 

A person checking if the washing machine is dry.

4. Washer Is Damp For Too Long

Another common cause of a wet dog smell coming from your washer is leaving the appliance damp for extended periods of time after running a wash cycle. Leaving a washer wet for too long can lead to unpleasant smells and even the growth of mold due to the moist environment that can sometimes be created. 

A washer that contains residues may cause the entire clothes load to develop malodors if the load is allowed to remain in the washer overnight or for extended periods of time. If a load of laundry is in the washer for too long, you might also need to rewash or re-rinse the clothes. 

Empty Washer Immediately After a Wash Cycle

To prevent this from happening, it’s important to make sure you don’t leave your washer wet for too long and clean it regularly between washes. A great way to further avoid the washer being damp for too long is to leave the washer door open when not in use. This is especially important if your appliance will be unused for extended periods of time. Doing so will help keep your washer smelling fresh and free of any unpleasant odors. 

5. Washer Isn’t Draining Properly

Water not draining properly from your washer could also be the reason you are noticing a wet dog smell coming from your appliance. Clogged drains or pipes are a common culprit behind unwanted smells because they can create a blockage and prevent the washer from draining properly.

Make Sure the Drain Pipe Is Clear

Check the washing machine drain pipe regularly to make sure it is free from blockages. Ensuring that water isn’t accumulating inside of your washer will result in proper drainage and help reduce the amount of mold, slime, soap scum and bacteria buildup.

A person checking the washing machine drain pipe.

Why Do My Clothes Smell Like Wet Dog After Drying?

Clothes typically have a wet dog smell after drying when there is a buildup of detergent present throughout the clothes. To avoid unwanted odors in clothes, make sure to use the correct type and amount of detergent for every wash.

Tips for Removing Odors From Washing Machine

Washing machines are essential appliances in the home and are typically used on a weekly basis. Over time, washing machines can sometimes develop unwanted odors. Fortunately, there are some simple tips that can help you remove odors from your washing machine and keep it smelling fresh for every use.

A woman wipes down and cleans the inside of a washing machine.

1. Use Less Fabric Softener

Normal use of fabric softeners doesn’t necessarily cause unpleasant odors, but using an excess amount can sometimes result in unwanted buildup. Use less or avoid using fabric softeners in your washing machine to help avoid excess residue buildup in the appliance and on your clothes.

2. Make Sure The Lint Trap Is Clean

Take time to clean the lint trap on your washing machine after every wash cycle. Removing lint from your washer will help keep your clothes free from lint buildup and odors.

3. Create More Air Circulation in Laundry Room

Adding a fan to your laundry room can help improve the overall air circulation. Improving air circulation around your washing machine can help prevent mold and mildew growth and keep unpleasant odors at bay.

Explore affresh® Washing Machine Cleaner

While there are many reasons your washing machine might produce an unpleasant odor, regular cleaning can help you avoid smells and keep your appliance running efficiently. Using affresh® washing machine cleaner tablets can help ensure your washer is free from grime, buildup and odors.