7 Effective Smelly Washer Solutions

Do your clothes smell worse after they've been washed? Smelly washer problems are usually caused by a buildup of mold, fungus and mildew.

Smelly washers get worse when too much detergent or fabric softener is used. This creates a film, which is the perfect climate for bacterial growth, allowing mold and mildew to thrive inside the machine. The problem is pronounced in high-efficiency (HE) washers, which are easy to overload with detergent.

Most home remedies recommend using vinegar, bleach or baking soda to solve this problem, but this solution doesn't always get the job done. Here are seven ways to prevent and fix the smelly washer problem:

1. Avoid using fabric softeners. Yes, having sweet-smelling clothes is nice. But fabric softeners are the number one cause of build up. Use dryer sheets or dryer balls and be sure to wash the dryer filter periodically.

2. Cut down on detergent use and consider making the switch to dry detergent, which doesn't build up as much. You can probably use much less detergent than you currently do and still have clean clothes.

3. If you have mold or mildew in a top-loading washer, run an empty hot cycle with just half a cup of Cascade Complete inside.

4. Remove your clothes from the washer as soon as the cycle ends. Leaving wet clothes to soak in the washer for more than a day will promote mold growth.

5. Leave the door open after the wash cycle ends to allow the inside to dry out.

6. Research some products online that are specifically designed to help rid your washer of mold buildup. SmellyWasher.com and Affresh.com both have products for eliminating bacteria in washers.

7. If the buildup is especially bad and the aforementioned solutions were not effective, contact the manufacturer of your washer (NOT the store where the machine as purchased). They may try to sell you one of their own cleaning products, but don't count on that to fix the problem. Remember, it's their job to turn a customer complaint into a sale!

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