When Good Washing Machines Smell Bad

washing machine - photo by David Jones
My washing machine had an odor problem. Embarrassing, but true.

At first I tried to politely ignore it — it was just a faint musty smell, after all — and it was partly my fault, I figured.

After all, I’d forgotten to take that load of damp towels out before we went away for the weekend… so of course the washer smelled a bit stale.

A quick run-through with a splash of bleach and it would be fine, I figured.


How about giving the washer an extra go at the spin cycle, in case it just wasn’t getting all the water out? How about leaving the washer lid open to let the insides dry between laundry loads? How about blasting a hot blow-dryer at its tub?

No, no, and no. It still smelled.

And the smell was getting worse. Not only that, the smell was transferring itself to the laundry that should have come out fresh and clean. Even rinsing with vinegar and hanging the laundry on the line couldn’t banish the smell from certain items. My much-loved heavy cotton shirts were in a particular skunky state.

When you feel the need to ask – “All Right . . . who threw the fish in the washer?” then you know it is time for some proper washing machine hygiene.


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