Why your washing machine stinks
In most cases, foul smells in your washing machine are caused by grease lice, but don’t worry – they’re not actual lice. Grease lice are a buildup of soap scum that then traps all sorts of other dirt. Think dust, skin flakes, fats, but also a lot of bacteria. Besides the fact that it stinks, it’s also not very hygienic. It looks like a grey goo, often found in the rubbers of your washing machine – but sometimes it collects in less visible places, like the soap dish.
Washing machines are suffering from this problem nowadays. We wash at low temperatures, increasingly no higher than 40 degrees. This is good for the environment, but all the dirt in your washing machine won’t go anywhere
Many people tend to use more liquid detergent if their washing machine smells, but in the case of grease lice this is counterproductive. If you don’t do anything about your grease louse, chances are your clothes will smell of it too. In time, it can even cause stains, which are very difficult to wash out.
How to get rid of a smelly washing machine?
The number one remedy for a smelly washing machine is cleaning. Some people don’t realize that they need to clean their washing machine regularly, after all it cleans your laundry. But when you think about it, it’s not surprising that you need to clean your washing machine from time to time – after all, you’re always putting dirty laundry in there. Take the following steps to get rid of grease lice and stop your washing machine smelling like rubbish.
- Removing grease lice: Use a sponge or cloth to wipe away the grease, soap scum and other debris. You will find the grey gunk mainly in the rubber parts near the door and in the soap dish of your washing machine. Boil wash: Nowadays we are used to washing at low temperatures, but the occasional 90 degree wash is good for your washing machine. A simple old fashioned boil removes almost all odours, bacteria, grease and excess detergent. To do this, wash at a minimum of 90 degrees – with or without clothes. There is no need to spin, but run the programme through all the rinses.
- Return with vinegar: After a regular 90 degree wash, run the same programme again with a splash of cleaning vinegar (this time without laundry). The vinegar will neutralise any unpleasant odours, remove grease and even combat limescale – potentially extending the life of your washing machine too. You should now have a fresh-smelling washing machine again!
Preventing a smelly washing machine
Once you have got rid of the smell, you want to keep it there. The following tips will help you avoid smelly laundry and the build-up of fatty lice inside the drum.
- Use less detergent: If your laundry doesn’t smell as fresh, we understand the temptation to use more detergent – but don’t! The more detergent you use, the more likely it is that soap scum will be left behind. Detergents today are very concentrated, so the average person uses too much liquid detergent. If this soap residue remains in the drum, it could be a cause of why your washing machine smells.
- Washing machine cleaning: Some people think that you do not need to clean a washing machine – they are wrong. It’s important to run a wash at 90 degrees or higher at least once a month. You can also add a splash of vinegar or a cup of baking soda if you like – this will also help to stop limescale.
- Cleaning the door and soap dish: The soap dish and door of your washing machine are the main areas where detergent gets stuck. So clean them regularly to prevent grease-lice build-up. Try cleaning it once a month.
- Leave the door open: Bacteria love damp washing machines. Leaving your washing machine door open after running a wash will keep water out and help it to dry.