Unbearable foul smell emanating from your washer? Don’t worry, it’s not an uncommon problem & you are not alone. Numerous homeowners have reported that their washing machines smell like rotten eggs, which can be very disturbing and concerning.
This is a common problem among users which they face quite often, and it can be frustrating to deal with. Fortunately, here in this article, we’ve come up with a few things you can do to understand this persisting issue, fix it, and get your washing machine to smell fresh and clean like new again.
So, let’s get straight to the real question – Why does this happen, and how can you solve & prevent it from happening again? In this article, we will explore the answers to such questions and come up with the most efficient solution for you.
Understanding the Cause of the Smell
The foul smell of rotten eggs spreading from your washing machine is due to the emanating, hydrogen sulfide gas. Now, there can be several reasons and sources for this gas to be created or spread.
For example. when bacteria in your washing machine feed and grow on organic matter, such as soap and fabric softener. As this bacteria grows, it releases this gas and gives off that unpleasant smell. There can be several other potential reasons for a rotten egg smell to be coming from your washing machine, which include:
1. Bacteria Buildup
Over time, bacteria can accumulate in the drum of your washing machine, particularly if you frequently wash your clothes in cold water. This can lead to a buildup of biofilm, which can produce a sulfurous smell similar to rotten eggs.
2. Detergent Buildup
Over time, detergent can build up inside your washing machine’s dispenser and cause problems like residue on clothing and stains that won’t come out. This can lead to a buildup of bacteria, which can cause an unpleasant rotten egg smell.
3. A Dirty Washer Filter
If your washing machine has a filter at the bottom of its drum (most do), it’s important to check that it’s clean and clear of debris. A clean washer filter will ensure that water flows out freely through your machine without any blockages, and dirty water does not stagnate, creating a breeding ground for bacteria.
4. Clogged Drain
Make sure that the drain line your washer’s outlet is connected to, is not clogged or dirt is not building up in the basement. Water can back up and stagnate in the machine if the drain line is not clear. This situation most commonly leads to a buildup of bacteria and a foul smell.
Here’s how to solve this problem:
- Find where the Drain Hose is connected: The standpipe is usually where the drain hose is connected, which connects to your sink.
- Check if the smell is coming out of the standpipe by removing the hose from it.
- Give the full portion around the standpipe a good clean, with some warm water mixed with soap and some baking soda, if you find the smell to be coming out of it.
5. Sewer Gas Backup
If you have a plumbing issue in your home, such as a blocked sewer line, it can cause sewer gas to back up into your washing machine. This gas has a distinct rotten egg smell and can be harmful if inhaled.
6. Water Heater Issues
A rotten egg odor might also be brought on by problems with your water heater if your washing machine is connected to a hot water source. This might happen if the anode rod in your water heater corrodes and releases gaseous hydrogen sulfide.
Your washer may be emitting hydrogen sulfide gas if the anode rod in the water heater is rusted.
7. Bad Water
It’s likely that the rotten egg stench in your washing machine is brought on by an unclean or contaminated water source. This issue can be especially prevalent in regions with high sulfur content in the water supply, such as those close to geysers or volcanoes.
It is also advisable to have the water supply examined by experts and take the required precautions in such a situation to prevent causing serious health issues.
How to Address the Issue
Now that we’ve covered the potential causes of a rotten egg smell in your washing machine, here are some steps you can take to address the issue:
1. Run a Hot Water Cycle
The first step in fixing the problem is to clean your washing machine. Here’s how:
- Running a hot water cycle without any clothes in the machine can be very effective to kill off any bacteria or biofilm that may be causing the smell. Be sure to add some vinegar or baking soda to the cycle to enhance the cleaning power.
- Once the cycle is complete, open the machine and let it air out for a few hours.
- Next, wipe down the inside of the drum and the door seal with a clean, damp cloth. Be sure to get into all the nooks and crannies where bacteria can hide.
- If there are any stubborn stains or buildup, you can use a scrub brush and a mixture of baking soda and water to scrub them away.
- Finally, run another hot water cycle with a cup of baking soda added to the drum. This will help to neutralize any remaining odors.
2. Clean the Detergent Dispenser and Filter.
It’s crucial to clean the detergent dispenser and filter in addition to the washing machine’s inside. These places frequently include mold and bacteria, which can add to the rotten egg smell.
Remove the detergent dispenser from the machine and give it at least 30 minutes to soak in hot water and vinegar. Scrub away any accumulation or residue with a little brush. Locate the filter on the machine (typically at the bottom) and clear any accumulation or dirt from it.
Before replacing it, give it a thorough rinse with hot water and vinegar.
3. Prevent Future Odors by Maintaining Your Washing Machine.
Complex types of machinery like Washers, treadmills, & various kitchen appliances require occasional (if not regular) maintenance to function properly and efficiently. So, it is ideal that once you have successfully eliminated the rotten egg odor from your washing machine, it’s important to take steps to prevent it from coming back.
Regular maintenance can go a long way in keeping your machine clean and odor-free. This includes wiping down the drum and door seal after each use, leaving the door open to allow for air circulation, and running a cleaning cycle with vinegar or baking soda once a month.
By following these simple steps, you can ensure that your washing machine stays fresh and clean for years to come.
4. Examine the Drain Hose
Check to see whether your washing machine’s drain hose is clogged or otherwise damaged. If so, you might need to replace it to stop bacterial growth and water backup.
5. Wash your washer’s filter and drum.
Clean the filter and drum of your washing machine to get rid of the unpleasant smell. This easy yet effective chore can stop your garments from developing a bad odor after washing.
Locate the filter and clear away any buildup or debris that has developed before continuing. After that, go back to the drum and give it a thorough cleaning with a damp towel. Pay particular attention to any locations where filth or mold may have grown.
6. Deal with plumbing problems
To stop future damage and health risks, it’s critical to treat plumbing problems in your home as soon as you detect them, such as a clogged sewage line.
7. Check the Water Heater
Get your water heater checked to make sure the anode rod is in good shape if your washing machine is connected to a hot water source. To avoid further problems, it might need to be replaced if it is corroded.
8. Preventing the Problem
After cleaning your washer, it’s essential that you take certain actions to avoid the issue recurring. Here are some pointers:
- Use less fabric softener and detergent. These goods might leave behind debris in your machine, which might encourage the development of microorganisms.
- Between washing cycles make sure, you open the door for ventilation. This will let air flow and keep moisture from collecting within the drum.
- Use regular hot water cycles. Any bacteria that might be developing in your machine will be assisted in dying by this.
- Maintain frequent machine cleanings. To avoid bacterial growth, try to clean your washing machine at least once each month.
A rotten egg smell coming from your washing machine can be unpleasant and concerning, but fortunately, it is usually easily remedied.
By understanding the potential causes of the smell and taking the appropriate steps to address them, you can keep your washing machine smelling fresh and clean.
Here, we’ve answered some of the most asked questions for you:
Is a rotten egg smell in my washing machine dangerous?
While the smell itself is not harmful, it can be an indication of a larger issue, such as a plumbing problem or bacterial growth. Addressing the issue promptly can help to prevent further damage or health hazards
How often should I clean my washing machine?
It is recommended to clean your washing machine at least once every three months to prevent bacterial buildup and keep it smelling fresh.
Can I clean my washing machine with bleach?
Absolutely, bleach is a powerful cleaning agent for washing machines. To prevent harm to your machine, follow the manufacturer's directions and properly diluted the bleach.
What can I do if, despite cleaning my washing machine, the scent still exists?
After cleansing your washing machine, if the scent still exists, there may be a bigger problem. To diagnose the issue, think about calling a qualified plumber or washing machine repair service.
Can washing clothing in cold water make them smell like rotten eggs?
Indeed, using cold water to wash your clothes can cause a buildup of bacteria and a sulfurous stench in your washing machine. Periodically, think about running a hot water cycle without any garments.