How to Fix a Smelly Washing Machine

Updated: Nov. 08, 2022

Eliminate bad odors in your clothes washer with a special tablet

smelly washing machineFamily Handyman
Stop bad odors in your clothes washer by running a cycle with a special mold-killing tablet and by leaving the door open to promote drying.

You might also like: TBD

Eliminate washing machine odors

Mold cleaner

Kill mold and odors by placing an Affresh tablet in the washer and running a cycle with hot water.

Buy Affresh tablets on Amazon now.

Do you notice a moldy smell when you open the door of your front-loading clothes washer? If so, chances are that like most people, you leave the washer door closed between loads and only wash a couple of loads per week. This is only a problem because the ultra-tight seal on front loader doors doesn’t let the interior dry, and between washings, mold can grow inside the damp confines. And because front loaders use less water than top loaders (which fill up almost to the top), they don’t always wash away the mold when you run a load of laundry.

Eliminating the mold is easy. Just run the empty washer through a cycle once a month with a mold cleaner designed for front loaders. Our appliance expert recommends a product called Affresh. Buy it at or find retailers at If you don’t want to use the tablets, you can substitute a cup of bleach.

In the future, you can prevent mold by treating the washer monthly and keeping the door open between washings so the interior can dry out.

Additional Tips to Fixing a Smelly Washer

Required Materials for this Project

Avoid last-minute shopping trips by having all your materials ready ahead of time. Here’s a list.

  • Mold cleaner

Disclosure: Every editorial product is independently selected, though we may be compensated or receive an affiliate commission if you buy something through our links. Ratings and prices are accurate and items are in stock as of time of publication.