I have a front loading washing machine which smells really bad.

I have also had the brown sludge problem which I've managed to clear with hot cleaning etc. I've noticed I have to empty the filter of smelly water every time I use the washer. Also, this coincides with having a new kitchen and dishwasher installed.

Is this dodgy plumbing or does the machine need repairing? Any ideas?

  • 1
    This is one problem where you should definitely stick you nose in it. :-) Try to identify the specific source of the odor: is it inside the washer, underneath it, beside it, or behind it?
    – wallyk
    Sep 1, 2013 at 15:37
  • It is inside the machine then the water when I let out of the filter. Not sure I feel confident enough pulling the machine out to have a 'sniff' behind the machine.
    – Nik S-W
    Sep 1, 2013 at 17:20
  • 1
    Many front loaders develop mold problems in the front gasket. We've had that problem with two older-style, cheaper front-loading washers. We dealt with it by physically cleaning the gasket with a cloth and running a load with hot water and chlorine bleach (no cothing). Sep 1, 2013 at 18:43
  • 2
    It appears all washing appliances designed to be frugal with water consumption are more prone to developing bad odors. Besides using detergents formulated for low water usage, an empty cycle with disinfectant should be run on occasion. Frequent cleaning of filters and gaskets is also required.
    – bcworkz
    Sep 1, 2013 at 19:56
  • Where would I find the front gasket and is it easy to get to? Thanks
    – Nik S-W
    Sep 3, 2013 at 5:55

3 Answers 3


As one of the comments already mentioned, a common problem with front loaders is mold in the gaskets. The easiest way to avoid this is to leave the washing machine open after you're done using it.

There are special cleaning detergents you can use to help get rid of the smell and mold (they are basically bleach in puck form). One product I have used with good results is Affresh (I have no affiliation with this product or company).

Some front loaders have a special cycle to run with these. Check your owners manual for any specific cleaning instructions or cleaning product recommendations.


I recently had the same problem turn up as a secondary issue to our front-load washer not draining water effectively. In the recent few weeks, whenever we would run the washing machine there would be a very foul odor with it. This smell seemed to come from the drain line and not from the drum.

Parts Diagram

We ordered a new drain pump (#35 in the diagram) and during the installation I checked the drain line (#55 in the diagram) and drain pump trap (#40 in the diagram) and cleaned it out. It was full of foul smelling hair, money, and assorted broken jewelry. I was certain I'd found the source of the bad smell. After getting everything back together and running the machine through a few cycles, we know longer have any bad smells from the machine.

If the smell seems to be coming from the back of the machine near the drain hose, I would encourage you to look into the drain line and pump drain trap. If debris builds up in these places, it creates a breeding ground for mildew and nasty smells. You should be able to find a similar design schematic for your model #; like the one linked above.

Good Luck.


When plumbing several machines to one outlet you need to have 'non return' valves installed, otherwise dirty water is entering the machine from the dishwasher and festering.

  • given how washing machines typically connect to drains, i find this scenario unlikely.
    – mac
    Nov 4, 2013 at 17:45

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