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Washing Machine Smells Like Rotten Eggs: Causes and Solutions

One of the worst smells that your clothes can give off is the scent of rotten eggs, but unfortunately, washing machines do sometimes give off that smell. If your washing machine smells like this, your clothes will smell like it too, and no amount of laundry detergent can fix it. 

If this has happened to you, the first thing to do is figure out what’s causing it, and then we can figure out a proper solution. 


Why Does the Washing Machine Smell Like Rotten Eggs?

You’re doing laundry when suddenly you catch a whiff of something foul in your clothes. The awful rotten egg odor is caused by hydrogen sulfide gas (H2S). H2S is most commonly produced by bacteria breaking down organic material in your washing machine, but that’s not all it can come from.

Related: Washing Machine Smells like Sewage: Causes and Solutions


Can You Prevent the Smell?

Fully clean the parts of your washing machine you don’t normally pay attention to. Use a 1:10 vinegar to water solution (1 part vinegar to 10 parts water) to cover all areas of your washing machine.

Try your best to remove excess debris, laundry soap, and grime from those hard-to-reach areas. These are typically the root cause of this problem. Start your washer on a heavy-duty cycle with hot water and pour 2 cups of bleach once per month to prevent it from coming back.


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Why does Your Washer Smell?

Another common cause of a bad smell from your washing machine is mold. Mold can grow in both front load washer and top-loading machines and both high-efficiency (HE) models and traditional ones.

It would also help run an empty load with hot water once or twice per month to clean out any leftover detergent residue attracting mold spores. If you notice an odor coming from your washer, here are some possible causes:


What Are the Causes of the Smell of Rotten Eggs?

A build-up of dirt or grime can also cause the smell of rotten eggs in your washing machine stuck in unseen places. If you notice a strong rotten egg smell coming from your washing machine, there is likely some residue on an internal part of your appliance.

Residue such as hair, lint, soap scum, or fabric softener can cause unpleasant load washer smells. This type of odor can also be caused by mold growth inside the rubber gasket, which seals off holes where water enters and exits the tub.

To eliminate these odors, you will need to clean out any buildup inside and around your washer with water and vinegar so that it can properly drain. If you do not clean out all traces of debris, then these odors will continue to come back until they are completely eliminated from their source.


Find the Source of the Rotten Egg Smell

The first thing you should do if your washing machine starts to smell like rotten eggs is to figure out where that stench is coming from. There are a few things that might be causing that rotten egg smell.

Here are some easy steps to take to sniff out those causes and resolve them.


There May Be Something Stuck in the Door Seal

As strange as it may sound, some things can get stuck in your washing machine’s door seal. For example, you may have spilled a small amount of detergent or fabric softener on it, causing a foul odor to develop over time.

Fortunately, you can usually fix this problem by simply opening the door seal to your machine and cleaning out whatever object is causing problems.


Your Drain Plug or Pump is Clogged

If the water is draining out of your washing machine, it’s more likely that the drain plug or pump is blocked than something wrong with the drum.

Here’s how you can check it out:

Grab some gloves. Find the drain plug and remove the cover plate. It will be towards the bottom of the unit, either at the back, front, or sides.

Grab a towel and place it nearby, turn the drain plug cap off, and put it on the towel.

You can reach into the drain plug hole and grab the drain filter. Then, give it a good cleaning with water and soap.

Put a few drops of vinegar in some hot water and pour it into your washing machine’s drum and the hose should flush it out with any grime that may be in the hose. If nothing came out, there might be another issue.

Put the parts back into your washing machine after you’ve cleaned them. If the smell is still there, then there may be another culprit.

Related: Washing Machine Smells Like Burning Rubber: Causes and Solutions


Washing Machine is Dirty

If your washing machine smells like rotten eggs, it’s probably because it needs to be cleaned. To eliminate these smells, give your washer a deep clean.


How to Clean a Washing Machine Smells Like Rotten Eggs


Materials Needed

  • Gloves
  • Bleach
  • Distilled Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Sponge
  • Soap


1. Scrub

Take out every removable part of your washing machine and use your sponge to clean every piece of it with soap and water. Make sure to rinse everything and let it dry fully so the soap residue does not get stuck inside these materials.

Also, scrub inside of those areas that you pulled the removable parts from because the rotten egg odor may be coming from these unseen places, like behind your detergent tray.

Give the whole washing machine a good scrub, including the inside of the washing machine door slab.


2. Clean the Washing Machine Drum

Open your washing machine door and pull out the washing machine drum. There are many methods to do this that is out of this article’s scope, but some washing machines have a clasp that you can pull to take it out, and some require you to unscrew a bolt.

Once you get it out, use soap and water to clean the drum as well as the inside of the washing machine that you don’t normally see because the drum is usually there.

After everything is rinsed and dry, replace them back into your washing machine.


3. Bleach Cycle

Start a large empty load on the hottest setting and add 2 cups of bleach. When the washing machine fills with water, stop it and let it sit for 45 minutes.

Then continue the cycle through the rinse.


4. Second Cycle

Do another large empty load on the hottest setting, except this time, use a mixture of 1/2 cup baking soda and water in the detergent tray.

When the washing machine drum fills up, pour in 3 cups of vinegar, let this sit for 45 minutes, and finish the cycle.


5. Let it breathe

After this is done, let your washing machine sit for a few hours with the door open so it can air out. It wouldn’t hurt to run another bleach cycle if the smell still lingers.

If the smell is still there after all of this, your drain may be clogged.


Why Does My Washing Machine Smell Like Sewer?

If your washing machine smells like sewer gas or rotten eggs, it’s probably because of a clogged drain.

Pull out your drain hose and check the drain for any clogs causing a backup. Next, wash your drain hose with soap and water, including all the areas around it.

A buildup of soap residue can also contribute to sewer-like smells in your washing machine, so make sure to empty and clean out all of your soap traps every few months. If none of these steps works, check with a plumber who can find any clogs inside your home’s drain lines.


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Other related washing machine smells:

Washing Machine Smells Like Burning Rubber: Causes and Solutions

Washing Machine Smells Worse After Cleaning: Causes and Solutions

Washing Machine Smells Like Mildew? Here’s How to Clean It

Washing Machine Smells like Sewage: Causes and Solutions

Why Does My Bathroom Sink Smell

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