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Updated: Nov 3, 2023

Mold and bad smells are a really common problem in high efficiency machines. If your laundry is smelling not-so-fresh it is likely because something isn’t clean in your washing machine. Musty and sour smells have nothing to do with the type of detergent you use and have everything to do with the design of the machine. On a top-loading washing machine the moist air rises out of the machine around the loose fitting metal door, but on a front-loader it’s a sealed environment and the moisture stays in there. The humidity can breed mold. This is an easy problem to fix, it just requires some simple maintenance with your washing machine.

Here are some easy fixes for a better smelling machine and fresh laundry.


That door is the only way for moisture to escape. Leaving it open ensures proper air circulation (and evaporation). Mold won’t grow without moisture. Simply keep your washing machine door open when not in use.


Lint and hair can collect in the rubber gasket seal around the opening. In some machines there’s a flap large enough that socks can sometimes get wedged in there. Debris that is trapped may not dry out without excellent air circulation, so once in a while it’s a good idea to wipe down the seal and check between the folds, under and around it for any slime, gunk, or miscellanea that may have collected there. Wipe it down with a weak bleach solution or hot soapy water. Once again, leave your door open between washes to dry it out.


Many washing machine companies recommend you clean this out once per month. If you can’t remember the last time you did it (or never did it at all) this may be the cause of all kinds of odor havoc in your machine. The majority of smelly laundry problems in front loaders are solved by cleaning this filter and leaving the door open in between washes.

This filter collects hair, lint and leftover detergent and stays dark and moist – it’s a mold playground. What’s worse is this causes you to be washing your clothes with stinky moldy water. Your clothes may smell like sour milk or a damp basement when they come out of the machine. Cleaning this filter is super easy and takes 5 minutes – anyone can do it!

On the front of your machine, there is a small door. You don’t need any tools, it usually just pops off or pulls open easily. Open this door, and remove or unscrew the rubber stopper. There may also be a drain tube. Be prepared for water to come out! Then remove the filter, clean it out, and replace the filter, the tube, and the panel. If you can’t find the panel, consult your machine owner’s manual or call the company to find out how you can clean the pump filter.


About once a month run a hot water cycle with some bleach. As part of your laundry machine cleaning maintenance routine, periodically clean out and wipe down the detergent dispenser cups as well.


Eco Nuts laundry products are fine to use and will soften clothes naturally without added fabric softeners. Regular chemical fabric softeners can leave a waxy residue on the machine interior that can contribute to mold growth. Eco Nuts laundry products do not leave this kind of residue.


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