Woman cleaning Maytag Washing Machine

Info Hub: Owners

How to Remove Odours from Washer (Step-by-Step)

Why is it important to clean your washing machine? Learn more in this step by step guide to help keep your washing machine performing at its best.

Does Your Washer Smell Musty to you? How to Clean Your Washing Machine to Help Remove Odour-Causing Residue

Keep your washer and clothes clean by performing these steps once every thirty washes.

You might wonder why it's important to clean an appliance you use for cleaning—especially your washing machine. Keeping your washing machine clean is essential to help in preventing odour-causing residue, including dirt, mold, and other residue that can build up over time. Here is a step by step guide to help you get started.

When washing front load or top load washing machines, methods and products may differ, so check your model's owner manual for specific information on cleaning your machine.

Watch this video or continue reading for a detailed guide on how to clean washing machines.

Cleaning your washing machine is an important way to help keep your family’s clothes smelling fresh and looking clean. Repeat the following steps every thirty days to help prevent soils and detergent from building up in your washer.

How to Help Prevent Bad Odours

Step-by-Step: How to Clean Your Washing Machine

You may also be wondering how to prevent odour-causing residue from building up in your washing machine. Below, we’ll take you through a step-by-step guide on how to get started.

Step 1: Clean the Washer Tub

  • Remove any items left in the tub.
  • Clean your washer with a washer cleaning tablet, such as affresh® Washing Machine Cleaner tablets
  • Affresh® tablets are designed to dissolve slowly throughout the cycle, giving you a thorough cleaning. Always follow the directions on the washer cleaner package when using affresh® tablets.
    • For front loading machines, place a tablet inside the washer drum.
    • For top loading machines, place a tablet at the bottom of the wash basket.
  • If you don’t have washer cleaning tablets, you may be able to use liquid chlorine bleach, but always check and follow your use and care guide first, as it should be your primary source of information.
  • Close the door or lid and select the “Clean Washer” cycle, if this is a feature available on your washer. This cycle is often set to use more water than normal cycles and to use hot water, which helps the tablets to dissolve in the proper time frame.
  • Otherwise, use a normal cycle with the hot water setting.
  • Run a rinse and spin cycle on top-loading washers after your cleaning cycle ends to remove any leftover cleansers.
  • Leave your washer door open to let the tub dry.
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Methods will vary slightly when cleaning front load or top load washers. Consult your model’s owner manual for specific information on how to clean your washer.

Step 2: Clean the Dispensers

  • Your washer may or may not have a dispenser drawer. If it does, it should be cleaned regularly, approximately every thirty days.
  • Pull out the dispenser drawer until you feel resistance. Depending on your washer, the drawer may or may not be completely removable.
  • Wipe down all surfaces with washing machine cleaning wipes. If you don't have wipes, use a damp cloth or a general-purpose cleaner if necessary. Then towel dry the dispenser.
  • Note that many dispensers are not dishwasher safe.
Women Wiping Surface of Maytag Washing Machine Women Wiping Surface of Maytag Washing Machine
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Leave your washer's door or lid open between washes to help dry out the inside and help prevent odour-causing residue build-up.

Step 3: Clean in and around the door

  • Remove any clothing or other items from the washer.
  • For top and front load washers: open the washer door or lid and wipe down the inside glass or metal with machine cleaning wipes or a damp cloth.
  • For front load washers: use a machine cleaning wipe to clean the inside and outside of the rubber door seal. You can also clean with a damp cloth.
Wiping interior of washing machine door Wiping interior of washing machine door
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Washing with warm or hot water occasionally (not exclusively cold) will help slow down soil and detergent build up.

Step 4: Clean the Outside of the Washer

  • Wipe your machine's surface with an all-purpose cleaner or damp cloth to clean any residue, dirt and dust.
  • If spills occur, you can also use a soft, damp cloth or sponge to clean them up.
  • Clean outside surfaces only with mild soaps or cleaners.
Woman Cleaning Outside of Maytag Washer Woman Cleaning Outside of Maytag Washer


You may be experiencing bad odours in your washing machine for one or multiple reasons. Here are some additional tips on preventing such odours.

  1. Let the door stay open between uses - Washers have tight seals to prevent leaks, so leaving the door open helps keep the washer smelling fresh.
  2. Remove your load from the washer immediately after the cycle ends - Leaving your load in the washer will increase moisture, which can lead to odours and mildew.
  3. Wash your clothes with warm or hot water once in a while (unless the fabric requires cold water) - this will assist in the reduction of dirt and detergent build-up.
  4. Use only HE High Efficiency detergent - this will help prevent detergent buildup within the washing machine which will cause an odour or smell. Click here to find out more about HE detergent.
  5. If your laundry area is damp, use a dehumidifier to help remove excess moisture.

If you are having trouble with your washing machine, please visit our Support Center or schedule a service appointment so a professional can diagnose the problem and determine a solution.

Looking to upgrade your laundry room? Maytag® washers and dryers can add style and performance to any laundry room. Find out more here.

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