Clothes Smell Sour After Wash In Washing Machine

I have a washing machine that is creating clothes with an unpleasant sour smelling odor. I have tried almost everything and the clothes still have a sour smell. I think something in the washing machine needs cleaning that I cannot access. What can I do?

Clothes Smell Sour After Wash In Washing MachineSmelly Washing Machine – Remove Odors

How to remove sour odors from washing machine:

  1. Empty the washer of all clothing and any other items.
  2. Add a quarter cup of bleach in the bleach dispenser and add a quarter cup of bleach to the tub.
  3. Start a load with warm water and set it to use the maximum level of water.
  4. Let the load start agitating and then turn off the machine.
  5. Let it sit overnight with the water in it until morning.
  6. The next day, restart the wash cycle.
  7. If this doesn’t solve the problem, there may be a foreign object in the washer causing the smells.

There are many reasons clothes can smell bad after washing. If your clothing smells sour, you might want to take the time to inspect and internally clean your machine thoroughly before doing any more laundry. Either the drain pump or something between the inner and outer tub may have something causing this odor.

More ways to remove smelly sour odors:

  1. Leave the lid or door on the washer open when not in use. By doing this, machine can dry out between washings. If you’re experiencing clothes souring or smelling bad after washing them, a bleach treatment may work to deodorize your washing machine.
  2. Detergent builds up in a washing machine and can leave a musty smell on clothes. To combat this, periodically (once every two or three months) run a few cycles of laundry through with one cup of white vinegar and one cup of ammonia for every load you wash.
  3. It’s a great idea to put in white distilled vinegar with each load on a regular basis, this will help prevent musty smells like these and is better for the environment than using fabric softener.
  4. Use Affresh, a product that will clean the inside of your washer. Use it daily if you cannot get rid of the smell.
  5. You may be using too much detergent. Try reducing the detergent by 1/2 and see if the smells go away or lessen.
  6. Make sure you rinse the machine with no clothing in it monthly with one cup of vinegar to minimize smells.
  7. Take the clothes immediately out of the machine to prevent mold growth.
  8. Adjust the size of the loads to adjust for amount of clothing.
  9. Water temperature is too low.
  10. Washer has draining issues.
  11. Switch detergents as you may be using a generic that does not clean well.
  12. Adjust the water levels to see if more or less water produces better results.

If the above did not solve your issue.. Check the nearby floor drain under the washer. Remove the cover and check for a clog or something that may be causing the smell. Sewer gas may be somehow entering and causing the smells.

You might think the washing machine is broken, but it’s not. The clothes are actually smelling sour because of possibly a bacteria from your clothing and extra detergent being left on them after they’re washed. You may have low water temps, or draining issues. One way to fix this issue would be to use a laundry additive that removes these germs without causing any scent-related problems. If you’ve tried everything with no success, let us know your exact issue and we’ll help figure out what steps need to happen next so your clothes can smell fresh again.

ALLEN VETTER - DIY Repair Assistant
Allen is a Home Maintenance/Appliance Tech and the author/creator of this website. He has 33 years of experience troubleshooting and repairing all types of appliances. Contact here

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