The Top Loader in My Kenmore Elite Smells

Though meant to clean the clothes you put in, the overall smell emanating from your top loading Kenmore Elite is anything but clean. Often the result of mold or mildew, this smell is an indication that your washing machine is due for a good cleaning.

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Clean It Out

Wipe down the inside of your washing machine with a clean cloth or sponge dipped in soapy water. Mix powdered laundry or dish detergent together until it is sudsy for cleaning your washer. Take out any removable trays, and hand wash them. Pay close attention to any small areas where mold and mildew may hide and clean them with a medium bristle brush dipped into the soapy water. Turn the washing machine on and allow it to run a full cycle with hot water and add 2 cups of chlorine bleach or white vinegar. Open it up to air dry when it is done.

If You Find Mold

Mold is an accumulation of tiny fungal spores. Thriving in areas where it is dark and damp, your washing machine could be a prime location for mold. Mold not only smells bad, but can be potentially unsafe for you and your family and should be cleaned up immediately. Wear gloves and a face mask, as well as protective glasses for good measure. Use soapy water and a brush to remove any visible mold and run the washer with hot water and 2 cups of chlorine bleach or white vinegar to disinfect and rinse the machine out.

Smells That Aren’t Mold

Unplug the washing machine and look closely at the back for any leaks or any other evidence of a problem. Remove the back panel and detach the hot and cold water hoses. Use a wet/dry vac to clean them out, as the smell could be the result of something clogged in the hoses. Reconnect the hoses and place the back panel before plugging it back in. Run the washer through a full cycle with warm water to clean out any residue in the hoses. If the smell is a burning smell, unplug the washer and contact the manufacturer.

Preventive Maintenance

Use only as much detergent as is recommended by the detergent's manufacturer. Excess soap can leave residual behind and promote odors. Leaving the lid up when the washer isn’t in use can help to dry it out so mold isn’t as likely to accumulate. Transfer clothes from the washer to the dryer as soon as the cycle finishes, as damp clothes that sit in the washing machine can accumulate mildew. Clean out your washing machine every couple of weeks by running an empty cycle with hot water and chlorine bleach or white vinegar.


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