Sewer smell from my washing machine?

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by DIYROB, Jun 12, 2009.


    DIYROB New Member

    Jun 12, 2009
    New Jersey
    I have a front loading washing machine located on the second floor in a bathroom. There seems to be a sewer smell that randomly occurs which seems to come from it or the area around it. I actually stuck my head inside the machine and the smell is horrible and NOT mold. There is also a safety drain in the floor that is connected to the drain for the washer. It has a trap, and I recently blocked it off because my thinking is that if water isn't running through it daily it will evaporate from the trap and not block the gases. This is the first test to see if it continues.
    The thing that doesn't make sense is that the inside of the washer stinks like sewer gas, but doesn't smell where the flexible drain pipe connects to the PVC drain in the wall. And, yes, there is a trap on that drain. Anyone experience anything like this?
  2. jadnashua

    jadnashua Retired Defense Industry Engineer xxx

    Sep 2, 2004
    Retired Systems engineer for defense industry.
    New England
    One of the disadvantages of a front-loader is that the door seals get wet, then you leave the door closed in between uses. They may never dry out. Depending on the design, it could be an accumulation of soap scum and maybe lint, hair, etc. You might try an empty load with a high concentration of bleach and see what happens. Maybe stop is part way in between to let things soak, the resume. After it completes, try leaving the door open at least overnight so it can dry out well.
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  4. gpdewitt

    gpdewitt New Member

    Dec 20, 2008
    self employed handyman
    Burbank, CA
    I have a front loader that started to get moldy, the home improvement stores and appliance stores sell a tablet or powder you can use in a load by itself to help keep down the mold. Also, leave the door a bit open if this is not a safety issue (pets or kids). Also, if there is a drawer where you add detergent, there is a catch holding the drawer from coming completely out. Release the catch, you will probably find mold behind the drawer.
    Once the mold starts, it's hard to get rid of. We're thinking of replacing the rubber door gasket as a last resort and staying on top of it from now on.
    If it's not mold in any of these places, you might want to get a plumber out to check the drain lines.
  5. krow

    krow Plumber

    Feb 11, 2008
    Ontario, Canada
    Use a product called "Afresh". Run an empty load with this chemical and it will dissolve any build up of sludge in your drain hose.

    Alternatively, You can also take the drain hose off and physically clean the inside of the hose with a high pressure hose.

    The front end loaders are notorious for this bad smell in the drain hose occuring every few months
  6. Macman

    Macman New Member

    Jan 1, 2008
    We heard about this problem when we were shopping for our first front loader last summer. When we started using it we made a point of always wiping the gasket dry after the day's laundry, and then leaving the door open. We also have been using a product similar to the Afresh that krow mentioned. It's called Smelly Washer:

    We have had the washer in service for 10 months with no smell problem whatever. Once you get the issue resolved something along these lines may help you to keep it from coming back.

    DIYROB New Member

    Jun 12, 2009
    New Jersey
    Thanks everyone. I'm gonna try bleach first, only because I have this handy. If the smell lessens, then I believe I will be on the right track and probably will purchase some Afresh or Smellywasher and keep at it. I wish I knew this before we bought our washer seven years ago...
  8. achutch

    achutch Member

    Oct 20, 2005
    I've had a front loading washer for over 2 years. My washer (LG) has a tub clean cycle where the water and bleach filled tub rotates fast to create a spray almost like a car wash. I run the cycle a couple times a year.

    I've never had a odor problem in this washer. I usually run anything that needs bleach in my final load of laundry for the day, then wipe the gasket and the glass around the door dry, and let the door remain open until at least the laundry is done in the dryer. Depending on the situation, I may let the door stay open overnight (as I did last night because I did laundry after work).

    I use Clorox HE when doing laundry. It's thick and it dispenses better (or more throroughly during the puny 15 second flush of the dispenser). But I would use plain bleach (unscented, no surfactants) to do your tub clean. Last time I used the tub clean cycle, the Clorox HE made lots of suds, and the scented bleach also contains surfactants that will foam.

    During the summer, I'm not home much and probably do laundry once every 10 days. Even though the washer has sat that long with the door closed, there is never any odor, probably because its last load of laundry contained bleach.

  9. FloridaOrange

    FloridaOrange Plumbing Designer

    Dec 2, 2005
    Plumbing Designer
    SW Florida
    Afresh once in a while, wipe the inside with a towel and leave the door open. We keep a small dishtowel at the washer so we don't leave the door wide open (laundry room is a pass through to the garage).
  10. Barleyman

    Barleyman New Member

    Dec 11, 2010
    Seattle, WA
    Did you ever solve this? We have this exact problem. Thanks in advance.
  11. shacko

    shacko Master Plumber-Gas Fitter

    Jan 22, 2006
    Master Plumber-Gas Fitter
    Rosedale, Md
    >>>There is also a safety drain in the floor that is connected to the drain for the washer<<<

    Can you explain a little farther? how is this hooked up?
  12. dlarrivee

    dlarrivee New Member

    Jun 28, 2009
    There is no rocket science behind this, just don't close the door on the front-load when it's still moist inside...

    I thought this was common sense?
  13. Chad Schloss

    Chad Schloss Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    I've had an LG front loader for 4 years now and only once have I had to run the tub clean cycle because it was a little smelly. bleach worked fine. There also may be a small drain tube on your washer to drain what the pump cannot get out. On the LG, it is located on the lower left corner on the front of the machine I think under an access panel. There is a rubber hose with a cap on it. you are supposed to remove that cap and drain that hose once a year If I remember right. I've never left the door open to let the tub dry out. About once a month, i clean and dry the seal around the door because hair and stuff can accumulate on the seal and I wipe clean the inside plastic window on the door. If you have a steam washer, like the lg, you could also try bleach on the sanitary cycle which will get real hot and steam clean the drum.
  14. Gary Swart

    Gary Swart In the Trades

    Sep 1, 2004
    Yakima WA
    I don't have a front loader, but we leave the lid of our top loader propped open between washings.
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