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Troubleshooting and Fixing Washing Machine Drain Smells

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Troubleshooting and Fixing Washing Machine Drain Smells

Smelly washing machine and laundry
Are unpleasant odors coming from your washing machine's drain? Don't fret! This comprehensive guide will help you troubleshoot and fix your washing machine drain smells.

Understanding the Causes of Washing Machine Drain Smells

Are you often greeted by unpleasant odors when doing the laundry? The culprit may be your washing machine’s drain. A persistently foul smell emanating from the drain is not only a nuisance but can also be a sign of a more serious plumbing issue. Understanding the potential causes will help you efficiently tackle the problem.

Several factors contribute to washing machine drain smells. Over time, organic matter such as lint, soap scum, and bacteria build up within the drain pipe. This buildup can lead to clogs and creates an ideal breeding ground for odor-causing bacteria. Additionally, if your washing machine’s drain hose is not properly installed or maintained, it may contribute to unpleasant smells.

Step-by-Step Guide to Troubleshoot & Fix Washing Machine Drain Odors

Check for Clogs in the Drain Pipe

The first step in addressing washing machine drain smells is to check for clogs in the drain pipe. Start by disconnecting the machine from power and water supply. Next, locate the drain pipe, often connected to the standpipe or directly to the main drain line. If accessible, remove the pipe carefully and visually inspect it for any visible clogs or debris buildup. Use a plumbing auger or snake to remove any obstructions found.

Inspect the Washing Machine Standpipe

Problems with the standpipe can also cause drain smells. The standpipe is the vertical pipe where the washing machine’s drain hose is inserted. Check if the standpipe is properly installed, as well as its height and size. The ideal height should be around 18 to 30 inches above the floor, with an air gap to prevent siphoning. Ensure that the drain hose is not inserted too far into the standpipe, as this can cause water to back up and produce odors. Adjust the standpipe and drain hose accordingly if needed.

Clean the Filter and Drain Pump

A dirty filter or clogged drain pump can be a significant cause of washing machine drain smells. Consult your appliance’s manual to locate the filter and pump. Usually, the filter is situated at the front or bottom of the machine. Clean the filter by rinsing it with warm water, removing any debris and buildup. Be cautious to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for the specific model. Utilize a pipe cleaner or similar tool to clear any debris from the drain pump, ensuring it is functioning correctly.

Examine the Washing Machine Hose

Inspecting the washing machine hose is another essential step in resolving drain odors. The hose connects the machine to the standpipe or main drain line. Check for any leaks, cracks, or blockages in the hose. If needed, replace the hose with a suitable, high-quality option. Additionally, ensure that the hose is not bent or twisted, as this may lead to water backup and subsequent smells.

Preventive Measures for a Fresh Smelling Washing Machine Drain

Once you have addressed the immediate issue of drain smells, it is crucial to implement preventive measures to maintain a fresh smelling washing machine drain. Here are a few tips:

  1. Regularly clean your washing machine by running a hot water cycle with vinegar or a specialized washing machine cleaner.
  2. Avoid overloading the machine with laundry, as this can lead to incomplete rinsing and more residue buildup.
  3. Use a laundry detergent that is appropriate for your machine and effectively removes bacteria and odor-causing agents.
  4. Consider installing a lint trap or a lint filter on the washing machine hose to prevent lint and debris from clogging the drain.
  5. Occasionally pour boiling water down the drain to flush out any residual bacteria and buildup.


Washing machine drain smells can be an annoying issue, but with a systematic approach, you can tackle the problem effectively. By understanding the causes of these odors and following the step-by-step guide provided, you can troubleshoot and fix your washing machine drain, ensuring a fresh and clean laundry experience for your home.

Remember, if you encounter more complex issues or need expert assistance, don’t hesitate to reach out to a professional plumber experienced in handling plumbing, sewage, and drain problems like the team at Wally Blanton Plumbing & Sewer.

Learn More About Home Plumbing Solutions at https://wbplumbingsewer.com/schedule/

Have an emergency? Call us now at (262) 228-9821.

Have an Emergency?

Call Now: (262) 228-9821

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