Why Washing Machine Smells Like Rotten Eggs & Sewage Odor Removal

Why does my washer smell like rotten eggs?

How do you get rid of this washing machine’s sewage odor?

In other words, you want to know what causes the terrible odor you perceive from your washing machine.  This article discusses all rotten egg smell in washing machines with possible causes provided.

More importantly, we’ll be looking at ways to deal with such odors.

Here is why your washing machine drain smells like rotten eggs and ways to get rid of the odor.

Top Loading Washing Machine Smells Like Rotten Eggs

Washing machines bring a lot of convenience to users.

As these laundry appliances get used steadily, users eventually start to perceive terrible odors in the form of rotten egg or sewer smells. This is an abnormal situation that requires an immediate fix.

However, getting the solution begins with identifying what the problem is.

Why Washing Machine Smells Like Sewage

Does your washing machine smell like rotten egg or sewer? It could be due to the growth of bacteria in the washer.

The growth of such bacteria results in the release of hydrogen sulfide. This is also one of the main component gases of sewer gas.

Significant exposure to hydrogen sulfide gas can be fatal.

So, how do such bacteria end up in your washing machine? It’s due to reasons that include a buildup of lint, dirt, lint, mildew, and/or soap.

Some or all of these conditions are bound to cause bacterial buildup and activity. The characteristic rotten egg-smell you begin to perceive results from bacterial presence and activity.

To have any real chance at eliminating the problem, the causes will have to be tackled and resolved. This has to do with lint accumulation, as well as dirt among other things.

Of course, thorough and regular cleaning will do a lot to get rid of the problem. White vinegar and baking soda are among the effective cleaning supplies to use.

Other Causes of Sulfur Bacteria Buildup

We’ve identified the growth of sulfur bacteria as being the primary reason why washing machines smell like rotten eggs. Here, we’ll be providing the detailed ways through which bacterial presence is encouraged.

These include low washing temperatures and clogged drain pipes.

Additional problems include wrong detergents, the use of well water, and bacterial growth in P-trap. Closed washer doors can also lead to a buildup of bacteria.

There are other issues like clogged drain pipes and sewage gas leaks. Any or all of these situations are likely to contribute to smelly washing machines.

  • Low Washing Temperatures

This might sound a bit confusing to the reader because most washing is done with cold water.

While there’s nothing wrong with such, It’s necessary to periodically wash clothes at minimum temperatures of 140 degrees F. The other option is to run an empty cycle every week.

During such times, operating temperatures should be set at maximum levels.

What this does is that it helps eliminate any mold or bacterial growth. They’re eliminated before they have the chance to get to the point where they begin to cause bad odors.

  • Clogged Drain Pipes

Clogging of drain pipes is quite common in situations where pouches aren’t used for smaller laundry items. These might include socks, ties, panties, and many others.

When sucked into drain pipes, they cause a wide range of issues including providing ideal conditions for sulfur bacteria to grow.

The result is a rotten-like egg smell that emerges from your washing machine. The smell continues for as long as the clog is left unattended.

You’ll have to dislodge the clog to eliminate the awful smell.

  • Wrong Detergents

Not every washing detergent serves for washing machine usage. There are high-efficiency (HE) washing machines that are designed for use with corresponding (high-efficiency) detergents.

A high-efficiency detergent is simply one with a lot more solubility than traditional laundry detergents.

On the other hand, high-efficiency washing machines are designed to use a lot less water compared to older versions. This water conservation potential easily blends with a detergent with higher solubility.

So, when detergents with lower solubility are used with HE washing machines, un-dissolved detergent eventually leads to bacterial growth and buildup.

  • Use of Well Water

Including this as one of the reasons for smelly washing machines might sound strange to you.

However, it’s still one potential reason why your laundry machine smells the way it does. Sulfur bacteria also grow in well water.

This is caused by the movement of groundwater through multiple layers of minerals.

A change in the water source could see an abrupt end in the smelly odor being perceived. A more practical way to deal with this problem is having well water disinfected to kill off any sulfur bacteria.

  • Bacterial Growth in P-Trap

P-traps are incorporated into plumbing systems to help stop sewer gas leaks into homes. Also, the P-trap helps keep debris from getting further deep into the plumbing systems to cause clogs.

However, the debris collected in P-traps eventually causes sulfur bacterial growth.

Another possible cause of smelly washing machine could arise from a dried P-trap. The P-trap is designed to always hold a layer of water that keeps out awful sewer odors.

When it gets dried, there’s nothing preventing sewer odors from leaking through plumbing systems including the washing machine.

  • Closed Washer Doors

Did you know that washing machine doors aren’t supposed to be left closed after usage? They’re best left open to aerate the interior parts, thus eliminating any moisture.

When continually left closed, it’s likely to create an ideal growth environment for sulfur bacteria which results in smelly washing machines.

  • Sewage Gas Leaks

With blocked sewer vents, sewer gases seek alternative routes of escape. Because your washing machine is connected to the plumbing system, it automatically starts to give off a rotten egg smell.

To trace the problem, you’ll have to include your sewer venting systems.

How To Remove Odor From Washing Machine

So far, we’ve looked at several likely causes of smelly washing machines.

Here, we’ll briefly consider possible solutions to the problem. The easiest way to get the job done is by calling a professional for a deep clean of your washing machine.

If you prefer the DIY option, you’ll need the right equipment and supplies like microfiber cloths, goggles for eye protection, and rubber gloves.

Other tools and supplies include baking soda, a cleaning mask, and white vinegar.

Mix equal parts (a cup) of water with vinegar and use as a cleaning solution. With your microfiber cloth, scrub the drum to remove all debris.

Next, run the washing machine on the hottest setting as well as the longest cycle. 2 vinegar cups should be poured in. The washing machine should be half full.

With this process completed, empty the water and keep the lid or door open for proper aeration.


Why does my washing machine smell like rotten eggs?

I hope you have your answers.

You now know the reasons why your washing machine smells the way it does. Simply apply the preventive measures provided to help eliminate the smell.

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