How Do I Get Rid of Washing Machine Odor?

Real Simple answers your questions.

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Photo by Michele Gastl

Q. How do you get the smell out of a top-loading washing machine?
Heather Cline
Bridgewater, New Jersey

A. To get rid of a mildew or musty smell, run a cycle of hot water and two cups of bleach in your machine. The odor could be caused by a buildup of laundry soap, or oils and grime from your clothing if you wash only in cold water, says Mary Zeitler, a home economist for the Whirlpool Institute of Fabric Science. If you have a high-efficiency machine, try washer-cleaning tablets, such as Affresh ($7 for a pack of three, affresh.com for locations). ―Kristin Appenbrink