Why does my washing machine smell of damp?

Here's why it stinks - and what you can do to stop it

Updated: 

Horrified young woman grimaces at laundry in clothes drier

Does your washing machine smell of damp?

Front-loading washing machines are more prone to mildew than top-loaders, because they use a third of the water that top loading machines do.

See also: Are you doing your laundry all wrong?

See also: Five best washing machines on the market

If you use as much detergent as a top loader, there won't be enough water to soak up the suds.

This can leave residue, which then sticks to the rim of the door and spawn mildew.

Here's what you can do:

1. Use a high-efficiency detergent specifically for front-loaders.

2. Check that your machine is level. If it isn't, it might not be draining properly.

3. Liquid fabric softener can make the problem worse, so try cutting it out.

4. To get rid of the mildew odour, run an empty machine on its hottest setting with bleach.

5. Clean the gasket, which is the rubber strip on the door and inside that provides a tight seal when the door shuts. Use a rag or towel with hot soapy water to wipe it down well, making sure you reach all of it. Remove stubborn build up with a toothbrush if necessary.

6. Clean the soap dispenser tray regularly with hot soapy water.

6. Give your machine an airing when you're not using it by leaving the door ajar. This can help dry out the machine, preventing mildew from building up.

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