Enjoying the Convenience of a Dishwasher

How To Clean A Washing Machine That Smells Or Leaves Black Spots On Clothing

Washing machines are designed to clean so it is easy to forget that the interior of the machine tub itself needs periodic cleanings beyond what the wash cycle provides. If your washing machine tub starts to smell musty or your "cleaned" clothes come out with black spots with no apparent cause, you might need to clean the inside of the machine.

Cleaning a washing machine that smells or leaves black spots on clothing is relatively easy. If the problems persist after the cleaning, call an appliance repair technician for help.

Things You Need:

  • Protectant Gloves
  • Measuring Cup
  • Bleach
  • White Washcloths

Step 1: Fill the Tub with Hot Water and Then Add Bleach

Turn on your empty washing machine as if you were about to wash a medium sized load of clothing. Allow the tub to fill with water but open the lid before the actual wash cycle starts.

Put on a pair of protectant gloves to protect your skin from any possible chemical spills. Measure out about one cup's worth of bleach into a measuring cup you only use for bleach-related purposes to avoid cross-contamination. Carefully dump the bleach into the standing water inside the washing machine. Close the lid and allow the washing machine to finish its wash cycle. Remove your gloves and discard or put away as appropriate.

When the washer dings to indicate the cycle is completed, open the lid to make sure all of the water has properly drained out. If there's still standing water, you have a mechanical problem that might be causing your mildew issue. Call an appliance repair service for help.

Step 2: Conduct a Test Load

Your washing machine should already smell less musty, but you should still conduct a test run to make sure laundry won't come out with black spots. Place a few white washcloths in the washer and complete a regular wash cycle, set on low, including the use of laundry detergent but not bleach.

Check your washcloths at the end of the wash cycle to see if there are black spots. If the washcloths look clean, your washing machine is properly cleaned and functional, and you shouldn't continue to experience that problem.

If the washcloths have black spots, call an appliance repair technician. The technician can rule out any mechanical problems that could cause the spots and might be able to help you narrow down any potential environmental factors in or around your washing machine that could be causing the black spots or the musty smell.