Washing Machine Smells Like Rotten Eggs: 5 Common Reasons

Having a washing machine in your household is convenient until it starts emitting a foul odor that reminds you of rotten eggs. This not only disrupts the environment of your home but also affects the freshness of your clothes.

In this article, we’ll provide detailed reasons behind this smell and what you can do to get rid of it.

The Reason Your Washing Machine Smells Like Rotten Eggs

The possible reasons for the bad smell can help you tackle the problem more effectively. Here are five potential causes:

Stuck in the door seal

Normally, front-loading washing machines have a rubber seal on the door. This seal stops the water from leaking out when the machine is running. It’s made with many folds, and sometimes small things like socks, tiny clothing items, or even lint can get stuck in these folds.

Now, imagine when these things get trapped and you can’t see or reach them easily. Over time, they begin to break down, or decay. Also, the moisture or dampness that’s often in the machine can cause bacteria and mold to grow on these decaying items. Thus, this is what causes the smell of rotten eggs.

Items stuck in the door seal can cause the smell of rotten eggs

Clogged drain plug or pump

The drain plug and pump of your washer are like the exit doors for water after washing your clothes. The plug opens up to let the water out into the hose, and the pump helps push it out.

But sometimes, things like small clothing items, lint, hair, or even leftover soap and softener can block these exit doors. When this happens, the water has a tough time getting out, and it ends up sitting in the machine longer than it should.

Additionally, this leftover water, mixed with soap, dirt, and bits of fabric, creates a perfect home for bacteria and mold. So, over time, this lets off gases that smell like rotten eggs.

Your washing machine is dirty

It might seem strange to think that a machine that cleans can become dirty itself. But the washer, like any other appliance, requires regular maintenance and cleaning.

Every time you wash your clothes, little bits of detergent, fabric softener, dirt, and germs can stay behind in different parts of the machine, like the drum, the drain, or even the detergent drawer. If not cleaned regularly, these residues can form a stubborn layer of buildup that not only impacts the efficiency of the machine but can also emit a foul smell.

The combination of heat, moisture, and organic residues in the machine creates a conducive environment for bacteria and mold to thrive. Thus, this leads to the unpleasant smell of rotten eggs.

The sewer is clogged

If you notice a rotten egg smell from your machine and have tried cleaning it to no avail, it might be worth considering a possible issue with your sewer system.

Your washing machine is hooked up to your house’s sewer system. Now, imagine if there’s a block in the sewer line. This blockage would mess up the normal flow of water and waste. And this disruption can lead to a buildup of several gases, including one called hydrogen sulfide.

So, when a blockage happens, the trapped gases can be forced to flow backward. This can cause the stink to travel up the sewer line and into your machine, especially when it’s trying to drain the water.

A crack or leaky pipe

Your washing machine has pipes that bring in clean water and take away dirty water. If these pipes have leaks or cracks, the water might not flow out like it should, leading to water sitting still inside them.

So, the water can become a perfect place for bacteria to grow. Moreover, these bacteria eat stuff like dirt and skin cells from your clothes, so, they make a gas that smells just like rotten eggs.

How to Fix and Prevent Rotten Egg Smell in Your Washing Machine

Now that we’ve identified the culprits, let’s explore how to deal with them:

Clearing the door seal

The first thing you want to do is to check the door seal on your washing machine. That’s the rubber ring on the door that stops water from spilling out.

Next, look carefully to see if anything is stuck there, like a sock or some lint. If you find anything, pull it out.

Once that’s done, get a cloth and dampen it with some vinegar and water mixed together. This helps get rid of any lasting smells.

Lastly, give the door seal a good wipe with this cloth, making sure to get into all the nooks and crannies. Once you’re done, your machine should smell a lot better!

Clearing the Door Seal

If you’re confident and know a bit about machines, you can try to clean this yourself. We can give you the following steps to help you solve this problem:

In the first step, you unplug your washing machine and move it to have easy access to the drain pump. Usually, it’s located at the bottom front or back of the device.

Next, you should check your washing machine’s user manual for any specific instructions on accessing the drain pump or plug. If you don’t have it, you might find a version online.

Depending on your model, you may need to unscrew or unclip a panel to reach the pump. Remember that wear gloves for protection.

You continue to place a low-sided container to catch any water. Slowly unscrew or open the drain pump cover according to the manual.

After that, you pull out any visible blockages such as lint, hair, or small clothing items. Additionally, with the blockage removed, give the pump a good cleaning. You can use a cloth or an old toothbrush with warm soapy water.

While you’re there, take a look at the drain hose (the big tube that goes from your machine into your plumbing). You should make sure it’s not kinked or blocked.

Once everything’s clean, put the cover back on the pump, reattach the panel, and move your washing machine back into its usual place. Don’t forget to plug it back in!

Finally, you run a short, empty wash cycle to check everything’s working properly. If the smell persists or the machine isn’t draining properly, you might want to consider getting a professional in.

Whether you’re doing it yourself or getting help, make sure to check for blockages regularly. Keeping the water flowing freely will help stop any nasty smells from building up.

Cleaning your washing machine

This method is a great way to stop it from smelling. It helps get rid of any bits of dirt or bacteria that might be hanging around.

In detail, you can run a special cleaning cycle if your machine has one. If not, don’t worry! You can make your own cleaning solution with vinegar and baking soda. After that, you simply fill the machine with this mixture and run a normal cycle. The vinegar and baking soda will help freshen up your machine and get rid of the rotten egg smell.

Cleaning the washing machine

Fixing a clogged sewer

It’s generally recommended to have a professional handle sewer line issues due to the complexity of the task. But, if you still trying to fix the problem yourself, here’s a simplified step-by-step guide.

First, start by checking if other drains in your house are slow or backed up. This can help confirm if the problem is really with the sewer line.

In detail, your sewer line will have an access point, commonly known as a “cleanout”. It’s usually a white, capped pipe sticking out from the ground outside your home.

Next, you open the cap. Be cautious as this can release the pressure in the sewer line and cause waste to spill out. In the process, you use a sewer line camera if you have one to inspect the blockage.

After that, use an auger to clear the blockage. Push the auger in until you feel resistance, then turn it to break up the clog.

Once the blockage is cleared, run water from a hose down the cleanout to test if it’s flowing freely. Finally, replace the cleanout cap and clean the area.

Repairing Cracks and Leaky Pipes

Inspect the pipes connected to your washing machine regularly for any cracks or leaks. If you find any issues, call a professional to fix them and prevent water stagnation and bacterial growth.


A washer that smells like rotten eggs can certainly be a problem. However, by identifying the root causes and implementing effective solutions, you can handle it. Moreover, this can help you eliminate the smell and maintain a clean and fresh appliance.

Additionally, regular cleaning, timely maintenance, and proper usage will keep your washing machine in the best condition.


How can I tell if my washing machine is dirty?

If you’re trying to figure out if your washing machine is dirty, there are a few signs to look out for, such as a consistent bad smell coming from the machine or residue left on your clothes after a wash. Additionally, if you also see mold or mildew anywhere, it’s probably time to give your washing machine a good clean.

How to remove the unpleasant smell of rotten eggs from my washing machine?

To remove the offensive smell from your washer. You should grab a cloth and mix together equal parts of vinegar and water (you can also use bleach instead of vinegar if you like). Moreover, use this mixture to scrub away any accumulated soap residue, mold, or dirt. Following this, set your machine to run a cycle at its hottest and largest load setting.

How do I prevent mold and mildew from growing in my washing machine?

To prevent mold and mildew from forming in your washer, it’s vital to allow for proper ventilation. After every wash cycle, leave the machine’s door open to air dry the interior completely. Furthermore, make sure to routinely clean out the detergent drawer, as this is a common area where mold can grow, due to the residual dampness and soap.

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