How to clean a smelly washing machine

Why does my washing machine smell?

There are several reasons why your washing machine may smell damp or musty. Unpleasant smells are a sign that your washing machine needs a quick cleaning refresh. Banish bad odours and prevent limescale with our washing machine cleaning guide.

How often should you clean a washing machine?

It’s important to clean your washing machine regularly. Whilst we suggest you deeply clean your machine once every 1-3 months, the frequency of your cleaning should depend on how often your appliance is used. By regularly cleaning your machine, you can prevent the build of mold, bacteria and odours, ensuring perfectly hygienic, fresh laundry every time.

Tom McGarry, our Beko Laundry Product Manager, recommends, “giving your washing machine a clean from time to time. Softener, detergent and dirt can build up, causing some unpleasant odours. Clean your machine with a washing machine cleaning agent. Simply add this to your detergent drawer and run a high temperature programme with no washing in the machine”.

How to stop your washing machine from smelling?

There’s no need to be alarmed if your washing machine smells of damp or musty. Unpleasant smells are an indication that your washing machine needs a good clean.

Residues of softener, detergent and dirt may accumulate in your washing machine over time, causing some unpleasant smells. To clean your machine follow these simple steps:

  1. Put a maximum of 100g of washing machine descaler into the main wash detergent compartment, before starting the programme.
  2. If the washing machine descaler is in tablet form, place one tablet into the second compartment.
  3. Run the programme without any laundry in the washing machine.
  4. Dry the inside of the drum with a clean cloth.

These steps should help the cleanliness of your washing machine. However, some Beko washing machines have dedicated programmes to aid in this process. Select the Drum Cleaning programme, or use the Cottons-90 programme and select either the Additional Water or the Extra Rinse auxiliary functions, followed by repeating the suggested steps above. For a more detailed guide, see how-to descale your washing machine.

To deeply clean your washing machine, check out our handy tips below:

Cleaning your filter

The filter protects the drain pump from potential damage from foreign objects during the discharging of water, like coins or buttons. It is located on the bottom right hand side of your machine and should be cleaned every three months, or whenever it becomes clogged.

  1. On some models, the filter door may be replaced with a cover, which runs the whole length of the machine. To remove, pull from both sides and, to access the filter, open the flap.
  2. Before you open the filter covering, bear in mind that there will always be water behind it. To help remove this water, many models feature an emergency draining hose.
  3. Unclip and lightly pull this hose forward. Place the hose end above a shallow tray and remove the blue cap. The water will then start to flow. Repeat this process until no further water drains from the hose.
  4. It is very important that the blue cap is refitted and placed back in its original location.
  5. If your appliance does not have an emergency draining hose, the water behind will need to be slowly drained via the filter.
  6. The filter can then be removed by rotating it in an anti-clockwise direction.
  7. Once removed, check and clean the filter and its housing.
  8. To refit the filter, slide it in and secure it by turning in a clockwise direction. Run a short programme and check for leaks.

Cleaning the detergent drawer

Detergent drawers can quickly build up with detergent deposits, making it harder for the detergent and fabric softener to travel into the drum. Because of this, it is a good idea to remove and clean the detergent drawer after every four to five uses of the washing machine. Follow our guide below to clean you detergent drawer quickly and easily:

  1. Make sure the washing machine is turned off.
  2. To remove, slide the drawer open and press on the top of the plastic covering the softener compartment (usually the middle compartment in the drawer)
  3. Pull the drawer while pressing to remove from the machine.
  4. The softener compartment cover, detergent compartment cover and the inner funnel for the detergent can all be removed from the main drawer and everything can be washed in warm water using a washing up brush.
  5. Use a toothbrush to reach the corners of the drawer and the fittings.
  6. While the drawer is removed, clean the underside of the drawer housing with a brush.
  7. When all the drawer parts are dry, fit them back together and slide the drawer back into the washing machine.

Check out our video for a more visual guide on our how to clean your detergent drawer page.

Cleaning the drum

You should regularly clean the washing machine drum as residue from dirt and detergent and bacteria can build up over time.

  1. Make sure the drum is empty.
  2. Add limescale-remover powder or tablet into the detergent drawer.
  3. Run the machine on a cotton cycle at a hot temperature (70°C or above).
  4. Use the ‘Extra Rinse’ option but do not use the ‘Prewash’ option.
  5. When the cycle has finished wipe the inside of the machine with a cloth to remove any excess water
  6. If you can, leave the door open to allow the drum to air for some time after the cleaning cycle.

General cleaning tips

  • To clean your washing machine’s exterior, use a damp cloth and washing up liquid to wipe away dust and stains. Make sure to dry your machine with a clean towel.
  • To keep your machine’s rubber seals free from mold and mildew, use a damp cloth and soapy water. Carefully wipe around the rubber seals, making sure you do not lift the seals away from the metal. If any dirt remains, use a toothbrush to scrub the surface.
  • Look out for self-cleaning functions. Many Beko washing machines comes with a self-cleaning function, such as DrumClean+ that removes the bacteria that build up and cleans the drum at a hot 70°C.
  • Leave the door open to allow air into the drum. If the door is closed, bacteria will fester in the damp.

For more a visual guide on how to keep your washing machine in top condition, watch the video below.

Or, for more general information, read your washing machine's manual. Can't find yours? You can download it here.

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