Thread Number: 93629  /  Tag: Modern Automatic Washers
Smelly Whirlpool top loader
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Post# 1182922   6/19/2023 at 10:05 by paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        

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About twelve hours after running a load of laundry, my Niece's Whirlpool top-loader smells like rotten eggs. You can smell it just by walking by the machine but you can check the drum and tell that this is where the odor is strongest.
After about twelve hours the odor dissipates completely.
We have done "Affresh" twice, back-to-back. Have tried baking-soda and vinegar to remove the odor. Also tried running hot water through the unit. Nothing seems to fix the odor
There is no standing water in the drum. Machine works fine otherwise and the clothes smell just fine.

Post# 1182929 , Reply# 1   6/19/2023 at 10:32 by qsd-dan (West)        

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Can try a cup or 2 of ammonia with a full tub of hot water.


Whirlpool washers neutral drain and get mucky near the top of the inner/outer tubs. There's generally no way to fix that other than removing the inner tub and manually cleaning both. Regular warm and hot water washes help keep it somewhat under control. 

Post# 1182932 , Reply# 2   6/19/2023 at 10:37 by DADoES (TX, U.S. of A.)        

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There's always residual water in the pump/sump and associated drain hoses outside the clothes drum on any washer whether toploader or frontloader.

No details are shared regards to the machine model and her laundry habits ... choice of detergent, liquid fabric softener or none, primarily cold washing or not, etc.

Disassembly may be required to directly observe whether there's accumulated residue that the treatment attempts thus far aren't removing.

Post# 1182933 , Reply# 3   6/19/2023 at 10:40 by combo52 (50 Year Repair Tech Beltsville,Md)        
Smelly top load washer

combo52's profile picture
Hi Paul, this can be a problem with any washer basically poor washing practices are in use in most cases. Probably too much cold water washing and not enough detergent and certainly no bleach, bleach will solve the problem quickly wash a big load of towels, sheets, etc. with a cup of bleach periodically in the machine will be fine.

If the machine smells bad, the laundry is not clean either, have your niece take a clean, washcloth or small hand towel out of the linen closet, make it damp, put it in a Ziploc bag and put it back in the linen closet for a week and see what it smells like, I dare say it will smell bad because it wasn’t clean to begin with because they’re not washing things properly.

This has nothing to do with a neutral drain machine. Some of the worst calls we get are on later Maytag dependable care machines they get so gross and stinky at the top of the tub. We literally get service calls on those where customers are disgusted by the smell and we have to take the tub cover off and clean them all up.


Post# 1182956 , Reply# 4   6/19/2023 at 14:41 by BlockEight88 (Hobart, IN)        

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The only way you will get rid of the smell is to take out the inner tub basket (can be tough) and scrub the plastic outer tub clean.

Post# 1182965 , Reply# 5   6/19/2023 at 16:39 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        

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Need to wash on either hot or warm water, rinsing in cold is fine but washing and rinsing strictly in cold water is no good. Some things you do want to wash in cold water but for clothes you wear on a regular basis, hot and warm water will do just fine.

Post# 1182966 , Reply# 6   6/19/2023 at 17:02 by BlockEight88 (Hobart, IN)        

blockeight88's profile picture
I don't know if this is right, but I heard that washing in cold water using cheap liquid detergent is really bad for the machine. I couldn't dream of how bad this would be on a front loader.

Post# 1182981 , Reply# 7   6/19/2023 at 19:06 by Maytag85 (Sean A806)        
Reply #6

maytag85's profile picture
Using liquid detergents in general will gum up more since they contain oils while powder does not. Liquid detergent isn’t very good environmentally since the plastic jug they come in usually goes to a landfill and as we all know, plastic comes from oil. A cardboard box is better environmental wise and can be broken down more easily compared to a plastic jug.

Post# 1182994 , Reply# 8   6/19/2023 at 21:24 by neptunebob (Pittsburgh, PA)        
Short of taking it all apart...

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I have had success with using one of those narrow brushes used for cleaning refrigerator condenser coils and sticking it in between the 2 tubs and going up and down, using a gel dishwasher detergent. It also helps to aim a power washer between the 2 tubs. I would post a photo of the brush here but I don't know how and maybe someone here can.

Post# 1183191 , Reply# 9   6/22/2023 at 11:11 by Paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        
Thank you all for the tips!

paulg's profile picture
Thanks for the tips gang! I know my niece is following this thread and will diligently follow-up with your suggestions. If I get an update I will post the results here.
Much obliged!

Post# 1183196 , Reply# 10   6/22/2023 at 12:57 by qsd-dan (West)        

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Is the washer a direct drive or VMW?

Post# 1183219 , Reply# 11   6/22/2023 at 19:51 by GELaundry4ever (Nacogdoches, TX, USA)        

What about using bleach?

Post# 1183279 , Reply# 12   6/23/2023 at 15:20 by vacerator (Macomb, Michigan)        
I've smelled

well water before that smeeled like sulfur or rotten eggs.
Our neighbors old Knemore (Whirlpool) direct drive washer from the 90's stunk musty and was leaviing a grey dinge on light clothing. They tried bleach, baking soda, Borax, and TSP. Nothing worked, so they replaced it. It didn't owe them anything.

Post# 1183290 , Reply# 13   6/23/2023 at 17:26 by panasonicvac (Northern Utah)        

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I have a Whirlpool made Kenmore 90 Series top loader and while it currently doesn't smell, I think it's a good idea for me to take the machine in to someone like this guy and get it completely tuned up once in a while. You never know what could be inside of the washer especially if I try to self clean it out with hot water and bleach, this same guy pointed out when he did a video servicing a Kenmore that's similar to mine that the washer was dirty on the inside even though it smelled clean.

Post# 1183330 , Reply# 14   6/24/2023 at 08:48 by lakewebsterkid (Dayton, Ohio)        
Citric Acid

I highly recommend running 1 cup of Citric Acid on either a clean washer cycle or the longest wash cycle with hot water(preferably Sanitize). You will be amazed at how much it does. People claim that OxiClean, dishwasher tablets, baking soda, vinegar, and many other products work wonders, though I have never witnessed anything clean a washer like Citric Acid. A lot of products contain Citric Acid, but they are lower concentrations. Also, don't mix it with anything.

Post# 1183332 , Reply# 15   6/24/2023 at 09:01 by Paulg (My sweet home... Chicago)        
Thanks for the deluge of tips…

paulg's profile picture
Bunch of stuff to try! Learning a lot here. Thx!

Post# 1183357 , Reply# 16   6/24/2023 at 15:51 by foraloysius (Leeuwarden, Friesland, the Netherlands)        

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I second the advice about citric acid, I have had some great success in the past with it.

Also with a toploader you want to check the underside of the top. Mold can accumulate there too. After 12 hours it will probably be dry and smell less. And when you use the machine again and the underside of the top gets wet again, the smell is being reactivated again. Just a possibility.

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