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Washing Machine Smell Like Sewage: Reasons & How to Fix?

If there was a superhero universe of machines for helping humans, there is no doubt that the washing machine would be a front liner superhero.

But what if the sewage smell comes from our favorite superhero washing machine? Don’t blame him. Maybe you are also responsible for this. Learn why the washing machine smells like sewage and how you fix it.

Washing machine smell like sewage

Faulty drain pipes are one of the leading causes of sewage smell. There are many other causes, such as if you keep a wet cloth inside and leave it for days, if you do not wash your washing machine regularly or if the washing machine filter is clogged and colonized by bacteria.

The washing machine smells does not make any sense! How can a machine that cleans piles of nasty clothes in no time can not wash itself? When we use washing powder and water, the machine should clean itself.

Is that what you are thinking? If so, you are not alone! We will solve the mysteries of smelly washing machines in this article.

Let’s start with some basic information, so you can get everything when we land on our main discussion. A washing machine is something where moisture can trap easily. And moisture or water is the primary requirement for any living object.

So, what lifeless living creature can live in a boring place like a washing machine and cause a swage-like smell? That’s bacteria, mold, and mildew. It comes from the water and clothes and colonizes your washing machine if you do not regularly clean it.

The bacteria and molds can survive in the most challenging places with low nutrients. And they produce hydrogen sulfide and other gases that lead to swage-like smells from your washing machine.

Can bacteria or mold colonies in your washing machine cause bad smells? Sadly the answer is yes. The bacteria and mold can contaminate your clothes which can cause health complications. Hew?

If harmful bacteria like E-coli infest the washing machine, they can reach your cloth. There are chances that the bacteria can get into your food or body and make you sick. However, the chances of this happening are small but still there.

Sometimes molds and mildews can infest your washing machine. They usually smell like earth. But don’t dare to smell them from near. The mold spores can enter your respiratory and make you sick. The spores can also reach your clothes, making them their spore-spreading agent.

The microbes are the primary reason for bad smells from your washing machine. But we can talk about reasons more specifically.

Check out the points below to find out what causes sewage smells when running the washing machine and when you are draining the washing machine.

When running:

Are you getting a sewage-like smell when your washing machine is running? Those can be the reasons.

Drainage issue:

When you are running your washing machine and get the swage-like smell, a poor drainage system can cause this issue. There is a drain hose connected to the washing machine. When the washing cycle runs, the machine drains the dirty water from the drain hose.

Sometimes when dirty water goes to the swage, some smelly gas comes back from the pipe. It happens when there are plumbing issues in your house.


You need to hire professional plumbers to solve the drainage issue of your house.

Bacterial infestation in the washing machine:

Bacterias are present in every part of our planet, and they love the place they get continuous water. A washing machine is an excellent place for bacteria to make their colonies. Bacterias can live just by eating very little organic matter they get from water and washing machine dirt.

The washing powders remove the bacteria only when you scrab the washing machine to clean. If you do not clean the washing machine for a long time, you may get a swage-like smell from your washing machine.


Clean your washing machine a few times a year following the manufacturer’s guide.

Mold and mildew:

Mold and mildew can colonize your washing machine if you do not use the machine for a long time. They can live easily in a dark place as they are a type of fungus.

They can be pretty harmful to human health, so be serious when you can spot their presence. They cause earthy to sewage smells from your washing machine.


Keep your washing machine doors slightly open when going out for some days, or you will not use the machine for days.

When draining:

Check out the probable reasons you can get the sewage-like smell from your washing machine while opening or draining your washing machine.

Twisted pipe:

The washing machine can smell like sewage if the drain pipe is twisted and the dirty water is stuck on the drain pipe’s curved part. When you turn off your washing machine, the contaminated water can enter the washing machine and smell like sewage.


Inspect the drain pipe of your washing machine and fix the line if twisted.

Forgotten clothes:

If you forget clothes inside your washing machine, the clothes can start decomposing by the bacteria. Organic garments are prone to a bacterial infestation when wet for a long time. The bacteria release chemicals and gas that have nasty smells.

That’s why before finishing all the washing machine jobs, ensure you remove all the clothes from the washing machine. Even a sock can cause a horrible smell from your washing machine.


Double-check your washing machine chamber after you have done your washing.

Using a lot of washing powder:

Using a lot of washing powder does not help you clean more effectively and can cause issues like blockage and overflow.

When blockage and overflow happen, dirty water gets stuck in different parts of the washing machine, and when the water gets stuck for long enough, it can cause sewage-like smells from your washing machine.


Follow the manufacturers’ guide to use the right amount of washing powder. If you do not have the manual, you can search for your washing machine model online and learn the amount of washing powder.

Sewage overflow

The drain pipe releases the dirty water in the drain from your washing machine. But when the gutters are blocked and overflowing, swage water can come into your washing machine.


Call a plumbing professional to fix the issue.

Why washing machine smells worse after cleaning?

When there are issues with the drain pipe or the drainage system of your house, you will not be able to fix your washing machine smell, no matter how hard you work to clean inside your washing machine.

When cleaning a washing machine, the water drains through the drain pipe, and trapped sewage gas can come out from the line, causing the smell issue. The problem can happen when bacteria colonize the drain pipe of your washing machine.

No matter how much you clean your washing machine, you cannot reach your draining pipe.

How do you clean a smelly washing machine pipe?

The drain pipe can be the culprit if you fail to spot any places causing sewage smell from your washing machine. Here is how you can easily clean your drain pipe and get rid of the sewage-like smell from your washing machine.

  • Get some ideas about where the drain pipe of your washing machine is located and how to remove them. You can find that info online or in the manufacturers’ guide.
  • Remove the pipe by following the steps given in the guide. Wear a mask and gloves before starting the job.
  • Mix 1 cup of baking soda with one cup of vinegar.
  • Use the solution to clean the pipe thoroughly. Use a long brush to clean the line.
  • After cleaning the pipe, set it as it was.

Final Thoughts

Bacterial infestation, mold, and sewage waste or gas entering the drain pipe can cause a sewage smell from your washing machine. If you cannot find where the odor is coming from, check if the drain pipe is in the right conditions. Using too much washing powder can also be a reason.