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Tips for keeping an RV washing machine odor-free

By Nanci Dixon
For those of us lucky enough to have an onboard RV washing machine, opening the door to a musty, moldy smell can be an unwelcome surprise. Especially if it’s been sitting inside and closed up for weeks, or even months at a time.

I soon discovered that in our new motorhome when I excitedly washed clothes and closed the front loading washer door. One week later it was time to wash again. Yuck! The smell practically knocked me over. After running an empty load on hot, the smell was not much better so I went online to research what was wrong with my brand-new washer. Turns out it wasn’t the washer, it was me.

Here are a few tips to keep your washer odor free:

  1. Dry out the drum when done.
  2. Dry out the seal around the drum, particularly where water pools near the drain hole.
  3. Periodically clean around the inside rim of the rubber seal. It is amazing the gunk and mold that can collect there.
  4. Dry inside of the door and leave it open. I hang the towel I wipe it out with over the door to keep it propped open. I only close the door when we are moving and then I open it again when we stop.
  5. Open the detergent drawer and let it dry out too.
  6. If there is an overpowering odor that is not uncommon. There are several washing machine cleaners on the market that will attack and diminish the odor. I like Affresh® best. The scent doesn’t overpower the small area in our motorhome, as a couple of other cleaners did.
  7. Some people swear by running an empty load on hot with 1/2 cup of vinegar in the detergent drawer once a month. The vinegar method has both pros and cons. It can be hard on rubber parts but is great for keeping clothes and the washing machine fresh. Adding baking soda to the drum and running on hot has also been mentioned. I have succeeded in corralling the odor with Affresh, so I have not personally tried either baking soda or vinegar. If you try it, please let me know!

I love having a washer and dryer in our motorhome and I want it to love me too!

Related:

Washer ‘n dryer in that RV?

##RVDT1604

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Mitzi Agnew Giles and Ed Giles
4 months ago

I actually got a Splendide washer/dryer (vented)for my sticks n bricks. It’s the best of the 3 combos over the last 19 years. The Splendide is about a decade old. The Equater apparently became wellknown for its motherboard going up in smoke and flames. I forgot the second but it kept throwing its belt. Love my Splendide

Montgomery Bonner
4 months ago

Use 1/4 cup bleach and run a long cycle, that will do it. Wipe out the detergent drawer till it’s dry. Leave door cracked open when not moving. Use it once a week at least.

BruceinAz
4 months ago

Our washer/dryer in our coach is 17 years old and the only time it has had an odor was when it went for an extended period of time unused and the odor was caused by the drain trap drying out and allowing odor from the gray water tank to get out through the drain. A quart of water and a few seconds on the spin cycle refilled the trap and sealed the odor in the holding tank where it belongs. Our front loader washer at home is over 25 years old, has never been scrubbed out or hand dried and it has never had an odor of any kind or gotten gunky. Maybe it’s the detergent that some folks use that causes the problems. We use good old Tide.

Doug
4 months ago

I run Odoban as a last rinse.
Kills the smell, disinfects, kills mold.
Also great to wash pet bedding or incontinence pads.

Diane McG
4 months ago

Have had a washer/dryer combo in our 19 try old motorhome. Never had the odor problem (see Paul’s comment, I too think having washer/dryer combo is reason) and never had water everywhere. Washer/dryer doesn’t move while we are driving. However Newmar secured it has worked fine, so far. Of course, fingers crossed, as always a first time.

Drew
4 months ago

Why don’t home washers have odor problems?

Diane McG
4 months ago
Reply to  Drew

They do. Front loaders. Google it.

Paul
4 months ago

Seems running the dryer after the wash cycle on the combo units would do all the “drying out” of the drum, etc that is needed. We have never had an odor problem with ours, though I do occasionally clean around the rubber seal.

Donald N Wright
4 months ago

Thank you Nanci, when I used to sell Front Loaders at HD, I would go into detail about caring for a front loader. There is a problem when someone decides to use an appliance designed for a residence (house, condo, apt) and put’s it in their RV that moves….Shakes them to pieces, water everywhere.

Pat
4 months ago

Thanks, Nanci, those are great tips, not only for RV washing machines but home washing machines, too!