Why Your Washing Machine Makes Your Kitchen Sink Smell

If your laundry doesn’t come out of your washing machine smelling fresh it could be caused by a number of issues. In this article we’ll look into what causes that bad smell in your washing and your kitchen and what you can do about it. 

If your kitchen and/or laundry smells bad after you’ve washed your clothes, keep reading.

What Makes The Washing Machine And Kitchen Sink Smell?

The reality is, the smell is the least of your problems, it is just the indicator that something else is going on. If the kitchen sink is smelling after the washing has finished, and it doesn’t smell like washing detergent or fabric softener, you’ll need to investigate. It will usually be caused by a partial blockage in the waste pipe. 

Blocked Or Partially Blocked Waste Pipe

In most cases in the kitchen, washing machines will share the waste pipe with the kitchen sink which means any water leaving the washing machine has to go down the same waste pipe which runs from the kitchen sink.

Under the kitchen sink, there should be a U-bend which is designed to prevent any smells from the drain getting into the kitchen via the sink drain (plug hole). 

Over time, this U-bend can become partially blocked with kitchen waste which rots down and begins to smell.

As the washing machine waste water runs lower down through the same pipe, it can cause air to flow upwards. This will force any smelly air upwards towards your kitchen. The cure could be as simple as just removing the U-bend and cleaning it to remove any rotting kitchen waste.

The Washing Machine’s Waste Pipe Can Cause The Blockage

In some cases, the washing machine’s waste pipe is simply pushed into the drainage pipe under the sink. If this pipe is pushed in too far it can cause the sink’s waste pipe to block partially, and cause the smelly problem. The simple cure for this is to fit the washing machine’s waste pipe correctly.

It is far better if the washing machine has its own dedicated waste standpipe. This will be fitted with its own U-bend which can be cleaned and works independently of the sink.

The Drains Have A Partial Blockage

In some cases the drain that serves the kitchen sink is partially blocked. It doesn’t usually create any smell because it doesn’t get too much use. Once a washing machine is connected to the same waste system, the drain gets more usage and this can cause the smell to enter the kitchen. 

Check the drain that serves the kitchen and see if there is anything partially blocking it. Remove any blockages if you can, or call in a plumber to sort it for you.

Can The Washing Machine Cause The Foul Smell In The Kitchen?

In many cases, the washing machine is at fault and not the actual waste pipe at all. Over time, the washing machine could develop any number of faults which could cause it to create a smell which will get into the kitchen or whichever room the washing machine is fitted into.

It could be that the problem is;

  • The machine’s waste pipe is blocked or partially blocked
    If the washing machine has a blockage or partial blockage in its waste pipe, it could create a foul smell in the machine itself and in the room it is situated in – the kitchen.
  • A buildup of bacteria or mould
    If you always run eco washes which run at low temperatures, your machine is likely to get a buildup of mould and bacteria which can produce foul smells. This is often more prevalent in areas of hard water because the limescale deposits provide a surface for the bacteria to breed on.
  • The machine is in need of a service wash
    If you always use an eco wash program on your washing machine, you will allow mould and bacteria to grow inside the machine. As well as detergent scum and unused detergents etc. All washing machine manufacturers recommend running a service wash once a month. If your machine doesn’t have a service wash program, run the hottest wash cycle on your machine. Don’t add any clothes, just a proprietary washing machine cleaner or natural alternative like white vinegar and/or baking soda or soda crystals.
Washing Machine

How To Remove Foul Smells From Your Washing Machine Using Natural Ingredients

If it turns out that it is your washing machine which is the source of the bad smells coming from your kitchen it can be easily cured. There are a number of ways to combat the foul smell emanating from your washing machine without having to resort to chemicals. Keep reading to find natural ways to remove smells from your washing machine.

Clean The Washing Machine Using White Vinegar

Check the filter which is located in the pump at the bottom front of the machine, if this is partially blocked, it can cause the machine to smell. Remove any blockage and wash the filter in fast running water. 

Then check around the door seal and remove any mould using a soft lint-free cloth soaked in white vinegar. Be gentle as the rubber seal can easily get damaged. 

Also remember to rinse all of the door seal with water to remove any remaining white vinegar as this can be corrosive to rubber over a long period.

Remove the detergent drawer and scrub it clean using a soft brush or toothbrush. If you notice any mould, wipe it away using that soft cloth soaked in white vinegar.

Clean The Washing Machine Using Baking Soda And White Vinegar

Place ½ cup of baking soda in the detergent drawer and run a hot wash. Once the machine has completely finished, run a second wash with ½ cup of white vinegar in the detergent drawer. 

Never allow the baking soda and white vinegar to mix as they will produce a frothy substance which will be difficult to remove from your machine.

If after these two wash programs have finished the machine still smells bad, run another wash with a cup of bleach.

Using Soda Crystals To Clean The Washing Machine

To give the washing machine a good clean, pour 500g of soda crystals into the drum and run a hot (service) wash. This is a great way to keep on top of the bacteria and mould that can form in a washing machine which is always used on a cool wash program.

You should run this hot (service) wash at least once a month to ensure the working parts of your machine are free from bacteria, mould, limescale and soap scum.

Change Your Detergent

Sometimes it can be the detergent you use which is causing the problem. If you use more detergent than is needed, it can get stuck in patches inside the machine. This then creates the perfect place for germs to breed.

Always use the exact amount of detergent recommended for your area, and always follow the instructions on the packaging.

What To Do Next

If, after doing all of the above, your washing machine still stinks out your kitchen, it’s time to call a plumber. A reputable plumbing company will have the tools and knowhow to advise you on how to solve this annoying problem.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why does my house smell like a sewer when I run my washer?

If your house smells like a sewer when you run your washer, it’s usually because the waste pipe has been fitted wrongly. Check where the washing machine waste pipe runs to and check the U-bend if fitted or that the waste pipe isn’t pushed too far into the sink’s waste pipe.

Why is there a smell coming from my kitchen sink?

If there is a smell coming from your kitchen sink it is usually because there is rotting food stuck in the drainage pipe or waste disposal unit or the U-bend needs cleaning.

How do you clean washing machine pipes?

To clean washing machine waste pipes, you will need to unhook the waste pipe from the stand pipe and remove the other end from the machine. Then try pouring hot water through the pipe to remove any detergent or soap scum. If this doesn’t work, try using a plumber’s snake to remove stubborn clogs. Turn the handle in a clockwise direction to collect the blockage and allow you to remove it.

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