How To Almanac Home Page
How To 09/21/2010

Maytag Mildew Moldy Musty Washing Machine Smell Odor Removal

I only buy Maytag washing machines. Why? Because you can fix them. They have individual components that are replaceable. The pump is separate and replaceable. The motor is separate and replaceable. The drum is plastic so it doesn't rust. Before you buy a washing machine, tip it back and look at the bottom. If it's repairable, it will have a belt in a triangle pattern.

Our current Maytag washing machine started having a mildew moldy smell, even if you left the lid open when not in use. I tried running a load of bleach, and running a load of chlorine, but couldn't get rid of the smell. Turns out, it's not the washing machines fault, it's the fault of the HE detergent. It leaves a scum inside the drum that stays wet, and grows mold. Black mold in our case.

So, here's how to remove the mold and do a little preventative maintenance while you're at it.

Opening the washing machine

Under the front edge of the washing machine lid, there are two clips that hold the lid down to the base. In this picture, the lid is open so you can see what the clips look like, and where they need to be pressed to release the lid. Slide an object in the opening between the lid and the base. If you are in the right spot, you will feel the spring give. Once the spring is compressed, lift up on the lid. Repeat for the other side.

In this picture, the washing machine looks clean inside. It's not.
has the best price on all auto parts, and their service is great.
Rock Auto Parts

Reach in around the top of the drum, and pop the clips up that hold the top of the drum to the drum. Remove the top of the drum. You will need to maneuver it around the water inlet solenoids.

Now with the top off, you can see the mold, and where your smell was coming from. Take the top of the drum outside, and clean it with bleach and a brush. Use bleach on a rag to clean the top edge of the drum, inside and outside. Reach as far down in the drum as you can. Make sure there is no mold left. When all is clean, snap the top of the drum back on the drum. It will only go one way. One(front left) of the clips is wider than the others.

While you have the washing machine open, now is the time to save yourself a little money. Use a 5/16" socket, and remove the screws that hold the front of the washer on. They are located in each upper corner.
has the best price on all auto parts, and their service is great.
Rock Auto Parts

Tilt the front outwards, and lift it off the two bottom clips. That's the motor on the bottom left of the picture.

The only thing that goes wrong with the spin cycle on this Maytag washer is that the motor does not pivot back and forth to allow it to enter the spin cycle. Use some white lithium grease to lubricate the slide areas on each side of the motor. BE SURE NOT TO SPRAY THE GREASE DOWN ON THE BELT BELOW! Make sure the motor moves smoothly back and forth.

You can now put the washing machine back together and enjoy mildew free clothes.

Final Thought - Maytag washing machines are great if they have the belt on the bottom. I've heard that you can use powdered detergent with phosphate every ten loads to wash this slime from the HE detergent away. Don't know if that works, and the bunny huggers are trying to get the phosphates in detergents outlawed. Gotta love'm. has the best price on all auto parts, and their service is great. I have been dealing with them for years and I've never had an issue. Give them a try. You won't be disappointed.
Rock Auto Parts