If the residue under the gasket is persistent and hard to remove with a rag, try using an old toothbrush to scrub it out of hard to reach nooks. If you come across any stray socks or clothing articles, be sure to remove them. These might be able to be removed from your washing machine to make this easier. Soap residue and small amounts of old stagnant water can make your dispensers smell. Remove the dispensers and give them a thorough cleaning with hot soapy water. If you can’t remove them, you can wipe them out with soapy water.
Use a spray bottle or pipe cleaner to get into the nooks and crannies of the dispenser. Run a cleaning cycle on your machine. Use the longest wash with the hottest water setting available. Some washing machines have a tub cleaning cycle. 2 cup of enzymatic dishwasher detergent, or a commercial washer cleaner. Some common brands of washer cleaner are Affresh or Smelly Washer.
Tide also makes a washer cleaner that you can buy in the laundry aisle of your supermarket. If the smell remains, try another cycle. If after running the cycle twice the smell persists, try another additive. For example if you used baking soda the first round, try washer cleaner or bleach on the second try. Your washer may be under warranty for an issue like this. If your smell persists you might have a clogged drain or filter.
There might also be mold growing behind the washing machine drum. A qualified repair person will be able to diagnose any further problems and recommend solutions. If you are familiar with washers, you can try to clean the drain and filter yourself. You can find this usually in the small door at the base of the front of the washer. Be sure to have a bucket handy to collect any stagnant water. Using non-HE detergent will cause too many suds to form.
These suds will leave behind a residue that can start to smell. Don’t use too much detergent either. This will also cause residue to form inside your washing machine. Powdered detergent often is a better alternative to liquid as it tends to produce fewer suds. Much like liquid detergent, liquid fabric softener can also cause residue to build up inside your machine. This residue will develop a bad odor over time. These are inexpensive and can be found in the laundry aisle of any supermarket.
Air out the washing machine between loads. This will decrease the mold build-up as it allows the tub to dry completely. Leave the door slightly ajar when the machine is not in use. This will allow fresh air to circulate through the drum of the front loading washing machine and will help dry any remaining moisture after a load. If you have small children or pets, you should avoid doing this as they can climb into the drum and become accidentally trapped inside. Right after a cycle ends, take the wet clothes out. Set your washer to beep when a cycle is complete, so you don’t forget to take the clothes out.
If you can’t dry your clothes right away, take them out and put them in a hamper or lay them flat until the dryer is available. This will prevent excess moisture from building up inside the washing machine drum after each load. Wipe down the gasket regularly. Do this is a dry towel. Ideally, the gasket, the area underneath it and the inside of the drum should be wiped dry after each cycle. This can be time consuming and a nuisance, so be sure to do this periodically at the very least. You can also wipe down the gaskets with hot soapy water regularly and allow them to completely dry. This will keep them clean and free of mildew. Clean your washing machine once a month. Use a hot water or cleaning cycle. Pour two cups of white vinegar into the detergent dispenser and run a hot water or cleaning cycle. You can also use a commercial washing machine cleaner such as Smelly Washer, but vinegar is more cost effective and just as efficient. When finished, clean the inside of the tub, gasket, detergent dispenser and inside of the door with a mixture of hot water and vinegar and a towel.