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Smelly Washing Machine Staining Clothes.

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chrissa1 | 22:18 Thu 25th Feb 2021 | Law
26 Answers
I have been in my flat for two and a half years. The washing machine was included in the rent.

It has accumulated black stuff in the rubber lining around the door and has started to smell and stain the clothes when I take them out of the machine.

Can I complain to my landlord and get him to replace it, or is it my fault?

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Chrissa1 sounds like you have not been cleaning door seal after each wash? I would clean seal and give m/c a run with no washing on hottest wash with some soda Christals.
Your contract with your landlord is that, in return for a part of your rent, he will provide you with a washing machine that works properly in all respects.

Therefore, since the washing machine isn't doing its job properly, he's obliged to remedy the matter.
Agree with Tony. Give the seal a good scrub.
If you are using the detergent pods or sachets that are a silicone like ball or envelope then stop. They ruin a washing machine because the squishy ball breaks down and sticks to the seals and pump blades etc. Get a cleaning kit and put a long boil wash on to clear it out and then go back to detergent powders. If you are not using the weird sachets do the boil/cleaning cycle anyway.
The washing machine is still working. It needs cleaning as Tony has said. Don't let the dirt build up again.
Question Author
Thanks. I’ll try to deep clean it tomorrow and see what happens.
Then I’ll ring my landlord.
Chris that maybe a point of view, but surely the tenant has some obligation for generally cleaning the m/c. Detail will be in the tenancy agreement. Just a thought. Some machines have small holes in the door seal that often become clogged. Once you've cleaned door seal you should be able to see if there are any, and clean them using a cocktail stick.
This is a bit like driving a car on salty roads and wondering why parts of it are rusting/corroding when you haven't bothered to wash the salt off. A washing-machine needs a small amount of regular attention to keep it performing properly. Mould will only grow in damp, dark conditions such as door seals that are left wet after use.
Would you complain to your landlord because your oven was dirty?

You need to clean washing machines after every use -I can only imagine what filth is in the powder/conditioner compartment. There are many products out there to put into your machine to do a deep clean -they cost around £3 and should be used once month at least. Clean around the rubber seal after every wash. To remove the mould and dirt that has accumulated you will need to use a bleach-based product or something specifically designed to get rid of mould - Dettol mould and mildew remover. Use the same product to clean the powder/conditioner compartment which can be removed and soaked.
This problem has nothing to do with the Landlord.
^^^ I've answered your question on the basis of 'Law' (since that's where you've posted) on the assumption that the machine has reached a stage in its life where it simply can't do its job properly without, say, needing a new door seal. I'm happy to stand by my answer based upon that assumption.

However Tony and Barry have (wisely) approached the question as if it had appeared in AB's 'How It Works' section. In the same way that, for example, you couldn't reasonably complain to your landlord about your loo smelling if you'd never put any bleach (or similar) down it, you can't expect your landlord to fix things if you've not carried out the necessary routine maintenance with a washing machine. So, if you've not actually cleaned the seal, that's clearly the first place to start before you consider hassling your landlord!
https://blog.fantasticservices.com/how-to-clean-a-washing-machines-rubber-seal/
Question Author
Fair enough all. I’ve never had this happen to me before with all the washing machines I’ve owned over the years.

Strange.
Washing machines these days use a lot less water than they used to and I think this adds to the problem of dirt accumulation. Also a tip is to leave the washing machine door open overnight if you can, to dry out the drum and seals to help prevent mould.
Sorry of topic. Chris coincidentally have bleached our toilets today, look a lot more pristine now lol.
We are all doing a cold wash now Chrissa and some even use conditioners in a washing machine. Again that stuff, like the silicone sachets, coats a machine insides with a grease like slime over time. When we were using old fashioned powders and doing the occasional hot wash the machine would stay fairly clean without much cleaning apart from the powder tray. All the new detergents call for a cold wash and that is no good for flushing out the build up from conditioners etc. When it has built up it is ideal for bacteria and hence smells.
chrissa1 as per my earlier suggestion check if there are any drainage holes in the seal and that they are clear. I always leave the washing m/c door ajar to let some air circulate.
Pull the drawer completely out and look in the cavity with a torch. It is probably thick with mouldy black slime. I take the drawer out after every wash, dry it and leave it out. I dry the inside of the cavity as far back as I can. Very hot maintenance wash once a month. I leave the door open between washes too.
Once a year, I put a cupful of household bleach in the detergent compartment, then run the machine, empty, on it's hottest setting. It cleans everything properly.
This may be fairly obvious but no onesmentioned it, have you cleared the filter - I think all machines have them.
Dr Beckmann deep clean service it washing machine cleaner, highly recommend. Sold in many shops.

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