March 01, 2012
Getting rid of the sulfur smell from a washing machine

I'm posting this more to help others on the interwebs find help, rather than because Loyal Cruft Readers will find it awesome.

For the last year or so, there was a strong smell of sulfur or rotten eggs that occurred when we washed clothes in our washing machine. It seemed to get worse over time.

I tried searching on The Google, but didn't find a lot of good answers. I cleaned the washer with various things like vinegar and baking soda, and even tried the washing machine cleaners sold at the store. They would help a little, but nothing solved the problem.

We even had the plumber out and he was stumped as to what was going on.

The clothes came out clean and had no smell, so I determined it wasn't in the washing tub itself. I was beginning to think I'd never figure it out.

Then one day I saw a clump fall out of the drain hose into the sink in the laundry room. I looked into the drain hose and saw this:

Sure enough, there was a bunch of nasty stuff growing in the drain hose. I could smell the sulfur coming from it. That made sense, the drain hose would have water in it even after a wash cycle since it never fully drained. Perfect growing medium for some sort of organic, foul smelling sludge that must suck the sulfur out of the lauryl sulfate that is found in most detergents. I studied engineering not biochemistry, so all I know is it smelled like hydrogen sulfide.

I went to an online parts store and they had the part for ~$30 and even a video that showed how to replace it.

Replacing the drain hose took me about 15 minutes (mainly since I've taken it apart so many times) and I did a test run. No smell.

I've run the washing machine about 5 times now and the smell seems gone. So if you are having the sulfur smell from your clothes washing machine, consider replacing the drain hose!

Posted by michael at March 01, 2012 10:34 AM