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Appliances

3 ways to fix your smelly, loud washing machine

No repairman necessary.

Chris Monroe/CNET

Awful smells, loud noises and sudsy clothes are all common washing machine problems. Luckily, they're also problems you can fix yourself without calling a repair person. 

You don't need any technical DIY know-how to do these fixes. All you need is a few spare minutes. 

Terrible smells

If your clothes come out stinky no matter how many times you wash them, it may not be your laundry detergent. It may be your washer. Mold and mildew can grow in nooks and crannies inside the washing machine's tub, leading to an unpleasant smell. 

An easy remedy is to give your washer a deep clean with these instructions. Then, after each use, leave the door to the washer open to let the inside dry. This will inhibit mold and mildew growth.

It's unusually loud

A washer that's making loud banging noises is usually off balance. This can be caused by one of two things. 

First, check to make sure the washer itself is stable. Grab a corner of the appliance and see if you can rock it from side to side. If you can, that means that the feet on the bottom of the washer need to be adjusted. 

Simply have a couple of friends lean the empty washer to one side and screw or unscrew the feet so that the washer is level when it sits back down on the floor. If you don't have a couple of helpers, stick a folded piece of cardboard under the corner to level it.

If the washer seems level but is still making a horrible banging noise, the tub is probably off balance because too much weight is on one side. Stop the washer and rearrange your clothes so that they are evenly distributed throughout the tub.

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It's not rinsing well

If there are still suds on your clothes or they have a soapy residue after a wash, you might think your washer just isn't rinsing well enough. The problem probably isn't the washer, though. 

More than likely, you're adding too much detergent to the load. Check instructions on the back of the bottle or box for the correct amount and make sure to measure carefully on your next load.

Are you sure you're not using a heavy hand with the detergent? Then you may have a water flow issue. Check to make sure that the washer is getting enough water by testing the faucets behind the appliance. 

There should be two knobs behind your washer that look a lot like a water hose faucets. Turn the knobs as far as they will go counterclockwise. This will open up the faucets all the way, ensuring your washer gets enough water pressure during the rinse cycle.

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