Key area to clean to stop washing machines smelling – it’s not the drum or detergent tray

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Washing machines should be cleaned every month, experts suggest, and there is one area that always gets forgotten about. When adding detergent or soap powder to the tray, it’s easy to notice mould building up. Similarly, when opening and closing the washing machine door, any smell instantly hits you. But when was the last time you cleaned the filter? Maxine Dwyer, cleaning expert from BBC’s Clean It, Fix It has explained how you go about cleaning your washing machine filter. 

For an average family of four, the washing machine is likely to be used over 500 times a year. 

Maxine explained: “I’m going to clean the filter of this washing machine, and this is how you open it; most of them just ping open, just press it and it will open.” 

The pump filter protects the pump from a build-up of fibres from clothes and other obstructions like coins. 

If it gets blocked, the drum won’t drain properly. 

Maxine then unclipped the cover flap and placed it to one side out of the way. 

Using an old baking tray, or plastic pot, she placed it underneath the filter to collect water. 

“Before you remove the filter, you need to take the bung out of the pipe and release the water,” she explained. 

Besides the filter is a small retractable pipe which will drain any water from the filter. 

“Can you see the mess coming out? It stinks, it smells really bad,” Maxine remarked. 

Over time, the inside of your washing machine will get dirty, mould can build up and lead to your machine smelling bad. 

To keep your machine clean and odour free, use a service wash at 90 degrees every month. 

“I’m going to remove the filter and I hope and pray no water comes out of it,” the expert continued. 

To release the filter, you turn the cap anti-clockwise. 

As for what was stuck in the filter, Maxine found a pound coin, a hair clip and a screw amongst hair and fibres. 

“Just wipe it out – this machine is going to smell lovely now,” she added. 

“The filter just needs washing,” and after scrubbing it in soapy water, Maxine said: “It’s all clean now.” 

She then placed the filter back and put the front flap back on. 

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“That will save you £250, or £175 for a service engineer coming – whatever it costs,” the presenter added, noting that sometimes a washing machine will stop working or ‘break’, simply because there is a blockage in the filter. 

The Wild family, whose washing machine Maxine had cleaned, commented on the result. 

“Since Maxine cleaned my washing machine filter, everything smells nicer, cleaner and fresher,” the mum said. 

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