Doing laundry can often seem like an endless chore, what with washing, drying, folding, and everything else. And that chore can seem even more dreary and irritable when the laundry room quite literally stinks.

But why do laundry rooms begin to stink? Well, basement laundry rooms could have sewage backing up due to bad plumbing. Leaks due to faulty waterproofing could also be the cause. But that doesn’t explain why the laundry room starts to smell bad even when it is located in other parts of the house. Here are some of the most common reasons and a few simple solutions.

Why does my laundry room smell?

Dry traps

laundry room folding station

If you have not used the laundry room for a few months, the water trap underneath the floor drain could have dried up. This will lead to the build-up of dangerous sewer gases and could be one of the reasons you have sewage smells in the room. Sewer gas buildup can be detrimental to your family’s health and should be dealt with immediately.

Even your washing machine has a water trap, and the water would have evaporated due to not being used for a long period of time. The solution to a dry p trap is simply to pour a bucket of water into the trap. However, before you do, make sure the traps did not dry out because of a leak. If there is a leak, you may need to repair or replace your drain traps.

Read more: Guide to P trap maintenance


There are a number of reasons for drain pipe clogs. Blocked drainage vent pipes are one of the most common reasons.

Irrespective of the reasons, clearing a clogged drain at the earliest is of the utmost importance. If you have the right kind of equipment needed to do it yourself, such as a plumbing snake, as well as sufficient experience, attend to it post-haste. However, if you don’t, do hire the services of a professional plumber.

Read more: Laundry room plumbing


When we leave dirty clothes in the clothes hamper, we forget that on those clothes are remnants of our bodily fluids, dead skin cells, and various bacteria. Over time, these break down and start to smell really bad due to the build-up of gases. Even worse, they start to grow mold and mildew on them.

Another reason why clothes begin to stink, and in turn, the laundry room itself, is when we forget to remove clothes from the washing machine. 

The solution to this problem is again, really simple. All you will need to do is be prompt about washing and drying clothes.


small laundry room organization ideas

When you put your clothes into the washing machine, your body odor, oils, bacteria, dead skin cells, hair, soap scum and more also enter the machine. If the machine is not cleaned and maintained periodically, this can lead to mold and mildew growth, as well as odor build-up. 

Here are some maintenance tips for keeping your washing machine clean.

  • Remove and clean the detergent, bleach and soap dispensers in the machine. Use an old toothbrush and a pipe cleaner to do a thorough job. 
  • Use the same tools to scrub the inside of the washer as well.
  • If mold and mildew have grown in the washing machine, use chlorine bleach to clean them out. To do this, add two or three cups of bleach in the machine and start a rinse cycle. Then, let the highly toxic bleach work its magic for around half an hour. Then, rinse and wash it out.
  • Once this is done, turn the washing machine to the hottest setting and add two or three cups of white vinegar. Run a rinse cycle and let it rest for 30 minutes before rinsing it out. The acid in the vinegar will rinse out any remaining bacteria while deodorizing the machine.


Your laundry hamper needs some TLC every now and then as well to prevent the smell from dirty clothes from lingering and increasing. Depending on the material your hamper is made of, here are some cleaning tips.

  • If you use a plastic or polyester hamper, mix one cup of baking soda per gallon of water and scrub the hamper using a soft bristle brush. One you are done with the scrubbing, leave it to air dry.
  • Fabric hampers must be washed with warm water and a strong detergent.
  • Wood or wicker baskets must not get wet. The best way to clean this is to first vacuum clean it and then wipe it using a wet cloth dipped in a mixture of baking soda and water. Once you are done wiping it down, air dry the basket before using it.
Why does my laundry room smell? was last modified: November 11th, 2022 by Narayan Shrouthy
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I had problems of this type due to the amount of hair that my pets shed, so I decided to take a specific area more seriously for cleaning, far from drains, and I solved it