house smells like sewer when doing laundry
Kristina Davis

House smells like sewer when doing laundry? Worry not, you are not alone in this experience. When there is a bad smell going around, it is usually an indicator that there is something amiss, especially if it smells like the sewers.

You may jump to the conclusion that there’s a problem with your plumbing, but it may be a bigger issue. It may even come from the sewer, so it needs quick action.

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Sometimes, solving the bad smell can come from running some water or using cleaning agents. Other times, unfortunately, you need to call some professional intervention.

In this article, let’s solve the mystery of why your house smells like sewer when doing laundry. Once we’ve gotten across the root of the odor, we’ll help you by providing ways to fix the issue.

Is It Dangerous If House Smells like Sewer when Doing Laundry?

You’ve probably scrunched up your nose a few times in your home, wondering where the heck that disgusting smell is coming from.

At first, you might think it comes from your bathroom or kitchen. We’re sure you all thought “it might be a dead rat” before we went to check why the laundry room smells like a dead animal.

But you can’t find where it’s from, so you get accustomed to it instead. However, that shouldn’t be the case.

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One of the lesser-known facts about the laundry scent is that they are dangerous to your health. Since these contain methane gas, they can become flammable sooner or later.

It can also cause you headaches, loss of coordination, and even suffocation.

House Smells Like Sewage When Doing Laundry: Why is That?

If you’ve already tried to clean your house and there’s still no significant change in the house scent, then there truly is a bigger issue in need of addressing.

Depending on the smell, you need to find out what issue you have to deal with before finding a solution.

Rotten Eggs Smell

When you get a waft of rotten eggs through your nose from your washing room, it might indicate that there are bacteria flourishing in your washer.

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This may be due to dirt, mildew and mold, lint, or soap that accumulated in the washer.

Washing Machine Drain

The horrible smell coming from your washing machine drain may be from the dryness in the p-trap.

Since water in the p-trap prevents sewer gases from getting into your house via the drain, when it is dry, it can’t trap gases.

Other Reasons for Sewer Smells in the Laundry Room

Apart from the common dirty washer or dry p-trap, there are also other reasons for the house smells like sewage when doing laundry scent in your laundry room.

These include the following:

Drain Clogs

You may not notice that your drain is already clogged due to hair or soap from the clothes. These wastes cause bacterial formation on the clog which creates a nasty scent.

If it is not attended to, it will grow bigger in size and produce more pungent odors.

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Clogs in Vent Pipes

Washing machines require vent pipes too. This is to avoid getting sewage gas smells in your house.

However, if this gets clogged, there would be no proper ventilation for the bad scents. This can cause the leaking of odor through walls and the vent pipe.

How to Get Rid of the Bad Smells from My Laundry Room

get rid of house smells like sewer

Let us learn how you can get rid of the bad smells that come out of your laundry room. We have mentioned the most common smells.

Get Rid of Rotten Egg Smell

If you use a front load washing machine, you need to open the rubber seal and closely look for any trapped dirt.

Untapped dirt can slowly decompose and release a bad smell that can be unbearable at home. So, if you find some dirt, it’s time to clean it.

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Next, clean the seal of the machine using a cloth rag. For this, you can use a mixture of vinegar and water (proportion 1:1). If you have bleach available, you can use that too.

Then run the machine on its hottest settings. For the front load washing machine, you can put soda (1/3 cup) into the drum and white vinegar right inside the tray for detergent.

In case you have a top-load machine, you can use a mixture of baking soda and vinegar.

Adding the ingredients, let the machine run, and finish the wash cycle.

Get Rid of Sewer Smell

This one’s easier. You just have to follow the manufacturer’s directions when washing the machine then wipe the edges and insides with a vinegar-water mixture.

But if the smell still won’t go away, then check the drainpipe. Use a gallon of water on the p-trap to resolve dryness.

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Preventative Measures to Avoid Getting Bad Smells in the Laundry Room

To prevent the recurrence of horrible smells in your laundry room, keep your washing machine door open for air drying.

Afterward, wipe it dry including the back of the rubber seal. You should also clean your washing machine regularly.

You should also wash your clothes using warm or hot water as much as possible. This is a better working condition for your detergent, as residue drops down to only 10 to 15 percent as compared to the usual 40 percent in cold washes.

Harms of Sewer Smell on Health

Sewer gas is composed of natural human waste that contains gases like ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, and methane. Hydrogen sulfide is what gives it that horrible scent.

While not extremely toxic at low levels, when you’re exposed to major levels of it, it may lead to sewer gas poisoning.

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#1. Hydrogen sulfide is toxic to the oxygen system of the body and may cause organ damage or death.

#2. Ammonia exposure can cause irritation to the eyes, nose, and throat. It may also cause organ damage or death.

#3. Methane and carbon dioxide can become flammable, along with ammonia.

You may experience the following from sewer gas poisoning:

  • Exhaustion
  • Headaches
  • Nausea or vomiting
  • Lightheadedness
  • Poor memory and coordination

When Should I Call Professional Help?

Sometimes, you can’t do all the cleaning alone. There are some types of washing machine issues that require training and expertise to solve.

The following are the indicators as to when you should consult professional help in addressing the bad smell of your washing machine.

When there is a continued sewage scent even after watering down the p-trap, a plumber must be called to ensure proper installation of the drainpipe.  

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When you need to use a sewer machine to clean clogged washing machine drainpipes, a plumber must be contacted as sewer machines are dangerous without proper usage knowledge.

When a vent pipe is clogged, a professional must be called for the usage of proper tools and knowledge to pull out any blockers in the pipe.

Be Proactive!

Just because your washing machine does its job of cleaning your clothes doesn’t mean you shouldn’t clean them too. Remember, it collects all the dirt from the clothes!

So, if your house smells like sewer when doing laundry, it’s a SERIOUS issue and you need to take it seriously.

You most likely don’t want to risk your health, deal with a horrible sewer smell, or spend some extra bucks. So, make sure to clean your washing machine regularly!

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