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Old 02-17-2016, 09:39 PM   #1
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Horrible Smell After First Load of Laundry


Hello all,

I am an avid DIYer but unfortunately I am stumped and do not know where to go from here. Since we moved into our new house we've noticed we get this god-awful putrid smell after our first load of laundry. We didn't seem to have this problem at our old house but I decided to do a very good cleaning of the washing machine by cycling it with bleach and vinegar. We went out of town and came back (we hadn't done laundry in a week) and after the first load the smell was horribly bad. I'm not totally ruling out the possibility of this still being the washer, but I'm really starting to think this is now related to the drain. I'm leaning towards the idea that the drain doesn't have a trap installed on it. But why would I ONLY get a putrid smell after one load of laundry? Loads following the initial load don't seem to create this smell. Could a bunch of gas odor be built up and then by doing a load of laundry it's agitating it? The smell of the odor seems to be linked to the length of time between when we do laundry (if I wait a week the smell is horrible as compared to doing laundry 3 days apart).

A little information about the house... house was built in 2004 but the laundry room is in the basement and was probably finished by the owner. I noticed during that lots of his electrical work was not done to code and he even had the polarity reversed on the breaker panel. With that being said, if he finished it himself I would not be surprised to find a trapless drain behind the wall. In the same room we also have a sink and a water softener with it's own drain. It's very possible all 3 of these drains hook into each other.

Anyways, what is everyone's thoughts on this? The only way I can describe the smell would be either a sewer smell or even a horribly stagnant water smell. Could all 3 of the drains connecting cause a problem? And is the best way to verify a water trap with one of those camera scope tools?

Thank you so much in advance!
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Old 02-17-2016, 09:50 PM   #2
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I'm not a plumber but why are you mixing bleach ( a base) and vinegar ( an acid)? If that's what you mean. It makes chlorine gas! http://chemistry.about.com/od/toxicc...nd-Vinegar.htm

Could you have a dead animal in there somewhere?

Maybe the chlorine gas killed the animal?

Last edited by Nik333; 02-17-2016 at 09:54 PM.
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Old 02-17-2016, 10:11 PM   #3
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Couple of quick things you can check while we are waiting for the plumbers to respond.

Make sure water is draining out of washing machine properly. Stagnant water can stink after a week or so. Unfortunately some water does remain. Leave the lid or door open so the water can evaporate better.

Check the drain hose and make sure it's not jammed all the way through the trap, causing backdraft of sewer gas. I've seen that before. Only needs to go 3 or 4 inches into the standpipe.

Additionally, there should be at least 2 inch pipe with trap and vented.

Please post some pictures of your set-up. Thank you.
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Old 02-17-2016, 10:22 PM   #4
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Thank you for the quick replies! I'm well aware of the dangers of mixing vinegar and bleach together. I did not mix them together. I washed it with bleach and then rinsed it and then washed it with vinegar and rinsed.

So we've always left the washer door open to prevent the formation of mold. I will post some pictures up when I get back home. I was also thinking about waiting a week and putting the washing machine drain in the water softener drain to see if it comes back.
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Old 02-17-2016, 10:33 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by XinnKoda View Post
In the same room we also have a sink and a water softener with it's own drain. It's very possible all 3 of these drains hook into each other.
It's very possible that it's plumbed wrong. That's why pictures help. Thank you.

Xinn, welcome to the forum btw.
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Old 02-18-2016, 08:51 AM   #6
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Other things to try, 3 days apart:

1. Run a half cycle on the machine (i.e. starting with the rinse) with no clothes or detergent.

2. In one sitting pour a good amount (like 5 gallons) of water into the washing machine drain pipe.

3. Are there floor drains or unused sink drains in the basement and/or near the washing machine? Pour about a quart of water into each (if any). Then wait a few days and run another wash.

Write down the results about odors.

See if you still get the odor.

Also you need to see that drain venting is correct and not clogged.
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Last edited by AllanJ; 02-18-2016 at 09:08 AM.
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Old 02-22-2016, 08:31 PM   #7
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I have the same problem. It's the washer. The new front-loaders are prone to this. I drain it and clean it regularly. I also keep the washer door open. It helps, but it's still a problem.
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Old 02-22-2016, 10:28 PM   #8
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Go down to the basement and look on the floor in the laundry area to see if there's a floor drain in the concrete floor. If so, the smell is probably coming out of that floor drain.

Lift the cover out and stick your hand down the floor drain. There should be a trap at the bottom of it. If not, that's definitely a problem.

Do you know when the last time the main drain line from the house was cleared with a snake?
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Old 02-22-2016, 11:20 PM   #9
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Turn off the CW supply to your washer, unscrew the supply hose from the machine and stick it in the stand pipe.
Hold on to it as you turn the CW back on- introduce as much water volume as the stand pipe will take- your trying to mimic the washer's discharge.
If the smell appears, then I suspect you have a dry trap in the room or a trap that is not vented properly. Or both..
To fix venting issues usually means opening the walls up......
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Old 02-23-2016, 07:41 PM   #10
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Sorry for the late reply but thank you for all the responses! I will upload some pictures tomorrow as I'm not in a position of doing it tonight but I will give you a little more information on the room. The room is a simple box room and on the North side wall is where I have my Washer/Dryer with drain. On the East wall I have my water softener with drain. On my West wall I have a sink (with drain) and just South of the sink I have my utility closet with drain in the ground. I don't know how everything is routed but I do know that the drain has a wet trap and the piping for it runs towards the north wall. I cleaned the drain in the utility closet some weeks ago and it appears it has a wet trap. I am able to see water sitting in it when I look straight down. I do know I have a large diameter pipe just outside my house that my neighbor tells me is a main vent. This "main" vent is located on the opposite side of my house to where the washer/dryer room is. I took some of the people's advice on here and filled all the drains with some water and I ran cold water down the washer drain for several minutes to see if the smell returns. I will post updates when I figure out if the smell returns. Thanks everyone!
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