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Question DetailsAsked on 10/4/2014

I have a sour/rotten/cabbage-y/ smell coming from my mudroom. What is it from?

In the mudroom I have a water heater and a double washer and dryer , but we do not use the washer. There is always this really fowl rotten smell just in that room.

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1 Answer


Aside from fungus growing in rotting wood (like a wall getting wet from groundwater infiltration), five likely sources - read through all five, then use your nose to find which of the three is the source, and take appropriate action for that cause:

1) washers do not pump all the water out when they run, so some is some left in the bottom under the drum, which will stagnate after a few weeks to months - you will smell it strongly if you open the lid if this is the problem. If washer is never used, try running a short cycle on permanent press (hot) with some borax powder or baking soda (see container or manufacturer website for instructions) through it, then turn off the water valves, disconnect and drain the water and drain hoses (note they will still have some water in them), then without breaking off the hose fittings on the back, tilt washer back and rock around from side to side to drain all the water you can - usually have to tilt pretty much fully on its back and from side to side then back to full back to get most of it. This is if you want the washer to maybe work in the future - but no guarantee it will if left unused for extended time; as connections may go bad, it may rust up or seals may dry out and leak when you use it next. Other alternative is to use it every few weeks for a load to self-clean - obviously not with anything really good as it may develop rsuty spots if left idle for long periods, so maybe use for floor mats and bath towels or dirty outdoor work clothes and pet bedding only.

2) If not using the washer, then there is no water going down the drain so the trap can dry out, letting sewer gases into the house. Solution is to use the washer every few weeks, or if you take the washer out of service every few weeks to a month pour some water with a bit of baking soda in it down the drain pipe where the washer drain hose stuck in. If this is the problem, if you pull washer out and stick your nose at the drainpipe where the gooseneck at the end of the discharge hose fits in you will smell the smell strongly. Or if a pain to pul it out, use a long cardboard tube like a wrapping paper core as an extension sniffer.

3) floor drain trap may have dried out, if you have a floor drain - same solution as for the washer drain trap in 2) - put in water with baking soda every few months. That trap commonly holds more water (a qurt or more) so usually will go 6 months or more (depending on humidity in the room) before it dries out.

4) oops - forget to take the last load of wet laundry out and dry it, or something like a wet sock wrapped around the bottom of the agitator that got missed.

5) stagnant water in an underslab drain or a sump pump pit - flush with lots of water then with baking soda or borate solution to mitigate smell.

Answered 6 years ago by LCD

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