A couple years ago, I wrote about my problem with a stinky washing machine. I tried that smellywasher.com product but it only helped a little and I wasn't inclined to keep buying their proprietary powder.
I started using borax (the stuff in the 20 Mule Team box in the laundry aisle) every time I did a load of towels, but the towels never regained their fresh, clean smell.
And now! I've switched to powdered laundry detergent, which is messy and cumbersome compared to liquid detergent. But would you believe I left a load of washed towels closed up in the washer overnight and they were totally fine. Went straight into the dryer; came out smelling like Tide rather than mildew and washer stink. Even when the towels have been used for a few days, they remain fresh and Tidey. In contrast, when I've left a liquid-detergent washer load in the machine for several hours with the lid down, the clothes have demanded a rewashing.
So if you've been vexed by a high-maintenance laundry machine that kicks your butt for forgetting to move clothes out of the washer immediately, and the pesky odor makes you doubt yourself, try using a powder laundry detergent instead.