Saturday, July 13, 2024

How to Clean a Washing Machine in 4 Steps

by Sofia Helix
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A clean and well-maintained washing machine is essential for keeping your clothes and linens fresh and spotless. However, many homeowners might not realize that their trusty appliance also needs regular cleaning to ensure its optimal performance and prevent unpleasant odors.

Key Takeaways

  • Regularly cleaning your washing machine is important to reduce foul odors, prevent mold and mildew growth, and increase its efficiency.
  • Materials needed for cleaning your washing machine include distilled vinegar, baking soda, and a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush.
  • The step-by-step guide in this article provides easy-to-follow instructions on how to clean every part of your washing machine including the tub, detergent dispensers, door seals, and outside of the appliance.
  • Using natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda in combination with regular maintenance can not only save you money but also extend the life of your washing machine.

Importance Of Cleaning Your Washing Machine

Cleaning your washing machine is important in reducing foul odorspreventing mold and mildew growth, and increasing the efficiency of the machine.

Reduces Foul Odor

A clean washing machine is essential for maintaining a pleasant and odor-free laundry experience. Over time, dirt, soap scum, and detergent residue can build up in your washer drum, creating the perfect breeding ground for bacteria and mold.

To effectively reduce foul odors in your washing machine, it’s crucial to follow a regular cleaning routine using natural cleaners like vinegar and baking soda.

These powerful yet eco-friendly substances work together to break down grime, eliminate bacteria, and neutralize bad smells without damaging the internal components of your appliance.

For instance, running the hot cycle with two cups of distilled white vinegar will help dissolve mineral deposits while breaking down unpleasant odors. Then you can use a mixture of water and baking soda as an excellent scrubbing solution for removing stubborn stains from door seals or around dispensers.

Prevents Mold And Mildew Growth

Washing MachineOne of the key benefits of regularly cleaning your washing machine is that it helps prevent mold and mildew growth. Mold and mildew thrive in damp environments, making your washing machine an ideal breeding ground for them.

To ensure that mold and mildew do not take up residence in your washer, make sure to clean the tub, detergent dispenser, rubber seal around the door, and leave the door open between washes to allow airflow for proper drying.

Using a vinegar and baking soda mixture during a deep clean cycle once a month will help break down any soap scum or residue left behind by detergents.

Increases Machine Efficiency

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your washing machine not only helps to keep it in optimal working condition, but also significantly increases its efficiency.

buildup of dirt, detergent residues, and mineral deposits can obstruct the proper flow of water inside the appliance, negatively impacting its performance.

For example, consider a scenario in which your washing machine’s drum is coated with limescale or soap scum. This can make it more difficult for your appliance to adequately clean clothes and linens as well as consume more energy during each cycle.

By regularly using vinegar or baking soda solutions to remove any contaminants from these surfaces effectively prevents such issues. As a result, you’ll enjoy increased savings on electricity bills while helping prolong the lifespan of this indispensable household item.

Materials And Equipment Required

You will need distilled vinegar, baking soda, and a soft-bristled brush to clean your washing machine.

Distilled Vinegar

Distilled vinegar is a versatile and affordable item that can be used to keep your washing machine clean. It’s non-toxic, natural, and effective at dissolving mineral buildup on the inside of your washer.

To use distilled vinegar in cleaning your washing machine, add two cups of it to a hot cycle without clothes or detergent once every month to help reduce grime build-up and foul odors in the drum.

You can also use vinegar with baking soda as a DIY cleaning solution if you’re looking for an eco-friendly alternative to harsh chemicals.

Regularly using distilled vinegar as part of your washing machine cleaning routine will help keep it free from mold and mildew growth while increasing its efficiency in removing dirt and grime from your clothes.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is a natural and effective way to clean a washing machine. It can help remove odors and buildup without harsh chemicals, making it safe for your clothes and the environment.

To use baking soda as part of your cleaning routine, mix 1/4 cup of it with water to form a paste. Apply the paste to any stubborn stains or areas with buildup in the drum, seals around the door, or detergent dispensers.

Allow it to sit for 10-15 minutes before scrubbing gently with a soft-bristled brush or old toothbrush.

Using baking soda regularly can also prevent future build-up and save you money on expensive cleaners.

Soft-bristled Brush

To clean all the nooks and crannies of your washing machine, you’ll need a soft-bristled brush. A toothbrush can also work well for getting into tight spaces.

Use the brush to scrub gently around the detergent dispensers and inside the drum of your machine to dislodge any soap scum or dirt build-up. Be sure to focus on areas that are prone to mold and mildew growth, such as around the rubber seal around the door.

For tough stains or build-up, mix baking soda with water until it forms a paste and use the brush to apply it directly onto problem areas before scrubbing them away.

Step-by-Step Guide On How To Clean Your Washing Machine

Start by running a hot cycle with distilled white vinegar to help dissolve hard water deposits and remove any build-up.

Step 1: Clean The Washer Tub

The first step in cleaning your washing machine is to focus on the washer tub. Over time, dirt, soap scum, and other debris can build up inside the drum of the washing machine.

To tackle this issue, start by running an empty cycle with hot water and distilled white vinegar.

Next, use a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush to scrub the inside of the drum thoroughly.

After scrubbing, run another cycle with hot water – this time using baking soda instead of vinegar – to neutralize any remaining odors or residues from previous washes.

Remember – maintaining a clean washing machine is important for keeping it functioning efficiently for years to come!

Step 2: Clean The Detergent Dispensers

Cleaning the detergent dispensers is an important step in keeping your washing machine clean and odor-free. Over time, residue from laundry detergents and fabric softeners can accumulate in the dispenser, leading to clogs and foul odors.

To clean the detergent dispensers, start by removing them from the washing machine and soaking them in a solution of hot water and all-purpose cleaner or vinegar.

Regularly cleaning your detergent dispensers will not only prevent clogs but also ensure that your clothes are getting cleaned properly without any leftover residue from previous loads.

Step 3: Clean In And Around The Washer Door

The washer door is often overlooked when cleaning a washing machine, but it’s important to clean in and around the door regularly to prevent mold and mildew buildup.

Use a soft-bristled brush or toothbrush to gently scrub the rubber seal around the door with a mixture of vinegar and water.

It’s also recommended to leave the machine door open after each cycle to allow air circulation and prevent moisture buildup, which can lead to unpleasant odors.

Step 4: Clean The Outside Of The Washer

The outside of your washing machine is just as important to clean as the inside. First, unplug the machine before you begin. Using a soft-bristled brush or microfiber cloth and all-purpose cleaner, gently scrub away any dirt or grime on the top, sides, and front of the appliance.

Next, wipe down the rubber seal around the door with a damp cloth to remove any built-up soap scum or mildew.

Keeping your washing machine clean on both the inside and outside not only increases its efficiency but also extends its lifespan.

How To Get Rid Of The Smell In Your Washing Machine

In this section, we’ll explore the best ways to eliminate the unpleasant odor in your washing machine. From using bleach or vinegar to making a baking soda and vinegar solution, you’ll learn all the tips and tricks for keeping your machine smelling fresh and clean.

Using Bleach Or Vinegar

Two common cleaning agents for washing machines are bleach and vinegar. Bleach is a strong germ-killer that can help get rid of hard water deposits in your machine when used correctly.

To use bleach, add one cup of liquid chlorine bleach to the dispenser and run a hot cycle. Allow the machine to agitate for about five minutes before letting it sit for an hour.

Then, let it finish its cycle. On the other hand, vinegar is an all-purpose cleaner and deodorizer that can dissolve soap scum and other residues in your washer drum.

It’s worth noting that full-strength vinegar may not be as effective at killing germs as bleach but can still help keep your washing machine clean if used routinely every month or so between deep cleans with bleach or another disinfectant cleaner.

Using Baking Soda And Vinegar

Washing MachineAnother way to clean your washing machine is by using baking soda and vinegar. Start by adding a cup of baking soda directly into the drum and running a hot cycle.

Once that’s done, pour two cups of white vinegar into the drum and run another hot cycle.

You can also use baking soda to clean hard-to-reach areas like the rubber seal around the door or detergent dispenser. Mix equal parts water and baking soda to create a paste, then apply it with a toothbrush or soft-bristled brush.

Scrub gently until all residue is removed, then wipe away any excess with a microfiber cloth.

Things to Consider:

How often should I clean my washing machine? Can baking soda damage a washing machine? How do you clean a top-loading washing machine versus a front-loading washing machine? These are some of the frequently asked questions about cleaning your washing machine that will be answered in this article.

How Often Should I Clean My Washing Machine?

To keep your washing machine running efficiently, it’s important to clean it regularly. However, how often you should clean your washing machine depends on several factors such as usage frequency and water hardness levels in your area.

As a rule of thumb, experts recommend cleaning the inside of the machine once a month to prevent mold and mildew growth and remove any soap scum or hard water deposits that might affect its performance.

If you notice foul smells emanating from your washing machine or dirty clothes after a wash cycle, then cleaning it more frequently is advisable.

Can Baking Soda Damage A Washing Machine?

Baking soda is a safe and natural cleaner that can effectively clean your washing machine without causing damage. It’s gentle enough to use regularly and won’t harm the appliance’s internal components or its finish.

In fact, baking soda is especially helpful for removing odors, stains, and buildup in the drum of your washing machine. However, it’s important to note that while baking soda isn’t likely to cause any harm on its own, using too much of it at once can create a build-up of soap scum that could potentially clog the drains or filters in the washer.

How To Clean A Top-loading Washing Machine Versus A Front-loading Washing Machine

Cleaning a washing machine can be different depending on whether you have a top-loading or front-loading machine. Top-loading machines tend to have an agitator in the center which can make cleaning around it difficult, while front-loading machines may have more areas that are prone to collecting moisture and mold.

To clean a top loading machine, start by filling the drum with hot water and vinegar before scrubbing the inside of the tub and outside of the machine. For front loaders, remove any residue from the rubber seal around the door using baking soda solution or vinegar before running an empty cycle with bleach or white vinegar to remove any build-up in hard-to-reach places like detergent dispensers and filters.


A clean washing machine means fresher clothes and linens, but it also helps prevent the growth of mold and mildew. The step-by-step guide provided above shows you just how easy it is to clean your washing machine with materials you likely already have around your home.

Remember to keep on top of cleaning your washer once a month to maintain its efficiency and avoid any unpleasant smells or build-up.


Q: Why is it important to clean a washing machine?

A: Over time, dirt, bacteria, and mold can buildup in your washing machine, causing odor and even affecting the cleanliness of your clothes. Cleaning your machine regularly can help prevent these issues and extend the life of your washer.

Q: How often should I clean my washing machine?

A: It is recommended to clean your washing machine once a month to help prevent buildup and odors.

Q: How do I know if my washing machine needs to be cleaned?

A: If you notice a musty smell coming from your machine, or if your clothes are coming out smelling less than fresh, it’s probably time to clean your washing machine.

Q: What’s the best way to clean a front-loading washing machine?

A: The best way to clean a front-loading washing machine is to use washing machine cleaner, like Affresh, and follow the directions on the package. You can also use white vinegar or bleach, but be sure to only use a small amount and run an extra rinse cycle to avoid damaging your machine.

Q: Can I use vinegar or bleach to clean a top-loading washing machine?

A: Yes, you can use white vinegar or bleach to clean a top-loading washing machine. Just be sure to only use a small amount and run an extra rinse cycle to avoid damaging your machine.

Q: Should I clean my washing machine’s detergent drawer?

A: Yes, it’s a good idea to regularly clean your washing machine’s detergent drawer to prevent buildup and keep your machine running smoothly. You can simply remove the drawer and wash it with warm soapy water.

Q: How do I clean the inside of the door on my washing machine?

A: To clean the inside of the door on a front-loading washing machine, wipe it down with a damp cloth and mild detergent. For a top-loading machine, you can use a vinegar solution and wipe with a clean, dry cloth.

Q: Can I clean my washing machine while it’s running?

A: No, you should never attempt to clean your washing machine while it’s running. Instead, wait until the cycle is complete and the machine is empty before starting the cleaning process.

Q: What’s the best way to clean the top of my washing machine?

A: To clean the top of your washing machine, wipe it down with a damp cloth and mild detergent. Be sure to avoid getting water in any electronic components.

Q: Are there any natural alternatives I can use to clean my washing machine?

A: Yes, you can use white vinegar instead of bleach or a baking soda and water solution to clean the drum of your washing machine.


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