How To Clean A Washing Machine

Hey there homeowners! 

So it has obviously already occurred to you that you can, in fact, wash your washing machine! That’s right; you can wash your washing machine!

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What’s the point you ask? Well for starters, because it’s a piece of equipment used for cleaning, chances are, for the longest time until now, you may not have noticed that it was starting to get dirty itself. 

As a result, washing machines are the perfect place for harmful bacteria to breed if not cleaned frequently. Also they tend to get a bit on the smelly side after some time. 

To avoid these problems from occurring and to make sure your washing machine stays hygienic, clean and fresh, ensure you clean it once a week. 

If you’re too busy to do this, cleaning every fortnight will suffice. Make sure at the very least, you clean it at least once a month.  

Before you begin, make sure you read the instruction manual which came with your washing machine because some washing machine manufacturers don’t encourage the use of products considered to be de-scalers. 

If you go ahead and use products which contain de-scalers, it may cause your warranty to become invalid. So, make sure you check before you begin cleaning. 

How To Clean A Washing Machine

First, Clean The Detergent Drawer 

It’s highly ironic that an area which was designed specifically for holding cleaning agents i.e. detergent and fabric softener, gets really dirty. 

Reason being, gunk quickly builds up in addition to mold and mildew as a result of not being cleaned regularly. So,

  • Begin by removing the detergent drawer which is usually located on the front of the machine. You may need to refer to the washing machine manual for advice on how to properly remove it. 
  • Place the drawer in soapy hot water and soak for a while. 
  • Using an old toothbrush, scrub away any build up, soap or mold. 
  • Rinse carefully and dry it with a clean towel. 
  • Now clean the cavity out because there’s a very high chance some hidden mold is in there. 
  • Now place the detergent drawer back
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Please note that when using your washing machine in future you need to keep the drawer for detergent open between two wash cycles. This prevents mold from having a breeding ground to grow. 

Also, only use the amount of detergent necessary for a wash as adding too much detergent creates build up inside the washing machine. 

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How To Clean A Washing Machine Using Vinegar

Cleaning your washing machine at least once a month ensures your washing machine has a better quality and long lasting life while ensuring your whites remain white and you always have fresh, crisp laundry after each load. 

So, to wash with vinegar,

  • Adjust the settings of the washing machine to the hottest cycle or, at least, 600C and pour about 230 milliliters of white vinegar straight into the washing machine drum. 

Vinegar is the perfect liquid cleaning agent to decontaminate and purify the washing machine as it’s a superb and natural way to kill germs and bacteria. 

An added bonus is that any foul smells will disappear while the rinse cycle completes. 

Helpful Tips For Future Use – Always have a bottle handy and nearby your washing machine (next to your washing powder) so you can always remember to make this a regular part of your cleaning machine. 

How To Clean A Washing Machine Using Bicarbonate Of Soda/Baking Soda 

Using these everyday kitchen baking staples is so simple and efficient to use in ensuring washing machines stay squeaky clean. 

Did you know that you can also use these to clean carpets and fridges as well? You’re welcome! 

  • Measure two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda. 
  • Now add it into the detergent drawer. Please note that there’s no need to add any soap, as this will serve as the soap. 

The vinegar and soda work in combination to naturally break through stubborn dirt, removing mold in addition to refreshing and cleaning your washing machine

  • Start the hot cycle.

Helpful Tips For Future Use – At least once a month, run an empty hot wash cycle to remove any foul smells and or build up. Do add the vinegar or bicarbonate of soda to assist this process. 

How To Clean A Washing Machine Using Bleach

If you didn’t know before, now you know that bleach is not only effective for stubborn stains on clothes, floors, bathrooms, sinks, etc. They can also be used to clean a washing machine and very effectively too!

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They work by cleaning mold and dirt from both the detergent drawer and the drum of the washing machine. You can also use it on the exterior of the washing machine. 

  • Add half a cup of bleach into the detergent drawer.
  • Add half a cup of bleach directly into the drum of the washing machine.
  • Run an empty hot cycle/wash.
  • If your machine allows you to pause while a wash cycle is on, then do so when the drum has completely been filled with water. 
  • Leave it on pause for an hour.
  • Resume the cycle.
  • Run an additional rinse cycle to make sure the bleach has been completely removed. 
  • When the cycle is completed, use a towel to wipe the inside of the washing machine door and dry out the seals. 

Helpful Tips For Future Use – It’s advisable you wash some white clothes following this cleaning exercise that would benefit from any bleach residues still present rather than colored clothes which may unwittingly be damaged as a result. 

Check out this helpful video to see how the cleaning is done:

Allow The Washing Machine To Dry 

Now that you’ve completed washing your machine using any of your preferred methods above, you will need to allow it dry properly to prevent mold from building up again. 

  • Ensure the last wash cycle you ran has come to a complete finish and then open the door to allow air into the drum of the washing machine. 
  • If you can still perceive any funny smells or you can still see grime inside the machine, repeat the process again. 

Helpful Tips For Future Use – If you have a number of wash loads to complete in a day, ensure you leave the door open in between these cycles or until the drum and interior has dried out completely. 

This helps to reduce the likelihood of bacteria and mold growing inside.



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Clean The Rubber Seals Of The Washing Machine 

The rubber seals, much like the detergent drawer, are the perfect environment for mildew and mold to thrive because you’ll find things like hair and even coins in there. So,

  • Saturate a cloth with soapy water 
  • Wipe around the rubber seals 

Be careful when lifting the rubber seals away from the metal of the washing machine to prevent accidentally ripping or unsealing them. 

  • If possible, wipe away residue trapped in the seal. If required, a toothbrush can be used to remove any stubborn residue and grime. 

Clean The Washing Machine’s Filter 

The filter of a washing machine is typically found underneath the door of the drum just before the floor. 

Its job is to stop all the unpleasant things that gather inside the crevices of the machine such as hair, fluff, coins and small items like that which can reach the pump and cause damage. 

Its job is very important and exactly like the detergent drawer, it’s another avenue for germs and mold to thrive and grow which are the culprits behind the funny odors emanating from your washing machine. 

  • Refer to the instruction manual which came with your washing machine to know how to remove the cover (especially if it’s the fixed type) and how to remove it properly. 
  • The manual ideally should explain how to clean the filter according to the designer’s specifications. 
  • Place a tray or bowl on a towel beneath the filter as you remove it to catch any potential leaks from the drain. 
  • Carefully replace the cover.

Helpful Tips For Future Use – Carry out this process every 3 or 4 months to ensure your washing machine functions more efficiently.

Clean The Exterior Of The Washing Machine 

  • Dampen a clean cloth and dunk it into some soapy water in order to remove stains present on the exterior body of the machine and to clean up any dust present. 
  • When the body has been thoroughly cleaned, dry the exterior using a dry and clean towel to prevent dust from sticking again to the wet body. 

Helpful Tips For Future Use – Doing this regularly, at least once a week is quicker and easier than once in a long time.

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Use Sodium Percarbonate To Deodorize The Machine 

This substance is widely known as either oxygen bleach or laundry bleach and it does a fantastic job of getting washing machines rid of unpleasant smells and making them smell fresh. 

It is safer than liquid bleach and stronger than baking powder. It’s the ideal all round solution for a weekly maintenance clean. 

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