How to Clean Your Washing Machine


There are many reasons why you should clean your washing machine regularly, but people are often unsure of where to start. If you’re wondering how to clean a washing machine, then this useful guide will show you step-by-step instructions.

Not only is it important to keep your washing machine clean so that your clothes keep smelling good, but it can also help eliminate bacteria and mold that may have grown in your machine. By sanitizing your drum, you can get rid of foul smelling odors and allergens that may have built up over time. 

And by getting rid of excess dirt and oil that may have built up in your machine, you can also help your machine to operate more efficiently. 

A clean washing machine is also more effective at cleaning your clothes properly, so scheduling regular maintenance washes can help you clean your clothes more effectively and keep them smelling better.

How Often to Clean a Washing Machine?

If you want to get rid of mold, mildew, oil and dirt buildups, and keep your machine operating efficiently and effectively, then regular cleaning of your machine is a necessity.

But how often should you ideally clean your washing machine?

You may be surprised to know that it’s best to clean your washing machine around once a week to once a month, depending on how often it’s used. 

There are also a few regular cleaning practices that you should follow after every wash load. That includes wiping down any water left in the seals and removing any lint that’s left in your dryer (if you have a 2-in-1 machine). It’s also important to leave the door open or ajar after use so that there’s sufficient air circulation to prevent mold forming.

Below we provide a step-by-step guide on how to deep clean and disinfect your machine, so that you keep your washer in tip-top condition and your clothes smelling fresh.

How to Clean Washer

How to Clean Washing Machine at Home

Whenever you wash your clothes, all the dirt, grime, stains and bacteria that are on them goes into your machine. While the majority gets washed away, some of it will remain behind as a residue and can build up over time. That’s why it’s important to regularly clean your washing machine.

Just like with any appliance you own, following the maintenance instructions can help to extend the machine’s life and can also help it operate most effectively and efficiently. 

If your washer is not cleaned often enough, then mold, mildew, bacteria and grime can build up – often causing bad smells and preventing the machine from being able to clean your clothes properly. This can even cause stains on your clothes.

Just think of all the different types of stains and dirt that goes into your washer. That includes chocolate stains, coffee stains, hair dye stains, grass stains, tea stains, and even dirt from cloth diapers.

Below we explore in more detail the answer to the frequently asked question: how can I clean my washing machine

Before you start cleaning your washer, it’s important to look at the manual and instructions for doing so. Some machines do have a self-cleaning function and you can simply follow the instructions to have it clean the drum. Otherwise you can follow the step by step guidelines below.

Run an Empty Cycle

Wondering how do you clean the inside of a washing machine? The first step when cleaning your washing machine, is to run an empty cycle with very hot water. Check what the hottest cycle is and select that. Make sure that there are no clothes or other items in your drum before starting the wash cycle.

Using a very high temperature is a good method for eliminating germs and heating any bits of grease or dirt to help wash it out of your machine. 

Many machines will have a dedicated drum wash cycle, which may be automatically set at a high temperature. Allow the empty cycle to run until it’s complete and don’t be tempted to stop it half way. 

Some machines may require a washing machine cleaner solution to be added, but many modern machines have a drum wash cycle that doesn’t require any cleaner. 

Scrub the Gasket

For front loaders, it's important to clean the gasket. To do that, people often use either a diluted solution of vinegar and water, or bleach and water. 

Caution: Never mix vinegar and bleach together, and be sure that if you’ve used one and intend to use the other afterwards, that all residue is removed first. Mixing these two substances can create potentially lethal fumes. 

Vinegar or bleach solution can help to remove grime, mold and bacteria in the gasket. Use a cloth soaked in your diluted solution to rub the gasket clean, and wear protective gloves while cleaning.

Pull back the rubber so that you can deep clean in all the crevices and folds. Once you’ve finished cleaning the gasket, then it’s time to run a second hot water cycle so that you flush away all the bleach or vinegar. Don’t let the bleach or vinegar solution sit on your gasket for too long as it can be corrosive.

Remove and Clean Trays

Did you know that there are many people just like you, searching for ‘how do you clean your washer. One of the important tips to answer this question, is to remove and clean the washer trays.

The detergent drawer of trays where you add your laundry detergent can get clogged and dirty, so they also need regular cleaning and maintenance. 

If trays become too clogged, then the soap may not get to your clothes, which means they may not be cleaned properly. In addition, blocked trays could cause the washer to malfunction, perform sub-optimally, or break in time.

To clean the detergent tray, you may be able to remove it (depending on the care instructions) and then rinse it with hot water. It’s best to also let it soak in hot, soapy water and to then clean it thoroughly with a clothes and scourer to remove all the dirt and grime.

Next, wash and rinse the tray and then dry it with a cloth before putting it back as you found it.

Before you put it back, check whether there’s any mold or mildew where it fits into that also needs a clean.

Clean Washing Machine Exterior

Don’t forget about cleaning the outside of your washing machine. Cleaning the outside of your machine helps it to look good all the time, and can also be a helpful reminder to clean the inside too.

You can do that using a damp cloth to rub off any dust, dirt and stains. Then add a small amount of mild dishwashing detergent in water and use some of that solution on your cloth to give the machine a gentle wash.

It’s best to use a soft cloth that won’t leave any scratches on your washer like a sponge and use gentle circular motion to scrub lightly, cleaning all the dials and buttons that typically get full of oils and grease. 

Once you’re done, make sure that there’s no excess detergent left on the washer and then use a dry cloth to gently dry up any excess water. That will help to make sure there  are no streaky lines or water spots left on your machine. 

Run a Hot Second Cycle

After you’ve scrubbed the gasket you’ll definitely want to give the drum another wash with hot water to make sure that any dirt that has been loosened is washed out of the drum. 

You may have researched lots of tips on ‘how to clean my washer’, ‘how to clean my washing machine’, ‘how do i clean my washing machine’, and often one of the simplest answers is to use an empty, hot wash cycle. 

Use the hottest cycle that your machine has and make sure that your machine is empty and doesn’t have any washing inside. You can use a washing machine cleaner, making sure to avoid any products that your manufacturer specifically warns against using. 

There are many modern washing machines that have a drum clean cycle that uses hot water and doesn’t require you to add any cleaner in. Oftentimes these cycles can be quite long at around one and a half hours. It’s important to allow the machine to run for the full duration.

Once the cycle ends, open the machine and check that there’s no residue left behind. If you add a cleaning solution and you see soap bubbles when the cycle is finished, then you may need to put the machine on for another quick rinse cycle without any detergent to flush it clean. 

Always remember to leave the machine door open after a wash cycle so that the drum gets fresh air flowing through it and doesn’t get susceptible to mold and mildew forming inside. 

Dry the Interior

How do you clean your washing machine? More specifically, how to clean the inside of the washing machine? 

Do you know that it’s important to dry the interior, because otherwise the warm water could become a breeding ground for mold, mildew or bacteria? 

When the hot water cycle has finished, and the drum has cooled down, you’ll want to dry the inside of the machine thoroughly. 

Using a soft, dry cloth, gently make sure that you dry the entire drum, which means you may need to keep turning it as you dry. 

This can help to remove any excess grit or grime, and by keeping the machine dry you’re also able to prevent mold and mildew from forming or bacteria from breeding. 

Leave the washing machine door open after drying to allow for sufficient air flow through the machine. 

How to Clean Inside of Washing Machine

Is Bleach or Vinegar Better to Clean a Washing Machine?

If you’re looking for ways of how to clean washing machine drum, then you’re likely to come across some advice on using either bleach or vinegar to do so.

One method for how to deep clean washing machine is to put it on a hot cycle and add two cups of vinegar to the drum. Vinegar is a mild acid and can help to remove bacteria and clean the drum. 

An alternative solution for how to wash your washer, is to use bleach. This typically entails using half a cup of bleach in the drum and putting the machine on a hot wash cycle without any laundry in it.

Whether you use vinegar or bleach to clean your drum, you may want to err on the side of caution and run an extra empty cycle after the cleaning one, just to make sure there’s no bleach or vinegar left.

One problem with using bleach is that if you wash a color load afterwards, there’s a chance that some residue left in the machine may react with your clothes and damage them,

One caution with using vinegar is that you should never mix it with bleach as that could cause a potentially lethal chemical reaction that produces nitrous oxide gas.

Bleach is also harmful to the environment, so if there’s a choice between using bleach or vinegar, vinegar is the more natural choice. 

Tips to Keep Your Washer Clean Longer

Now that you know how to clean laundry machine, you may be interested in some tips to keep your washer clean for longer.

From wiping the drum, running a hot drum clean cycle, to using the correct amount of laundry detergent when you wash your clothes, these tips aim to help you extend the longevity of your machine while helping you keep your machine hygienic and sanitized. 

    1. Always check your washer’s manual. There may be instructions in there about what products you can and can’t use, and how to clean the machine.
    2. Use hot water to clean the drum. It’s important to use a very hot cycle to thoroughly sanitize the drum. 
    3. Don’t use loads of laundry detergent when washing clothes, particularly if the drum is empty or if you are only washing a very small load of items. If you use too much detergent, then the machine might get too full of soap suds and cause it to spill out, potentially causing harm to the machine. 
  • Don’t use too much vinegar! It is, after all, a mild acid and could corrode certain parts of your machine that are made of rubber (like the seals, gasket and hoses). 
  • Don't forget to clean the entire washing machine. That includes cleaning the detergent trays, filter, drum, door gasket, seals, and dispensers. 
  • Ensure regular cleaning. That can help you avoid the build up of dirt, grime and bacteria in your machine and keep your washer working optimally.
  • Don’t overload your machine when washing clothes. If you stuff the washer too full, then it may cause extra strain on the machine. It can also help the machine wash your clothes properly. 
  • Remember to clean the filter. Your washing machine’s filter also needs to be checked regularly as that’s where lint and microfibres are trapped and if they build up for too long they can block the machine and it won’t be able to wash your clothes properly.

  • We hope that the tips above are useful in answering all your questions about ‘how do I clean my washer’.

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