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How to Clean Your Washing Machine

Do you ever notice a funky smell from your fresh laundry, or spotted mould and soap build-up in your washing machine? Research shows that the average home washing machine can harbor more bacteria than our bathroom toilet.

This blog post is packed with handy tips and step-by-step guides to help you clean your washing machine effectively. Continue reading to discover how a little bit of maintenance can make this everyday essential more efficient, prolong its lifespan, and keep your clothes smelling fresher for longer.

Key Takeaways

  • Regularly cleaning your washing machine is essential to prevent mold and mildew growth, keep clothes smelling fresh, and maintain its efficiency and longevity.
  • Use effective cleaners like chlorine bleach or white vinegar to tackle everyday grime and prevent the buildup of bacteria and mold in hidden areas such as gaskets, drains, and lint traps.
  • Leave the machine door open after use to allow moisture to evaporate instead of providing a breeding ground for bacteria growth. This simple habit helps maintain hygiene standards in your laundry.
  • Following essential tips for washing machine maintenance, such as using the correct type of detergent, avoiding excessive detergent use, regularly cleaning out the lint filter, checking hoses for leaks or bulges, and leaving space for a breather after each cycle can help ensure that your washing machine remains efficient and effective for many years.

Why It’s Important to Clean Your Washing Machine

Cleaning your washing machine is essential to prevent mold and mildew, keep clothes smelling fresh, and ensure its efficiency and longevity.

Prevent mold and mildew

Mold and mildew thrive in damp environments, making your washing machine the perfect breeding ground. These unwanted guests can lead to unpleasant odors, compromise the hygiene standards of your laundry, and even damage the machine’s efficiency.

Regular cleaning and maintenance are crucial strategies in this prevention effort. Tackle hidden areas like gaskets, drains, and lint traps where mold can grow unnoticed. Use effective cleaners such as chlorine bleach or white vinegar for an all-around clean that tackles everyday grime too.

Finally, a habit as simple as leaving the machine door open after use allows moisture to evaporate instead of providing a haven for bacteria growth.

Keep clothes smelling fresh

Regularly cleaning your washing machine proves essential in keeping clothes smelling fresh. Odor elimination is a direct result of maintaining good washing machine hygiene. A dirty appliance harbors bacteria that cause musty smells, which then persist in laundry and are difficult to eliminate with just the use of detergents.

It’s not just about clean laundry; it’s also about how your clothes smell after a wash cycle. Front-load washers often develop mildewy odors if left unattended for extended periods.

This off-putting scent transfers onto fabrics, diminishing their freshness despite a thorough cleaning. By preventing mold formation in the first place and removing existing bacteria from your washing machine, you ensure that every load comes out smelling crisp and clean.

Ensure efficiency and longevity

Regular maintenance of your washing machine ensures efficiency and prolongs its lifespan. This preventive care involves removing any residue buildup, which can wear down the appliance and reduce its cleaning performance.

When detergent or soil is allowed to accumulate, it affects how well your machine works, meaning it has to work harder for the same results. Deep cleaning at least once a month helps get rid of bacteria and mold spores keeping your laundry fresh while extending the life of your washer.

Equally important is not overloading with clothes; doing big washes using full capacity aids in achieving top effectiveness of your appliance. By maintaining hygiene and observing sanitation practices such as leaving the door open after use, you avoid unwanted smells from stagnant water thus boosting the longevity of your washing machine.

Essential Tips for Washing Machine Maintenance

Taking care of your washing machine is a simple task when you know the right steps. Here are essential tips for washing machine maintenance:

  1. Use the correct type of detergent: Selecting the appropriate detergent plays a pivotal role in maintaining your washer’s efficiency.
  2. Avoid excessive detergent use: Too much soap can lead to harmful buildup and potential damage to your machine.
  3. Don’t overload the machine: Avoid putting strain on the motor and components by sticking to an optimal load size.
  4. Clean out the lint filter regularly: This helps prevent clogs and keeps your washer running smoothly.
  5. Clean containers properly: Washing machine containers need regular attention to avoid grime accumulation.
  6. Check hoses constantly: Regular inspections help identify any potential leaks or bulges, ensuring early intervention if necessary.
  7. Clean rubber gasket: Routine cleaning of the rubber gasket helps curb mold growth and maintain overall cleanliness within your machine.
  8. Leave space for a breather after each cycle: Keeping your washer door slightly open prevents moisture build-up, reducing the chances of mold and mildew.

How to Clean a Top-Load Washer

To clean a top-load washer, gather necessary materials, fill the washer with hot water, add chlorine bleach, run a complete wash and spin cycle, and clean the exterior. Keep reading to learn more!

Gather necessary materials

Before jumping into washing machine cleaning, it’s crucial to gather the necessary materials. Start this process by preparing a cleaning solution. This cleaner can easily be made at home using warm water mixed with an all-purpose cleaner.

Ensure the mixture is in abundance as you’ll need enough for both inside and outside of your top-loading washer.

In some instances, you may require specialized products such as Affresh brand tablets, which are specially designed for washing machine maintenance. Other standard tools include a soft cloth or sponge for scrubbing and disposable gloves to protect your hands during the clean-up process.

By having these items readily available, you’re well-prepared to commence your deep-cleaning mission on your top-loading washer without interruption.

Fill the washer with hot water

To effectively clean a top-load washer, start by filling it with hot water. Hot water works to loosen the dirt and detergent that has built up over time within your machine’s drum.

Immediately after, add two cups of white vinegar into the hot water-filled washer as per method one, or if you prefer method two, mix in one quart of vinegar instead. This mixture aids in removing any unpleasant odors and cleanses away grime from the interior surfaces.

Be mindful to reference your washing machine’s brand recommendations before proceeding with this cleaning process to ensure suitable care for its specific make and model. After adding the solution, allow a full washing cycle to run so that every nook and cranny gets thoroughly cleaned out.

Add chlorine bleach

Adding chlorine bleach is a crucial step in cleaning your top-load washer. Simply pour half a cup of this disinfectant into the bleach dispenser if your machine has one. In case it doesn’t manually add the same amount at the start of the washing cycle.

This popular laundry detergent not only sanitizes but also maintains good hygiene in your appliance. However, ensure to run a complete wash and spin cycle so that no liquid chlorine bleach remains in your machine after its cleaning process.

Run a complete wash and spin cycle

Running a complete wash and spin cycle is a crucial step in cleaning and maintaining the performance of your top-load washer. By conducting this thorough washing and spinning process, you can ensure optimal cleaning results and prolong the lifespan of your machine.

It’s important to prioritize removing any laundry from the tub before starting the cleaning procedure. To remove any residual water in the tub, be sure to run a spin-only cycle. Consistent maintenance through regular washing machine cleanings will help prevent unpleasant odors and maintain cleanliness for your clothes.

So, make it a habit to run a complete wash and spin cycle for maximum efficiency and freshness!

Clean the exterior

To keep your top-load washer looking its best and functioning properly, it’s important to regularly clean the exterior. Start by wiping down the outside of the machine with a damp microfiber cloth to remove any dust or residue.

If there are stubborn stains or spills, mix a solution of all-purpose cleaner and warm water to gently scrub away dirt and grime using the microfiber cloth. You can also use mild soap or cleaners for more thorough cleaning.

Don’t forget to spritz white vinegar onto a damp cloth and wipe along the top and bottom of the lid, sides, and exterior of the washing machine for added cleanliness.

For front-load washers, focus on wiping down the seals and door with a mixture of mild soap or detergent diluted in warm water. This will help prevent mold growth and ensure that your machine stays fresh-smelling.

How to Clean a Front-Load Washer

To clean a front-load washer, simply add chlorine bleach to the dispensers, run a normal cycle, and wipe the seals and door. Keep reading to learn more about maintaining a clean washing machine.

Add chlorine bleach to the dispensers

To effectively clean a front-load washer, it is important to add chlorine bleach to the dispensers. If your washer has a designated bleach dispenser, fill it up to the maximum fill line with Clorox Bleach or Clorox Scented Bleach.

In case there is no specific bleach dispenser, you can manually add half a cup of bleach to the detergent drawer instead. The combination of hot water and bleach will help disinfect and remove any lingering odors or stains from your washing machine.

Just remember to consult the use and care guide of your washer before using liquid chlorine bleach as a cleaning solution.

Run a normal cycle

To clean a front-load washer, simply add chlorine bleach to the dispensers and run a normal cycle. The hot water setting helps remove dirt and bacteria, leaving your machine fresh and clean.

Don’t forget to wipe down the seals and door afterward for extra cleanliness. For top-load washers, gather the necessary materials, fill the washer with hot water, add chlorine bleach, and run a complete wash and spin cycle.

Then, remember to clean the exterior of the machine as well. By running a normal cycle on your washing machine regularly, you can ensure its efficiency and longevity while keeping your clothes smelling fresh.

Wipe seals and door

To clean a front-load washer effectively, it is crucial to pay attention to the seals and door. Start by wiping down the rubber gasket or seal around the door using an all-purpose cleaner.

This will help remove any dirt or grime that may have accumulated. For stained areas on the door seal, apply toothpaste and gently scrub with a cloth before wiping it clean. Additionally, don’t forget to wipe down the exterior of the washer as well for a thorough cleaning process.

Remember that keeping the seals and door of your front-load washer clean will not only maintain its overall appearance but also prevent any potential mold or mildew growth. By incorporating this step into your regular washing machine maintenance routine, you can ensure that your washer performs at its best while extending its longevity.

Tips for Cleaning Washer Dispensers

Empty the washer and heat the vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl for one minute.

Empty the washer

Before cleaning the dispenser of your washing machine, it is important to empty the washer. By removing any clothes or laundry items, you can ensure that the cleaning process will be more effective and thorough.

This step allows for clear access to the dispenser and prevents any interference with the cleaning agents that will be used. Emptying the washer before cleaning also helps in minimizing any potential mixture between detergent residue and other cleansing products, ensuring better hygiene and functionality of your appliance.

Remember, a clean start leads to cleaner clothes!

Heat vinegar

To clean washer dispensers effectively, one useful technique is to heat vinegar. Vinegar is a natural cleaning agent that helps remove built-up residue and eliminate odors. To do this, start by emptying the washer and filling it with hot water.

Then, heat the vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl or cup until warm. Pour the heated vinegar into the detergent dispenser and run the washer through a normal cycle. This method will help keep your washing machine clean and functioning optimally, ensuring your clothes come out fresh every time you use it.

Clean the dispensers

Cleaning the dispensers of your washing machine is an essential step in maintaining a clean and efficient appliance. Over time, detergent residue, lint, and other debris can accumulate in these areas, leading to unpleasant odors and reduced cleaning performance.

To clean the dispensers, start by emptying the washer and heating vinegar in a microwave-safe bowl until warm. Then, remove the dispenser compartments from the machine and soak them in the vinegar solution for about 30 minutes.

Afterward, scrub away any remaining buildup using a brush or toothbrush before rinsing thoroughly with water. Once everything is clean, place the dispensers back into their respective slots and run an empty cycle with hot water to ensure all traces of vinegar are removed.

Run the washer through a normal cycle

To effectively clean your washing machine, it is essential to run the washer through a normal cycle. This step helps to remove any remaining dirt or residue from the interior of the machine and ensures that all parts are thoroughly cleaned.

By running a normal cycle regularly, about once a month or every 30 cycles, you can maintain the cleanliness and efficiency of your washing machine. For even better results, consider adding 2 cups of vinegar during the hot cycle to effectively eliminate any buildup and bacteria.

Remember, regular cleaning is key to keeping your washing machine in top condition.

Clean removable dispensers

To clean removable dispensers, start by removing them from the washing machine. These can include detergent drawers or compartments where you add fabric softener. Rinse off any residue under warm water and use a scrub brush to remove any buildup.

For a deeper clean, soak the dispensers in a mixture of warm water and distilled white vinegar for about 30 minutes. After soaking, scrub again if necessary and rinse thoroughly. Once they’re dry, place the dispensers back into the washing machine.

Tips for Maintaining a Clean Washing Machine

Regularly clean and maintain the washer, avoid using too much detergent, and leave the door open after use.

Regularly clean and maintain the washer

Regularly cleaning and maintaining your washer is crucial to ensure its efficiency and longevity. By doing so, you can prevent the buildup of mold and mildew, keeping your clothes smelling fresh after every wash.

It’s recommended to clean your washing machine once a month or every 30 cycles to maintain optimal performance. Avoid using too much detergent, as it can leave residue behind that may affect the cleanliness of your clothes and the functionality of the machine.

Additionally, regularly clean out the lint filter to prevent clogs and improve airflow within the washer. Remember, proper maintenance will not only extend the lifespan of your washing machine but also help in reducing potential repair costs in the long run.

Avoid using too much detergent

Using an excessive amount of detergent in your washing machine can cause various issues. Firstly, it can result in stiff and scratchy laundry, making your clothes uncomfortable to wear.

Additionally, using too much detergent can lead to damage to your laundry, as the excess soap may not rinse out properly and leave residue on your clothes. This can also cause odors and dullness in your clothing over time.

Moreover, using excessive detergent can negatively affect the performance of your washing machine, potentially leading to clogs and other problems. To maintain the quality of your laundry and ensure optimal performance from your machine, it’s important to use the right amount of detergent according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Leave the door open after use

Leaving the door or lid of your washing machine open after use is an important step in maintaining a clean and fresh-smelling machine. By doing this, you can prevent moisture buildup and avoid the growth of mold and mildew.

It allows for proper ventilation, eliminating musty odors and reducing the risk of bacterial growth. Not only does leaving the door open enhance washing machine longevity, but it also promotes better hygiene by preventing stains or residue from forming.

Make it a habit to leave your washing machine door open about an inch between laundry loads to ensure proper drying and maintain a clean environment for your clothes.


Maintaining a clean washing machine is essential for preventing mold and mildew, keeping clothes smelling fresh, and ensuring efficiency and longevity. By following these simple steps, such as running regular cleaning cycles with vinegar or bleach, wiping down seals and gaskets, and avoiding excessive detergent use, you can keep your washing machine in top-notch condition.

Take the time to care for your appliance regularly to enjoy cleaner clothes and a healthier laundry routine.


1. How often should I clean my washing machine?

It is recommended to clean your washing machine at least once every three months to ensure optimal performance and prevent the buildup of dirt and grime.

2. Can I use regular household cleaners to clean my washing machine?

No, it is best to use specialized cleaning products specifically designed for washing machines, as regular household cleaners may damage the internal components.

3. How do I clean the detergent dispenser in my washing machine?

To clean the detergent dispenser, remove it from the machine and wash it with warm soapy water. Make sure to thoroughly rinse and dry it before placing it back into the washing machine.

4. What should I do if there is a foul odor coming from my washing machine?

If you notice a foul odor coming from your washing machine, try running an empty cycle with hot water and one cup of white vinegar to remove any built-up bacteria or residue causing the smell.

5. How can I prevent mold and mildew growth in my washing machine?

To prevent mold and mildew growth, leave the door or lid of your washing machine open after each cycle to allow air circulation. Additionally, periodically wipe down rubber gaskets or seals with a mixture of bleach and water to kill any potential mold spores.

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