You wash and clean your clothes in a washing machine, but how often do you clean your washing machine itself?

You may avoid cleaning it on the pretext that it already has soap, so it does not require additional cleaning, but the fact is that this appliance still needs cleaning as it tends to accumulate dirt, mildew, soap scum, and bacteria. Plus, it may start smelling musty.

Cleaning your washer (whether front-loader or top loader), however, is not as difficult as it seems. Moreover, you only need to clean it thoroughly a few times in a year.


How to Clean a Top-Loading Washing Machine

Steps for Cleaning

  1. Remove the load from your washing machine.
  2. Fill it with hot water.
  3. Add a quart of distilled white vinegar in it (you may also mix a cup of baking soda), close the lid, and let the machine agitate for about a minute. Now, open the lid and let the solution sit in the washer tub for an hour.
    Step 3
    Vinegar is excellent for disinfecting the machine, removing detergent buildup, and getting rid of odors.
  4. Next, run the washer through a complete wash and rinse cycle.
  5. Again, fill the washing machine with hot water and add two cups of bleach this time to remove stains. Let it sit for about an hour.
  6. While it is soaking, wipe down the exterior of your washing machine with a soft damp cloth, microfiber cloth, or sponge soaked in a mixture of half part vinegar and half part water. You may use an all-purpose cleaner, too.
  7. Scrub the knobs, buttons, and the edge of the door or lid to remove mildew and soap build-up. After an hour, restart the washing machine and let it rerun a complete cycle.
  8. Wipe the inside of the washer, including the blades of the agitator and the bottom with a piece of cloth soaked in the vinegar-water cleaning solution. Areas that still have grime can be cleaned with straight white vinegar.
    Step 8
  9. To clean the grimy dispenser drawer, use a soft cloth and a small brush or old toothbrush in the constricted space. You can also remove the dispenser drawer and then clean it with bleach. Dry the dispenser thoroughly before putting it back.
    Step 9
  10. Finally, run the washing machine through a rinse cycle to remove any residue.
    Step 10

You can also use Epsom salt along with vinegar for cleaning your washing machine. In case you have a front-loader washer, you can still use the same procedure with a few changes.

You may add two cups of white vinegar in the drum filled with hot water and run it through an empty cycle. New models often have self-cleaning cycles that you can run regularly.

In addition, when cleaning a front-load washer, it is essential to clean the rubber seal around the door because it is prone to mold and mildew.

To clean it, you can use a mixture of a cup of chlorine bleach and a gallon of water. Leave it on the seal for about five minutes before wiping it off. It is suggested to wipe down the rubber seal after every use.

Additional Tips

  • Clean your washing machine thoroughly at least two to three times a year.
  • To prevent a sour and musty smell from developing in the washer, make sure you remove the load as soon as a wash cycle is finished.
  • After removing the load, leave the lid or door open for a while to allow the air to circulate and prevent mildew.
  • Consider using vinegar as fabric softer instead of the commercial fabric softeners as they tend to leave a residue on the machine. Moreover, vinegar kills germs, removes sweat stains from clothes, and prevents the buildup of limescale in the washer.
  • Do not use too much laundry detergent while washing your clothes as it tends to pollute the waterways because of all the suds. Plus, it is not suitable for the machine, especially if it is a front-loader washer.
  • Do not wipe the washing machine interior and exterior with abrasive cleaners.
  • You should also clean the washing machine hose filter regularly.
  • Make sure you read the instruction manual provided with your washing machine to check the dos and don’ts for cleaning.