How to Clean a Washing Machine

Cleaning your washing machine may never cross your mind, but we’ll tell you why it should. With consistent build up of dirt particles and washing detergents, it’s important to clean your washing machine regularly. Keep reading to find out how…

Cleaning a washing machine may sound ironic, since a washing machine is a cleaner itself. However, cleaning your washing machine can help it last longer as it deters the possibility of mould and mildew build up in addition to keeping your washing machine gunk-free. If cleaning your machine doesn’t solve the problem, it may need to be repaired.

If you think about all the dirt that enters your washing machine on clothes, from hair and food to grease and blood, it’s not too surprising this can build up, in addition to the washing powder and detergents placed in every load. 

In this article, you’ll find:

  • Why you should clean your washing machine
  • How to clean different types of washing machines
  • How often you should clean your washing machine
  • Tips for how to keep it clean in the long term

Photo by Engin Akyurt on Unsplash.

Why You Should Clean Your Washing Machine

Washing machines are used to clean clothes, towels and other fabrics, but can actually get dirty from this themselves. When filtering through dirt, grease, hair, animal hair, blood, bits of food, etc., these particles can build up and diminish your machine’s cleaning abilities. 

In most cases, people don’t know they should be cleaning their machine, until they run into an issue. If your machine smells, is clogged or maybe your clothes just don’t seem to be as clean, it’s probably time to clean your washing machine and continue to do so regularly.

How to Clean a Top Load Washing Machine

You can clean a top load washing machine using common household items, including bicarb or baking soda, white vinegar, dishwashing liquid, an old toothbrush and microfibre cloth. Once you have all your ingredients ready, it’s time to make your cleaning potion.

6 steps to clean a top loading washing machine:

  1. Run a normal hot wash cycle.
  2. Add ½ cup bicarb or baking soda and 2 cups white vinegar.
  3. When the machine has filled with water, pause it and let it sit for an hour.
  4. Let it finish running.
  5. Clean any residue on the exterior using a damp microfibre cloth with dishwashing liquid.
  6. Use an old toothbrush to scrub any marks or build up you couldn’t remove with the cloth.  

If your machine is still dirty, or just needs a more thorough clean, you can use this easy two-step method using only two ingredients:

HGTV recommends the following method for deep cleaning your washing machine: 

  1. Fill the empty washing machine with hot water.
  2. Pour in one cup of bleach.
  3. Run the machine for one minute to mix the bleach in.
  4. Open the cover of the machine and leave for an hour.
  5. After the hour’s up, shut the cover of the machine and let it run a complete cycle.
  6. Next, complete the same process, but with a cup of white vinegar instead of bleach.
  7. After the cycle has finished, clean the inside and outside of the washing machine using a solution that’s 1:1 water to vinegar using a spray or cloth.
  8. Dry the machine with a clean cloth.  

*If you don’t want to use harsh chemicals, you can place 10 drops of clove oil into the drum and start a wash using the hottest setting. This can be used on top or front load machines.

How to Clean a Front Load Washing Machine

Although front load washing machines seem to be the more modern option, they do get dirtier quicker than top load machines. Luckily, there are still plenty of ways to clean your front loading machine.

5 steps to clean a front load washing machine:

  1. Put 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate or baking soda into the detergent drawer. 
  2. Put ½ cup white vinegar into the drum (where you place the clothes).
  3. Start a normal wash on hot (keep an eye as it runs to make sure it doesn’t bubble up too much).
  4. Clean the filter following the manufacturer’s instructions, as this is a leading issue with front load machines.

How often should you clean your washing machine?

Martha Stewart recommends cleaning your machine once a month to prevent mould or stench from occurring in your machine. However, you can clean your machine every 2–3 months, especially if you’re not washing greasy or particularly dirty clothing.

Tips for Keeping Your Washing Machine Clean

  • Stay at Home Mum recommends replacing fabric softener with white vinegar, as the softener can cause blockage and isn’t necessary, besides smelling nice.
  • Always remove clothes right after washing so they don’t sit in the machine for a while, since this can make your machine smell.
  • Avoid mould build up on the seals (rubber gasket) or the machine by keeping the door slightly open between washes for airflow.

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      Chloe Thistle

      Junior Marketing Administrator

      Chloe Thistle is a Junior Marketing Administrator at Localsearch, bringing her talents and background in digital and social media marketing to her role. She has sharpened her marketing skills across many different industries, including entertainment, fashion and in the B2B field. In her spare time, Chloe can be found either lounging at the beach or five coffees deep at one of her favourite local cafés. No stranger to adventures, she’s trekked to Mt. Everest Base Camp — fueled by coffee of course — has completed the Kokoda Challenge and is always looking for the next mountain to climb! Chloe loves looking for ways to combine her passions for adventure, sustainability and marketing, always chasing the latest trends in both marketing and fashion. Now, she’s utilising her vast life and digital marketing experience to blog and assist in the content with the Localsearch Marketing Team.