Our washing machines face a lot: sweaty socks, potty training uh-oh’s, shirts sporting food that somehow missed our mouths, and so. much. more.
So what do we do when our washing machine starts to take on an odor of it’s own? We clean it! And it’s actually pretty easy. As long as you have some vinegar or bleach, you’re good to go!
In This Article
Supplies You’ll Need to Clean Your Washing Machine
Start by picking up some essential cleaning supplies. You’ll need a good detergent and a sturdy brush, which you might already have at home or can easily find at a store.
Choosing a Detergent
There are several options available for cleaning your washing machine. You could go for specialized washing machine cleaners that easily remove dirt and grime. These are readily available at most stores.
For a cheaper (and less toxic) method, white distilled vinegar is a solid choice, acting as a natural disinfectant that helps in removing odors. This is what I use and it has consistently worked well for me! Especially if I add in some baking soda.
Bleach is another option but ensure it’s diluted with water before use.
Picking the Right Brush
A decent brush is essential for a thorough cleaning. A toothbrush can be particularly useful for getting to those hard-to-reach areas, such as the rubber gasket around the door. For tougher spots, consider a stiff-bristled brush, ensuring it doesn’t scratch your machine.
How to Clean Your Washing Machine
Cleaning the interior of your washing machine is a crucial step to ensure that it continues to function properly. Here are some soecific steps to follow to clean the interior of your washing machine:
- Put two cups of distilled white vinegar into the detergent dispenser -no, this will not mess up your machine or clothes!
- Run a complete cycle using HOT water.
- For extra cleaning power, you can run a second cycle with 1/2 cup of baking soda. Just wipe down the drum once the cycle is finished.
- Pour half a cup of bleach into the detergent dispenser.
- Run a complete cycle with HOT water.
- Once the cycle is complete, wipe down the drum with a microfiber cloth to remove any remaining residue.
How to Clean the Rubber Seal in a Washing Machine
- Mix a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar.
- Dip a microfiber cloth into the solution and wring it out.
- Use the cloth to wipe down the rubber seal around the door of the washing machine.
- Be sure to get into all the crevices and folds of the seal.
- After wiping down the seal, let the solution sit for a few minutes.
- After a few minutes, wipe down the seal again with a clean, damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.
How to Clean the Outside of Your Washing Machine
- If you can, take off the knobs and let them soak in some warm soapy water.
- Wipe down the machine using a microfiber cloth and an all purpose cleaner like the one on my DIY cleaning solution chart.
- If you’re able, or if you have ehelp, move the washing machine so you can wipe down all sides.
- Take a quick look at the hoses to see if there are any leaks or signs of damage.
- Move the machine back into place and replace the knobs.
Cleaning the Filter
Cleaning your washing machine filter is an important step in maintaining your machine. Over time, the filter can become clogged with lint, hair, and other debris, which can prevent your machine from working properly.
To clean your washing machine filter, first locate it. This can be the trickiest part, as filters can be located in different places depending on the make and model of your machine. Check your machine’s manual if you’re not sure where to find it. I believe most are located at the bottom of the machine!
Once you’ve located the filter, remove it from the unit and soak it in hot water. This will help loosen any clogs or trapped residue. If your filter cannot be removed, clean it out with a brush instead.
Some filters are disposable, so instead of cleaning them, you can just throw them away and put a new one in place. Check your machine’s manual to see if this is an option for your filter.
After cleaning your filter, replace it and run a short, empty wash cycle. This will help ensure that any remaining debris is flushed out of your machine.
Remember to clean your washing machine filter regularly to keep your machine running smoothly. Check your machine’s manual to see how often you should be cleaning your filter.
Cleaning the Detergent Drawer
Cleaning the detergent drawer of your washing machine is an important step in maintaining your appliance. Over time, detergent and fabric softener can build up in the drawer and cause blockages, which can lead to poor washing results. Here are some steps you can follow to clean your detergent drawer:
- Remove the drawer from the washing machine. The method of removal may vary depending on your machine, so consult your manual if you’re not sure how to do this.
- Clean the drawer with warm, soapy water. Use a soft brush to scrub away any residue that has built up in the drawer. Rinse the drawer thoroughly with clean water and dry it with a clean cloth.
- Check the dispenser housing for any blockages. Use a soft brush to clean the housing, and make sure that there are no blockages in the dispenser tubes.
- Reassemble the drawer and replace it in the washing machine. Make sure that the drawer is securely in place.
It’s recommended that you clean your detergent drawer every few months to prevent buildup of detergent and fabric softener residue.
How to Maintain Your Washing Machine
To keep your washing machine running smoothly, it’s important to clean it regularly. A good rule of thumb is to deep clean your machine once a month, but you may need to clean it more often if you use it frequently or if you have hard water.
How to Prevent Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew can quickly develop in a damp washing machine, so it’s important to take steps to prevent it. After each use, leave the door open to allow the drum to air out. You can also wipe down the door and drum with a dry cloth to remove any moisture.
Another way to prevent mold and mildew is to use a washing machine cleaner that’s specifically designed to remove mold and mildew.
You can also add 1 cup of white vinegar to your wash cycle once a month to help prevent mold and mildew from developing.
Frequently Asked Questions
How do I clean a smelly washing machine?
If your washing machine smells, it’s likely due to a buildup of mold and mildew. To get rid of the smell, you can try running a hot water cycle with 2 cups of white vinegar. Alternatively, you can use a washing machine cleaner designed to remove odor-causing bacteria.
What is the best way to clean a washing machine?
The best way to clean a washing machine is to use white vinegar and baking soda. Make sure to clean the drum, rubber seal, and detergent dispenser regularly to prevent mold and mildew buildup.
Is bleach or vinegar better to clean washing machine?
Both bleach and vinegar can be effective at cleaning washing machines. Bleach is said to be better at killing bacteria and viruses, while vinegar is better at removing hard water stains and odors. However, bleach can damage some parts of your washing machine PLUS it isn’t the most kid-friendly cleaning product, so it’s important to use it carefully.
How to clean washing machine drum?
To clean the washing machine drum, you can use white vinegar and baking soda. First, add 3-4 cups of white vinegar to the drum and run a hot water cycle. Then, add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the drum and run another hot water cycle. This will help remove any buildup and odors from the drum.
How to clean a washing machine filter?
To clean the washing machine filter, first, turn off the power to your machine. Then, locate the filter, which is usually located at the bottom of the machine. Remove the filter and clean it with warm water and a soft brush. Make sure to remove any debris or buildup from the filter before replacing it.
How to deep clean washing machine?
To deep clean your washing machine, you can use a washing machine cleaner or white vinegar and baking soda. First, run a hot water cycle with the cleaner or vinegar and baking soda. Then, scrub the drum, rubber seal, and detergent dispenser with a soft brush or sponge. Finally, run another hot water cycle to rinse out any remaining cleaner or vinegar.
Abbie Clark is a writer, blogger, and founder of Hey She Thrives, RideRambler, and The Bearded Bunch.
Abbie loves helping people, whether that be with an encouraging word for fellow mamas or sharing diy tips for car restoration.
Abbie is a mama, wife, and friend of Jesus.