Do I Need To Use A Descaler In My Washing Machine?

Are you living in a hard water area? Descaling your washing machine might not be on the top of your to-do list, but it’s a crucial step to ensure your appliance stays in top-notch condition. 

If you’re wondering whether you need to use a descaler in your washing machine, the answer is a resounding yes! In this article, we’ll learn why using a descaler is essential and look into the various benefits it brings to both your washer and your laundry.

Why Descaling Your Washing Machine Is Important

Living in an area with hard water? Chances are your washing machine is silently battling limescale and mineral deposits. These unwanted guests can affect your machine’s efficiency, causing it to work harder than necessary. 

As a result, you may notice your machine getting hotter or less effective at cleaning your fabrics than usual.  This will potentially decrease its lifespan. 

What Exactly is Descaling?

Descaling involves the process of removing the limescale and mineral deposits that have turned your washing machine into an overheating or leaking mess. 

To remove mineral buildup, you can either go for a shop-bought descaler or create a DIY remedy using vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. The ideal result is to make your washing machine as efficient as it was on day one.

Here are the advantages of descaling your washing machine:

It Keeps The Heating Elements And Other Parts In Good Condition

Although scaling often happens in kettles, it can also occur in your washer. 

When limescale residue accumulates in your washing machine, it will mainly affect the heating elements and pipes of your washing machine. Hence, the element has to put in more effort to heat your washer. This results in overheating or damage to the elements themselves, and could be quite costly to replace. 

Also, when pipes get too much limescale in them, this can block or clog them up. The result? Smelly washing machine and garments. 

Descaling your washer will prevent these from happening, which will make the appliance more able to do its job smoothly. 

It Lessens The Wear And Tear On Your Fabrics

Limescale can cause more wear and tear to your garments. It makes most fabrics stiff and rough due to the powder, and could also leave white streaks on your clothing, particularly on dark garments. 

Removing limescale from your clothes can be time-consuming, and you’ll likely have to wash them a second time. This puts the garments under unnecessary stress, and will undoubtedly make them more at risk of tearing or bearing holes. 

Also, the mineral that has accumulated on your clothes may cause them to smell, which is an embarrassing situation you won’t want to experience. 

person smelling clothes

Descaling your washing machine will make it do its job as intended, and will result in cleaner, fresher, laundry. 

It Extends The Lifespan Of Your Washing Machine

A well-maintained washing machine is a long-lasting one. 

Most washers have a lifespan of 10 to 15 years, and with their price, we know you’ll want to do whatever you can to make replacement a thing you’ll not have to worry about for a long while. 

Descale your washer at least 3 times a year. Twice could be enough if you live in an area with soft water. 

Make sure to maintain your washer with regular cleaning sessions and at least a yearly inspection by a professional technician. Best believe that you’ll want to know about any issues early, as they are probably cheaper to fix and address. 

It Lowers Your Electricity Bill

An efficiently running washing machine doesn’t guzzle energy. When you keep limescale buildup in control, it’s less likely to overheat, get clogged pipes, or have other issues that can cause a spike in your energy use. As a result, you won’t have to be as surprised by the cost when you receive your electricity bill.

person checking clothes in laundry basket

Regular maintenance, including descaling, is a small investment for long-term savings.

Types Of Descalers For Your Washing Machine

Now that the importance of descaling is crystal clear, let’s explore the types of descalers available for your washing machine:

NOTE: Before anything, make sure to read your machine’s user manual for instructions on proper descaling, or you’ll risk voiding the warranty or damaging your appliance. 

Shop Bought Descalers

There are a variety of descalers that can be bought in the shops. The most popular ones are liquid or gel descalers as they are very effective and convenient to use. All you have to do is pour it into the detergent drawer or drum, and it’ll do its job in removing the mineral deposits on your machine’s interior. 

Ecozone Multi-Purpose Appliance Descaler, Internal Cleaner for Kettles, Irons, Washing Machines, Coffee Makers, Dishwashers, Fixtures & Surfaces, Natural Vegan & Non Toxic Eco-Friendly Liquid (500ml)
  • Ecozone Multi-Purpose Appliance De-scaler: Effective scale removal for use inside electrical or mains powered appliances or fixtures at home, including kettles, coffee machines, steamers and surfaces
  • Fast acting limescale remover: Easy to use in the kitchen, bathroom or elsewhere, the all-purpose descaler and cleaner sanitises and breaks down calcium build-up which has accumulated over time

Aside from liquids, there are also powder descalers that you’ll usually put in your machine’s detergent compartment. 

Tablet descalers also offer descaling properties and you can just pop them in your washing machine’s drum. 

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  • Protects from Lime scale and keeps washing machine clean
  • Minimizes energy consumption by keeping heating elements clean

For most descalers, using a full wash cycle at 60°C temp will be its best partner for removing the buildup in the washer. 

Also, many commercial descalers are multi-purpose and can also be used for kettles and dishwashers! Maximise the product you buy by getting the one that you can use to clean various appliances.

TIP: Make sure to follow the instructions of the product to get the best value for your resources. 

White Vinegar And Bicarbonate Of Soda

A combination of white vinegar and bicarb of soda will work wonders due to their acidic properties that’ll not only remove buildup but also deodorise your machine. 

Just put around 12 tablespoons of bicarb in the drum and add 2 cups of white vinegar in the detergent drawer, then use the longest and hottest wash cycle on the appliance. Let it finish, then run another empty cycle using a hot wash to remove any remnants completely. 

If you prefer, you can always use just white vinegar or just the bicarb of soda. In most cases, just using one of the two is enough to remove mineral buildup.  

White Vinegar And Lemon Juice

The acidic properties of both white vinegar and lemon juice are extremely effective and used as an all-around cleaning product. 

Not only can the mixture remove limescale buildup in washing machines, but it can also help clean tiles, microwaves, and other items and hard surfaces. 

lemon juice and white vinegar in detergent compartment

Just mix a cup of white vinegar with a cup of lemon juice, then pour it into the detergent drawer. Run the longest and hottest wash cycle and once it’s done, run a second empty cycle to remove any remnants of the acid. 

SEE ALSO: Is It Ok To Mix Vinegar & Lemon Juice For Cleaning?

What’s Your Descaler Of Choice?

Descaling your washing machine is a small effort for significant benefits. Whether you go for commercial descalers or natural alternatives, regular maintenance is key to keeping your appliance in its best condition. 

So, roll up your sleeves and give your washing machine the care it deserves—your clothes and your wallet will thank you!

Feel free to leave a comment below and tell us which product you’ve tried, or are planning to try to remove mineral buildup in your washing machine!

Frequently Asked Questions

Is it necessary to use a descaler in the washing machine?

Yes, it’s crucial to use a descaler in your washing machine, especially if you live in a hard water area. Descaling helps prevent limescale buildup, ensuring your machine runs efficiently and extends its lifespan.

How do I know if my washing machine needs descaling?

If you observe your machine getting hotter, being less effective in cleaning, or notice limescale deposits, it’s time to descale. Regular descaling, about 3 times a year, maintains your machine’s performance.

What is a natural solution for cleaning a washing machine?

A natural solution for cleaning your washing machine is a mix of white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda. Place 12 tablespoons of bicarb in the drum and add 2 cups of white vinegar in the detergent drawer. Run the longest, hottest wash cycle.

Where do you put bicarb soda in the washing machine?

Put around 12 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda directly into the drum of your washing machine. This helps remove limescale buildup and deodorises the machine.

Where do you put vinegar in a washing machine?

Pour 2 cups of white vinegar into the detergent drawer of your washing machine. This, along with bicarbonate of soda in the drum, forms an effective natural descaling solution. Run the longest and hottest wash cycle for optimal results.

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