How To Clean A Washing Machine Like A Pro: Quick & Easy Guide

You rely on your washing machine to keep your clothes fresh and clean, but have you ever stopped to think about how clean the washing machine itself is? 

Over time, washing machines can develop unpleasant odours, harbour dirt and grime, and even lead to musty-smelling laundry. That’s why it’s important to clean your washing machine regularly to ensure it continues to work efficiently and keeps your clothes smelling sweet. 

In this quick and easy guide, we’ll show you how to clean a washing machine like a pro, making this chore a breeze!

Things You Need To Know Before Cleaning Your Washer

Your washing machine works tirelessly to keep your clothes clean, but in doing so, it accumulates soap scum, mineral deposits, and even mould. Over time, these build-ups can affect the machine’s performance and lead to problems such as:

  • Funky Odours
    A dirty washing machine can cause your laundry to come out smelling less than fresh.
  • Residue on Clothes
    Soap scum and mineral deposits can transfer to your clothes, leaving them feeling rough and looking dingy.
  • Reduced Efficiency
    A gunked-up machine may not clean as effectively, requiring you to run multiple cycles to get your clothes clean.

Cleaning your washer involves a bit more than just scrubbing the drum. You’ll need to address various components, including the filter, door seal, detergent drawer, and even the exterior!

Before you get started, there are a few things you should do and know:

You Should Read The Machine’s User Manual

Each model of washing machine is unique, constructed with different materials and design quirks. That’s why it’s important to start reading its user manual. 

Manuals contain specific instructions on how to clean and maintain your machine properly. If you’ve misplaced the physical copy, don’t worry. You can usually find a digital version on the manufacturer’s website by entering your model number.

You Should Check Your Warranty

Many washing machines come with warranties, which can be a lifesaver if something goes wrong. However, using the wrong cleaning products or methods can void your warranty. 

So, it’s essential to revisit your warranty guidelines in the user manual to ensure you don’t accidentally void it.

You Need To Clear Your Schedule

Cleaning your washing machine, especially if it’s been a while since its last scrub-down, can be a bit time-consuming. So, ensure you have a few hours set aside for this task. 

Rushing through the process defeats the purpose, so be prepared to invest some time.

You Have To Empty Your Washing Machine

Before you start cleaning, ensure your washing machine is completely empty. 

Remove any laundry that might still be in the drum, like forgotten socks or towels. Also, clear the exterior of your machine. 

NOTE: It’s important to remember that you should not put any item, especially heavy ones, on top of your machine as it can damage it in the long run or cause an accident. 

You Have To Choose The Right Products

The choice of cleaning products is extremely important! 

Avoid harsh chemicals that can damage your machine or peel its paint. Instead, go for milder options like white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, and other household products to leave your washer squeaky clean.

You Have To Prepare Everything You Need For The Cleanup

Efficiency is key – gather all your cleaning supplies beforehand!

You’ll need items like white vinegar, bicarbonate of soda, a cloth, and a bucket. Also, ensure your children and pets stay clear of the area, as you’ll be working with cleaning products that could be harmful to them.

Clean Your Washing Machine Like A Pro

Your washing machine is one of the most used appliances in your home, so it deserves some TLC. Here’s how to clean your washer like a pro:

How To Clean Your Washing Machine’s Drum

Since the drum is the part that gets in contact with your laundry the most, it’s no wonder it can get dirty. Some washers come with a handy cleaning cycle you can use efficiently. 

For others, you’ll have to do a bit more work to clean the drum thoroughly.

white vinegar in washing machine drum

You will need:

  • White vinegar
  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • Spray bottle (optional)
  • Microfibre cloth (optional)


  1. Run a hot water cycle
    Start by running a hot water cycle. This helps to loosen any built-up detergent, grime, or dirt inside the drum.
  2. Add white vinegar
    During the cycle, add a cup of white vinegar inside the detergent compartment. Pause the cycle for at least an hour to let the mixture sit.
  3. Restart the cycle
    After an hour, restart the cycle until it’s complete.
  4. Add bicarbonate of soda (optional)
    For a more thorough clean, add a cup of bicarbonate of soda to the drum and run another hot water cycle.
  5. Air dry
    Once the second cycle is complete, open the washer’s door and leave it open for a while to air dry.

This method works for both front-loading and top-loading washing machines. 

TIP: Want to quickly refresh your washer’s drum? Create a mixture of one part white vinegar and three parts warm water. Put it in a spray bottle, spritz your drum, and wipe it down with a clean microfibre cloth. Leave the door open for a few minutes to an hour to air dry.

How To Clean Your Washing Machine’s Drawer

The detergent drawer can be a source of unpleasant odours in your machine. This happens when leftover detergent turns into soap scum in the compartment, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria and mildew.

washing machine drawer and brush

You will need:

  • White vinegar
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Warm or hot water
  • Microfibre cloth


  1. Remove the parts
    Check your user manual and see if your detergent drawer and rinse cap are removable. Follow the instructions for removal.
  2. Rinse
    Once removed, rinse the parts under hot or warm water to soften the detergent residue.
  3. Scrub
    Use a mixture of warm water and white vinegar along with a soft-bristled brush to gently scrub the surfaces. Focus on the corners and areas with hardened scum.
  4. Rinse and dry
    Rinse the parts with warm water and use a clean microfibre cloth to remove any remaining moisture. Reassemble the parts following your user manual to avoid damage.

How To Clean Your Washing Machine’s Filter

How To Clean Your Washing Machine’s Filter

The filter in your washing machine is responsible for catching hair, dust, and dirt that might be on your fabrics. Neglecting it can lead to clogs that will affect your machine’s performance!

You will need:

  • White vinegar
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Warm or hot water
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Small bowl or tray


  1. Locate and remove the filter
    Refer to your user manual to locate your machine’s filter and follow the instructions to remove it.
  2. Rinse
    Run the filter under hot water to remove loose debris.
  3. Soak
    Create a mixture of white vinegar and warm water, soak the filter for a few minutes, and gently scrub with a soft-bristled brush to remove dirt.
  4. Rinse and dry
    Rinse the filter under hot water and dry it using a clean microfibre cloth.
  5. Catch any excess liquid
    When you remove the filter, some residual water may come out. Be prepared with a small bowl or tray to catch the liquid and dispose of it in the sink.

How To Clean Your Washing Machine’s Door Seal

The rubber door seal on your washing machine can be a breeding ground for mould when exposed to moisture. Regular cleaning can prevent unpleasant odours that might transfer to your freshly laundered garments.

You will need:

  • White vinegar
  • Warm water
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Microfibre cloth


  1. Dampen the cloth
    Generously dampen a microfibre cloth with a solution of equal parts white vinegar and water.
  2. Wipe down
    Wipe all the surfaces of the gasket, ensuring you reach into all the nooks and crannies.
  3. Scrub
    Use a soft-bristled brush to focus on areas with mould and visible dirt.
  4. Air dry
    Leave the door open for about an hour to air dry.

How To Clean Your Washing Machine’s Exterior

Cleaning the exterior of your washing machine is a breeze, and it’s crucial for keeping the entire appliance looking spick and span!

cleaning washing machine exterior

You will need:

  • White vinegar
  • Warm water
  • Soft-bristled brush
  • Microfibre cloth
  • Broom or vacuum


  1. Unplug
    Start by unplugging your appliance for safety.
  2. Wipe down
    Wipe the outside of your washing machine with a damp microfibre cloth, paying special attention to buttons, knobs, and control panels.
  3. Deep clean
    For especially dirty areas, use a mixture of white vinegar and warm water for a more thorough scrub.
  4. Don’t forget underneath
    Move the appliance slightly to sweep or vacuum any accumulated dirt or dust underneath. Be careful and ask for help as most machines need to be moved by two people due to their heaviness. 

Other Tips For Maintaining Your Washing Machine

Keeping your washing machine in top shape doesn’t end with cleaning. Here are some additional tips for ensuring its longevity.

Use The Right Detergent And Cleaning Products

It’s essential to use the appropriate type and amount of detergent for your machine and the water hardness in your area. Using too much detergent can lead to soap residue buildup and odour issues. 

Some special cleaning products like Calgon and Soda Crystals can also help maintain your machine’s cleanliness.

Calgon 4-in-1 Washing Machine Cleaner and Water Softener Tablets, Removes Limescale & Odours, Deep Clean, Units: 15 Tablets, Pack of 1 (Packaging May Vary)
  • Calgon prevents limescale & rust build-up in your washing machine to protect the heating element, pipes and drum of the machine
  • Washing machine cleaner, removes odours, limescale & residue

Inspect And Clean The Hoses

Regularly inspect the hoses connecting your machine to the water supply. Look for signs of wear, cracking, or leaking. If you find any issues, replace the hoses as needed.

Keep the Door Ajar For A While

After each wash, leave the washing machine door slightly ajar. This allows air to circulate, preventing the growth of mould and mildew inside the drum and door seal.

Wipe Down The Drum and Seals Frequently

Even between full cleaning cycles, it’s a good idea to wipe down the inside of the drum and rubber door seal regularly. This simple step can help prevent mould and unpleasant odours.

Run Maintenance Cycles

Some washing machines have specific maintenance cycles. Check your manual for details on how to run these cycles, which are designed to clean the drum and eliminate any remaining detergent residue.

Don’t Put In Too Much Laundry

Avoid overloading your washing machine, as it can strain the drum, cause imbalance during the spin cycle, and potentially lead to damage. Always follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for load size and distribution.

SEE ALSO: How Much Should You Fill A Washing Machine? (easy guide)

Level Your Washing Machine

Ensure your washing machine is level by adjusting its feet or using a platform. An unlevel machine can lead to excessive vibrations and even structural damage.

Replace Damaged Parts ASAP

If you notice any issues such as loose drum paddles, damaged gaskets, or malfunctioning controls, don’t delay in getting them fixed. Timely repairs can prevent further damage and extend the life of your machine.

When Should You Clean Your Washing Machine?

The frequency of cleaning your washer depends on various factors, but a monthly cleaning routine is a safe bet. This includes wiping down the exterior, cleaning the detergent drawer, and ensuring the door seal is free from mould and mildew. 

Here are some additional considerations:

Every 3 To 4 Months, Do A Deep Clean

Every three to four months, give your machine a more thorough deep cleaning. This includes cleaning the drum, filter, and running a maintenance cycle if your machine has one.

Do You Have Hard Water?

If you live in an area with hard water, you may need to clean your machine more frequently. Hard water can lead to mineral build-up in the drum and on the heating element, so consider running a cleaning cycle every 1-2 months.

Do You Use Your Washer A Lot?

Frequent or large loads might require more frequent cleaning. Frequent use can lead to detergent and dirt build-up, affecting your machine’s performance.

User Manual Recommendations

Always consult your washing machine’s user manual for manufacturer-recommended cleaning and maintenance schedules. Not all models are the same, and some machines have specific guidelines and cycles to follow.

SEE ALSO: What Can Ruin A Washing Machine?

Keep Your Washing Machine In Great Shape!

Cleaning your washing machine doesn’t have to be a boring task. With the right supplies and a little effort, you can keep your machine running smoothly and your clothes smelling fresh. 

Regular cleaning will not only prolong the life of your appliance but also ensure that your laundry always comes out as clean as can be. So, put on your cleaning gloves, grab your vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, and give your washing machine the TLC it deserves. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the most effective way to clean the washing machine?

The most effective way to clean a washing machine is by running a hot water cycle with vinegar and then wiping down the drum and exterior with a damp cloth. You can also use your washer’s cleaning programme with the timer and agitation preset if it has it.

How can I deep clean my washing machine?

You can deep clean your washing machine by running a hot water cycle with vinegar or bicarbonate of soda. Don’t forget to remove and clean the detergent and fabric softener dispensers and wipe the exterior parts of the appliance.

Where do you put vinegar in a washing machine?

Pour one to two cups of white vinegar into the detergent dispenser before running a cycle to clean your washing machine.

How do I clean my washing machine naturally?

To clean your washing machine naturally, use a mixture of white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda, and avoid harsh chemicals. Run a hot water cycle with this mixture.

Where do I put bicarbonate of soda in my washing machine?

Add bicarbonate of soda directly into your washing machine’s drum. For cleaning, a cup of bicarbonate of soda sprinkled into the drum and starting a hot water cycle will do the job.

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