How to clean washing machine

How to clean washing machine

Why do you need to clean washing machine?

It’s continuously used with water and detergent, so there’s no need to clean, right? Wrong!

While the washing machine is being used, parts of it tend to create a build-up of soapy substance. Most common area is the rubber ring around the tub of the washer. This happens more often in top-loading washers because the water can reach only a certain level, then it sits at that level for certain period of time.

Having that soapy build-up doesn’t really help when it comes to cleaning clothes. This is because it can contain all the previous scents from washing, as well as oils and dirt. Washing machines that are front-loading hardly ever have this problem because the drum keeps rotating and the water with it.

Front loading washing machine

Some of the newer washing machines have the cleaning option built-in within their cycle selection. Those washers may be slightly more expensive and not all brands are offering it. Yes, it is super convenient. Just add the sanitizer, press the button, and voila!

How about for those of you who do not have that feature on your washer? Why is it important to do it on a regular basis? The main reason is that it’s easier to just maintain something, rather than to spend money fixing it.

What do you need to clean washing machine?

While there are many options when it comes to cleaning materials and tools, we recommend the following as they are natural, safe and cost effective.

List of materials to use:

  • Natural oxygen bleach – it’s the only product that can effectively kill germs, bacteria and viruses.
  • Toothbrush – great inexpensive tool that can help you clean tight spots.
  • Microfiber cloth – for easy cleaning, without damaging the washing machine interior.
  • Gentle abrasive scrubbing pad – for removal of grime, mold and mildew.
  • Spray bottle – for easy application of the mixed cleaning solution.

How to prepare the cleaning solution

When you decide to prepare your new washing machine cleaning solution, make sure to do it in a well ventilated room or area. While all the materials used in this solution are safe when used correctly, you still want to take extra measures to protect yourself.

When used incorrectly, bleach can be cause burning sensation and seriously hurt your airways, skin, eyes and mucous membranes.

Also, always wear protective gloves when working with cleaning solutions, regardless of the how safe they may be.

Cleaning solution mixing instructions:

  • The best and most effective mixing ratio for the cleaning solution is 10 parts water to 1 part bleach.
  • Wear your protective gloves and make sure that you are in a well ventilated area.
  • You can now measure 10 tablespoons of water to 1 tablespoon of bleach.
  • To scale the mixture, mix 10 cups of water to 1 cup of bleach, or 5 cups of water to 1/2 cup of bleach.

It is important to get the measurement right, so please carefully prepare the mixture. You can always store the excess of the cleaning solution to be used next time. If you store it in a bottle, make sure to clearly mark it for easy recognition. Don’t think that everyone in your household will know what’s in that bottle or that you will always remember it as well. It takes a few minutes to prevent unnecessary mishaps, so please be aware.

How to clean front-loading washing machine

  1. Using your newly prepared cleaning solution, spray the inside of the washing machine drum and let the solution sit a few minutes.
  2. Even though the drums of front-loading washers tend not to have grime build-up, they should still be washed out.
  3. Using a cloth, wipe the entire interior of the washing drum, including the agitator fins that are part of the drum.
  4. Spray the rubber seal around the door, the inside and outside part. Let the solution sit a few minutes.
  5. Using a gentle abrasive scrubbing pad, scrub down every portion of the rubber seal, especially if there is any build-up of mold or mildew.
  6. In case of heavy build-up, spray several more times and repeat the process. If there is mold on your rubber seal, bleach is the only guaranteed solution that will get rid of it.
  7. Next, start cleaning the door of the washer and spray the inside with your cleaning solution. Often times, there may be some grime on the door, so make sure to be thorough.
  8. Close the washer door and lightly spray all the surfaces on the outside of the machine and wipe with a microfiber cloth.
  9. As a final step, throw your cleaning rags into the washer and run a normal wash cycle using hot water and add around 1/2 cup of bleach in your dispenser. Have in mind that most front loading washers adjust the amount of water based on the amount of laundry inside the drum, so feel free to throw in all of your dirty rags.

The best way to maintain your washer is to plan this cleaning process once a month. We typically recommend to do it at the beginning of each month, for easy recollection. This way, you will develop a healthy habit for yourself, and maintain your front-loading washer at its best performance.

Front loading clean washing machine

How to clean top-loading washing machine

  1. Using your newly prepared cleaning solution, spray the inside of the washing machine drum and let the solution sit a few minutes. Please make sure to spray the agitator also, if your washer comes with it.
  2. If your washer comes with an impeller, do spray it thoroughly with the cleaning solution.
  3. Let the solution settle in for a few minutes, to loosen the grime and other build-up inside the drum.
  4. Use a gentle abrasive scrubbing pad to scrub and remove the substance build-up. We recommend using a dishwashing pad that has a gentle mesh back for scrubbing.
  5. Since your top-loading washer comes with either a stainless-steel drum or enamel coated, be really careful not to scratch it. If you scratch it, the drum will slowly corrode and rust can end up on clothes.
  6. Scrub every surface thoroughly of the washer tub and agitator. In case of heavy build-up, spray several more times and repeat the process. Pay attention to the lip of the tub and scrub it, especially under it, as it can get really grimy.
  7. Once that is done, move onto the lid of the washer. Spray with cleaning solution and wipe everything (inside, outside, lip of the lid).
  8. Close the washer lid and spray the cleaning solution over the entire outside surface of the machine that is accessible. Wipe carefully with your microfiber cloth or scrubbing pad, as needed.
  9. (Optional) If you can remove the control knobs, you can rinse them in warm, soapy water. You may notice that there’s probably more grime on those knobs than you thought of. When you are in a hurry, it’s quite easy to spill a few drops of laundry detergent and those drops can make things sticky.
  10. For a final step, you should run a regular wash cycle in your machine, with addition of a cup of bleach, using hot water. While it may seem like a waste, set the water level on the highest setting. You want to have as much of the inside drum to be cleaned as possible. Feel free to throw in your cleaning cloth and scrubber that you used to clean your machine.

You can use the same principle like in the front-loader process when it comes to scheduling. Once a month will be sufficient to keep your top-loader at its peak performance, longer.

How to clean a self-clean or smart washing machine

  1. Clean the control panel with a damp microfiber cloth.
  2. If you washing machine has a water hose with a filter, remember to clean it at least once or twice a year. To make it simple for you, soak the filter in lukewarm soapy water until it is clean. After that, allow the filter to dry completely on a room temperature.
  3. Clean the detergent dispensers by rinsing the sections in lukewarm water. That will remove residue and bits of accumulated laundry products.
  4. Then, clean the hard to access areas with a toothbrush, to remove residue.
  5. After that, wipe the interior drum with a damp microfiber cloth to remove any bigger residue that may be there.
  6. At this point. It’s time to run the self-clean cycle. Some washers have sensors with self-clean cycles, which can indicate when the washing machine needs to be cleaned. This is only available with some brands and you can usually turn the self-clean cycle on whenever you want.
  7. (Important) Please read your instruction manual carefully to get as much detail as possible on how the self-cleaning mode is supposed to work. Self-clean cycles are normally designed to work without a cleaning solution, so don’t add anything to your washer before you begin, unless noted otherwise.

Frequency of cleaning process for self-cleaning and smart washing machines can be done as often as the regular washer would be done at. Do refer to the instruction manual for better reference.

Final thoughts on how to clean washing machine

Even though laundry is disliked chore, most of us can’t see life without a washer. To extend the lifetime and avoid damaging your washer or your clothing, you should maintain and care for your washing machine properly. That applies for both brand new machines and the reliable ones that you’ve had for years.

What is your best way to clean a washing machine? Share your thoughts in the comments below.


30 Replies to “How to clean washing machine”

  1. Thank you for all these tips! I always have a hard time cleaning my washing machine. It’s automatic so I always assume it’s cleaner than manual machines, but yeah, I do need to implement these tips next time!

  2. This was the post I never knew I needed 🙂 This is something you wouldn’t think about but it needs doing. Thanks for drawing my attention to this issue and providing a solution! Rach

  3. This is priceless! I often wonder if we can hang the washing container outside, would do so! Great tips , very helpful mostly to moms and housekeepers. Me, baking soda also is my cleaning friend. 🙂

  4. Cleaning the washing machine and the dryer is such a difficult task! We usually put on a lot of detergent and soap and do one regular cycle. Then I use clorox wipes to clean the outside. These are definitely useful tips!

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