How to Clean Washing Machine: Easy Steps for a Fresh Appliance

When was the last time you cleaned your washing machine? If you can’t remember, then it’s time to give your laundry appliance some much-needed TLC. Regular cleaning not only ensures that your washing machine lasts longer, but it also helps to keep your clothes fresher and cleaner. In this guide, we’ll take you through the steps for cleaning your washing machine, from best practices for maintenance to deep cleaning techniques and preventing mold and mildew.


Learning how to clean a washing machine may seem daunting, but it’s actually a straightforward process that can be done with a few tools and products. In the following sections, you’ll find tips and tricks for keeping your washing machine in top shape, as well as troubleshooting common problems. By the end of this guide, you’ll be equipped with all the information you need to ensure a fresh and clean appliance.

Why Should You Clean Your Washing Machine Regularly?

Your washing machine is one of the most used appliances in your household, and it’s important to keep it clean and well-maintained. Neglecting to clean your washing machine regularly can lead to unpleasant odors, poor washing performance, and even breakdowns. Here are some reasons why you should clean your washing machine regularly:

Reasons to Clean Your Washing MachineEffects of Neglecting Cleaning
Prevent Mold and Mildew Growth: Over time, moisture and detergent residue can build up inside your washing machine, creating the perfect environment for mold and mildew to thrive.Unpleasant Odors: If mold and mildew are allowed to grow, they can cause a musty odor that can be difficult to remove from your laundry and washing machine.
Keep Clothes Clean: A dirty washing machine can leave behind residue and bacteria on your clothes, reducing their cleanliness and potentially causing skin irritation.Poor Washing Performance: As residue builds up, it can obstruct water flow and reduce the effectiveness of your washing machine’s cleaning capability.
Extend the Life of Your Washing Machine: Regular cleaning and maintenance can help prevent breakdowns and extend the lifespan of your washing machine.Breakdowns and Repairs: If your washing machine is not properly maintained, it can lead to costly breakdowns and repairs.

Why Should You Clean Your Washing Machine Regularly?

By now, it should be clear that cleaning your washing machine is an important task that shouldn’t be neglected. But how often should you clean it? The answer depends on how frequently you use it. As a general rule, it’s recommended to clean your washing machine at least once every six months, or more often if you notice any signs of buildup or odors. By doing so, you can ensure that your washing machine is running efficiently, your clothes are getting clean, and you’re avoiding any costly repairs in the future.

Best Practices for Washing Machine Maintenance

Proper maintenance of your washing machine is crucial to ensure its longevity and efficiency. Here are some best practices for washing machine maintenance:

Clean the lint filterRemoving lint buildup from the filter after each wash helps improve airflow and reduce fire hazards.
Use the right detergentChoose a high-quality detergent that is appropriate for your washing machine and the type of fabric being washed. Using too much detergent can cause buildup and damage the machine.
Avoid overloading the machineOverloading the machine can cause strain on the motor and decrease efficiency.
Clean the drumWipe down the drum regularly with a damp cloth to prevent the buildup of dirt and grime.
Inspect hoses and water linesCheck hoses and water lines periodically for signs of wear or damage and replace as necessary.

By following these best practices, you can keep your washing machine running smoothly and prevent costly repairs.

How to Deep Clean Your Washing Machine

If you want to give your washing machine a thorough cleaning, follow these simple steps. This process will help remove any build-up that may have accumulated and leave your machine smelling fresh.

Step 1: Empty Your Washing Machine

Before you start, make sure there is nothing in the washing machine. Remove any clothes, towels, or other items, and make sure the machine is empty.

Step 2: Prepare Your Cleaning Solution

Mix together 1/4 cup baking soda and 1/4 cup water. Pour the mixture into the detergent container of your washing machine. Then, mix together 1/4 cup white vinegar and 1/4 cup water. Pour this mixture into the fabric softener dispenser of your washing machine.

Step 3: Run a Hot Water Cycle

Choose the hottest water temperature setting on your machine and run a cycle. Let the water and cleaning solution mix thoroughly. This will help to break down any build-up inside the machine.

Step 4: Wipe the Inside of the Machine

When the cycle is complete, open the door of the machine and wipe the inside with a clean cloth. Pay special attention to the rubber gasket around the opening, as this area can harbor dirt and grime.

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Step 5: Run a Second Cycle

Run another hot water cycle, but this time without any cleaning solution. This will help to rinse away any remaining residue.

Now your washing machine should be clean, fresh, and ready for use. Repeat this process every six months or as needed to keep your machine operating at its best.

Homemade Washing Machine Cleaner: Recipes and Tips

If you prefer using natural ingredients to clean your washing machine, we have some great options for you. Not only are they efficient and easy to make, but they are also more environmentally friendly and cost-effective than commercial products.

Homemade Washing Machine Cleaner Recipes

Here are three easy recipes to make your own washing machine cleaner at home:

Lemon juice cleaner– ½ cup lemon juice
– 1 cup baking soda
  1. Mix the lemon juice and baking soda in a bowl.
  2. Pour the mixture into the detergent dispenser of your washing machine.
  3. Run the machine on a hot water cycle.
Vinegar cleaner– 2 cups white vinegar
– ¼ cup baking soda
  1. Add the vinegar to the detergent dispenser of your washing machine.
  2. Add the baking soda directly to the drum.
  3. Run the machine on a hot water cycle.
Borax cleaner– ½ cup borax
– 1 gallon hot water
  1. Add the borax to the hot water in a bucket.
  2. Pour the mixture into the washing machine drum.
  3. Run the machine on a hot water cycle.

It’s important to note that while these cleaners are effective, they are not suitable for all washing machine models. Make sure to check your manufacturer’s guidelines before using them.

Pros and Cons of Homemade Cleaners

While homemade cleaners have their benefits, they also have some drawbacks:

  • Environmentally friendly: Homemade cleaners are made from natural ingredients and are therefore less harmful to the environment than commercial products.
  • Cheap: Homemade cleaners are considerably cheaper than store-bought ones, as the ingredients are often already in your pantry.
  • Variety: Homemade cleaners offer a variety of options to choose from, each with its unique benefits.
  • No warranty: Homemade cleaners do not come with a guarantee, so if something goes wrong with your washing machine, you might be liable for the damage.
  • Not suitable for all models: Some washing machine models may not be compatible with homemade cleaners, so it’s important to check your manufacturer’s guidelines before using them.
  • Less effective: Homemade cleaners may not be as effective as commercial products in removing tough stains and grime.

In summary, homemade cleaners are an excellent alternative to commercial products if you’re looking for a cost-effective and environmentally friendly way to clean your washing machine. However, make sure to check your manufacturer’s guidelines before using them, and be aware that they may not be suitable for all models.

Professional Washing Machine Cleaning Techniques

If you’re looking for a more thorough cleaning or struggling with persistent washing machine problems, it may be worth considering hiring a professional to clean your washing machine.

Professional washing machine cleaners have the expertise and specialized tools to deep clean your appliance and address any underlying issues that may be affecting its performance. They can also provide valuable advice on how to maintain your washing machine and prevent future problems.

What to Look for in a Professional Cleaner

When choosing a professional washing machine cleaner, it’s important to do your research and choose a reputable and experienced provider. Look for a company that specializes in washing machine cleaning, has positive reviews and testimonials from past customers, and offers guarantees or warranties for their services.

Additionally, you may want to consider factors such as pricing, availability, and the types of cleaning methods and products used in the process.

What to Expect from the Cleaning Process

During a professional washing machine cleaning, a trained technician will typically use specialized equipment to disassemble and deep clean your washing machine’s interior components, including the drum, filters, and detergent dispenser.

They may also inspect and clean the water supply hoses and connections, check for signs of wear or damage, and make any necessary repairs or replacements.

After the cleaning is complete, the technician may run a test cycle to ensure that the washing machine is running smoothly and efficiently.

Overall, professional washing machine cleaning can provide a thorough and effective solution for deep cleaning and maintaining your appliance, helping to prolong its lifespan and prevent costly repairs down the line.

Preventing Mold and Mildew in Your Washing Machine

Mold and mildew can quickly grow inside your washing machine, leading to unpleasant odors and potentially even damaging your machine. Here’s what you can do to prevent mold and mildew from taking over.

Allow Your Machine to Dry Out

After finishing a load of laundry, keep the door of your washing machine open to allow air to circulate. This will help prevent mold and mildew from growing inside. Also, make sure to remove damp clothes promptly to prevent excess moisture from accumulating inside your machine.

Use the Right Amount of Detergent

Using too much detergent can create excess suds and residue buildup, providing a breeding ground for mold and mildew. Read the instructions on your detergent’s packaging and use the recommended amount.

Clean Your Machine Regularly

Regular cleaning can help prevent mold and mildew from growing inside your machine. Follow the steps outlined in Section 4 to deep clean your washing machine, and make sure to clean your machine at least once a month.

Run a Hot Water Cycle

Running a hot water cycle occasionally can help kill any mold or mildew that may be growing inside your machine. Set your machine to the hottest water temperature and run a regular cycle without clothes or detergent.

By following these tips, you can prevent mold and mildew from growing inside your washing machine, ensuring a clean and fresh-smelling appliance for years to come.

How to Clean the Exterior of Your Washing Machine

Cleaning the exterior of your washing machine is just as important as cleaning the interior. A buildup of dirt and grime on the outside can not only be unsightly but can also lead to a musty smell and potentially even damage the machine over time. Here are some effective ways to clean the exterior of your washing machine:

  1. Wipe down the door and control panel with soapy water: Use a soft cloth and a mild detergent mixed with warm water to clean the door and control panel. Avoid using abrasive cleaners or cloths that may scratch the surface.
  2. Use vinegar to remove hard water stains: If you have hard water, you may notice mineral deposits building up on the exterior of your machine. To remove these, dampen a cloth with vinegar and wipe down the affected area, then rinse with water.
  3. Clean the exterior body with a cleaner specifically designed for washing machines: Look for a washing machine cleaner that is safe for the exterior body of your machine. Apply according to the instructions, then wipe down with a damp cloth or sponge.
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It’s important to note that certain types of washing machines, such as stainless steel models, require specific cleaning techniques and products. Be sure to consult your owner’s manual or manufacturer’s website for guidance on cleaning the exterior of your particular machine.

Tips for Maintaining a Clean Washing Machine

Keeping your washing machine clean and well-maintained not only ensures it continues to run smoothly but also helps prolong its lifespan and maintain the quality of your laundry. Here are some helpful tips to follow:

1. Clean the Lint Filter

After each load of laundry, remove any built-up lint from the filter. This will not only help prevent clogs and keep your machine running efficiently but also reduce the risk of fire hazards.

2. Avoid Overloading

Overloading your washing machine can cause unnecessary strain on its parts and lead to malfunctions. Be sure to follow your machine’s recommended load capacity and avoid cramming in too many clothes at once.

3. Use the Right Detergent

Using the wrong type of detergent or too much detergent can cause build-up and damage to your washing machine. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the recommended amount of detergent for the size and type of load.

4. Keep the Machine Dry

After each use, leave the washing machine door or lid open to allow moisture to evaporate and prevent the growth of mold and mildew. Additionally, wipe down the door seal and drum to remove any excess moisture.

5. Run a Maintenance Cycle

Most washing machine manufacturers recommend running a maintenance cycle every few months. This involves running an empty load with hot water and a washing machine cleaner to remove any built-up residue and keep the machine running efficiently.

6. Don’t Overdo It with Fabric Softener

While fabric softener can make your laundry smell fresh and feel soft, using too much of it can cause build-up and damage to your washing machine. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and use the recommended amount of fabric softener for the size and type of load.

By following these simple tips, you can help ensure your washing machine stays clean, efficient, and functional for years to come.

Troubleshooting Common Washing Machine Problems

Washing machines are essential in keeping our clothes clean, but they can encounter problems like any other appliance. Here are some common washing machine problems and how to troubleshoot them.

Drainage Issues

If your washing machine isn’t draining properly, it’s likely due to a clogged drain or a faulty pump. Try cleaning out the drain filter and hose, or checking the pump for any obstructions. Another possible cause could be a kinked drain hose, which can be straightened out for better water flow.

Spin Cycle Problems

If your washing machine doesn’t spin, it may be due to an unbalanced load or an issue with the motor. Try redistributing the clothes in the drum and running a cycle again. If that doesn’t work, check the motor’s drive belt for any wear and tear.

Strange Noises

Washing machines can make a variety of noises, but if you hear something out of the ordinary, it’s worth checking out. A loud banging during the spin cycle could mean the load is unbalanced, while a grinding noise could indicate a problem with the motor or bearings. Try running an empty cycle to see if the noise persists, and if so, call a professional for further inspection.

Error Codes

Some washing machines have error codes that can appear on the display, indicating a problem with the machine. Refer to the manual to identify the code and what it means, and follow any suggested troubleshooting steps. If the problem persists, contact a professional for assistance.

Electrical Issues

If your washing machine isn’t turning on or experiencing other electrical issues, ensure that it’s properly plugged in and the circuit breaker hasn’t tripped. If the problem persists, it may be due to a faulty control board or wiring, which should be inspected by a professional.

Troubleshooting common washing machine problems can save you time and money, but if the issue persists, don’t hesitate to seek professional assistance. Proper maintenance and upkeep can also prevent these issues from occurring in the first place.

FAQs About Cleaning Your Washing Machine

Here are some frequently asked questions about washing machine cleaning:

How often should I clean my washing machine?

You should aim to clean your washing machine at least once every three months. However, if you use your machine frequently, it’s a good idea to do it more often.

What products can I use to clean my washing machine?

You can use commercial washing machine cleaners, or make your own using natural ingredients like vinegar and baking soda.

How do I get rid of stubborn dirt and grime?

If your washing machine has tough stains or buildup, try using a mixture of baking soda and hydrogen peroxide. Apply the mixture to problem areas and let it sit for 10-15 minutes before wiping it away with a damp cloth.

Can I use bleach to clean my washing machine?

Yes, bleach can be used to clean your washing machine. However, be sure to follow the instructions carefully and dilute the bleach before use.

What should I do if my washing machine has a bad odor?

If your washing machine has a bad odor, try running a cycle with hot water and a cup of vinegar. This should help eliminate any unwanted smells. Also, be sure to empty the lint filter regularly and leave the door open when the machine is not in use to help prevent odor buildup.

Can I clean the inside of my washing machine with a pressure washer?

No, it is not recommended to use a pressure washer to clean the inside of your washing machine. This could damage the machine and its components. Stick to using approved cleaning products and methods.

Should I hire a professional to clean my washing machine?

If you don’t feel comfortable cleaning your washing machine yourself, or if you suspect there may be a problem with your machine that requires a professional touch, then it’s a good idea to hire a professional cleaner. Look for a reputable and experienced cleaner in your area.

Is it safe to wash shoes in my washing machine?

It depends on the type of shoe and your washing machine’s capabilities. Some shoes can be washed in the machine, but it’s important to check the label and follow any instructions. Also, be sure to put the shoes in a wash bag to protect both the shoes and the machine.

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