How to clean your washing machine

cleaning your washing machine

It may sound strange: cleaning your washing machine? But if you notice an unpleasant smell inside your washer, it’s probably dirty. Residue from laundry detergent and bits of dirt are often the main culprits. They can get stuck inside the drum, filter or drain, causing unpleasant odors and could even leave stains on your clothes. Regularly cleaning your washer can help prevent mold, dirt, and mildew in the long run. From natural methods to cleaning tabs, we’ve got you covered with these top tips to clean your washing machine too keep it smelling fresh and the clothes sparkly-clean. Always remember to never mix bleach with DIY or other cleaning products.

Cleaning your washing machine naturally with vinegar

Vinegar is a great natural cleanser and is safe to use with almost all washers. Empty your machine and remove any large pieces of dust or hair. Prepare two cups of white vinegar mixed with half a cup of baking soda. Pour the mixture into the detergent drawer or the drum, and run a normal empty washing cycle at the hottest water temperature. The soda and vinegar will help to loosen built-up residue. For particularly dirty machines, you can let the mixture to work its magic a little longer using your machine’s soak option. Afterward, rinse the machine with a cold water cycle and leave the door open to help dry the inside.

Using washing machine cleaning tabs

If your machine still smells after using or you simply don’t like the smell of vinegar, several commercial product options are available. Before using, it’s worth checking whether using certain cleaning products would invalidate your warranty and make sure to always follow product label directions.

Cleaning your washing machine drain

Over time, detergent residue, dirt, and grease can start to block the drainpipe. When a washing machine drains slowly, it’s time for a cleaning. First, locate your washer’s drainpipe (usually at the back of the machine). If the blockage is mild, you can try pouring very hot water down the pipe to dislodge residue. For more tenacious clogs, use a commercial drain cleaner and follow the packaging direction or call in an expert.

Cleaning the washing machine filter

The filter is where most of the dirt and germs are caught to help block larger pieces of gunk from obstructing the machine. It’s a good idea to empty the filter regularly (every two to three weeks) and wipe all its parts with a damp cloth. Most machine filters are located at the front bottom of a washer. Simply open the hatch, remove he filter and soak it in hot water to loosen and remove any residue. If the filter can’t be removed from the machine, you can clean it out with a brush

General maintenance tips

A good scrub every month or two is important, but you can help keep your machine running longer with some general maintenance.


For front-loaders, wipe the inside with a dry towel after each use. No matter the type of washing machine you have, keep the door open after use to let the inside air-dry. Run your machine empty with a cup of oxygen bleach every three to six months. Always follow label directions.