Regularly cleaning your washing machine prevents foul odors and the buildup of soap residue and mineral deposits inside your washing machine. The cleaning process for both top-loading and front-loading washing machines is essentially the same. With a few supplies and a little time, your washing machine will be once again producing fresh, clean clothes.
Washing Machine Cleaning Supplies
Run your hands along the inside of the basin of your washing machine. If it is rough, it is a sign that the washer is dirty and caked with soap scum. Thankfully, the supplies needed to perform this cleaning task are likely sitting around your home.
After cleaning your washing machine, you are going to notice a huge difference. Your clothes will come out cleaner and smelling better once you have cleaned your washing machine.
The cleaning process begins with bleach.
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White vinegar is also needed to clean the washing machine.
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Baking soda is used along with white vinegar to clean your washing machine.
- Arm & Hammer Pure Baking Soda Shaker 12 Oz (Pack of 2)
A pair of gloves will protect your hands when cleaning your washing machine.
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- MATERIAL - Made with highly flexible waterproof rubber for great comfort & dexterity. Anti-slip embossed palm for an excellent grip. They smelled a bit rubbery and chemical-like when you first took them out of the packaging, but after airing them out they will be fine. Allergic people or people sensitive to rubber smell should use in caution. No flocked Lining.
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- 12CM LONG SLEEVE & VALUE PACK -12cm/4.7 in. long pull on closure sleeve to safeguard users' hands up to the forearm. 3 pairs per pack to save your money
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A measuring cup is needed to ensure you add the proper amount of cleaner when cleaning your washing machine.
- [Upgraded with OZ, ML, Cup Measurement Scales] Easy to Use: The measuring scales (lines) on the inside of the cup are easy to read and have units for OZ, ML and Cup. The ounce measurement starts from 4 oz to 16 oz with 4 oz step value. The liter measurement starts from 100 ml to 500 ml with 100 ml step value. The cup measurement starts from 1/4 cup to 2 cup with 1/4 cup step value.
- Unbreakable: Made of stainless steel, durable, unbreakable, sturdy, and strong. It will last longer than plastic and glass. No need to worry about it breaking by dropping it accidentally. Please do not use the stainless steel measuring cup with acids, salts and other corrosive chemical liquids.
- Heavy Duty: Lighter than some heavy glass measuring cup with the same capacity. Wide mouth design of the cup, makes it so easy to clean and use.
- Solid Grip: Great handle. The handle has great grip to hold the cup. The angled handle allows you to hold and pour liquid securely, and it is spot welded on. With closed handle, easy to store, just hang it on the wall of your kitchen.
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A spray bottle is used for mixing water with white vinegar.
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A cloth is necessary for wiping down the gaskets and dispensers, as well as the machine’s exterior.
- Ultra soft, non-abrasive microfiber cloths will not scratch paints, coats or other surfaces
- Cleans with or without chemical cleaners, leaves lint and streak free results
- Absorbs eight times its own weight
- Pack comes with three different towel colors (blue, yellow, and white)
- Rinse and reuse 100's of times
Cleaning Your Washing Machine
While bleach and vinegar are both used for this cleaning task, these two substances should never be mixed. They are for two separate wash cycles.
Your washing machine will drain all the bleach before you start the second wash cycle with white vinegar and baking soda. While you need a few hours to fully complete this task, most of the work is done by the machine itself.
Step One: Fill Washer and Add Bleach
Fill up your washing machine with hot water and add one quart of bleach to the wash water. Allow the machine to run for a couple of minutes to mix the bleach with the water and stop the washer.
Let the cleaning solution sit in your washing machine for one hour. When time is up, complete the wash cycle.
- Pro Tip: While instructions for cleaning front-load and top-load washers are the same, some front-load washers are equipped with cleaning cycles. Additionally, some manufacturers publish instructions in manuals recommending a specific cleaning agent.
Step Two: Start Second Wash Cycle
Fill the washer with hot water once again and then add a cup of white vinegar and a half-cup of baking soda. Allow the machine to run for a couple of minutes then turn the machine off.
Let the cleaning solution sit for an hour. Then, complete the wash cycle.
- Pro Tip: Some recommendations leave out the baking soda. While it is best to use both agents, you can simply use one quart of white vinegar.
Step Three: Clean Gaskets, Dispensers, and Machine’s Exterior
For the last step, you need to mix a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar in the empty spray bottle. Spray the gaskets and dispensers with the vinegar solution and wipe down using a cleaning cloth. Be sure to wipe the seal on a front-load washer. Lastly, wipe down the machine’s exterior. Leave the lid open or ajar for one hour.
- Pro Tip: This step can also be completed using a cleaning solution of water mixed with a quarter-cup of bleach.
Cleaning your washing machine is easy and only requires a few supplies. You likely have the cleaning agents on hand and can get started right away. No elbow grease is required.
FAQ: How to Clean a Washing Machine
Keeping your washing machine clean and in working order ensures it will last for many years to come. Regular cleaning of a washer ensures the machine runs optimally.
How often should you clean your washing machine?
Clean your washing machine monthly using this three-step process. Regular cleaning not only prevents foul odors and soap scum buildup but also prevents mold growth.
Why does my washing machine smell like a sewer?
A musty, moldy odor is indicative of a washing machine that needs to be cleaned. A foul-smelling sewer odor, however, is indicative of plumbing problems. If your washing machine smells like a sewer, it is time to contact a professional plumber.
Can you add the vinegar to the fabric softener dispenser?
Yes, vinegar may be added to a fabric softener dispenser for the cleaning cycle. Some people even use vinegar and baking soda to regularly clean clothes. Too much vinegar and too much baking soda, however, can harm a washing machine over time.
Does white vinegar harm the rubber seal on a front-load washer?
Using vinegar too often to clean a washing machine or a load of clothes can indeed be harmful to the machine’s rubber components. While vinegar is the preferred cleaning agent, it can be substituted with an equal amount of lemon juice if you prefer to use this natural cleaning agent for a front-load washing machine.
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- A PANTRY STAPLE: Bulk supply of 3 x 32 oz bottles to keep your kitchen in good supply all the time.
What do you do if you notice mold on the rubber seal of a front-load washer?
If you notice mold on the rubber seal of a front-load washer, be sure to inspect the rest of the machine’s basin using a flashlight. While white vinegar may be used to kill most molds, it is always best to use bleach and water to kill mold. Spray the bleach solution on the rubber seal and wipe it with a cleaning cloth. Then, allow to air dry for at least an hour.