Clean Your Washing Machine For Cleaner Clothes

How to clean your washing machine from Your clothes aren’t really as clean as you think unless you regularly clean your washing machine. As with dishwashers, it seems like a machine that’s regularly filled with hot, soapy water ought to clean itself in the process.

Unfortunately, nothing could be further from the truth, especially if you have a high-efficiency washing machine that’s prone to odor and mildew. Clean your washing machine, high-efficiency or not, following these steps for best performance.

Clean the exterior: Wipe down the exterior with a dry cloth to remove any lint, then spray the machine down with your favorite cleaner and wipe with a clean cloth until dry.

    Top loaders:
  • Open the lid and spray it, then use a soft brush to remove any caked-on detergent or grime. Be sure to get the hinges, too.
  • Using a microfiber cloth dipped in hot water, or a Magic Eraser, go around the hard rubber gasket at the top of the barrel. Scrub until you’ve removed any build-up, then wipe down with a clean, wet cloth.
  • Remove the bleach/fabric softener dispensers, if any, and scrub them in the sink using hot water and a soft-bristled brush. Dry well, and return to the machine.
  • Run the wash cycle on the hottest water setting and add 2 cups of white vinegar as the tub fills. Allow the cycle to run through its entirety, including rinse, to clean and disinfect the interior.
    High-Efficiency machines:
  • Use a soft-bristled brush and soapy water to clean the rubber gaskets around the door. Wipe with a clean, damp cloth and dry well.
  • If yours has a cleaning cycle, use it. Fill the soap dispenser with white vinegar first and allow the cycle to run to completion.
  • If yours does not have a cleaning cycle, add 2 cups white vinegar to the wash cycle and allow it to run through completion.
  • Clean the inside and outside of the window with a wet microfiber cloth.

Given the grimy, nasty stuff they’re charged with cleaning, washing machines should be cleaned monthly. To help yours stay fresh between cleanings, leave the door open after each wash cycle until the tub has completely dried. Never use more soap than called for by your machine’s manufacturer, and add vinegar to your rinse cycle in place of fabric softener to keep your clothes static free and prevent residue from building up in the tub.

At least once a year, clean your clothes dryer, too. It will not only dry your clothes faster, but it will help prevent one of the leading causes of residential fires.

Equipment You May Need:

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  • Melissa@TheHappierHomemaker

    Thank you for this…I have been looking at my gunky top loader every day for a week knowing something must be done but not knowing where to start.  No excuse now!

    • Katie B of

      You’re welcome! I cleaned mine today, and now I don’t want to do laundry because I don’t want to mess it up again. ;)

  • lesyle

    Thank you for this article, I have everything on hand so I don’t have to go to the store, my HE washing machine stinks and is grimy, now I can go in there and fix it…I wrote everything down step by step, now I’m ready…

    • Katie B.

      I’m glad you have everything on hand. Good luck, and let me know how it turns out!

  • Shabana

    Hi Katie B. Sorry I know this article hasn’t been commented on for a little while, but I just wanted to ask you mean distilled malt vinegar when you say white vinegar. I would like to wash my machine, but don’t want to use the wrong vinegar! Thanks

    • Katie B of

      Oh heavens, NO! Malt vinegar is best on fish and chips, Shabana! I suspect you’re probably more familiar with the phrase “purified vinegar”. Malt vinegar contains barley, and is a lovely source of flavour, but is not suitable for cleaning.

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