How to Clean a Washing Machine: A Simple Guide for Fresh Laundry and a Happy Machine

Washing machines are the unsung heroes of our households. They keep our clothes fresh, our towels fluffy, and our lives a little bit easier. But have you ever stopped to think about giving your washing machine a good clean? Yes, even machines that wash need washing! In fact, a grubby washing machine can be the culprit behind those not-so-fresh towels and that lingering musty smell in your clothes.

Whether you have a top-loader or a front-loader, a shiny new machine or an old faithful, this guide will walk you through how to keep it sparkling clean and running smoothly.


The Quick Four-Step Method

  1. Vinegar for Victory: Start by running an empty cycle on hot, but instead of using detergent, pour two cups of white vinegar into the detergent dispenser. Vinegar is a wonder liquid that's good for more than just chips; it combats bacteria and unpleasant odours without damaging your machine or clothes.
  2. Scrub Inside: While that cycle is doing its thing, grab a bucket and mix 1/4 cup of vinegar with a quart of warm water. With a sponge and a toothbrush dedicated solely for this purpose, scrub the inside parts of your machine. Get into all the nooks and crannies, especially around dispensers and the door opening.
  3. Don't Forget the Outside: Wipe down the exterior of your machine using the same vinegar-water mix. It needs love too!
  4. One More Cycle: Run another empty cycle on hot, but this time, add nothing. If you want to go the extra mile, toss 1/2 cup of baking soda into the drum before starting. This will help remove any leftover build-up.


Special Care for Top-Loaders

Top-loading machines often have areas that are hard to reach. If you have one of these, pause the first hot cycle after a minute of agitation. Let the vinegar soak in for an hour before resuming. Use a toothbrush to scrub around the lid and under the rim. And don't forget to dust off the top and dials with a vinegar-dipped microfiber cloth.


A Note for Front-Loaders

For front-loading machines, it's usually the rubber seal around the door that gathers moisture and grime, leading to bad odours. Spray this gasket with white vinegar, let it sit for a minute, and then wipe it down with a microfiber cloth. To prevent mould and mildew, keep the door open for a few hours after washing.


Products You Can Use

You might have seen washing machine cleaning tablets like Affresh or liquid cleaners like Clorox Washing Machine Cleaner. These are convenient for monthly cleaning but do remember to clean the gasket and exterior as well. Vinegar often does the job just as well and is more affordable.



    • Can Vinegar Damage My Washing Machine? Vinegar is generally safe, but don't go overboard. Extensive use can wear out rubber parts. If you do use it, make sure it's distilled white vinegar, which has a lower acidity.
    • Why Does My Washing Machine Smell? It's usually due to build-up of dirt, soap, and debris in hidden areas. Regular cleaning and proper detergent use can help you avoid this.

In Summary: Keep It Fresh, Keep It Clean

So, there you have it! A simple guide to keeping your washing machine as fresh as the clothes it washes. With these easy steps, your machine will be free from bacteria, odours, and grime, ensuring that your laundry comes out smelling and looking its best. Happy washing!