How to Clean Your Washing Machine: The Ultimate Guide

Get Ready to Say Goodbye to Dirty Clothes

Welcome to our guide on how to clean your washing machine! We all know the importance of clean clothes, but did you know that a dirty washing machine can actually leave your clothes smelling and looking worse? In this guide, we’ll show you step-by-step how to properly clean your washing machine, so you can get back to enjoying fresh, clean clothes without the hassle. Are you ready to get started? Let’s go!

Why Clean Your Washing Machine?

Before we dive into the cleaning process, let’s take a moment to talk about why it’s important to clean your washing machine regularly. Over time, dirt, grime, and bacteria can build up inside your machine, leaving your clothes with an unpleasant odor and even affecting their appearance. A dirty washing machine can also cause mechanical problems over time, leading to costly repairs or even a need for a new machine. By regularly cleaning your washing machine, you can prevent all of these issues and prolong the life of your machine.

How Often Should You Clean Your Washing Machine?

Now that you know why it’s important to clean your machine, how often should you be doing it? It’s recommended to clean your washing machine every 3-6 months, depending on usage. If you have a large household and do a lot of laundry, you may need to clean it more frequently. On the other hand, if you live alone and only do laundry occasionally, you may be able to stretch the time between cleanings a bit longer.

What You Will Need

Before we get started, here is a list of everything you’ll need to clean your washing machine:

Supplies Why You Need Them
Vinegar For its antibacterial and cleaning properties
Baking soda To help deodorize and clean your machine
Microfiber cloths For wiping down the machine and catching debris
Toothbrush For getting into tight spaces and scrubbing grime
Bleach (optional) For extra disinfection and cleaning power

How to Clean Your Washing Machine

Now that you have everything you need, it’s time to get down to business. Follow these steps to clean your washing machine like a pro:

Step 1: Prep Your Machine

Start by turning off your washing machine and unplugging it from the wall. Pull the machine away from the wall to give yourself plenty of room to work. Then, take a microfiber cloth and wipe down the outside of your machine, paying special attention to any knobs, buttons, or handles that may be dirty or greasy.

Step 2: Clean the Dispenser Drawers and Seals

The dispenser drawers and seals can harbor bacteria, so it’s important to clean them regularly. In order to do this, remove the detergent, softener, and bleach dispensers from your machine and soak them in a sink filled with hot water and a few drops of dish soap. Use a toothbrush to scrub away any grime or buildup, and rinse thoroughly before replacing them in your machine.

Next, use a microfiber cloth and some hot, soapy water to clean the rubber seals around the opening of your machine. Make sure to get into all the nooks and crannies to remove any dirt or debris.

Step 3: Run a Cleaning Cycle

Now it’s time to run a cleaning cycle. Depending on your machine, you may have a specific “cleaning” cycle, or you may need to run a regular cycle with a few simple modifications. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Fill your machine with hot water (use the highest temperature setting available) and add two cups of white vinegar.
  2. Run the machine on the longest cycle available (usually the “heavy duty” or “whites” cycle).
  3. Pause the cycle once the machine is full and let it sit for an hour to give the vinegar time to work its magic.
  4. After an hour, restart the cycle and let it run to completion.

Step 4: Deodorize with Baking Soda

After the cleaning cycle is complete, sprinkle one cup of baking soda into the drum of your machine. Run another cycle on the hottest setting available. This will help deodorize and brighten your machine.

Step 5: Wipe Down the Drum

Using a clean microfiber cloth, wipe down the inside of the drum to remove any remaining residue or debris.

Step 6: Clean the Filter

Many washing machines have a filter that needs to be cleaned periodically. Check your machine’s owner manual to see if yours has one. If it does, you’ll need to locate it (usually it’s located at the bottom of the machine) and clean it out. Use a microfiber cloth to wipe away any debris, and rinse it with hot water to remove any buildup.

Step 7: Finish Up

Now that your machine is sparkling clean, all that’s left to do is put everything back together and do a load of laundry! Be sure to wipe down the outside of your machine one last time before plugging it back in and pushing it back into place.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use bleach instead of vinegar?

A: Yes, you can use bleach instead of vinegar. However, be sure to dilute it properly, and never use bleach and vinegar together, as the combination can create toxic fumes.

Q: How often should I clean my machine?

A: It’s recommended to clean your washing machine every 3-6 months, depending on usage.

Q: Can I clean a front-loading machine the same way I clean a top-loading machine?

A: Yes, the process is essentially the same for both types of machines.

Q: Do I need to use hot water?

A: Yes, hot water is best for cleaning your washing machine, as it helps to kill bacteria and remove buildup.

Q: Can I use a different type of vinegar?

A: Yes, you can use any type of vinegar you have on hand, including white vinegar, apple cider vinegar, and more.

Q: Can I add fabric softener to the cleaning cycle?

A: No, it’s best to avoid using fabric softener during the cleaning cycle, as it can leave residue behind.

Q: Will cleaning my washing machine damage it?

A: No, cleaning your washing machine will not damage it, as long as you follow the proper guidelines and use the appropriate supplies.

Q: What if my washing machine has a bad odor?

A: If your machine has a bad odor, it’s likely due to a buildup of bacteria or mold. Follow the steps outlined in this guide to clean your machine and eliminate the odor.

Q: Can I use commercial cleaning products to clean my washing machine?

A: Yes, there are commercial cleaning products designed specifically for cleaning washing machines. Just be sure to read the instructions carefully and follow them closely.

Q: Do I need to clean my washing machine if it’s new?

A: Yes, it’s a good idea to clean your washing machine when it’s new, as residual dirt and debris from the manufacturing process can accumulate inside the machine.

Q: Can I use a pressure washer to clean my washing machine?

A: No, it’s not recommended to use a pressure washer to clean your washing machine, as it can damage the machine’s delicate parts.

Q: Can I skip the baking soda step?

A: While the baking soda step isn’t strictly necessary, it does help to deodorize and brighten your machine. We recommend doing it if possible.

Q: Can I clean my machine with just vinegar?

A: Yes, you can clean your machine with just vinegar if you prefer. However, baking soda can help to remove tougher stains and buildup.

Q: Can I clean my machine with essential oils?

A: While essential oils can be used to add a pleasant scent to your machine, they should not be used as a replacement for cleaning supplies. Stick to vinegar and baking soda for the cleaning process.

Q: What should I do if I notice a leak during the cleaning process?

A: If you notice a leak during the cleaning process, turn off your machine and unplug it immediately. Do not attempt to continue cleaning until the leak has been fixed.

Q: Can I clean my machine with a steam cleaner?

A: No, steam cleaners are not recommended for use on washing machines, as they can damage the delicate parts.


Congratulations, you’ve successfully cleaned your washing machine! We hope this guide has been helpful in teaching you how to properly care for your machine and keep it running smoothly for years to come. Remember to clean your machine on a regular basis to prevent buildup and keep your clothes smelling and looking fresh. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact a professional for assistance. Happy laundering!

Take Action Now

Ready to get started? Gather your supplies and set aside some time to clean your machine today! Your clothes (and your nose) will thank you.


This guide is intended for informational purposes only. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when cleaning your washing machine, and consult a professional if you have any questions or concerns. We are not responsible for any damage or injury that may result from following the advice in this guide.

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