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How to Clean Your Washing Machine

Are your clothes still dirty after the wash? It could be because your machine needs a thorough clean - find out how to do it in this handy guide!


how to clean your washing machine

Did you know cleaning the washer is as important as giving your fridge or oven a regular scrub? In fact, if you want your laundry to continue to come out of the machine looking clean and smelling fresh you actually need to know how to clean your washer too! Dirt, germs and limescale can build up on the inside of your washing machine over time, reducing its effectiveness at cleaning and potentially shortening the lifespan of your machine. Give your washing machine a monthly boost by cleaning it inside and out – just remove the plug from the electrical socket (for safety reasons) and follow the easy instructions below.

Avoid a build-up of detergent by using a good quality laundry product. A detergent like  will dissolve quickly and leave less residue in your machine, better protecting the inner workings of your appliance and the condition of your clothes.

How to Clean Your Washer Filter

Most washing machines, be they top or front loaders, have a filter designed to catch all the debris (coins, hairclips etc.) that enter the machine and could potentially clog up pipes and working parts. Consult your washing machine’s instruction manual to discover advice specific about your machine. Be sure to have an old towel to hand in case excess water seeps out of the machine in the process; remove the debris; and replace all parts as you found them previously.

How to Clean a Laundry Machine Detergent Drawer

Detergent drawers – whether they are a fixed part of your machine, or removable – should be kept clean, as a build up of detergent or fabric conditioner can render your machine less effective and harbour mould.

  1. If you can, remove the drawer.

  2. Soak the drawer in hot soapy water (if fixed, use a sponge to apply hot soapy water to the tray).

  3. Use an old toothbrush to get in to corners and remove built-up detergent or dirt.

  4. Rinse with clean hot water and replace in the machine.

How to Clean the Outside of Your Washing Machine

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This is fairly straightforward, but don’t forget that cleaning washing machine doors and their seals is also an important part of this process. You should:

  1. Take a microfiber cloth and a bowl of hot soapy water and wipe down all the exterior surfaces of the machine, including the door.

  2. Using the same microfiber cloth and soapy water, wipe down the inside of the door, paying special attention to the rubber seals – a build up of dirt here could result in a leaky machine!

  3. Leave the door of the machine open and allow to air dry. Make this a regular part of your laundry routine to prevent a build up of mould and mildew in the machine.

How to Wash Laundry Machine Drums

This actually takes very little effort. All you need is some white vinegar:

  1. Plug your machine back into the electrical socket.

  2. Add approximately 500ml of vinegar to the detergent draw of your machine.

  3. Select the hottest cycle your machine will allow and run it on empty.

  4. Your machine is now ready to wash your clothes.

Be sure to repeat this deep clean on a regular basis and consider using products that minimize the impact of hard water on your machine.

Now, you're ready to do some laundry!

  • Empty the washing machine filter.

  • Clean out the detergent drawer.

  • Wipe down all the surfaces and seals of the machine.

  • Run the machine with an empty hot cycle to eliminate build-up and nasty odors.

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Originally published