Updated: Dec 16, 2019
Your washing machine works hard. It removes dirt, stains and bacteria from all your clothes and doesn’t ask for much in return. Over time, dirt and soap scum build up. If you’ve never cleaned your washing machine, then a good scrubbing is overdue. Check out these tips for cleaning a top-loading or front-loading washing machine.
How to Clean the Outside of a Washing Machine
Remove the control knobs if they come off, and wash them in the sink.Wipe down the exterior of the washing machine with a microfiber cloth and all-purpose cleaner.If you have someone to help you, scooch the machine away from the wall to vacuum behind it. Some machines have wheels on the back. Try tipping the front of the machine so the rear wheels contact the ground.Inspect the rubber water supply hoses for cracks or wear. If you see any damage, replace them to avoid a water leak and subsequent water damage.
How to Clean the Inside of a Washing Machine
Remove any parts that you can take to the sink to clean, such as the soap tray.Use a cloth, a toothbrush and white vinegar to scrub the crevices inside the machine.Clean the smaller parts too. If you cannot remove the soap tray, fill it with vinegar and allow it to soak while you clean other areas of the machine. If your front-loading washing machine has a rubber gasket, use a cloth with vinegar to wipe it clean.Some washing machines have a trap to catch hair and debris. Look for it in the vertical agitator on top-loading machines, and then clean it with vinegar. Consult the owner’s manual if you’re not sure where it is or if your machine has one.Some front-loading washers may have a small door that catches coins, buttons and small debris. Look for any doors or ports that may provide access to this area for cleaning. Some washers are not equipped with this feature.
How to Clean and Sanitize the Wash Drum
Pour a quart of white vinegar into the wash drum with a cup of baking soda. Use a stiff nylon brush and vinegar to scrub the interior of the wash drum. At the hottest temperature setting, run a wash cycle with this cleaning solution in an empty washer; select the heavy-duty wash cycle if available.
Run your machine again with regular soap if you want to get rid of the vinegar smell.
Keep Your Washing Machine Clean
For high-efficiency (HE) machines, only use HE-approved detergent to eliminate excess suds.Eyeballing the soap is easy but can be a waste. Always use a measuring cup!For front-loading machines, keep the door cracked when not in use to prevent mold and mildew.Clean the washer debris trap once a week.