How to clean your washing machine

Maintaining a clean washing machine is essential for optimal performance and ensuring your clothes come out fresh and clean every time. Over time, dirt, grime, and residue can build up inside the machine, leading to unpleasant odors, mold growth, and even potential damage. In this article, we will guide you through the process of cleaning your washing machine to keep it in top shape and extend its lifespan.

clean your washing machine

Importance of Cleaning

Regular cleaning of your washing machine not only improves its efficiency but also helps to eliminate bacteria, mold, and other contaminants that can transfer onto your clothes. By removing dirt and residue, you can prevent odors and ensure that your laundry is fresh and free from any unwanted particles. Additionally, a clean washing machine can save you money on repairs and maintenance in the long run.

Signs of a Dirty Washing Machine

It’s important to be aware of the signs that indicate your washing machine needs cleaning. These signs include unpleasant odors emanating from the machine, visible mold or mildew growth, stains or discoloration on your clothes after washing, or excessive soap residue in the detergent drawer. If you notice any of these signs, it’s time to give your washing machine a thorough clean.

Preparing for Cleaning

Before you start cleaning your washing machine, there are a few steps you need to take to ensure safety and effectiveness. First, unplug the machine from the power source to avoid any accidents. Then, gather the necessary cleaning supplies, such as white vinegar, baking soda, a soft cloth or sponge, and a toothbrush. Familiarize yourself with the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning, as some machines may have specific requirements.

Cleaning the Interior

To clean the interior of your washing machine, start by running a hot water cycle without any clothes or detergent. Add two cups of white vinegar to the water to help remove any built-up residue or bacteria. Let the machine agitate for a few minutes, then pause the cycle and allow the vinegar solution to sit for an hour. Afterward, resume the cycle and let it complete. Finally, wipe down the inside of the machine with a damp cloth to remove any remaining residue.

Cleaning the Exterior

Don’t neglect the exterior of your washing machine. Wipe down the control panel, knobs, and other surfaces using a mild detergent or all-purpose cleaner. Pay special attention to any areas with visible dirt or stains. Use a soft cloth or sponge to avoid scratching the surface. Remember to also clean the rubber seal around the door, as this area is prone to mold growth.

Cleaning the Detergent Drawer

The detergent drawer is often overlooked when cleaning a washing machine, but it can accumulate residue and mold over time. Remove the drawer and soak it in warm soapy water. Use a toothbrush to scrub away any stubborn residue or mold. Rinse the drawer thoroughly and ensure it is completely dry before reinserting it into the machine.

Maintaining a Clean Machine

Once you have thoroughly cleaned your washing machine, it’s important to establish a regular maintenance routine. Keep the machine’s door open between cycles to allow air circulation and prevent moisture buildup. Also, wipe down the interior drum and rubber seal after each use to remove any remaining moisture or detergent residue. Periodically check and clean the filter, as clogged filters can affect the machine’s performance.

Troubleshooting Tips

If you encounter any issues with your washing machine even after cleaning it, here are some troubleshooting tips. If the machine doesn’t drain properly, check for clogs in the drain hose or pump filter. If it vibrates excessively, ensure that the machine is level and not overloaded. If you notice leaks, inspect the hoses and connections for any damage or loose fittings. If problems persist, consult the manufacturer’s manual or contact a professional for assistance.


Regularly cleaning your washing machine is essential for maintaining its performance and ensuring clean, fresh laundry. By following the steps outlined in this article, you can effectively remove dirt, grime, and bacteria, improving the lifespan of your machine and the quality of your laundry. Remember to establish a maintenance routine to prevent future issues and enjoy the benefits of a clean washing machine.


  1. How often should I clean my washing machine? It is recommended to clean your washing machine every 1-3 months, depending on usage and water hardness.
  2. Can I use bleach instead of vinegar for cleaning? Yes, you can use bleach as an alternative to vinegar. However, be cautious and follow the manufacturer’s instructions, as bleach can be harsh on some machines and may require additional rinsing.
  3. Can I clean the washing machine with the clothes inside? No, it’s best to clean the washing machine without any clothes inside to ensure thorough cleaning and prevent any damage to your garments.
  4. What can I do to prevent mold growth in my washing machine? To prevent mold growth, leave the door open between cycles to allow air circulation, wipe down the drum and rubber seal after each use, and clean the detergent drawer regularly.
  5. Why does my washing machine smell even after cleaning? If your washing machine still has a lingering odor after cleaning, try running another cycle with baking soda instead of vinegar. Baking soda can help neutralize any remaining odors.

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