How to clean a Washing Machine

Whatever type of washer you have, these cleaning tips will help you take care and maintain it.

By Gunjan Mehta | Updated 26/07/21
How to clean a Washing Machine

If your laundry has a stale and musty smell, you may need to clean out the inside of your washing machine. Even though it’s not always easy or convenient to do this on our own we can’t just ignore that unpleasant odor coming from an appliance used for cleaning clothes! A dirty washer is likely the culprit here because even if detergent residue gets left behind, fabric softener deposits onto clothing as well which leaves stains when they mix with soil. Make sure you give yourself time each month to thoroughly inspect every nook and cranny in there so that everything will keep running smoothly without creating any more messes than necessary!

Front loading washing machines can become infested with mold and mildew if you neglect to clean the rubber door gasket on a monthly basis. This may result in unpleasant smells coming out of your dryer vent, which is why it’s important that you deep-clean your machine every month.

How to Deep Clean a Washing Machine

Washing all that detergent, fabric softener and body soil will surely build up over time and create the perfect breeding ground for mold or mildew.

Here’s what to do once per month for a clean, pristine machine:

  • Run a cycle: If your washing machine doesn’t have a dedicated washer cleaning cycle, you can use bleach to clean it. This is best done in the normal wash setting with hot water or following what the manual says about how many cups of bleach should be used and at which temperatures for different models.

    While this will kill bacteria and mold that reside on clothing items during their time inside the appliance, there may still be greasy build-ups as well as hard water minerals left over after running one round through an individual load of laundry. These are all things that most commercially available washer cleaners take care of while using only 2 tablespoons worth per gallon afterwards so they’re very easy to maintain!
  • Set an extra rinse and spin: After the cleaning cycle, rinse and spin again just to make sure any remaining traces of bleach or particles are eliminated from your machine.
  • Clean the dispenser drawer: If your machine has removable dispenser, pop them out, take them apart and rinse well under hot water with a soft toothbrush to dislodge any stuck-on gunk. Wipe dry and reinsert the unit into the machine. If they are still wet, leave them open to thoroughly air dry.
  • Wipe and dry the rubber seal and drum: If you have a front-loader, clear the rubber seal of lint and dry it thoroughly to prevent mold. Clear the drum or lid and wipe, too. If you don’t want to leave your washer open while it dries, close up until its air dried instead.

How to Deodorize Your Smelly Washing Machine

As a safety precaution, make sure you keep children and pets away from the machine. It is super important that you leave it open after every use to allow for circulation of air in order to dry out any remaining moisture so your clothes don’t get musty smelling!

  • Take out clothes promptly after a cycle has finished: When a cycle ends, empty the machine to prevent musty odors from developing inside.
  • Remove any debris or pet hair: If you have a pet who sheds in your home, there’s going to be fur flying around when you do the laundry. Allowing the washer to sit and dry with the door open before vacuuming out all of the loose hair can help minimize some of that inconvenience.
  • Dry the gasket: To maintain a front loading machine, check for baby socks inside the door and dry it frequently to extend its life.
  • Clean the controls: You can decrease the chances that a wet cloth will lead to water spots by wiping down the machine using a damp rag or cloth. You should also wipe down any detergent and softener stains you see on any part of the surface of the machine.