Kitchen & Bathroom

How to Clean a Washing Machine

an image of someone cleaning the inside of a washing machine

A favourite amongst appliances, not many of us can do without our washing machines. Used almost every day, it’s likely to accumulate dirt, bacteria and mildew over time.  

These unwelcome visitors can easily leave your washing machine with a musty smell and dirty drum. But fear not! We’re here to tell you how to clean a washing a machine with some homemade washing machine cleaner solutions and a few simple tricks.  

Let’s get started with what you’ll need…. 


How to deep clean a washing machine 

1. The washing machine drum  

For this step, you’ve got options. You’ve realised your washing machine smells – what do you do next? Pour ½ a cup of bleach with a cup full of washing machine cleaner or laundry detergent into your drum. If you don’t have these products handy, add white vinegar to a spray bottle and spritz all over the inside of the drum instead 

Wipe around the inside of the washing machine with a microfibre cloth and then run it empty on its hottest cycle. Once the cycle has finished, add ½ a cup of baking soda to the drum and put the same hot cycle on again. When that’s done, leave the washing machine door open to air it out.  

If you have a top load washing machine, follow the same steps but pause the washing machine once it’s filled up and just started on the first wash. Then, let it sit for an hour. Complete the first wash and repeat the same again with the baking soda cycle. 

Top tip: Make sure your hot wash is set to at least 60 degrees. Don’t run the vinegar and baking soda in the same cycle, as they will neutralise each other and you’ll lose their cleaning benefits.  


2. The dispenser drawer  

If your washing machine has removable drawers, take them out and soak in hot, soapy water. Whilst soaking, use a scrubbing brush to remove any build up. Rinse thoroughly and then wipe dry and reinsert into the machine.  


3. Don’t forget the rubber seals  

A haven for mould and mildew, use a cloth saturated with soapy water to freshen up the rubber seals of your washing machine. Wipe away any residue stuck to the seal and remove stubborn grime with a scrubbing brush. 

Top tip: Be careful when lifting you washing machine’s rubber seals, as you don’t want to rip or loosen them. 


4. Washing machine filter 

The washing machine’s filter, usually found beneath the drum door on the floor, is a breeding ground for nasty, musty smells. Empty it regularly to remove built up fluff and dirt and place a bowl or pan below it to catch any water.  

Top tip: Check your washing machine’s instructions to find out how to remove the filter and how to replace it. 


 5. The final touches  

If you’ve got a pet, you’re more than likely to find hairs in your washer. Leave the washer door open until the hairs are completely dry in the drum and then use your vacuum’s soft brush attachment to vacuum out the fur.  

Using a damp cloth and cleaning spray, wipe the controls, door handle and surface of your washing machine to get rid of any detergent stains and dust. Keep mould and mildew away by leaving the washing machine door ajar, so that the inside can air dry after every wash.  

And that’s how to clean a washing machine! If you’re looking for more kitchen appliances help & advice, check out our other guides here. 



Writer and expert