It may seem strange at first to clean an equipment that cleans your clothes, but when you think about it, it makes perfect sense. You wouldn’t wash in a filthy bath or shower, so you’ll need to know how to clean a washing machine to ensure your clothing get the finest wash possible.
Giving your washing machine a regular MOT will help you avoid mold, foul odors, and clothes-ruining residues, as well as potentially preventing it from breaking down. A little care and cleaning goes a long way.
Follow our instructions, as well as expert advice, and your washing machine will be back to its former glory in no time.
What is the best way to clean a washing machine?
1. Empty the detergent cabinet.
The detergent drawer may be a breeding ground for germs, encrusted washing powder, and mildew, and it’s a small space that can grow filthy much faster than you might think, given that this is where you store the formula that cleans your clothing and linens!
Remove the entire drawer and start cleaning with an old toothbrush and a regular household cleaner for the best results. Consult the user handbook if you’re unsure how to remove your drawer. Remember to clean the drawer cavity as well. It will be immaculate in minutes, and your clothes will feel instantly fresher.
2. Remove and clean the filter
The debris filter protects the pump in your washing machine by trapping lint, errant tissues, coins, and other debris. That means, like the detergent drawer, it’s a breeding ground for germs. It’s also hot and humid, which makes it ideal for bad odors to penetrate the machine… and your laundry.
What is the solution? Empty it on a regular basis to get rid of the fluff and dirt that has accumulated inside. The washing machine filter is normally hidden under a hinged cover along the machine’s lower edge. If you’re unsure, consult your user manual. Carefully remove the emergency drain tube from the floor and replace it with a bowl or pan.
Unplug the appliance and let any trapped water drain. Replace the plug, remove the bowl, and cover the floor with a cloth. Unscrew or release the filter cover with care. Any trapped debris should be flushed out with the trapped water, but double-check inside the cavity. Replace the cover after wiping the area with a towel and cleaning any components. To avoid any inadvertent leaks, double-check that the lid has been replaced properly.
3. Wash the drum.
Even if the inside of your washing machine appears to be spotless, it most likely isn’t. Germs can lurk and fester in a variety of nooks and crannies. Running an empty wash every couple of months is the best option.
Put the washing machine on a cycle while it’s empty and add detergent directly to the drum to clean it. It doesn’t have to be a long cycle; all that is required is that it be hot. The ideal temperature for a hot wash is 60 degrees. This will kill germs, eliminate odors, and prevent soap scum and limescale from forming in hard-to-see areas.
‘Pour 500mls into the drum directly and pop it on the hottest wash that your washing machine will,’ cleaning expert Lynsey Queen of Clean says.
4. Eliminate foul odors
Have you ever opened your washing machine door to be met by a foul, musty odor? This could be because mould thrives in the wet environment of a recently ran machine.
After washes, leave the washing machine door slightly ajar to allow air to circulate around the drum, which helps prevent germs from developing and decreases the damp odors. This is especially significant in the summer when the weather is hotter.
Keep your outdoor drain free of debris and clean it on a regular basis, as odours can feed back into the machine.
5. Clean the seal around the door.
It’s easy to overlook the gap between the door and the drum while you’re putting your laundry in the machine and pulling it out damp. The rubber seal that prevents water from pouring onto your kitchen or utility room floor also serves as a hiding place for leftover detergent and grime. If you let this build up, it will eventually convert into mould, making it more difficult to remove.
Use a moist cloth to gently wipe the seal before and after each wash, and that should be enough to keep this element of the machine in good shape. It also means that when you hang your clean laundry out to dry, it won’t pick up any new filth.
6. Make use of the proper detergent
When confronted with the dizzying array of detergents on grocery shelves, it’s easy to focus solely on their effect on your clothes. Extra suds and liquid softeners, interestingly, have been connected to leaving a residue in the machine, which may add to odors and mould.
In summary, use powders rather than liquids if you want to be gentle with your washing machine (and help it last longer). Knowing what to use and how to wash clothes will help you get better results every time – it may seem self-evident, but you’d be surprised!
7. Keep your washing machine clean on a regular basis.
The greatest approach to keep a washing machine from stinking is to keep it from being smelly in the first place. That means you’ll have to add cleaning the washing machine to your to-do list.
The Queen of Clean, Lynsey Crombie, suggests cleaning your washing machine every other week. ‘Every other week, I clean my washing machine.’ ‘This is especially true in the summer when it’s hot and your washing machine begins to smell more easily,’ she explains.
If you can’t keep up with that, attempt to do it once a month at the very least. Just make sure you don’t wait until it starts to stink.
If your washing machine still smells bad, it’s possible that it’s beyond repair and you’ll have to get a new one.
But before you throw up the towel, check out these helpful washing machine cleaning suggestions, because your whites could just need a little TLC.
How do I clean my washing machine thoroughly?
‘It’s critical to clean your washing machine on a regular basis since germs can build up and cause unpleasant odors,’ Susan Fermor, Marketing Director at Dr Beckmann, adds. ‘To keep your machine clean and avoid the possibility of limescale build-up, we recommend washing it every two months, or every 30 washes.’ Service-it Deep Clean Washing Machine Cleaner by Dr. Beckmann thoroughly cleans your machine and kills 99.9% of bacteria and pathogens.’
‘Pour the powder immediately into the empty dishwasher or washing machine drum, then choose a basic cleaning program and run the cycle. Because home appliances are on an endless loop, employing a specialized cleaner to remove the bacteria and microorganisms residing inside will leave your clothing and washing machine feeling fresh and sanitary.’
How can you get a stinky washing machine clean?
While there are a variety of specialist treatments available to remove unwanted odors from your washing machine, go for a more natural approach and use common household objects instead. The two ingredients you’ll need are baking soda and white vinegar, so grab the former and mix 1/4 cup with 1/4 cup of water before pouring it into the washing machine’s detergent dispenser. After that, pour 2 cups of white vinegar into the drum and run a high-heat cycle while the machine is empty. The combination of baking soda and vinegar, as well as the high heat, will eliminate any bad odors and leaving your machine clean and fresh.
To clean your washing machine, what do you put in it?
If the vinegar and baking soda solution doesn’t work for you or you want something more powerful, try Dettol 5 in 1 Washing Machine Cleaner, which claims to remove mold, eliminate foul odors, and remove limescale. However, if you maintain your machine clean, leave the door ajar between washes, and handle it with care and respect, you shouldn’t have to use harsh chemicals as often, which is a good thing on all counts.