How to Clean a Washing Machine? The Perfect Guide

Well, the washing machine is an excellent option for cleaning up your clothes and has become a boon to Indian homes. But, how about washing the machine itself? We tend to believe that since the washing machine is used for cleaning your clothes, it does clean up itself. It isn’t, however, the fact. You need to clean the washing machine be it a semi-automatic or a fully automatic, for improving its efficiency.

Why does a Washing Machine need Cleaning?

Well, when your washing machine cleans your clothes, it does pick up dirt. The machine can pick up a lot of dirt and other impurities like bacteria, mildew and dirty soap from your washing. When it picks up dirt and other impurities and remains uncleaned, it can begin smelling dusty and musty. The washing machine tub and filters might accumulate a lot of dirt over a prolonged period of use.

A few washers can smell nasty just because of their design. This is more so in the case of high-efficiency washing machines as they hold water in some components. This causes the growth of mildew and mold. These can be the major reasons for the unpleasant odor and further unclean washing process.

Now that we know, cleaning a washing machine is of utmost importance, let us know a few methods of cleaning it.

How to Clean a Washing Machine with Vinegar Naturally?

Well, many cleaning procedures for the washing machine suggest using bleach or other cleaning agents. However, bleach can be an issue for the septic tanks. They kill the bacteria and other agents in their entirety and can be a cause for the improper functioning of the septic tank as it needs some bacteria for breaking up the matter.

That is where using the natural ingredients to clean your machine comes to the fore. It can be a safer option for your washing machine components and even the septic tank.

Here is how you can clean your washing machine with the natural ingredients –

Step 1 – Use Hot Water at the Highest Setting

Use the hot water option if your washing machine has one. Otherwise, you can pour in hot water into the machine separately. Set the machine to the highest setting. You can even use the tub clean program if available. The cycle may also be labeled as tub dry or clean dry on some machines.

Do not add any clothes or detergent to the tub. Add up three to four cups of vinegar and start your machine. Run it for a minute so as mix vinegar with water.

Step 2 – Add Baking Soda
Next, add a half cup baking soda to the water in the tub. Run the machine again for a minute for allowing proper mixing. Stop it and leave it for 30 minutes to an hour.
Step 3 – Clean the Exteriors

While the mixture of water, vinegar, and baking soda are removing the grime, dip a clean cloth in vinegar water and clean up the exteriors. Clean up every hidden or inaccessible area like soap or bleach dispensers.

Clean up the top of the washer. Pay special attention to the buttons, and the top of the bin. You can even use an old toothbrush to clean the areas that cannot be reached with a cloth.

Step 4 – Run the Machine

Run the machine to its full cycle. This will clean up all the gunk and dirt. If your washing machine has the option to drain when it is spinning, you can set it up so that the dirt and grime that has loosened will be drained out.

If your machine does not let you do that, you will need to run another hot water cycle (without vinegar and baking soda) to wash away the dirt particles.

That should do it. Your washing machine has now been cleaned naturally! This method was for both the front-loading washing machine and the top-loading washing machine.

How to Clean a Front Load Washing Machine?

Cleaning a front loading washing machine can take a little extra time. While they are the best options as they tend to use less water and electricity, they are also found to be much difficult when it comes to cleaning them up.

The steps of cleaning your front loading washing machine will include the following –

Step 1 – Locate the Door Gasket and Clean It

Unlike the top-loading washers, the front loaders come with a door gasket. This can be one of the major culprits when it comes to developing mold and mildew. The gasket or the rubber ring ideally runs along with the opening of your washing machine drum.

Pull out the gasket and clean it thoroughly. You can use a clean cloth for cleaning the gasket all along its length. You can use a cloth dipped inside the vinegar water to clean it up. While you clean the gasket, you can clean up the filter as well. Experts suggest cleaning it up at least once a month.

Before you place the gasket back in its place, make sure you have cleaned up the area that it will slide in. This area can develop gunk and mildew. Cleaning them up with hot vinegar water can be one of the best options.

Step 2 – Clean the Drum

Cleaning the drum would be the next step when it comes to cleaning your front loader. Sprinkle 1/3rd cup of baking soda inside the washer drum. Place two cups of vinegar in the detergent tray. The reaction between the vinegar and baking soda should effectively clean your washing machine.

Set the machine on a cleaning cycle. If your machine does not come with one, you can run the longest cycle available. Run the hot water option if available. Let the machine run through a full wash and rinse cycle.

If your machine is smelly, you can run a cycle with bleach. Make sure you run another cycle to clean up the bleach. Never use a combination of vinegar, baking soda and bleach as it can damage your machine. You can use a combination of vinegar and baking soda though.

How to Clean the Washing Machine Filter?

Of course, cleaning the washing machine does clan it up almost in every aspect. But, if you want your clothes to stay safer and cleaner, it is essential to clean up the filter as well.

Check your filter location by checking out the instruction manual that came with your machine. It should ideally be located at the front bottom if you have a front-loading machine and on the fabric dispenser if you have a top loader.

Once you remove the filter, make sure you clean it thoroughly. You would find a lot of items that you need to remove and clean. Some of them would include coins, pins, hair, pieces of fabric and lint. Remove all the objects carefully. Once done, place the filter under running water. If you find any debris, use a toothbrush to clean it up. You can use soapy water to remove the stubborn debris. In case the filter is too much clogged, you can soak it in warm water to clean it up.

Why use Vinegar to Clean a Washing Machine?

Like we have seen above, vinegar is one of the best options to clean up your washing machine. It is one of the powerful natural disinfectant and cleaning solutions for your washer.

In fact, you do not need to buy those expensive cleansers available in the market if you have vinegar – white vinegar to be precise at your home. Instead of that heavy dose of chemical cleaners that can have a harmful effect on your washing machine components and the clothes, the vinegar doubles up as the best option to clean your washer naturally.

How to Prevent the Washing Machine from Developing Odour?

There are several reasons your washing machine tends to develop an odor. The most common reason here is the breeding of mildew and mold.

Some of the ways that you can clean up the washing machine and prevent it from developing odor would include:

  • If you have a front loader, you will find it catches the water at the gasket. It may be worthwhile to clean up the gasket after every wash. If it isn’t feasible, consider cleaning it up every month.
  • Mould needs dampness to grow. Make sure your washing machine door is kept open when not in use. At least, keep it open until it gets dry after a wash.
  • If your machine supports hot wash, make sue you run a hot wash once every month.
  • Avoid the overuse of the detergent. Measure your detergent according to the laundry. Extra detergent can also cause a foul odor.
  • In case you are using a high-efficiency washer, avoid using normal detergents with the washer. This can develop suds which in turn cause the growth of the of mildew.
  • Prefer powdered detergents instead of liquid cleaners. Liquid cleaners cause a waxy build-up. 

These few simple tips can keep your washing machine free from bad odor and help you maintain hygiene.

Conclusion on How to Clean Washing Machine Tubs / Filters

That was all we have with respect to the discussion on how to clean a washing machine. We assume the tips shared here should ideally meet most of your needs and would have answered almost every query you may have had.

If you have any other better methods on how to clean washing machine tubs or filters, you can write to us in the comments section below and help us update the content.

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