How to clean a washing machine

LAUNDRY should be a regular task and undoubtedly high on your to-do list every week.

But did you know that your washing machine also needs special attention?

We think about cleaning our clothes every day - but what about our machine?


We think about cleaning our clothes every day – but what about our machine?Photo credit: Getty

How do I clean a washing machine?

According to cleaning experts, washing machines can harbor salmonella and other nasty bacteria if they don’t get a little TLC every now and then.

However, if you clean it regularly as part of your routine, you can keep germs at bay.

This quick and easy cleaning process saves you a lot of time and ensures that your laundry always smells fresh.

How to clean a washing machine:

1. Run a hot cycle

Run an empty, normal program on the hottest setting (minimum 60°C).

Pour about 250ml of white vinegar into the detergent drawer. White vinegar is a great natural ingredient for neutralizing bad odors and killing any remaining bacteria in the washing machine drum.

2. Clean the exterior

While waiting for the cycle to finish, clean the outside of the machine with a white vinegar cleaning solution and a cleaning cloth.

3. Run a second hot cycle

Run another empty regular cycle on hot – but don’t use detergent or vinegar this time.

Instead, you can add 1/2 cup of baking soda to the drum to get rid of any buildup.

This quick and easy cleaning process saves you a lot of time and ensures that your laundry always smells fresh

4. Wipe the interior

Once the second cycle is complete, take a cloth and your desired cleaning spray and wipe down the inside of the machine.

Wait for it to dry completely before closing it again – this prevents mold from forming.

How do I clean a washing machine drawer?

1. Remove the drawer and spray

Carefully remove your detergent drawer and clean with your spray of choice or warm, soapy water.

2. Clean the hard-to-reach parts

Use a toothbrush or bottle cleaner to scrub any parts that you couldn’t clean with a cloth.

3. Let dry

Allow the drawer to dry thoroughly and then carefully place it back into the machine.

How do you clean a washing machine filter?

1. Turn off the device and unplug the power cord

Before attempting to locate and remove the filter, make sure to safely turn off and unplug your device.

2. Open the filter

Remove the cover and open the filter – be sure to check your manual if you’re not sure where the filter is.

Place a towel on the floor and use a tray to catch water when the filter opens. Wait for all the water to drain.

3. Check and clean the filter

After unscrewing the filter cap, you can look for obstacles such as coins or buttons.

Place the filter cap in hot soapy water for ten minutes – after drying you can reassemble the filter.

How does Ms. Hinch’s washing machine cleaning look like?

Cleaning expert and social media star Sophie Hinchcliffe, aka Mrs Hinch, has her own top tips for making your washing machine good as new.

Another Mrs. Hinch hack is to use Stardrops white vinegar spray and a SonicScrubber, available on Amazon, to scrub limescale from the machine drawer.

She says that’s because “because it removes soap scum, so [is] perfect for removing old fabric softener etc.”

Ms. Hinch then focuses on removing the stubborn dirt from behind the drawer, using baking soda and white vinegar along with her trusty Sonic Scrubber.

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Then she grabs some bathroom spray to wipe the machine’s rubber rim clean.

Next, she takes out the filter and inspects it—using a baking sheet and dishcloth to catch the water when the lid is removed.

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The penultimate step is to use the bicarb and vinegar again – this time placing it in a cloth and placing it directly on the drum.

Then spray with Zoflora, wipe again and put the wipes you used in the machine. Finally apply a quick wash.

Cleaning hacks and tips


Here are some tips to help you clean your home like a pro: How to clean a washing machine

Jessica MacLeish

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