How to Clean Washing Machines, Maintain Them and Banish Smells
August 29, 2018

Is your front-loading washing machine smelling? Is it a little on the grimy side? These essential appliances may be huge time-savers when it comes to cleaning, but there comes a time when we need to put a bit of elbow grease in ourselves. After all, there’s nothing worse than having a smelly washing machine in your kitchen, or one that looks like it’s never been cleaned!

As experts in home essentials, we’ve put together an easy step-by-step guide on how to clean washing machines from the inside out, including some handy advice on how to maintain them afterwards. So read on and find out how to keep yours spotless, sparkling and smelling fresh. 

What you need

How to clean a washing machine

how to clean washing machines sealhow to clean washing machines seal

Remove dirt and mould from under the seal

Clean under the seal with bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar to get rid of all the mould and mildew that’s built up in there. Mould hates vinegar which is why this is so effective (you can use it on shower curtain too if mould has built up). With rubber gloves on, pour a generous amount of bicarbonate of soda into the dirty area between the metal drum and the rubber seal, as well as some on the seal itself. Pour some vinegar on and it’ll then bubble up a little. Next, clean it off with a cloth.

how to clean a washing machine how to clean a washing machine

Clean the drum with white vinegar

Pour some bicarbonate of soda in the drum and add white vinegar to the detergent drawer. Put it on the hottest wash and it’ll be sparkling clean when it’s done.

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Scrub detergent residue off the drawer

Wash the drawer by scrubbing off any detergent residue and mould. Some white vinegar works just fine for this, but any cleaner will do — most of all, it just needs a good scrub!

Remove gunk from the filter

To clean the filter (this is an absolute must to remove smells), you’ll need to remove all the gunk that’s built up. You’ll usually find the filter behind a small door at the bottom right of the machine. Flip open the door, unscrew the filter, pull it out and remove the gunk from inside by scrubbing it in a bowl of water. This isn’t a pleasant job so be sure to wear some rubber gloves! Once you’ve removed all the gunk, give it a soak so you can scrub any remaining dirt off more easily.

How to maintain a front-loading washing machine

  • Leave the door open a crack to allow air to circulate in the drum, which helps prevent the build-up of mould. Do the same with the detergent drawer.
  • Don’t use too much detergent — any excess can build up inside the machine.
  • Give the rubber seal a wipe down after every use to help prevent the build-up of lint, dirt, mould and mildew.
  • Follow the steps above for how to clean a washing machine every couple of months, to keep your washing machine smelling fresh and looking clean.
  • Don’t overload it to prevent the machine from breaking.
  • Don’t put it on a high spin speed unless you really need to — high spin speeds may remove a little more water from your clothes ready for drying but can shorten the lifespan of your machine by causing extra wear and tear.
  • Keep it level to prevent it from rocking back and forth or vibrating too much.
  • Periodically check the hoses connected to your washing machine for cracks or blistering. If they’re looking weak or worn, replace them to prevent costly leaks or bursts.

How to clean washing machines after you’ve used dye

  • Clean your washing machine using the hottest washing cycle, detergent and a cup of bleach.
  • Rub a dry paper towel along the drum once it’s finished to check for any remaining dye.
  • Don’t worry if any plastic or rubber machine parts are tinted – they won’t stain your laundry.