How to clean the washing machine in an ecological way and without damaging it?

How often should I clean the washing machine to avoid bad odors?


Over time, grimy residue and mold build up inside the washing machine. Unfortunately, it doesn’t take long for the bad smell to spread to clothes and linens despite the expensive and fragrant detergent. To be satisfied with the wash, you have to clean the washing machine effectively without a stench “poisoning” your daily life. Regardless of the washing machine, front loader or top loader, we share with you a tested experience.


Every few washes, take a look at the washing machine components like the rubber gasket or tub and wipe them dry. If the appliance is equipped with a lint filter, be sure to clean it regularly. There is no fixed deadline! These are the clothes that will let you know when it’s time to clean the washing machine. In any case, to be precise, once a month is a good interval.

Tips for cleaning a top-loading washing machine

Top loading washing machines tend to collect more dust than front loading machines. To remove dust or detergent splashes, wipe the top of the machine and the dials with a microfiber cloth dampened with white vinegar. Use a toothbrush to scrub hard-to-reach places around the lid and under the rim of the tub.

To clean the washing machine when empty, you need:

  • White cleaning vinegar
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Toothbrush
  • Baking soda


Follow the instructions below step by step to clean the washing machine with vinegar:

  • Set the washing machine to the highest level and the hottest setting.
  • Add four cups of white vinegar to the tank.
  • Once the cycle has started, pause the machine and let it sit for an hour to allow the vinegar to soak.
  • Meanwhile, wipe down the top of the device with a microfiber cloth dipped in hot vinegar water.
  • Use an old toothbrush to scrub the fabric softener dispensers.
  • One hour later, continue the wash cycle.
  • Then run another wash cycle using a cup of baking soda.
  • At the end of the cycle, wipe the inside of the washing machine tub with a microfiber cloth to remove any scum.

How to clean the front loading washing machine?

Prepare a whole kit of cleaning means:

  • White cleaning vinegar
  • Spray
  • Microfiber cloth
  • Baking soda

and start cleaning the appliance step by step.

The first step is to clean the washing machine with vinegar. But before cleaning the drum, spray the seal with white vinegar and wipe with a damp microfiber cloth. The rubber gasket on the front of the High Efficiency (HE) washing machine collects water, hair, scum and mildew.


  • Set the appliance to the highest level and the hottest water temperature.
  • Add two cups of white cleaning vinegar to the detergent dispenser. Run a full cycle.
  • Then run another cycle on the highest level and temperature of the hottest water, this time adding half a cup of baking soda to the drum.
  • When the cycle is complete, wipe the inside of the drum with a damp microfiber cloth.
  • While you’re at it, also wipe down the front of the machine.

By doing this deep cleaning once every six months, you will have a clean, fragrant washing machine.

How to clean the washing machine with vinegar and baking soda

As the means of cleaning are almost the same, what differs when scrubbing are the dosages of the two main ingredients, including white vinegar and baking soda . Their cleaning properties are indisputable, let’s not talk about their power in the garden.

  • In short, get some distilled white vinegar, baking soda, a spray bottle, a microfiber cloth and a toothbrush.
  • Add the white vinegar to a spray bottle and spray the inside of the drum.
  • Wipe all around with a microfiber cloth, leaving no surface untouched. It should be noted that white vinegar is one of the best natural cleaning products as it effortlessly removes residue, lime build-up and even grease.
  • Wipe around the rubber seals, as you’ll likely find scum, mold, and even hair there.
  • Measure two cups of distilled white vinegar and pour it directly into your washing machine’s detergent dispenser. Set it to run on its longest cycle with the hottest water.
  • Pour half a cup of baking soda directly into the drum of the washing machine and run it on the same settings (highest and hottest).
  • Spray the vinegar on a microfiber cloth and wipe the exterior and interior of the door until it shines. Perform the same maneuver on the front of the machine, ensuring access to the buttons and the control panel.

Finally, keep mildew at bay by leaving the door ajar for the machine to air dry or wipe it off with a dry microfiber cloth.

How to clean the washing machine: myths to ignore

Social media is full of tips, tricks, and tips that promise brilliant and fast results. But are they reliable or illusory? We have listed the ones that can seriously damage your washing machine.

“The magical effect of Coca-Cola” 

Labeled as an all-purpose cleaner, coca-cola contains phosphoric acid, along with other active substances that can corrode dirt and scale. But in addition to this, the drink includes other components that negatively affect the parts of the machine. If we add the calculated price to the quantity needed for a thorough “cleaning”?

How effective are products containing chlorine? 

It is yet another harmful myth that puts on the joints, but the effect of which is only seen the first time. One or two “sessions” after, the rubber will start to crack, lose elasticity, and then deteriorate completely. In vertical loading machines there are no such problems, but there are drain pipes, tank, drum, which can also be damaged.

No more sand and sugar 

To remove scale from the washing machine, some people rub the drum with sand or sugar. All this gets inside the device, accumulates under the elastic band and affects the quality of work. As a result, the machine will break down and must be completely dismantled.

Hydrogen peroxide has a questionable effect 

The followers of this chemical means promise an excellent result against mold, but the effect is questionable. In addition, for a cleansing session you need about 1 liter of peroxide, or about 20 bottles. It would be easier to buy something specialized and clean up a red wine stain .

Alcohol in the washing machine 

Yes, there are such recommendations! It is said that the alcohol should kill the fungi and bacteria that cause the bad odor. But a washing machine is not a container for alcohol. The odor must be eliminated by other means.

Medicines are not cleaning products 

Some people advise bleaching clothes with aspirin by putting 10 tablets of the medicine in the powder compartment. The technicians reject this “trick”.

Some relevant advice from specialists

Clean citric acid washing machine to dispense with calgone. Pour 100 g of acid into the drum, select the highest temperature setting and rinse twice. Along with the good effect on the washing machine, citric acid can effectively clean rust from the barbecue grill and be your ally in green spring cleaning .

Bleaching agent . It is a washing powder or gel with a whitening effect. It has been proven that if you use them every now and then, the device will be less covered with plaque and mold. Even if you are against bleach, buy some at least once to apply it for sure.

Copper sulfate against fungi . It is necessary to prepare a solution of copper sulfate (30-40 g per 1 liter of water) and rinse all “suspicious” places. Before use, it is best to redo a “zero” wash to ensure that no chemicals remain.

All of the above methods will work, but if the washing machine has been used improperly for ten years without regular cleaning, all tests will fail.

Good prevention will give good long-term results

If you follow a few simple rules, the machine will not last 7-10 years, as the statistics show, but at least twice as long.

  1. Never store excessively soiled clothes in the drum. Firstly, it pollutes it a lot, secondly, you will soon wonder how to clean the washing machine from odors and grease, and thirdly, the laundry pulls the drum down, it deforms. For the same reason, washed laundry should not be left in the machine for a long time.
  2. Dry the drum regularly. After each wash, wipe it dry with a dry towel and leave the door open.

  1. Make sure that small things (coins, torn buttons, key rings, toys) do not fall off the clothes during the wash. They can seriously damage the device or at least clog the filter below.
  2. Shake clothes well before washing them to get rid of threads, wool, to remove dirt, hair, sand. The less small things there are inside, the longer the machine will serve.

And finally – the simplest advice: buy a washing machine with a self-cleaning function. It’s extremely convenient: the machine automatically determines when it’s time to clean the drum (usually every 40 washes). This is done without aggressive detergents, everything is environmentally friendly.


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