At first thought, it seems counterproductive to clean your washing machine. I mean shouldn’t an appliance that is used to clean my clothes be clean already?
Boy was I wrong.
For years we didn’t have a washing machine and I had to go to the laundromat to wash our clothes.
I never really thought about the upkeep and maintenance that a washing machine requires. (now I cringe at the fact that maybe the machines at the laundromat weren’t cleaned regularly either….)
It wasn’t until ours started to smell sort of funky, that I thought well maybe you do need to clean your washing machine from time to time.
After searching the internet, and some trial and error, I am totally confident that the method below will leave your washing machine smelling fresh and sparkling clean.
And it uses items you probably have around the house already: Clorox and white vinegar.
If you are against using bleach, then you could probably just use white vinegar to clean soap scum and break up other grime, but be aware that, contrary to popular belief, vinegar is not a disinfectant.
For that reason, I like to include bleach so I can make sure my washing machine is getting a deep clean.
I have a traditional (not HE) top loading washing machine, however this method for cleaning your washing machine should work for all types.
How often should I clean my washing machine?
A lot of websites I researched said twice a year was sufficient. I like to deep clean mine every couple of months.
But I have 3 young kids and my husband does a lot of mechanic work and ends up with grease and different fuels on his clothes frequently. Not to mention he races ATVs and I was his mud/sand covered gear in the washing machine.
So our washing machine takes a beating. If you have a smaller (cleaner) household, every six months should be enough.
Enough with the chit chat, let’s get to cleaning those washing machines.
Step 1: Wash cycle with Clorox
Select your machine’s longest wash cycle and fill with hot water. Then add 2-4 cups bleach to the washer tub.
Let agitate for 2 minutes. Pause the cycle and let sit for 1 hour. After an hour or so, allow the washer to continue the full cycle.
Step 2: Wash cycle with Vinegar.
Fill the tub once again with hot water, however this time instead of bleach, add 2-4 cups white vinegar to the wash.
Let agitate for a couple of minutes and again, pause the machine and let it soak for an hour. Do not run the cycle immediately after this time.
Step 3: Clean inside and around the tub.
Before continuing the cycle, dip a scrubbing sponge into the hot water/vinegar and proceed clean the inside of the machine.
Make sure you remove the softener, detergent and bleach dispensers and clean under these as they are perfect places for grime to hide.
Once you have cleaned all around the inside, continue the wash cycle.
Step 4: Rinse cycle
I like to run an additional rinse cycle with cold water after I am done cleaning everything. This may not be completely necessary, but I feel like it helps get rid of any lingering vinegar smell and dirt that I loosened up while scrubbing the inside.
Step 5: Wipe down the outside.
Using a wet scrubbing sponge or microfiber cloth, clean the outside (and any other crevices) of your washing machine. You will want the outside to be just as sparkling clean as the inside will be when you’re done.
There you have it. Now your washer is as good as new and ready to tackle whatever messes your family might throw it’s way.
Don’t forget to add this chore to your cleaning calendar. I’m a strong believer that regular upkeep is much easier than infrequent deep cleaning.