How to Clean a Washing Machine

You’d think that an appliance that’s meant to clean things would be spotless itself, right? But take a moment to look into your washing machine and you’ll find a different story. All the grime from dirty laundry – especially in a household with kids – mixed with residue from laundry cleaning supplies can make for a pretty gross machine. Don’t worry though: Whether you have a front-loading washing machine or a top-loader, you can clean your machine easily with these tips.

Top-loading machine
Cleaning a top-loading washing machine is fairly simple, since you’re not doing most of the hard work – the machine is! All you need is a microfiber cloth, bleach and white vinegar.

Start by filling the washer with hot water using its hottest, longest and biggest load setting. Open the lid and add 1 quart of bleach, then close the lid and let the water agitate for a minute or two. Open the lid again and let the water sit in the machine for about an hour. When it’s done sitting, let the washer run through the whole cycle.

When that’s done, repeat the same process using 1 quart of white vinegar instead of the bleach. The one-two punch of the bleach and vinegar will get rid of bacteria, dirt, soap scum and mineral deposits.

While the solutions are soaking, use the microfiber cloth and some white vinegar to detail the rest of the washer, including the knobs, lid, exterior and fabric softener or bleach wells. Once the last cycle has run its course and the vinegar solution is drained, use the microfiber cloth to give it a quick wipe-down to clear away solid debris.

Front-loading machine
Getting a front-loading machine spotlessly clean isn’t much different than the method you’d use for a top-loader. You’ll need the same materials: microfiber cloth, bleach and white vinegar.

Start by using the cloth and vinegar to wipe the detergent dispenser drawer. When that’s done, pull back the rubber seal and thoroughly wipe inside of it to get rid of mold and mildew that might be there.

Now just run the biggest, hottest, longest setting you can, adding 1 cup of bleach. Afterward, repeat using 1 cup of vinegar instead of the bleach. At the end of the cycle, use the cloth and vinegar to give it a final once-over.

Try to clean your machine about twice a year to ensure that it’s in good working order and keeping your clothes clean.

Do you have any washing machine cleaning tricks?