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How to clean a front loader washing machine inside and out

Don’t let a dirty washing machine soil your clothes – try our tips to clean a front loader.


washing machine against yellow background

What good is putting dirty clothes in a washing machine that’s dirty itself? Instead of creating more work for yourself, learn how to clean front load washing machines with our tips and keep your clothes, and your washer, looking fresh.

Health Warning

Combining baking soda and vinegar with bleach could cause a dangerous reaction so never use our steps for cleaning the drum and seal together.

How to clean front loaders: Smelly and dirty drums

First up, let’s learn how to clean your front loading washing machine drum so that the place you put your clothes is up to standard. Not got a front loader or thinking of changing your machine? Read our review of front loaders and top loaders to help make your decision.

  1. Place ½ cup of baking soda directly into the drum.

  2. Add 2 cups of white vinegar to the detergent compartment.

  3. Set your washing machine to run a cleaning cycle if it has one.

  4. If you don’t have a cleaning setting, use a high temperature cycle. Repeat once a month.

  5. The combination of these 2 ingredients should clean your drum and the internal parts of your washing machine. They’re even great for tackling limescale!

How to clean front loaders: Mouldy washing machine seal

Next, it’s time to learn how to clean a front loader washing machine rubber seal, or gasket. It’s not uncommon to have a mouldy washing machine seal because this area is often left damp after a cycle has finished.

  1. Open the washing machine door as wide as possible. The gasket or rubber seal is located inside the opening of your front-loading washing machine.

  2. Separate the rubber seal to access all areas of it. Although it is fixed in place, you can pull it open to clean it and prevent mould build up.

  3. Remove any loose items which may have become caught in the gasket. This could include:

    • Hair pins

    • Coins

    • Paper clips

    • Pet or human hair

  4. Wipe down the gasket. You should aim to do this at least once a week.

  5. Clean any mould or mildew (little black spots which can be caused by moisture as the water drains out through the seal). You can use white vinegar for this.

  6. Deep clean your gasket by adding 1 cup of bleach to the washing machine drum and ½ cup of bleach to the detergent compartment and running a hot cycle. Remember to run an empty cycle afterwards to remove any lingering bleach. We recommend doing this once per month. 

Don’t forget...

Now you know how to clean the gasket and drum, here are a couple of other cleaning tips you mustn’t forget when caring for your front loader:

  • Clean the detergent and fabric conditioner dispenser drawer by soaking them in a bowl of warm water and detergent, such as OMO, or using an all-purpose cleaner.

  • Wipe the outside of your washing machine regularly. Use a clean cloth and all-purpose cleaner at least once per week.

Once you’ve got a clean washing machine seal and drum all that’s left is to throw your clothes in and let the washer take all the hard work out of laundry for you.

Originally published