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How to Clean Your Washing Machine

Washing machines take care of our dirty business, so we can't forget to give it a wash of its own! Learn how to clean your washing machine in these easy steps.



Washing machines are so very useful – without them we’d have to hand-wash every item of clothing. And since we all seem to be leading increasingly busy lives, who has the time for that? But if you don’t look after your washing machine, you might end up having to plunge your hands into soapy water on a regular basis. Did you know it’s just as important to clean a washing machine, as it is to clean your dishwasher or descale your kettle? So, ‘how do I clean my washing machine’ I hear you ask. Well, it really is quite simple – just follow the instructions below.

First thing’s first – unplug the washing machine! Then before you get started, make sure you protect your skin and clothing, and read the safety instructions on the labels of the cleaning products you’re about to use.

Clean your washing machine at least once a month to maintain its peak performance and the longevity of your machine.

How to Clean a Washing Machine Drawer

The detergent drawer is one of the areas of the washing machine that’s the most likely to get clogged up with detergent residue. If it isn’t kept clean, fresh water won’t be able to flow through and you may end up with water cascading down the front of your machine. The results of your wash will be pretty unsatisfactory in this case, too. To stop dirt and mould building up in your detergent drawer, simply:

  1. Remove the drawer from the machine.

  2. Soak it in a bowl of warm soapy water and then use a toothbrush to clean all the nooks and crannies.

  3. Rinse it clean with clean cold water.

  4. If the drawer is dishwasher safe (check your machine’s instruction manual), you can sanitise the detergent drawer by placing it in the top rack of your dishwasher and running a hot wash.

  5. Furthermore, wipe away any escaping detergent, or remove built-up dirt on the outside of the machine with a multipurpose product like Jif Antibacterial spray.

  6. Replace the drawer in the machine once you’ve completed this process.

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How to Clean Washing Machine Filters

It’s easy to forget to check the pockets of clothing before you put it into the wash. And where do those coins, toys, and hairpins end up? Blocking your filter!

To de-clog your washing machine:

  1. Consult the manufacturer’s manual before locating the filter – it’s usually on the front at the bottom of your machine and in most cases it is not removable.

  2. Put an old towel down on the floor in case any water leaks out while you’re cleaning the filter.

  3. Remove the filter cover and take out any debris you find inside the cavity.

  4. Replace the cap and prepare to clean the washing machine drum.

How to Clean Washing Machine Drums – Front Loading

If you don’t want a smelly washing machine, then you need to regularly clean the drum of your machine to prevent mould and mildew growth. Cleaning the drum is easy:

  1. Firstly, use a damp cloth and a spray like Jif Antibacterial to wipe down the inside of the door, around the rubber seals, and the inside of the drum.

  2. Then, run it empty on the hottest cycle available – this will flush out any dirt and debris left inside.

  3. If you want to be extra sure that the inside of your machine is nice and clean, add a couple of cups of white vinegar to your detergent tray before running an empty hot wash.

Complete the clean of your washing machine by using a damp cloth and Jif Antibacterial Spray to wipe down the front of your machine. To keep the insides of your machine nice and clean you should also:

  • Use a good quality washing detergent like Omo Powder, according to the instructions on the label.** Don’t be tempted to use too much detergent as this will have the opposite effect when it comes to cleaning your clothes, and will only serve to clog up your machine too.

  • After each wash, leave the door of your washing machine open, so that the drum can dry. This will minimize the chance of mould and mildew growing inside.

How to Clean a Top Loading Washing Machine

To clean the detergent drawer of your top loading washing machine, follow the previous method described above. To clean the rest of your washer, do the following:

  • Set the washer to the hottest cycle and the largest load cycle.

  • Add 3 cups of white vinegar (or a lemon juice substitute) to the washer.

  • Add 1 cup of baking soda, and allow the machine to run until it has mixed in with the vinegar and hot water. At this point, stop the machine and allow the mixture to sit for up to an hour.

  • Restart the machine and allow the cycle to complete.

  • Finally, use a microfiber cloth to wipe the washer and get rid of any residual grime.

Now your washing machine is sparkling clean, you can do your laundry as usual

* Unplug your washing machine.

  • Remove and clean the detergent tray.

  • Unclog the filter of your machine.

  • Wipe out the inside of the door and drum.

  • Plug your machine in and run the washing machine empty on a hot cycle.

  • Wipe down the outside of your washing machine.

Originally published