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Homemade solutions: How to clean the washing machine naturally

Looking for a natural way to clean a washing machine? We can help! Discover how to use vinegar and bicarbonate of soda for cleaning your washing machine here.


washing machine between chair with bright laundry on top and sideboard

If you've come looking for a natural way to clean a washing machine, you've come to the right place! In this guide, we’ll show you how to use natural products like vinegar and bicarbonate of soda for cleaning your washing machine.

For more specific instructions on disinfecting your washing machine, check out our guide for how to disinfect a washing machine, here.

Key Steps:

  • Use a sponge and vinegar to wipe clean the rubber seal.

  • Run a hot wash 2 cups of vinegar poured in the drum.     

  • Always clean the detergent drawer too.      

  • Use a cloth to wipe down the inside of the washing machine once the cycle ends.

Natural cleaning: Using vinegar in washing machine cleaning

It's easier than you think to use natural products found in your home such as vinegar and bicarbonate of soda to clean your washing machine.

To ensure that your washing machine is properly clean; and kill bacteria and viruses which may be lurking inside, use a hot cycle at a minimum of 60° when cleaning.

You will need:

  • Sponge
  • Toothbrush
  • Paper towel
  • Rubber gloves
  • Clean, soft cloths
  • Baking soda
  • White vinegar
  • Washing-up liquid


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Cleaning a washing machine with vinegar and baking soda: A step by step guide

Read on to discover our step-by-step guide for creating a white wine vinegar washing machine cleaner and bring the sparkle back to your machine.

  1. If you regularly use vinegar in the washing machine, bad mould and mildew can be kept at bay. The first step is to clean the plastic or rubber seal.

    Dip a sponge into a bowl of vinegar and scrub under, in, and around the plastic or rubber seal. For any particularly stubborn marks, use a toothbrush to scrub it away. Wipe the seal dry with a paper towel.

  2. Next, you need to clean the glass.

    Dip a soft, clean cloth into the vinegar and wipe the inside of the glass clean.

  3. Banish odours from your smelly washing machine with vinegar and a few drops of an essential oil.

    Place 2 cups of white vinegar to clean the washing machine directly into the drum. If you've left it a little too long between cleans, add an extra ½ cup. Add 3-5 drops of your favourite essential oil. Shut the washing machine door.

  4. Remove the detergent drawer, as this needs cleaning next.

    Use washing-up liquid and water to give it a good clean. If it's particularly dirty, mix a few drops of washing-up liquid in a large bowl of hot water and leave the drawer to soak for around 30 minutes.

  5. Make a baking soda, water and white vinegar washing machine cleaner.

    You'll need ¼ cup of water, ¼ cup of vinegar, and 1 tsp of baking soda.

  6. Pour your cleaner into each of the detergent drawer wells.

    This will ensure that the whole of your washing machine is cleaned, inside and out.

  7. The next step to a clean washing machine using vinegar is to run a hot wash.

    Use the hottest setting your machine allows; some machines have a cleaning cycle, so use this if you have one!

  8. Grab the soft cloth – you're nearly finished!

    Now you have a clean washing machine with white vinegar, use a soft cloth dampened with water to wipe the drum clean.

  9. Leave the washing machine door open to air dry fully.

    Once the inside of your machine is clean, don't forget to wipe down the outside. Use a soft cloth and all-purpose spray to wipe down the outside of your machine including the buttons, dial, washing machine door, and door glass.

How do you know that the surfaces in your kitchen and bathroom have been disinfected?

When using white wine vinegar in washing machine cleaning, be careful not to mix it with other cleaning solutions. These mixtures can result in dangerous fumes. This includes bleach, ammonia, and hydrogen peroxide.

Cleaning a washing machine with bicarbonate of soda and vinegar: Your questions answered

How often should I clean my washing machine?

To ensure that your washing machine stays clean, fresh and well maintained you should clean your machine at least once a month.

Does cleaning a washing machine with bicarbonate of soda and other natural products like vinegar kill germs?

Whilst baking soda does not work as a disinfectant on its own, it has other benefits for cleaning such as odour elimination. Other natural products such as vinegar and lemons contain acids with antibacterial properties and can aid you in killing germs in your washing machine.

Vinegar doesn't smell great, can I add anything else when cleaning to eliminate odours before washing?

We recommend adding a few drops of essential oils to the drum when using vinegar in washing machine cleaning. If you want to help destroy the source of bad odours try essential oils with antimicrobial properties. These include:

  • Tea tree      

  • Cinnamon     

  • Lemon      

  • Mint

Do I need to wear gloves when using white wine vinegar to clean a washing machine?

Whilst vinegar is a natural cleaner and should be safe to use, it can cause irritation to your skin. If desired you can use rubber gloves to protect yourself.

Is vinegar just for cleaning my washing machine?

Vinegar isn't just great for cleaning and banishing odours from your washing machine, check out our other post to learn to disinfect with vinegar and lemons!

Now you've read our simple guide, you know what you need and all the steps to use baking soda and vinegar in the washing machine cleaning.

Originally published