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How to Clean a Top-load Washing Machine

Clean a top-loading washing machine and keep your clothes smelling fresh with our simple guide.

Updated Reading Time: 2 minutesWritten by Eunice Samson

Top-load Washing Machine Tips

As one of the most used appliances in your house, it’s important to clean your washing machine regularly!

Top-load Washing Machine Tips

  1. How to clean the exterior of the washing machine

    Follow these simple steps to keep the outside of your washing machine looking good:

    • Use an effective cleaning solution (for example, Domex Multi-Purpose and wipe with a non-abrasive sponge or cloth to the outside of your washing machine.

    • Once done, wipe down with another cloth to dry and remove water streaks.


  2. How to clean the interior of the washing machine

    Here are easy steps to clean the inside of your washing machine:

    • Add water into the drum then add a Multi-Purpose Cleaner or your bleach/cleaner of choice.

    • Leave the mixture for an hour before running a wash cycle.

    • If your washing machine has a mildew smell, run a second cycle with half a cup of vinegar to the machine’s drum.

    • After the wash cycle, wipe down the inside with a cloth to dry.


  3. How to clean the filter in a top loader washing machine

    Finally, don't forget to clean your washing machine's filter!

    • Turn off the machine and disconnect the power.

    • Locate the filter and carefully take it out.

    • Mix warm water and a mild soap together in a bowl.

    • Scrub the filter with the mixture using an old, but clean, toothbrush. Do not scrub too hard.

    • Rinse with clean water and dry before replacing in the machine and plugging it back in.

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Cleaning a smelly top load washing machine is a bit time-consuming but with fresher, cleaner clothes and longer machine life, it’s totally worth it!

Do you want to learn which household cleaning tasks cause the most stress?  Then read our Heated Household data analysis. 

Frequently asked questions on cleaning top loading washing machines

How do you load a washing machine to avoid getting it dirty?

If you are finding that your washing machine is becoming dirtier from use you should ask how do you load a washing machine to avoid getting it dirty? Firstly, make sure you are not overloading it by checking your machine's instructions and ensuring there is always room for clothes to move around when filling the drum. Too much laundry in the machine can prevent water from cycling properly. Secondly, make sure your measurements are right for detergent. Putting too much detergent inside the machine may create an excess of suds which may contain the bacteria and dirt that has been cleaned from your clothing. These dirty suds can be left to sit in the machine and cause it to become dirtier.

Can you make a DIY tub cleaner for a washing machine?

Yes, you can make a DIY cleaner for a washing machine. All you need to do is add 2 cups of baking soda to your empty washing machine and run a long, hot washing cycle. Once the cycle has finished, add 2 cups of white vinegar and about 10 drops of an essential oil like lavender to the detergent tray of your washing machine. Again, set it to a long, hot washing cycle. Once the cycle has finished wipe over the inside drum using a cotton cloth with a little white vinegar on it.

How do you wash a front loading washing machine?

If you are asking how to wash a front-loading washing machine, you are in luck. Simply add half a cup of baking soda directly in the drum of the washer and then 2 cups of white vinegar to the detergent tray. If your washing machine has a cleaning cycle run that, if not use a high temperature washing cycle. You can do this once a month to keep your washing machine as fresh as it can be.

What do I do if I have a smelly top loader washing machine, and it's not caused by mildew?

If you have got a smelly top-loader washing machine, and it’s not caused by mildew, try the previous cleaning method using a mix of baking soda and white vinegar to see if that makes a difference. You can also try being a more accurate with your detergent measurements as adding too much detergent can cause it to sit inside your machine and become moldy.

Originally published