A Step by Step Guide to Cleaning Your Washing Machine

Okay, okay. I’ll admit it. I’m THAT person. I’m that person who notices how dirty the vacuum is when I go to the closet and pull it out. Often times, before I vacuum, I stop and wipe it down, and might even spray some disinfectant up inside of it. Not joking.

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And it’s not just the vacuum cleaner. I clean all kinds of “cleaning appliances”. The dishwasher. The Roomba. The mop. The bottle sanitizer. The pressure washer.

And yes…the washing machine. At least once a week (normally more) you can find me running a cycle with just soap, or with just bleach, or with just bleach and soap, trying to clean my washing machine. It’s worse if anyone in the house is sick! Then I’m literally cleaning the washing machine in between every load! And thank goodness for “Stay Fresh”, which is a nice little cleaning mode my washing machine has that can be easily run. I think that helps tremendously!


If YOU don’t clean YOUR washing machine, no worries! The following guide will take you through how to clean your washing machine, step by step. Whether you have a top loading machine, or a front loading, this guide can help you.

Why Should I Clean My Machine?

Given how easy it is to regularly clean and maintain your washing machine, and how much time, work, and money it could save you, it is something that all of us should be doing on a monthly basis. You will both extend the lifetime of your machine, and also ensure that it continues to perform at optimum efficiency. Plus, it’s really not that difficult and takes very little time once you get started. If you need to know how to clean a washing machine, read on!

Front Loading Appliances

  1. The easiest way to start cleaning your machine is with the detergent drawer.  Detergent often gets stuck here, and if you don’t wash it out right away, bacteria will begin to grow, leaving your washing machine smelling quite badly.  Remove the drawer and give it a good clean in some warm, soapy water and detergent remover, using an old toothbrush to get rid of stubborn mold. In the future, leave your detergent drawer open slightly after every wash so that it dries properly.
  2. The next thing you’ll want to do is take a look at the seals on the door of your washer.  This is another place where detergent often gets stuck, and it can get moldy if left. Use a dry cloth to remove this, and consider leaving the door open slightly after every wash to ensure if dries properly.
  3. Finally, once a month it’s a good idea to do a hot wash (or service wash) using a limescale and grease remover.  You shouldn’t include any laundry in this cycle, simply run it on empty with the tablets inside. This will get rid of any detergent, and any other substances that may have built up inside the washing machine, contributing to it going moldy or smelling.

Top Loading Appliances

  1. Cleaning a top loading appliance is very similar to cleaning a front loading one.  Begin by running an empty wash on the hottest setting your machine offers, or a sanitize wash if one is available.  Your manual should explain how to do this. Include a limescale and grease remover if you want a more thorough clean.
  2. Top loading washing machines don’t tend to have the same problems with detergent drawers, however this doesn’t mean they’re not susceptible.  If your top loading machine has a detergent drawer, you can clean it in the same way as mentioned above. Simply wash it with hot, soapy water and dry clean with a cloth.  Any stubborn mould can be removed with an old toothbrush.
  3. If the drum of your washer has begun to discolour, or has any stubborn stains, you may need to run an extra hot/service wash until this disappears.  Some people opt to use bleach, but if you do go down this route, the process may take longer. You’ll need to ensure the bleach has fully disappeared before you add your clothes to the cycle.

Cleaning your washing machine regularly will greatly extend its lifespan, while also ensuring peak performance. If you haven’t cleaned your machine before, you will naturally find it a bigger job. However, once you have done that initial clean, if you then stay on top of it, you should have no trouble keeping your machine clean.  Make this a part of your monthly maintenance if you can.

When was the last time YOU cleaned YOUR washing machine?!

Due to the amount of comments from all of my wonderful readers, it is not always possible for me to respond to each one. However, I absolutely do read them all, and if you’d like to address something specific, or have a question for me, please don’t hesitate to email me at Kristen@theroadtodomestication.com. I will respond to your email as soon as possible! Thank you for visiting the blog!

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