Washing Machine Cleaning Tips

Last Updated on December 14, 2023 by Ellen Christian

Wondering how to clean your washing machine the right way? Check out these washing machine cleaning tips to get odor and lint out of your washing machine.

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Washing Machine Cleaning Tips

Washing Machine Cleaning Tips

While I’m far from a handywoman, I do try to take care of the small things around the house on my own. I can hang pictures, put together furniture, clean blinds and clean our all in one washing machine by myself.  Not only does it save money, but it also makes me feel more self-sufficient.

When I first considered how to clean the washing machine, I simply bought one of those bottles of washing machine cleaner and followed the directions on the bottle. While that took care of the washing machine odor, it didn’t address any of the lint traps, filters or stains that existed from our hard water.

Tips to clean a washing machine

These washing machine cleaning tips will get you started. Then check out my Hometalk board for a selection of articles and tutorials with more washing machine cleaning tips.

  • Go natural. You don’t need to buy a bottle of washing machine cleaner. You can do a great job with lemon juice, vinegar or bleach. Experiment to see what works best for you.
  • Read the manual. All washing machines are different. Learn where your filters are and how the manufacturer recommends that you clean yours.
  • Do it regularly. You should clean your washing machine at least twice a year. If you do a lot of laundry or have hard water, you may want to do it more often than that.
  • Don’t ever leave damp clothes in the washer. Letting wet clothes sit in the washer after the cycle is over encourages the growth of mold and mildew.

How to clean a front load washing machine

Whether you have a top loader, a front loader or a front loading all in one washer/dryer, caring for it properly can make it last longer. It can also mean that your clothes come out cleaner and that you use less energy and water to do a good job.  Keeping an eye on our expenses is important and this is an easy way to do that.

This is the process I use to clean my LG Front Loading Washing Machine.

Cleaning your washing machine might seem a bit ironic, but for a machine that works so hard for your household, a little tender loving care is needed. A clean machine not only performs better, but it also leaves your clothes smelling fresh.

Step 1: Empty the Washing Machine

Ensure the washing machine is completely empty. Be sure to check all nooks and crannies for that elusive lost sock!

a bottle of white vinegar

Step 2: Run a Hot Cycle with Vinegar

Fill your machine with hot water (if there’s a self-cleaning cycle, even better). Add two cups of distilled white vinegar and run a full cycle. The vinegar’s natural acidity helps remove detergent residue, grime, and mold.

Step 3: Scrub the Inside

Once the first cycle is complete, use a scrubbing sponge to clean around the opening of the washing machine and the inside of the door. A solution of equal parts water and vinegar will be safe and effective for this task.

baking soda in a jar

Step 4: Run a Second Cycle with Baking Soda

After scrubbing, run another hot water cycle, but this time add one cup of baking soda. Baking soda will further help to scrub away any remaining grime and freshen up any lingering odours.

Step 5: Clean the Exterior

While the second cycle is running, take time to clean the machine’s exterior with a soft cloth and mild detergent. Pay special attention to the buttons and dials, as they are hotspots for dirt and grime.

Step 6: Leave the Door Open

Once you’re done, leave the washing machine door ajar to allow the interior to dry completely and prevent mildew.

Follow these steps, and your washing machine will remain in top shape. Happy washing!

For more frugal tips, check out my post on budgeting tips and download your free ebook today. Learn how to make your own powdered laundry detergent.

How often do you clean your washing machine? Do you have any tips I’ve forgotten?

32 thoughts on “Washing Machine Cleaning Tips”

  1. Hi Ellen, I become an owner of the same washing machine when I bought my apartment. I don't have the manual or the model number. Can you share the model number of your washing machine?
  2. I have always used bleach because I always have it on hand. I will have to try lemon juice though because I have heard it works very very well.
  3. I use vinegar for a ton of things in my house, including cleaning the washing machine. I have done this for a while now. 
  4. I love these tips.  I know that we're not taking care of our machine (or clothes) like we should.  Our machine is really really old.  I probably need to do everything I can to keep it working it's best for as long as I can!
  5. Never leaving clothes in the washing machine is a feat I am struggling to teach my kids! That would really help me not have to clean as often if they would stop letting their clothes linger for days in the machine!
  6. I know some people who didn't even realize you had to clean washing machines. I guess if you don't think about it, it's easy to forget.
  7. These are such great tips! I am always forgetting to keep my washing machine clean. I need to take better care of it. 
  8. Thanks for the reminder. I shoudl probably clean mine while I'm home. A natural solution might be a good idea.
  9. I was just cleaning my laundry room thinking about my need to clean out my washer! What fantastic cleaning tips! 
  10. Great tips. I use bleach tablets to clean my washer and it seems to work fine. Never considered vinegar or anything else. My biggest fault is with leaving the wet clothes in the washer - or forgetting to start the dryer after putting wet clothes in it. I need a washer that sends reminders until I take care of it!

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