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How to Clean Your Washing Machine – Why it Smells and How to Cure

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How to Clean Your Washing Machine

Is there much worse than opening the washing machine door only to be greeted with a foul odour? It’s enough to put a downer on your day, and it also means that your clothes are being exposed to germs and bacteria that they don’t need to be.

We all want our laundry to come out clean and smelling fresh, and we want our washer to be the same way when we go to use it. That means, like most appliances, you need to clean it fairly regularly in order to prevent this kind of thing from happening in the future. It might sound like a lot of work right now, but the cleaning process is actually really simple and requires minimal effort.

If you’re thinking about one of those washing machines that clean the drum themselves, it’s a great option. However, it doesn’t eliminate the need for you to scrub them yourself. In this comprehensive guide, I’m going to show you exactly how to clean your washing machine, why smells, and how to get rid of those nasty odours. Get the cleaning kit out; we have some work to do.


Spring Cleaning Tips

Part 1
General Cleaning Advice

House Cleaning Checklist Tools of the Trade

Part 2
Cleaning Each Part of Your Washer

The Ultimate Germ Cleaning Tips

Part 3
The Best Products for Cleaning a Washing Machine

Where is the Dirtiest Place in Your Home 1

Part 4
Q&A

Spring Cleaning Tips

PART 1

General Cleaning Advice

It’s good to know the ins and outs of cleaning your washing machine, including why it is so important. This first chapter will take you through all of the basics, as well as give you some general cleaning advice to help get you started.

Why Do Washing Machines Need Cleaning?

Why should we be bothering in the first place? After all, a washing machine literally washes stuff, so surely it doesn’t need additional cleaning. It’s a common misconception, so let’s look at why you need to clean your machine.

All of the dirt from your clothes needs to go somewhere, and not all of it is going to make it down the drain. The rest of it remains stuck in the drum, the filter, and the pipes. It might start out as microscopic pieces, but over time you’ll start to notice visible gunk as well as an awful smell. Additionally, old detergent usually ends up sticking around, and the rubber door ring on front-loading machines is particularly susceptible to mould because it is constantly damp.

This isn’t the only issue, and if you regularly wash your clothes at 40-degrees or less, there is another reason to keep things sparkling clean. It can lead to the build up of harmful bacteria over time; things like E. Coli and Staph are the biggest issues. These can cause people to become seriously ill, and washing your machine regularly will ensure that they don’t become a health risk.

Finally, there is limescale. If you live in a hard water area, you are going to find limescale everywhere. It’s one of the most frustrating things. Too much limescale in any appliance, even a washing machine, can lead to it breaking down and becoming permanently damaged. Regular cleaning and a little descaler work a dream to keep things running and efficient.

How Often Do Washing Machines Need Washing?

There isn’t really a set number of times you need to clean your washing machine. Generally speaking, most people will give it a clean every couple of months, some will do it monthly, and there are those that opt for a weekly cleaning instead. A lot of it really can depend on your situation as well as your preferences.

If you live with someone who has a compromised immune system, you may feel that cleaning your washing machine on a weekly basis is the better option to eliminate germs and bacteria. If you’re only doing one load a week, leaving the washing for a month or two is pretty standard because there is less opportunity for grime to build up.

What if I Can’t Get Rid of the Unpleasant Smell in My Washing Machine?

If you’ve scrubbed and washed your machine, but it still smells awful, you’re going to have to go through the process again. As you work through this guide, you’ll get detailed methods for cleaning each part of your washing machine in a bid to banish unpleasant odours and kill bacteria.

The main cause for these smells tends to be mould and old grime that has built up in and around the machine. Therefore, it is important to get on top of them and then stay there. Sometimes, the issue is too severe for just one clean, and you may find yourself doing it three or four times before you get through it.

If you’re finding the process too much, you can also go with a professional cleaner for your washing machine. This will cost you a lot more than doing it yourself, but it can save you some time and effort if you feel like the cleaning process isn’t getting you anywhere.

What Can I Do to Keep My Machine Fresh and Clean Between Washes?

One of the best ways to maintain your machine and help prevent odours is to clean it between washes. This doesn’t eliminate the need for a full clean, but it will definitely make it less difficult and faster to get through. Here are the tricks of the trade:

  • check
    Before you put clothes in the wash, shake them off to remove any loose dirt and debris.
  • check
    Don’t put too much detergent in the machine to prevent it from building up
  • check
    Keep the door open between washes to allow for airflow
  • Wipe the door seal down after every load to prevent it from staying consistently damp
  • Take the detergent drawer out between washes to keep it clean and keep air flowing
  • Use a water softener if you are in a hard water area
House Cleaning Checklist Tools of the Trade

PART 2

Cleaning Each Part of Your Washer

Now that you have a good idea of the overall cleaning method, we can spend this chapter taking a closer look at more specific areas and how to get them looking new again. It’s the next step in your journey to a washing machine that looks, feels, and smells cleaner than ever.

How to Clean a Washing Machine with Rubber Door Seal

This is the place where the most mould, grime, and soap scum gathers. It’s constantly wet, detergent and clothes touch it all the time, and it rarely gets access to air if you don’t leave the door open between washes. All of this together creates the ideal breeding ground for germ and bacteria. Therefore, cleaning it is an absolute must.

All you need to do is grab a damp cloth and wipe the rubber ring after each wash cycle. This will remove grime and ensure it remains clean. Afterwards, you can use a dry cloth to remove the excess water and then leave the door cracked open until the next load in order to allow for airflow. It’s quick and simple maintenance that will put you and your family at less risk of health issues.

If your seal has been left for a little longer and is already showing signs of mould, you’ll need to take a little more action. You can either use your favourite chemical cleaner, or a simple mixture of water and white vinegar as your cleaning solution; both are great disinfectants. If it’s a really bad mould situation, you can use the white vinegar neat instead.

Simply dampen a cloth with your choice of cleaner, and then scrub the rubber seal to remove the mould. You may need to rinse and repeat a few times to get rid of everything, but it’s worth it for a clean finish that will prevent bacteria from multiplying. Once you’ve cleaned it, dry it off with a clean cloth and leave it to air until your next load. Just remember to wipe it down between each load.  

How to Clean a Washing Machine Drawer

I have seen some pretty bad washing machine drawers in my time and, yes, they have been mine. It’s easy to forget them because how can they get dirty, right? You’re just putting laundry powder and fabric softener in there. However, this detergent becomes damp and sticky over time; resulting in a really gunky mess that attracts bacteria and other nasties to come live on it.

Cleaning it is a nice and simple task, and all you need to do is follow the steps below:

  1. Remove the detergent tray from the machine.
  2. Take an old toothbrush and the cleaning product of your choice, and use it to gently work the gunk off the drawer.
  3. Rinse the drawer thoroughly, and then leave it to dry.
  4. Clean the tray cavity carefully, using either the toothbrush, or a damp cloth. Once this is done, you can dry the cavity using a fresh cloth.
  5. Once the drawer and the cavity are completely dry, put it all back together and use as normal.

As an important side note, you should always consult the user manual for your washing machine before you go into the drawer and start taking it apart. This will give you instructions for getting into it, and also tell you if the tray is secured in place.

My Detergent Tray is Mouldy

This is a normal thing to happen if you have left the drawer gunky for a long period of time. Generally, it will be black mould that you find on it. It’s dangerous to have around because the spores enter your body when you breathe in; potentially harming those with asthma and other lung issues. However, cleaning uses the exact method as that above, so no need to worry about taking special steps. If the mould is really bad, I would recommend soaking the tray for a short time.

How to Clean a Washing Machine Filter

This is another place where germs love to gather, because the filter is there to prevent things like lint, tissues, and other large debris from clogging up your machine. In addition to being a nice little spot for dirt to gather, it is also wet and warm; ideal for bacteria and germs to live and multiply. With a build up of dirt and germs, there also comes a pretty awful smell, and this can actually permeate your clothes as well.

The only way to stop this happening is with regular cleaning and emptying. Usually, the filter is behind a plain panel on the front of your machine, but you need to check your user manual before you try and find it to avoid potential damage. Once you’ve located it, you need to grab an empty bowl or basin and place it under the filter before you open it up. Here are a few quick steps:

  1. Remove the panel and place a bowl/basin under the filter. You can also grab an old towel or cloth ad place it under the bowl in case of overflow or leakage.
  2. Twist the filter plug until it opens (or press the release button if there is one), and then remove it so that the water can drain out. Any trapped debris should come out with the water, and you may find that hair has twisted around the filter plug.
  3. Once the water has drained, wipe the inside of the area to catch any missed debris and ensure the area is clear. Clean the plug as well.
  4. Replace the plug and the cover, and then empty the contents of the filter down the drain. Make sure everything is secure, and then use your washing machine as normal.

A terrifying question, and perhaps one you wish you’d never asked. If you needed a reason to clean your carpets and keep them maintained before, you certainly have it now. This section deals with the things that are living in your carpet, and you might not be ready to face them quite yet.

How to Clean Washing Machine Pipes

An important part of studies, like those on the impact of mess on mental health, is to gather up the statistics. These give a better insight into the ways people are affected by things, as well as the differences between certain groups – like men and women or children and adults. Here are some of the general statistics for mess and mental health:

How to Clean a Top Loading Washing Machine

It’s so quick and easy to clean a top-loading washing machine; which is part of their appeal. Below, you’ll find the steps needed in order to get it looking and smelling fresher than ever before.

What You’ll Need:

  • ½ cup of bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 cups of white vinegar
  • A clean microfibre cloth

Run your washing machine on a hot wash and wait until the drum has filled with water. Once this happens, pause the cycle and open the lid. Place the bicarb and the white vinegar in the drum and then let it run as normal. This will break down the grease and dirt, as well as clean the hoses.

If there are any stains on the outside, take a clean cloth and dampen it a little and wipe down the exterior of the machine. You can use a little white vinegar mixed with water if the marks are really tough to get out, or a store brand cleaner if you feel more comfortable with that. It should be noted that white vinegar has antibacterial properties, however, and can work well as a disinfectant.

The video above uses the same basic steps as I have listed, but varies a little in terms of method and materials needed. This is a great way to test out some other cleaning ideas, as well as to give you a good image of what the cleaning process should look like. It’s always good to have a few visual aids.

How to Clean a Front-Loading Washing Machine

6. It’s all in the technique. You need to vacuum the correct way as well. Yes, there is an ideal way to vacuum, and I am about to share it with you. Pulling the vacuum back does the most work, so take your time with pushing it forward again.

Similarly, vacuuming in multiple directions will loosen the dirt and make it easier to suck up as well as keep the carpets looking nice. Remember to check the brush bar for clogs and trapped hair regularly as well, and remove any blockages you find.

  • 2 tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ cup of white vinegar
  • A clean microfibre cloth

Open the detergent drawer on the front of the machine and pour the bicarb into it. The white vinegar should be poured into the drum while it is empty. Once you’ve done this, put it on a hot wash and let it run. The only thing you need to be careful of is over-sudding as a result of too much soap residue building up inside. If you think things are getting too foamy, stop the cycle and drain the machine. You can prevent this from happening by ensuring you wash the interior regularly.

While the inside is being cleaned, you can also work on the outside. A clean cloth with some white vinegar and water mixed together often works a treat cleaning up any stains and messes on the outside; especially as it works as an antibacterial disinfectant. However, you can also use a store brand cleaner of your choice if you feel more confident with that.

Above is a fantastic little video that I sourced to help you visualise the cleaning process. It’s so quick and easy, and the video really breaks down each part to give you a clear idea of how to go about it.

The Ultimate Germ Cleaning Tips

PART 3

The Best Products for Cleaning a Washing Machine

Now for the actual cleaning products. You’ve had a few suggestions and ideas in the previous chapters, but this is where we take a deeper look at both natural and chemical solutions. No matter which method you choose, this chapter is sure to help you achieve the best results.

The Natural Way to Clean Your Washing Machine

Chemical cleaners can be harsh on the environment, as well as a little too heavy on your appliances if they aren’t at the right concentration. Going natural provides a gentle clean without losing any of the antibacterial and disinfecting properties. Plus, you lose that chemical smell and can replace it with something much more pleasant. Here are some of the natural ways to clean your washing machine.

How to Clean a Washing Machine with Vinegar

White vinegar is the best at cleaning pretty much everything in your home; even your washing machine. Earlier in this guide, I went through how you can clean your washing machine with vinegar, but I’ve taken it a step further here. With the help of the wonderful Clean My Space, here is a video and a quick guide on how to get your machine sparkling clean – there is even a little bonus for cleaning your dryer.

First, make sure the washing machine is empty. For both front and top loaders, empty one box of baking soda directly into the drum. Turn a long hot water cycle, and let it run. Once this is complete, you can add two cups of white vinegar to the mix, as well as a few drops of essential oils of your choice for a pleasant fragrance. Allow the cycle to continue. By the end, you should have a clean and odour-free machine, but if it’s not quite there yet, you can run through the process again.

Can Vinegar Damage Your Washing Machine?

No, vinegar won’t damage your washing machine or the rubber seal around the door. While there are some articles out there that claim vinegar is actually harmful to your machine, but these are completely false. The only truth is that if you dilute the vinegar too much, it loses a lot of its power as a disinfectant. So, keep using it in your washing machine because it’s only doing good things.

How Much Vinegar Do I Need to Use?

The amount tends to vary according to how dirty your machine is and how much you are comfortable using. Generally speaking, two cups of undiluted white vinegar tends to be a good amount. This is about the same as 500ml. You can put more in if your machine is quite mouldy or the odour is very strong; a larger quantity can help with a deeper clean.

Is White Vinegar Safe for Washing Machines?

Yes, white vinegar is completely safe for use with washing machines. In fact, you should only really use white vinegar for cleaning because it has the strongest disinfectant and antibacterial properties. Other kinds of vinegar may end up discolouring clothes or leaving a noticeable smell after use. White vinegar is the best solution for cleaning your machine as well as your clothes.

How to Clean a Washing Machine with Soda Crystals?

It couldn’t be easier to clean your washing machine with soda crystals, and I actually have a little video that I sourced for a nice visual demonstration. Check it out.

All you need to do is pour around 500g of soda crystals directly into the drum while the machine is empty. Once that’s done, you can pour a good amount of white vinegar into the detergent drawer. Close it up, put it on a hot wash for a long period of time, and let it work its magic. Once the cycle has finished, you should be left with a washing machine that sparkles more than the day you got it.

Can Soda Crystals Damage Your Washing Machine?

No, they can’t damage your washing machine. Soda crystals are wonderfully gentle on everything from delicate clothing to the interior of your washing machine. They are a great choice for cleaning and deodorising your drum, as well as easy to use. Like white vinegar, it’s brilliant as a disinfectant, killing bacteria and germs so that you have a safer clean.

Washing Soda

These are also known as soda crystals, and they can be a great help when cleaning your washing machine drum. It helps to get rid of bacteria, but also banishes odours to leave you with a fresh drum. All you need to do is add 500g of crystals to the washing machine on a long and hot cycle and let it do its magic. You can also add 500ml of white vinegar if you want to tackle limescale at the same time. It will also provide some boosted cleaning power to give your washer an extra shine.

Borax

Most of us have Borax in the home for cleaning, and it is completely safe to use on washing machines. All you need to do is empty a box of it into the washing machine drum and put it on a hot wash to allow it to clean the area. You can also add white vinegar if you want some extra cleaning strength.

Essential Oils

These are used to give your washing machine a nice fragrance when you open it up to put a load in. As well as removing bad odours, you can also replace them with this. You don’t need more than ten drops a lot of the time, and you can choose a scent that appeals to you.

For example, mint and lavender are both excellent at relaxing the mind and eliminating stress. Clove oil is a good choice if you want a natural mould killer in your essential oils, but it also has quite a strong smell, so keep this in mind when you use it in your washer.

Natural Cleaner Recipes

To give you a good idea of what you can do to create your own natural cleaners, you’ll find a few quick recipes below to help you start cleaning your machine. However, I would strongly recommend you also check out our guide to homemade detergent and washing powder so that you can really combat your laundry the natural way.

#1 The Borax Recipe

What You Will Need (Front-Loading):

  • 2 tablespoons of Borax
  • 2 tablespoons of washing soda
  •  2 cups of white vinegar10-20
  • 10-20 drops of essential oil

Step One: Remove and wash the detergent drawer. You can use a cloth to clean it, or leave it to soak in some white vinegar to remove any mould or gunk. Rinse with fresh water, dry, and then place back in the washing machine.

Step Two: Take the washing soda and Borax and place it in the drum of the machine, ensuring that it is empty before you do so. After checking the user manual, either place it on a hot wash or a cleaning cycle. You should also see if the manual states you need to place the powder into the dispenser instead of the drum (washing machines tend to vary).

Step Three: When the cycle is complete, pour the white vinegar and essential oils into the detergent tray. Then, run another hot or cleaning cycle. While this is running, you can clean the outside of the machine with a mixture of white vinegar and water.

Step Four: When the cycle has finished, wipe down the interior of the machine with a clean microfibre cloth, and use some white vinegar to scrub the rubber door ring. Finally, remove the filter and ensure that this is clean before using your washing machine again.

What You Will Need (Top Loading):

  • ½ cup of Borax
  • ½ cup of washing soda
  • 1-quart white vinegar
  • 20-30 drops of essential oil

Step One: Fill the drum with hot water and then add the Borax and washing soda to the mix. Then, wash on either a cleaning cycle or a heavy duty one.

Step Two: Once the cycle is complete, add the white vinegar and essential oils to the drum. Let the white vinegar sit for between 30 and 60 minutes, and then put it on another hot wash and allow the cycle to complete.

Step Three: While the vinegar is sitting, you can take a microfibre cloth and dip it into the water. Using this, you can wipe down the outside of the machine and get rid of any grime or marks that might be on it. Make sure you reach the lip and the dispensers to get rid of any hair, using an old toothbrush to reach the gaps if needed.

Step Four: Remove and clean the filter at the bottom of the machine. It’s amazing what gets stuck inside, and how easily it can prevent a machine from functioning.

#2 Just Vinegar (and a Little Oil)

What You Will Need:

  •  2-4 cups of white vinegar
  • 10-30 drops of essential oil

For the Inside:

Step One: For a front-loading washing machine, add two cups of white vinegar and 10-20 drops of essential oil to the detergent drawer of your washer. Then, put it on a long hot cycle and allow it to run. For a top loader, fill the drum with hot water and then add four cups of white vinegar and 20-30 drops of essential oil. Run it on a hot cycle.

Step Two: Once the cycle has finished, wipe down the inside of the washing machine to remove any residual grime. If you feel that it hasn’t quite done the job, you can run through the process again.

For the Outside:

Step One: Grab a spray bottle and fill it with ¾ of a cup of white vinegar and 15 drops of your chosen essential oil. Shake well to ensure everything gets mixed together properly.

Step Two: Spray the seal, drum, and door of the machine. Allow the solution to sit for around two minutes in order to soak into the area and loosen dirt. Then, using a clean cloth, wipe down each area.

Step Three: Repeat the process on a weekly basis for the best results and in order to keep the interior and exterior of your washing machine clean.

#3 The Washing Up Liquid Recipe

What You Will Need:

  • ½ teaspoon of washing up liquid
  • 4 tablespoons of washing soda
  • 1 cup of white vinegar
  • 20 drops of essential oil

Step One: Remove the detergent tray and give it a good clean. You can use a cloth or an old toothbrush to reach into tight corners. If it is particularly grimy, you can leave it to soak in a white vinegar solution in the sink. Once it is clean, rinse it off, dry it, and put it back in the slot.

Step Two: Pour the washing soda into the drum and run it on a host wash. Once this is complete, pour the vinegar, washing up liquid, and essential oils into the liquid dispenser. Run the washing machine on its hottest cycle once more, allowing the ingredients to really do their work.

Step Three: Wipe down the exterior of the washer while it’s running. When the final cycle is over, give the inside a once over with a clean cloth to catch any remaining debris and to give it a nice shine. Clean the filter if needed, and use your washer as normal.

The Chemical Way

Sometimes, chemical is the best way. It is stronger than its natural counterpart, and some feel that it can provide a more powerful way to kill bacteria and other nasties that are lurking in your washing machine drum. Here is a little more information on the ways you can clean your washing machine with chemicals, helping you to determine which method is best for you.

How to Clean a Washing Machine with Bleach

It’s the go-to cleaner for so many of us. Trusty and reliable, when has bleach ever let us down? You don’t need much for use with a washing machine, but the results are fantastic. Here are a few quick steps that you can follow.

  1. Add bleach to washer. For a front-loading machine, you just need to put two spoons of bleach in the detergent tray. For a top loader, you have to allow the machine to fill up with water and the add one cup of bleach to the mix.
  2. Run cycle on hot. Once the bleach is in there, run a hot cycle for the longest period of time available. This ensures the bleach really does its work, and the hot water helps kill germs and bacteria.
  3. Wipe down additional areas. While it is running, give the outside of the washing machine a good clean with your detergent of choice. When the cycle has ended, you can also wipe down the rubber ring on the front-loading machine, and then leave the door open a little so that it can air out.

How to Clean a Washing Machine with Zoflora

A fantastic home cleaner, it is only natural to want to use Zoflora on your washing machine as well. It is perfectly safe to use, but make sure you follow the instructions so that you get the measurements correct. For the inside of the washing machine, you can add a capful of Zoflora to the empty drum and then run it on a hot cycle.

The results will certainly be noticeable at the end. For the outside, you can apply it to a clean cloth and wipe down the exterior surfaces to kill bacteria and germs. Make sure that you use a diluted solution, so one-part Zoflora to four parts water; that way, it is safer to use while also ensuring your surfaces are wonderfully disinfected.

Amazon Washing Machine Cleaners

To help you make the right cleaning product choices, I have collected some of my favourites from Amazon to show you. These detergents are fantastic at disinfecting, removing tough marks, and general cleaning. See what you think of them, and let me know if there are any you feel should be added to the list.

Everyone knows the dangerously catchy jingle that comes with this brand, but there’s more than one reason we all remember Calgon. These softening tablets are perfect for those in hard water areas as it works to battle limescale and helps improve the efficiency of your machine. The best part is that they are also standard laundry tablets at the same time, working out stains as well as providing protection for your washer. Despite being tough on limescale, it’s really gentle on your clothes, and you can even pick these tablets up in bulk; all for a very affordable price.

Nothing screams clean like a bottle of Dettol, and this washing machine cleaner is sure to bring joy to your cleaning routine. It’s a 5-in-1 cleaner, destroying 99.9% of the bacteria it finds on contact while also preventing bad odours. It can be used to remove limescale while you are scrubbing and rinsing, and it will also eliminate any hidden dirt in your drum. With lasting freshness guaranteed, it only needs to be used every two months for the best results, and a 60-degree cycle is more than enough for it to take effect. On top of all that, it’s also exceptionally cheap and comes either as a single bottle or a pack of six.

Looking for something a little gentler on the environment? I’ve got you covered. EcoZone has produced this wonderful tablet that works for both washing machines and dishwashers. All you need to do is place the tablet in the empty washing machine and run a hot wash to see the results; it’s that simple. It removes dirt and limescale with minimal effort, leaving a fresh fragrance (depending on the tablets you select) that will make doing the laundry a more pleasant experience. Allergy-friendly, cruelty-free, vegan, and British, it really does wrap everything up into one box of soluble and affordable washing tablets.

Where is the Dirtiest Place in Your Home 2

PART 4

Q&A

To wrap this guide up nicely, it’s good to end with a quick Q&A so that you definitely have all the facts and information you need to get started. Here are a few frequently asked questions for you to browse through, and if you have any of your own you would like to add please don’t hesitate to get in touch.

Can You Run Your Washing Machine on Empty to Clean it?

Yes, you can run your washing machine on empty to clean it. In fact, it is the best way to clean the drum of your machine and kills any germs and bacteria that might be living inside it. You can use natural or chemical solutions, and both are just as effective at disinfecting and cleaning. As for the methods, this does tend to vary according to the type of washing machine in question. You can find out more about how to clean each type in chapter two.

Do I Need to Check the Manual Before I Clean My Washing Machine?

Yes, you do need to check the manual before you start cleaning. It’s important to know if the manufacturer has any warnings with regards to the use of chemicals like bleach so that you don’t end up damaging the machine. Similarly, some companies state that the use of descaling products will void the warranty, and this could end up costing you a fair amount if the washer breaks down, and you find yourself without cover. Check the manual first, then decide on the best method.

What if I Live in a Hard Water Area?

Living in a hard water area can be pretty frustrating because all of your appliances are going to end up with at least some limescale. That’s everything from the kitchen kettle and the steam cleaner to your showerhead. Your washing machine is also at risk, and too much limescale can lead to breakdowns and permanent damage. So, what do you do?

One option is to install water softeners in your home. This can be a little pricey and intrusive, but it does end up ensuring your appliances last longer, and you won’t get limescale in your tea anymore. You can also put water softening tablets in the washing machine that will prevent the build up of scale. When cleaning the machine, you can also use descaling products from the supermarket that will do a great job.

How to Keep a Washing Machine Smelling Fresh

Ready for a quick rundown? Here are each of the key things to remember when you are trying to keep your washing machine smelling fresh, looking clean, and lasting longer:

Run a service wash

This is also known as a maintenance wash, and it just means that you run the machine empty with either cleaning detergent or a white vinegar solution inside it. This will ensure the interior of the washing machine is cleaned so that you don’t run the risk of illness or bad smells permeating your clothes. There’s not much worse than pulling out a clean load only to discover it smells like sewage, is there? A service wash is usually run once a month, although it can be more frequent if you want.

Clean the drum

The drum becomes home to all sorts of grime and muck that has been left behind by your clothes. What’s more is the fact that detergent ends up sticking to it as well, forming a great breeding grown for all sorts of germs. How you clean the drum depends on whether you have a top or front-loading machine, and you can find detailed instructions for cleaning each of these in the second chapter of this comprehensive guide.

Prevent bad smells

Prevention is the key to success. If you can stop the bad smells from occurring in the first place, it leads to an easier cleaning session. The best way to prevent bad smells is to leave the washing machine door ajar after every load. Additionally, you should wipe down the rubber ring after every wash as well to prevent the formation of mould and mildew. Combined with regular cleaning, bad smells will never bother you again.

Use the right detergent

Too much detergent and you’ll find that you have residual gunk building up in the drum, the pipes, and around the rubber ring. It’s a great place for mould to live, and so using the right amount in each wash is the best way to go. However, you can go a step further and also use the correct type of detergent. Liquid forms might feel easier to use, but they are also the worst for leaving that sticky residue behind. Powder detergents are much less likely to do this and will help increase the longevity of your machine as well as make cleaning easier for you.

Set your washing machine to the hottest temperature and longest cycle

This is how you kill bacteria. As I mentioned at the beginning of this guide, dirty washing machines contain bacteria such as Staph and E. coli – both of which can make people exceptionally unwell. In order to combat this, you need to run your machine on the hottest wash possible when you are cleaning it, as this will eliminate germs and grime. The long cycle also gives you a better chance of reaching every little particle of muck for the best and most thorough results.

To Conclude

I hope that you found this guide to be useful, and that cleaning your washing machine feels like a less daunting task than it may have before. There are loads of different ways you can go about it, but you’ll find the method that really clicks with you. We all have at least one that we prefer over the others.

I always advocate for natural cleaning solutions because they are gentler on the environment, and a lot of the time the ingredients are already in your kitchen cupboard. However, there are times when chemical solutions have been the better choice; especially if you live in a home with someone who has a compromised immune system and needs the extra security of something like bleach. No matter which form of detergent you choose, it’s the one that is right for your home and your way of life; there’s no shame in either.

What did you think of my guide to cleaning your washing machine? Did you find the advice given useful, or are there areas where you have been left scratching your head? Your feedback is important, so feel free to leave me a message in the comment section below.

Will Tottle

Article written by Will Tottle. Follow his work here.

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