If you think about it, it’s actually not surprising that a washing machine can be so dirty. It handles dirty clothes, after all.
But it’s not just the dirt that can turn your washing machine into a stink box. Constant moisture and detergent can cause a build-up of mould, mildew and soap scum to the point that even your clothes come out smelling mouldy.
Deep cleaning your washing machine gets rid of all this gunk and smells. It also makes your washing machine more hygienic by killing bacteria.
For folks who live in hard water areas, regular deep cleaning is essential to prevent scale build-up, which can damage your washing machine. Read on to learn more on how to deep clean washing machine.
How To Deep Clean Your Washing Machine
‘Deep cleaning’ sound tiring – like a whole afternoon of backbreaking work. But don’t worry, deep cleaning your washing machine is easier and simpler than it sound. You don’t have to take the machine apart or spend hours scrubbing the inside.
All you need are the right cleaning products. With the right product, your washer’s cleaning cycle will do the actual deep cleaning.
A. Deep Cleaning With A Commercial Cleaner
The best way to deep clean your washer is using a washing machine cleaner. These cleaners are available in powder, liquid or tablet form.
You’ll need two types of washing machine cleaners: a general cleaner to get rid of bacteria, mould and mildew (great for smelly washing machines) and a descaler to get rid of limescale and soap scum.
Alternatively, buy a 2-in-1 cleaner that tackles everything.
Here’s how to deep clean your washing machine with a commercial cleaner.
- Add the recommended amount of cleaner to the detergent drawer or directly into the drum.
- Run the washer on an empty cycle at 60C.
- Dilute some of the cleaner in water and use the solution to wipe the detergent drawer and the rubber gasket that seals the door.
That’s all. Repeat this every 2-3 months (depending on how often you use the washer) and your washing machine will stay fresh and scale-free.
B. DIY Deep Cleaning
You can also use some kitchen products to deep clean your washing machine.
The best DIY washing machine cleaner is a mixture of lemon juice and vinegar. Mix a cup of each in the detergent drawer and then run a 60C cycle.
Use the same solution to wipe down the seal to remove any gunk and mould that has developed there.
If you don’t have lemon juice or vinegar, baking soda is another good DIY cleaner for your washing machine.
Mix a quarter cup of baking soda with a quarter cup of water and add to the detergent drawer. Run an empty cycle at 60C.
If you also don’t have baking soda on hand, use bleach. Add a cup to your washer and run the self-cleaning cycle.
The three DIY cleaners – lemon juice & vinegar, baking soda and bleach – tackle most of the build-up and dirt in your washing machine.
They’ll remove some of the scale, kill odour-causing bacteria and get rid of mould and mildew. However, they may not be as effective if your washing machine has not been washed for years or is really smelly.
I recommend starting with a powerful commercial cleaner and then use the above homemade cleaners to maintain your washer.
Tip: To leave your washing machine smelling nice, add a few drops of your favourite essential oil to the cleaning solution.
C. Cleaning The Exterior
Don’t forget to clean the outside of your washing machine.
Good old soapy water will do. Dip a microfiber cloth or sponge in the water and wipe the exterior, paying particular attention to hidden areas such as under the lip of the drum.
If there are any stubborn stains on the surface of the washer, some baking soda mixed with water works wonders.
- Maintain a regular cleaning routine to prevent dirt, mould and scale from building up. Deep clean your washing machine every 2-3 months or every 40 cycles.
- If you receive hard water in your home, descale the washing machine every month. Use descaling tablets or powder to remove build-up scale and soap scum.
- Use low-suds detergents especially if you have a front-loading washing machine. They result in less soap scum and detergent build-up.
- Check if your washing machine has any filter. If it does, clean it when you carry out a deep cleaning.