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How to clean your Washing Machine

I am a firm believer in looking after the things you already have and making sure that they last as long as possible and this week I have been dying some white bedding sheets pillar box red for Mini's bed and my washing machine needed a clean.  I clean my machine once a month or once every other month depending on use.  I have found that as I am washing more at 30 degrees, that I need to clean the gunk out of it more regularly.   My current washer is 6 years old and my previous one lasted 11 years.

You can see the red stain on the rubber, which wouldn't rub off with a cloth.


White vinegar
Cloth or rag
Old toothbrush
  1. Add two cups of bleach to the powder drawer.
  2. Run the washer on a hot wash empty. As we use liquid or powders in the machine and run it at 30 degrees there is often a build up of unused product in the machine.  This will remove it and make sure that there is removed and that there is no buildup of bacteria and help with stain removal.
  3. Add two cups of white vinegar to the powder drawer.
  4. Run the washer on a 40 degree wash.  The vinegar will ensure that you have no odor issues
  5. Remove the powder drawer and soak for 20 minutes in the sink in hot water with one cup of bleach.
  6. Take a cloth and damp it using the water the powder dispenser is soaking in and run around the door seal, ensuring to pull it back to clean all areas.
  7. Take a clean damp cloth and wipe the door area and seal.
  8. Using the bleach solution cloth, wipe inside the machine where the powder dispenser does.
  9. You may need to use a toothbrush to clean the powder drawer.
  10. Once clean, take out and dry it and replace it in the machine.
Where my powder dispenser goes!

My powder dispenser once cleaned

In order to keep your machine smelling clean and fresh it is important to leave the door open in between washes.

My machine after it has been cleaned

We live in a soft water area, so do not have to worry about lime scale build up, but we lived in Berkshire, which has hard water for over ten years and have only ever had two washers since I got married 17 years ago.  However, most detergents have something in them that means you do not have to concern yourself with limescale build up as long as you use the correct amount.  I have never used a water softener in any washing machine I have had.


  1. Ooh, very useful, thank you. I don't understand why washing machine manufacturers have such complicated casing around where the powder draw sits. If they made it smooth you wouldn't get all the mildew on the roof of the area.

  2. Guess because of the job it does, apart from the outside you wouldn't reaaly think of cleaning it would you. I mean with all that cleaning it does! ;-)
    But good idea...shall have to look into it...another job to add to the list then ;-)

  3. If you use ecological cleaner powder or liquid, smells build up more quickly and strongly because there are no bio elements to keep them at bay. You need to switch to a bio powder for a couple of washes every month to keep the machine from smelling really bad!

  4. wow that's impressive. Myst give it a go. x

  5. What sort of bleach do you mean? Powder laundry bleach or the sort of bleach you put down the toilet? I do a 90 degree wash empty once a month but as we use cloth nappies a more thorough clean is probably a good idea!

  6. Thanks for the reminder! Washing machine now clean. I find I have to do it much more often since we started weaning and clothes are generally covered in food. Interested that you use bleach too. I have heard that it can actually damage the machine, thought I'm not sure if that is true, so I only use it every other time. It is definitely better and lasts longer when you use it though. The other alternatives I have tried include Tea Tree Oil, and bicarb soda, as well as the white vinegar of course. I hadn't heard of using a bio detergent every once in a while. Will be trying that now.

  7. Great post, Jen. It's a job many of us procrastinate over but it really does preserve the live of the machine and make it more efficient.
    I agree with Cara - they do seem to make it especially difficult with the shaping.

  8. Brilliant post Jen. I've been asking around for ages on how to do this. Bleach hot wash now on. Thanks!

    Any ideas on how to clean the tumbler?

  9. Great tips-will have to force the husband to start cleaning!

    1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  10. Every appliance needs regular cleaning and maintenance so is washing machine. This will increase the life time of the washing machine and will cut the repair costs. I found these tips very important and useful regarding washing machine cleaning. I will surely try these tips and see the results.

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  14. Surely isnt there something else better and more rewarding to do than to discuss cleaning your washing machine!
    Raising money for charity
    Helping with World peace
    Giving money to the Poor
    Giving food to the hungry

    .....Oh no no.....lets spend hours talking about how to clean your washing machine.

    Ive had enough

    Im off to clean the bricks on my house with a nail file and a wire brush....ill post on here later with the outcome.

    1. She was making the point that if you look after things they last you moron. If you don't agree with the things in the blog why do you waste your time reading it.

  15. This is a great post. Anonymous above seems to have missed the point. None of us want to spend time cleaning our machines - we certainly have better things to do - but it's essential every now and then like most boring tasks.
    Thanks for the step by step guide, I've posted on my blog today. I hope you don't mind me sharing your ideas. (

  16. Washing machine was very smelly. tried using the Dr Beckmann cleaner and it did not work. Followed the steps above and this worked fab!!!!! Thank you very much save the cost of a machine as that would have been my next step!

  17. I am looking for experts to talk about thrifty living at the Festival of Thrift 2014

    Would you be interested? You have so many tips that would be great to share with others.
    Hope to hear from you
    Kind regards
    Festival Admin

  18. Extremely useful information for me to have on hand. I clean mines one a month or so also. I usually just wipe it down once a week to help keep the gunk down.


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