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How to Clean and Maintain Your Washing Machine at Home?

It would be great to simply put your clothes in a washing machine, press a button, and get completely clean and dry clothes with no stains, detergent residues, or unexpected shades. Dirt that disappears from clothes, towels, and linen has to go somewhere.

It can build up in the washing machine over time. To keep your freshly washed clothes and linen as clean as possible, it’s necessary to clean your washing machine once a month. Without regular cleaning, your washing machine can develop detergent residues, scale, and mold around the lid. This can cause items to come out of the laundry with an unpleasant odor.

Fortunately, cleaning and maintaining a washing machine isn’t that complicated. Behind most problems is often a simple solution. Washing machines have made the monotonous task of washing clothes easier and better. Therefore, it makes sense to keep these machines in good condition.

Basic Laundry Tips and Benefits of Washing Machine Maintenance

Washing machine maintenance helps avoid failures that can render the appliance inoperable. To make matters worse, it can lead to leaks and expensive damage. Some tips and techniques to maintain your washing machine and prolong its use are as follows:

1. Replace the water hose regularly

Check the ends of the hose for bulges, crevices, fraying, or leaks. Replace the hose when a problem is identified or every 3-5 years as part of a preventive maintenance program.

2. Move the machine

Make sure there is at least 10 cm of space between the washing machine and the wall to prevent the hose from kinking.

3. Clean the rubber seal

This part of the machine is exposed to heavy wear. A rubber seal surrounds the edge of the washer/dryer, protects your clothes from damage, and keeps your hands from getting injured by sharp edges.

Whether it’s a front-loading machine or a top-loading machine, dust particles get in every time you open the door. These dust particles usually collect on the edges and sides of the seal.

Particles of detergent and fabric softener also leave a residue on the seal. This is one of the reasons why the rubber seal needs to be cleaned regularly or weekly with a damp cloth.

4. Keep the machine level

An imbalanced washing machine can vibrate, sway, or glide across the floor during a spin cycle, which can damage the floor or the machine. So, ensure to keep it well-balanced.

5. Protect the finish

The outside or top of the machine can be plagued especially in the case of front-loading washing machines.

  • Clean the top and sides of the machine with a glass cleaner to avoid damaging the finish.
  • When not in use, cover the machine and do not place heavy objects on it. This will prevent scratches from occurring.

6. Clean the lint filter

The lint filter or collector is the central strut of most washing machines. Harmful bacterial buildup can contaminate your machine and affect its cleaning quality. To eliminate these problems, the filter should be cleaned regularly.

7. Wash the washing machine

Use a commercial laundry detergent or a solution of hot water, vinegar, or baking soda through an empty load. Pay attention to the machine hose to ensure a smooth flow of water both inside and outside the machine.

When draining dirty water, fluff and fine particles often collect around the drain filter and clog the pipe. Make sure the inlet is properly connected to the water source and is free of cracks and leaks.

8. Prevent musty odors and mildew 

Leave the washing machine lid or door open during the load to dry the washing machine and keep it fresh. For front-loading washing machines, wipe the rubber seal around the door after washing the laundry.

9. Measure your detergent

Too much soap can leave a residue causing the washing machine to wear and tear excessively. High-efficiency washing machines require special low-foaming detergents.

Other Tips

Do not overload the machine, and ensure to protect it from spills, close the washing machine door immediately after use, and place the drain pan under the washing machine.

Steps To Follow to Clean Your Washing Machine

Step 1 – Set the machine to the hottest and longest cycle – Turn the dial to the maximum load size to fully load the washing machine. If you cannot manually set the washing machine uptime, use a “high performance” washing program. Set the temperature dial to the hottest wash setting, press Start to fill the drum with water, and keep the lid open.

Step 2 – Pour 4 cups (approx. 950 ml) of white vinegar into the drum. When the drum is filled with water, pour the vinegar into the machine.

Step 3 – Pour 1 cup (approx. 220g) of baking soda into the water. Baking soda reacts with vinegar to loosen the residue and clean the inside of the machine.

Step 4 – Stir the water and soak for an hour. Close the machine lid for 1 minute to start the cycle. This will mix and distribute the cleaning solution throughout the drum. After 1 minute, lift the lid to pause the cycle.

Step 5 – Use a toothbrush or sponge to clean the wells of bleach, detergent, and fabric softener. Soak the bristles of a hard toothbrush in the water of the machine and scrub through the gaps. Concentrate on areas where mold and bacteria are growing. After rubbing, wipe off with a clean fabric.

Step 6 – After the cleaning cycle is complete, wait for the cleaning solution to empty from the drum, then rinse and spin again to thoroughly wash away any traces of bleach or residual particles. Clean the dispenser drawer and remove any clogged dirt. Wipe the rubber seal clean and allow it to dry completely to prevent mold growth. Leave the door or lid open for air drying.

How to Deodorize a Smelly Washing Machine

Instead of using a chemical cleaning solution that can be damaging, you can create your own cleaning solution using natural ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar. This natural cleaning solution helps remove mold, dirt, and accumulated soap scum.

Use the following three-step process to restore the clean and fresh odor of the washing machine – Scrub, Disinfect, and Deodorize.

  • Scrub: To start cleaning, remove the soap, bleach, and fabric softener dispensers to allow the machine to be scrubbed properly. Pay particular attention to cracks and crevices that may be hiding dirt around the door.
  • Disinfection: To disinfect the machine, prepare chlorine bleach. Do not mix with other cleaning agents. Then set the washing machine to the highest possible temperature setting and sanitize your machine. Leave the bleach on for 30 minutes before continuing the cycle.
  • Deodorization: After the bleach has finished disinfecting, proceed to vinegar to remove any remaining odor. Not only is vinegar an excellent deodorant, but the acidic quality of the liquid removes the buildup of scale and residual bacteria that may have survived the bleach.

Other than the above-mentioned steps, ensure that you do the following: 

  • Remove dirt and pet hair
  • Dry the gasket
  • Clean the controls.


Clean your washing machine every month to keep it sanitary and spotless. Remember, a clean machine means pristine, hygienic clothes. Keep your machine fresh, clean, and smelling good!

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