How to Naturally Clean Any Washing Machine

How to Naturally Clean Any Washing Machine via Clean Mama

If you’ve ever wondered why your washing machine smelled funny or if you should be cleaning it, you need to clean it.  If you haven’t ever wondered about cleaning this hard-working appliance, you still need to clean it.  Add this simple step to your laundry process and you’ll have fresh smelling laundry AND an odor-less washing machine.

You can clean a top loading or front loading machine with white vinegar or bleach.  My preference is to use either white vinegar OR non-chlorinated bleach because they are safe, all-natural solutions, but some washing machine manufacturers recommend only using chlorinated bleach.  Most importantly, follow the instructions for your specific machine or try one of these natural methods.

Top Load

How to Naturally Clean Any Washing Machine - Top Loading via Clean Mama

Cleaning your top loading washing machine is simple, all you really need is white vinegar and some cleaning cloths.  Worried that your laundry room will smell like a pickle?  Once the rinse cycle runs you won’t smell the vinegar.

  • Start by setting your washer to its hottest temperature, highest capacity and longest cycle.
  • Add four cups of white vinegar to the hot water, close the lid and allow it to agitate for several minutes.
  • Open the lid or pause/stop the machine and allow it to sit for an hour so that the vinegar can do its job to get rid of the bacteria, mold and mildew and the hoses of your machine.

After you have run a complete cycle with the vinegar solution, you can repeat the process if your washing machine is extra dirty.  The vinegar does a great job of removing any buildup, not to mention softening any soap scum and other residue that may be in the washer and hoses. Let your machine agitate the solution for several minutes and open the lid.

While you allow this solution to sit for an hour, it’s time to tackle the exterior of the washer as well as the fabric softener and bleach reservoirs. Using a cleaning rag or microfiber cloth, dip it in the vinegar solution and wring it out. Wipe down the exterior, lid and control panel, taking care to not get it too wet.  Remove the bleach reservoir and wipe down around the area where scum and dirt tends to collect.  Rinse your cloth and remove the softener reservoir from the machine and wipe the exterior and interior of it as well.  Close the lid and allow the washer to complete its cycle.

(HE) Front Load or (HE) Top Load

How to Naturally Clean Any Washing Machine - Front Loading (HE) via Clean Mama

Front load washing machines are relatively new on the home appliance market and have quickly gained popularity for their efficiency and cleaning abilities. Despite all the benefits they have to offer, there is one common complaint that seems to plague owners: stinky laundry. Wiping down the interior of the washer with cleaner, using extra detergent or running everything on the longest, hottest cycle does nothing to help dissipate the scent. However, one simple cleaning task will not only eliminate the issue, it will keep your washer in tip-top condition.

HE washing machines use less water and less energy which in turn can result in more mildew, mold, detergent residue and buildup in your washer. Some washers have a separate cleaning cycle as an option – I have that on my washing machine and run that cycle after I wash cleaning rags every week.  I’m pretty sure that that is the secret to a non-smelly HE washing machine.

The best way to clean your front loading washer is simple:

  • Select the hot water setting. If your machine does not have a hot water setting, then select a “white” or a “stain” cycle setting.
  • Select the “extra rinse” option if your washer has that choice.
  • Add ¾ cup of white vinegar OR ¾ cup non-chlorinated bleach (not both!) to the bleach dispenser or fill to its max level.
  • Allow the cycle to run until it has completed.
  • To ensure that no vinegar remains in your washer, manually select an additional rinse cycle if your washer does not have a 2nd rinse cycle selection.

After you have finished washing the interior of the washer, take a couple minutes to clean the bleach and fabric softener dispensers. These can be easily cleaned by simply removing and washing in warm, soapy water to remove any residue or by wiping them down with white vinegar on a cleaning cloth.  Rinse and dry them thoroughly before reinserting them.

Make sure you wipe down the rubber seal on the door as it is a perfect hiding spot for mold and mildew. Carefully pull back the rubber gasket and inspect to see if you have mold, mildew or socks (as is the case with mine). Carefully wipe down the area with white vinegar and a soft, white cleaning cloth.  Rinse with a cloth dampened with water and dry thoroughly with a clean cloth to prevent any moisture build-up.

After cleaning these three zones, you can wipe down the exterior and control panel with a gentle all-purpose cleaning spray to remove any dust and dirt buildup.  Maintaining a clean washer and eliminating the stinky laundry issue is simple.

My number one maintenance tip?  Be sure to leave the door open to prevent moisture build-up in between loads and clean it inside and out every month.

Looking for the best homekeeping products?  Check out Clean Mama Home!


  1. GREAT TIPS! I will totally be doing this today.

    • Please DO NOT USE bleach/chlorine in your washing machine. Yes, it destroys bacteria as well as the smell. But in the process it also destroys your washing machine, as I have experienced firsthand. It specifically corrodes the belts that drive the tub.

      The deterioration can happen very quickly, and you’ll only notice that the tub gets unhinged when it’s too late!

    • Monica Bourque says:

      How do I clean the very top of the washing machine (interior) from the water line to the top of the machine, this is the dirty part.

      • I was able to remove the grime at the top of the washing machine drum with the same homemade solution I use to clean my shower. Fill a spray bottle with 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of dish soap (I used Dawn), at least 2 ounces (1/4 cup) of lemon juice (I used ReaLemon), and fill the rest of the bottle with vinegar. Shake and spray around the washing tub, allow to sit for at least 20 minutes, use a no-scratch scrubber (I used a sponge with a no-scratch pad) or a towel. It’ll shine like brand new. If you use this in your shower, allow it to sit for at least an hour, then wipe off with towel or non-scratch scrubber, and rinse. It removed all hard water stains and soap scum from my tiles, and made the glass shower door see-through for the first time, and got all grime off the bathtub without any elbow grease. I’ve tried it without lemon juice, but it doesn’t work even close to the same on grime and soap scum.

        • I am going to try this! Thank you!

          • to clean the exterior of any washing machine & dryer, use automotive cleaner/wax (“MOTHER’S” makes a most excellent product and is available in automotive section of Walmart) – Follow directions on bottle. Just like your car, the finish on your appliances needs to be waxed to maintain the paint.

        • What size spray bottle do you use?

  2. I also leave the detergent door open as well. It helps to slow the growth of mildew in the drawer in the first place.

  3. I cleaned my top-load washing machine for the first time ever a couple of months ago. Holey moley. I really don’t want to think about the grime and bacteria that was being left on my laundry! I definitely make it a regular habit now!!

    • Me too!! Disgusting right?? ????????

    • Gretchen says:

      What? Did you see a lot of nastiness or something? My machine doesn’t let me see anything until the load is all done. No clear top, and door is locked. I wonder how I could see how nasty it is??!!! Fascinating.

      • Between my mother using hot water and a small amount of bleach from time to time, it took at least 5 months to notice a slight off smell in my HE top loading washer. I couldn’t figure out how to wash it because it has a sensor making it difficult to run without clothes. Also my parents usually keep the top closed between washes, and we had poor cleaning habits for the new, HE downy ball, and it was the first we’ve owned to grow mildew. I haven’t looked very hard, but there’s no obvious mold inside my washer, and I haven’t checked the gaskets.
        Long story short, I know it’s disgusting. We’ve had it for years and only tried to clean it when it was very new. You definately will notice an overall change in the smell, and possibly the color of your washers interior, filthy clothes (I work with very oily, sticky products) will come out cleaner with slightly less effort. The towels you use to wipe it down, especially the first time, may possibly, pull a lot of gross residue off the machine.

  4. I regularly throw in a 1/2-1 cup of vinegar in with my laundry. Do you think I should still run a cleaning cycle?

    • Yes – washing the machine without clothes in it ensures that it actually gets clean.
      xo, Becky

      • tracy bayley says:

        I was told by a washing machine mechanic not to use vinegar in the washing machine as it rusts the machine (i was using it for fabric softner) – so if you do use it to clean your machine, make sure you run that extra rinse cycle like Clean Mama mentioned in her blog post 🙂

      • I have an lg top loader and i don’t smell any odor in my washer but my clothes and towels when they get wet or my husband’s sweat from working they smell like mildew or have a musty smell. Do you have any suggestions? I have not cleaned my machine but i did get the most expensive detergent, stopped using fabric softener, used baking soda, used vinegar, and use hottest setting still no difference?

        • Hi Tami!
          A couple tips:
          -clean your machine, then,
          -make sure you are transferring clothes to the dryer right away after they’re dry
          -keep the washer door open in between uses
          -I also recommend The Laundress Sport Wash – it works really well on sporty clothes 😉
          xo, Becky

        • I use the dollar store carpet arm and hammer with oxy clean. I put in about 1/3 cup with my husbands sweaty stinky clothes and towels

        • I think if your washer isn’t smelling, but the dried clothes are, you should check your wet clothes for smells. If they smell clean and fresh coming from the washer, then you need to clean your dryer filter with soap and water, using a brush. Then clean your vent pipes to make sure the air is flowing fast and furious! Maybe the hot air isn’t flowing through your drying clothes enough to dry them, before they sour. This might happen with just the right temp and moisture, for just the right length of time!

          • Awesome

          • Thanks for asking this and for all the answers. I’ve tried several things and I still smell a hint of mildew odor. I’ve put the washer thru a cleaning cycle with the stor bought washing machine cleaner ( a few brands) and done the vinegar and cleaned out all the trays. Then I’ve used the sanitize cycle on both the washer and the drier! I don’t put the clothes in the drier if they don’t smell clean, but still sometimes once they are dry I catch a wiff and ick! Was search how to take my washer apart to clean it!

          • Great tip. I have never done this. I use all purpose lysol, about 1/2 cup to my front loader, on a hot, normal wash cycle. Smells so nice when finished. Cherry blossom scent.

        • Make a solution of about 1 part white vinegar and 3 parts water and soak your towels and smelly clothes in it overnight (or longer). The mildew smell is bacteria trapped in the fibers of your towels – partly the fault of most modern detergents. You can also soak shirts with smells trapped in the armpit area in this solution with fairly good results. Armpit smells are very stubborn though and may require a stronger solution. I prefer to soak the pits of my teenage son’s shirts in hydrogen peroxide about once a month.

          • Sounds like they may have gotten soured at one time or another. Once that happens the smells never seems to go away, even after washes and even hang drying. The ONLY thing I have ever found that completely eliminates that smell for good is Listerine.I use the Cool Mint kind and it kind of leaves a refreshing smell to the load. It has to be actual Listerine (no knock offs). I have only tried the original yellow kind and the blue cool mint and they both work. Not sure about any of their other kinds, I myself haven’t tried them. I think it has something to do with the antiseptic in it is the reason it works. Just my personal opinion though. Hope this helps. Let me know if you are as impressed as I was when I discovered this little jewel (only after trying every laundry and cleaning product sold and still having smelly shirts).

        • Katrina Tholen says:

          I use borax on sweaty shirts and towels. Only thing that got the funk out. 1/2 cup per load

          • My ex worked in a fish plant and his clothes reeked. I tried everything, from bleach to Lysol, and the only thing that removed the fish smell was borax. It’s amazing for removing odors. Been using it for 30 years now.

        • I ALWAYS leave the top door open. I figure that way it gets some ventilation, eliminating mildew buildup. It’s worked so far for me! And of course do the self cleaning cycle once a month. Also wiping the surrounding areas whenever I get the chance.

        • I don’t know if you have ever used tide pods but my clothes never did that until I used them. Now no matter how many times I have washed them the smell comes back every time they get a little damp.

  5. Wonderful post Becky!

    When you have a sec, would love to hear your thoughts on Freshana Organic Solutions 100% natural, organic, safe and effective cleaning products and air purifiers as well.

  6. Thanks for the helpful tips. And a lovely blog you’ve got going…

    Melissa x

  7. I sell appliances and when we get training from the manufactures of these machines they tell us that the 2 worst things you can do are use too much detergent and/or not use he detergent. Cleaning your machine on a regular basis removes build up from between the inner and outer tub. Good tips!

  8. Almost 2 yrs ago I switched to a homemade all natural laundry soap and started using vinegar as fabric softener. I noticed almost shortly after that the nasty smell that front loaders get went away, thanks goodness!! I was ready to go back to a top loader. I will have to now clean the machine – thanks for the info!! I guess once the smell went away it never crossed my mind to clean the machine

  9. Thanks so much for this! So many of the tips out there only talk about the front loader HE machines. I have a top loader, and I LOVE it! I do a LOT of laundry (not as much as I used to…we cloth diapered for 18 months!) and I used to use the Tide cleaning packs for the HE machines. I loved that they got the machine cleaned, but I HATED the aftersmell! It was SO strong that I could smell it for days! Plus, my daughter has ridiculously sensitive skin (eczema is only the beginning of our problems…) so I would only do it immediately after I did a load of her clothes/diapers so that by the time I had to do her clothes again, I would have (hopefully) removed any excess leavings from the cleaner!

    I don’t know why it never occurred to me to use straight vinegar. I use it for darn near everything else!

    I have the cleaning cycle going now. The water was SUPER GRODY after the wash cycle so I may run it again.

    Thanks so much for the tips and this absolutely wonderful website! I only discovered it a few days ago, and I’m in LOVE! THANK YOU!

  10. Thank you for this advise! I have a front loading washing machine and it does get pretty stinky sometimes. I was going to use bleach, but I will probably use white vinegar after reading this. I will definitely be making this a regular cleaning habit! Thanks again.

  11. Jedidja van de Geer says:

    Thank you, thank you! I just discovered how dirty my machine is and was wondering how to clean it.

    Thank you from the Netherlands!

  12. Diana Meadows says:

    Thank you, dearly.

  13. We just moved into a rental. Our washing machine was soo scummy. I’ve used 2 cycles with just vinegar, 2 with vinegar and baking soda, 2 with just baking soda, one just with bleach, and once with non natural ‘washing machine cleaner’ product….and even though the soap scum is better, there still a lot! Any tips of what to do next??

    • Run the rinse cycle on HOT and if there’s still residue use vinegar.

    • I would try my new favorite cleaner- 1:1 blend of blue Dawn dishwashing liquid + hot white vinegar. It’s also great for shower stall and its glass, and removing lime scale from stainless steel. Spray on, let it sit 1/2 hour then rinse thoroughly.

      Skip any mixture that combines vinegar and baking soda they neutralize each other.

    • It’s an absolute MUST DO to check the gaskets in the HE washer. We have a front loader. There are more spaces that are hidden in the gaskets than open areas in this washer. I take bleach wipes and clean all those areas as good as possible without making it my life’s work.

      Good luck!!

  14. I leave the dispenser open to dry out, and the door to the front loading washer, ALWAYS.

    I also run all my washes by including baking soda with the detergent, and skip softener and use 1/4 cup vinegar instead. These are natural ways to keep clothes and towels fluffy, white, no residues or build-up forms on either the laundry or in the machine.
    And no, the clothes don’t smell like vinegar. You can add a couple of drops of essential oil to the vinegar in the softener dispenser if you’re really worried.

  15. Jennifer Hinds says:

    I have a top loading washing machine with an agitator. I have done this cleaning technique a few times. However, I have black scum at the top most part of the drum on the inside. Basically when I run a large load, the water only reaches a certain height and then the black scum starts after that to the top of the drum. I have tried to scrub it away, with vinegar or with bleach, and it doesn’t do any good. Do you have any tips or suggestions to get rid of this? Thanks

    • I have the same problem, the vinegar cleaning made every other part sparkle. What do I do above the water line?

    • I know this is months later…
      I run a hot cycle with vinegar to clean and immediately after (while the goop is still wet and warm) use a plastic scrapper (my favorite is a little square pan scrapper from the kitchen) to scrap the ring of nasty stuff off the drum. I lay paper towels in the bottom to catch it all. I’ll spray the tough spots with a all purpose cleaner. Run another cleaning cycle afterward.

      • Thanks, that’s just what I was looking for. It wasn’t fun, but the scraper worked way better than anything I had tried with a rag or sponge before!

        • So, I know this is REALLY late but…the dollar store sells plastic squeegies now (they are also great for cleaning windows and/or any glass top, glass shower stalls, ect.) They are on the smaller side so you can get into the linings of the top of the drum & glass top

  16. I have a front end that has mold on the rubber. I don’t know how to get it off.. I have tried many things. I guess Im about to go get some Tea Tree oil and try unless otherwise instructed. PLEASE HELP!!!!

    • Try this cleaning method and then wipe the rubber inside and out with a cloth.

    • You can make a paste with the baking soda and vinegar let it set and use some elbow grease. I also use a paper towel soaked in vinegar (I keep spraying it if need be) then wiped up the gunk

    • Frugalmomofmany says:

      I know this is crazy late, but for people like me reading all the old posts, 😉 Home Depot sells a product called Concrobium that will kill mold and prevent future mold. I haven’t used it in my washer yet, but I’ve used it under my house to kill mold. It’s worth a try. I’m going to go try it now.

  17. i use vinegar And baking soda for heavy stains. Plus it cleans the front loader Too. I have always put a small rolled towel to keep door cracked open. I have never had a problem with smell.

  18. So I have cleaned my top load washer several times now, but I am still getting these ugly grey stains on my clothes and towels. What should I do?

  19. On front loaders there is a filter under the door. Remove the panel, pull the filter out and clean it. Mine stopped working and I called the repair service. I watched the tech pull that thing out and it had two socks in it and had blocked the water flow! Now, I know how to do it myself, and save a repair bill. Someone may have posted a how-to for detailed DIY.

  20. Research on “Affresh” recommended by Magtag to clean HE washer. It contains sodium carbonate, sodium percarbonate (syn: sodium carbonate peroxyhydrate) and boric acid. Sodium carbonate is salt and limestone, often used as a water softner. Sodium percarbonate has hydrogen peroxide added so this is released when the power dissolves. Boric acid is made from sodium tetraborate (Twenty mule team borax) and hydrocloric acid. The price for 4.2 ounces is between $6-9 (3 tablets). Now . . . Oxiclean powered stain remover is Sodium carbonate and Sodium Percarbonate, that I usually pay around $13 for 12lb box. Compared to Affresh this is like paying around $275 for the same box. So, you can buy Twenty Mule Team Borax ($5) and mix that with Oxiclean and pretty much get the same result as the Affresh for a WHOLE lot less money. Or you could by a pound of Boric Acid online for around $15. No matter which way it’s still cheaper then buying Affresh (what a scam this product is).

  21. I cleaned my washer as per your instructions, but the “clean washer” light still remains lit. Does your alternative “recipe” not contain a needed chemical to turn this light off? My washer is a Maytag Bravos MCT. (Top Load)
    Thank You,
    Reda Groves

    • Hi Reda!
      I am guessing that the light means that the washer is clean….but I am not 100% sure 🙂

    • I have the same washer the only way to get rid of the light is to push reset reminder or use the clean with affresh cycle that will send a signal to washer saying you cleaned it.. it will not take the light away by just using it with regular cycles.

  22. Great tips! I always leave the door to my front loader open, as well as the detergent dispenser. At least once per week I run a super hot, long wash (usually overnight) to clean any detergent build up or grime out of the machine. I also make my own washing powder which never leaves residue in the machine or on clothes, and use vinegar instead of fabric softener (the worst thing you can use in your machine I’m told). Little things make a big difference. In more than 10 years of owning front loader washing machines I’ve never had any mould and the few times repairmen have come to service my machine, they’ve commented how clean they are.

  23. Any suggestions on how to remove the mold and mildew from the rubber lining on a front loader…UGH!

    • Follow this method to clean the washer and then once it’s clean, follow up with a cloth with straight vinegar on it. Wipe thoroughly and wash again if necessary.

    • My daughter had a really bad case of mold all inside the gasket, and throughout the dispenser tray. Her roommate refused to leave the door open after using the (front load) washer. No amount of bleach cleaning would remove it, and some places you just couldn’t get to. I looked up the parts online to replace, they were around $75. We had a repairman come and replace them. Total cost was $150, well worth it as a new washer these days is ten times that.

  24. Years ago, during the “kids with allergies” part of my life, I had my own washer. Shaklee laundry detergent kept it clean, but it sure wasn’t cheap. Now I live in an apartment and share a coin-operated washer with others. EEEK! Everything goes in that washer – including car grease! NASTY. Gotta clean it now and then, don’t I? Somehow I don’t think the management will do it for us…..

  25. Michelle Emanuel says:

    Where do I put the vinegar in my HE top load washer? Bleach compartment or in the tub itself?

  26. i use barcarb soda in dispenser then i put half a cup bleach but not neat i water it down put on hot cycle then when finished put it on again on rinse then wipe rubber give a quick wipe of drum done

  27. Use unscented liquid laundry detergent or a real natural scent from essential oils (they don’t have chemical residues). You can also dilute bleach and water, not full strength (ex, a capful to a cup of water) to add to bleach dispenser. As alternative, I also use plain oxyclean and throw it into the washer drum. You can dilute natural fabric softeners and add to dispenser. Another alternative is using diluted vinegar and baking soda. Less is better, results in cleaner clothes and no damage to parts.

    I’ve used natural products for years. Clean clothes should smell like you hung them in the clean mountain air. The truth is that lab created scented products cause olfactory burnout (can’t smell odors at low levels). The chemical parfumes cause a funky buildup in clothes and washers. Similar to the reeky smell in Goodwill stores (from clothing buildup residues). I use natural fabric softener, but only 1/4 sheet in dryer. They keep the clothes soft and odor free or mild natural scent. If using a liquid softener, try diluting it and adding to dispenser. Imagine yourself being healthier with less allergies, stronger immune system, less dr. visits. And less funky artificial smells in your clothes and dryer vents flowing throughout the neighborhood. Imagine sitting on your porch, patio, or balcony and smelling fresh air, not your neighbor’s funky dryer air. You can sit on my porch and breathe fresh air!

  28. I have just found you via FB and I am in love!!! This is you first tip I am trying now as we speak!! I have a front load HE washer and I have not cleaned it EVER…. yikes how embarrassing! I am running the cleaning cycle right now with vinegar. I have noticed from time to time the musty smell. I do lave my door open when it is not being used and that has helped but after reading your article I will be including a cleaning cycle weekly in my routine! Thank you so much for your amazing tips…. I am now moving on to read about how to clean my oven… hope you have some great tips… I need them for this one! 🙂

  29. Thanks so much for the info. I will definitely use white vinegar to clean my washing machine.

  30. I have a top-loading machine with a sensor that measures the load before filling with water. When I try to clean the machine, the sensor doesn’t pick up any clothing and so the machine puts in the smallest amount of water possible. This makes cleaning the machine somewhat problematic. Any suggestions?

  31. linda m. lyon says:

    Living in New England most of my life and always hand washed my sweaters. As I got older the job was harder to wring out the water & I looked over at the washer one day and said ah ha why not put in washer & spin. Wa La no more wringing for me. I can’t believe it took me years to realize this and it has never harmed the sweaters and they dry so much faster. Just block and dry.

  32. I have a top loading machine that will only fill with water with a load of clothes and only fill to the size of the load. I have yet to find a way to clean it and it is really getting disgustingly dirty to where it is sometimes leaving particles on the clothes???? Not even the stores can tell me how to clean it. No cleaning cycle!!

  33. I also had trouble with a “stinky washer and clothes” in my front loading machine. When the repairman came out to look at the pump he told me to use Tide powder in it. I said it was not recommended to use powders, but he said the liquid detergents coat the inside of the washer and helps to attact and hold the smell. Started using the Tide and no problems. He was specific about using Tide–I haven’t tried any other powders, but it keeps the drum clean. I also leave the door open in between washings to keep it as dry as possible.

  34. Janice Slijngard says:

    Hi Becky. I removed my detergent dispenser to clean it. I looked inside and saw a lot of gunk in the back. The problem is that it’s a hard to reach spot. Do you have any tips for me how to get it clean? I can’t stand the idea of putting my clothes in the washer after seeing that. Yuck!


    • Maybe an old toothbrush or cotton swabs? Dip them in vinegar and reach back there to scrub it clean – good luck!

    • Try a bottle brush… they have a longer handle and lots of bristles.
      Or a long-handled wooden spoon — wrap a rag around with a rubber band to reach far back.

  35. Granny Linda says:

    Great tips, but front loading washers are definitely not the new kid on the block. In the early 1940s…yes, that’s right. Some 70 years ago…my mother owned a Bendix washer, which was a grand little front loading machine. It washed Grandma’s beautiful quilts, the throw rugs, cleaning rags, and delicate lingerie as well for nealy 20 years before it finally gave up the ship. Mama nearly cried when she had to replace it, as front loaders had gone out of fashion. So we were stuck with a top loader, which wrinkled the sheets, twisted up the knickers, and often required a 2nd wash to come out looking pretty clean. It wasn’t until maybe 5 years ago I finally got a new front loader. No Bendix, but it does save water and detergent and is infinitely easier on the clothes. Just thought you youngsters might like to learn what’s old often does become new again. Cheery, Dearies!

  36. Hello, I just found this post recently and used vinegar to clean out the washing machine yesterday in the house we are renting (I’m pretty sure no one has ever cleaned it before us! YUCK!) After cleaning the machine with one cycle, I ran another cycle of just hot water to remove any extra residue/dirt, then ran a load of my husbands workout clothes. His clothes came out great, I then ran my sheets through this morning and they came out with tons of gunk and grim. I have run several additional cycles to try and remove the remaining residue, the washer looks clean but our sheets are still coming out with the gunk, do you have any tips for getting our sheets clean again?

    Thank you so much for these tips, I previously used “Afresh” and thought it was cleaning my machine, but I see now that it wasn’t doing an adequate job. I now know I want a top-load washer in my new house and will make sure I’m cleaning it using this method regularly to keep it from getting to this point in the future!

    • I would run the vinegar cycle another time or two – it sounds like it still has some remaining residue in the drum. Once you’re sure that the washing machine is clean, then try to re-wash the sheets. Soak in detergent and vinegar (1/2 cup) and then re-wash them. Good luck!

  37. For the top load washing machine where are you putting the vinegar? Thank you.

  38. One of the best ways to cut down on mold/mildew in a front loader or a top loader is to keep the door open a little bit. We do that and have never had issues with stinky laundry – at least that was the washer’s fault. We were told to do that by the installer of our washer and we always do it.

  39. K. Tadesse says:

    First of all thanks for your tips.
    I have a top load LG machine which has only cold water setting. Any problems if I can still apply the naturally cleaning technique you proposed? And what do you mean by highest capacity?
    After mixing the vinegar with water, do I run the machine with both the “wash”and “rinse” mode and without any laundry in the machine? For how long should the machine be run before allowing it to agitate?

  40. Kristi Brooks says:

    I would like to know how to clean inside the glass area. And how to clean inside the plastic piece in the front and the seal. t looks like there is buildup in there?

  41. I use a cup of white vinegar, a half up of baking soda and hot water. I also do the extra rinse. Once every 6 mos and it’s perfectly wonderful! Mine is a front load Maytag Neptune. Always leave the door open. Have never had smells. Wipe around the rubber seal once a week or so. We are good to go! It’s 12 years old and doing great. The Maytag set we had before lasted over 25 years! Clean your dishwasher the same way!

  42. Sheila Hopkins says:

    I only have cold water running to my washing machine. I have an he machine and have run the clean cycle a few time but it takes several cycles to completely eliminate the affresh tablet. Is there an easy way to clean my machine without having hot water running to it? I can’t do the manual cleaning due to a neck injury. Hope you can help me.

    • The white vinegar will help or you could heat up a gallon of water and put it in the washing machine and run it that way.

  43. eeyoregirl77 says:

    Sorry if this was already asked, so many comments. But I live in an apartment and I can’t afford to run the washer just to clean it, what would you recommend for a way to clean it without running it and would be safe for whoever runs a load following it…like no bleach to get on clothes or anything else that might stain in some way. I already lift up the dryer filter (on the door) and dig down with my hands and pull up whatever I can from going and clogging the airway to keep from having a fire. Maintenance hires the worst cleaning people ever. There was a glass spill months ago where the seeds in the drink are still on the floor in the entry. I am disabled and can’t reclean after those who are supposed to clean but with my laundry I want to clothes don’t get ruined.

    • Try adding a 1/4 cup of white vinegar to every load you run – it’ll help and it will soften your clothes too!

Speak Your Mind


Overwhelmed? Find success in your homekeeping with my latest book, Simply Clean! Dismiss