This is the best guide from our professional plumbers–Υδραυλικοί Αθήνας – on how to clean a washing machine. Washing machines can become a breeding area for dangerous bacteria if not cleaned periodically, not to consider the point that they can get smelly after a while. 

To keep your washing machine fresh and hygienic, give it weekly maintenance clean and your laundry will thank you for many years to come. Just follow this simple step-by-step guide to clean your washing machine.

How to clean a washing machine with vinegar

Cleaning your washing machine once a month is a smart move. It will help you to keep your whites whiter and guarantee a sweet-smelling pile of laundry. 

Set your machine on its hottest cycle 60ºC or 90ºC and pour 250ml of white vinegar directly into the drum. The vinegar is the perfect resolution to help to clean your machine. It’s an excellent, natural way to kill bacteria, and the smell will fade away during the rinse cycle. 


How to clean a washing machine with baking soda or bicarbonate 

Using bicarbonate of soda is one of our very favourite cleaning hacks. It’ll tackle washing machines with ease, but you can use it to clean everything from fridges to carpets, too, so having some handy is useful.

Add two tablespoons of bicarbonate of soda into the detergent drawer, this will be acting as the soap. The soda and vinegar work together to naturally break through dirt and remove the mould while cleansing and refreshing your washing machine. Start the hot cycle. Once a month run an empty hot wash to eliminate any build-up and smells, adding the bicarbonate of soda or vinegar as an extra precaution. 

How to clean a washing machine with bleach

If you’re a fan of cleaning with bleach, you won’t baulk at using it to clean a washing machine. It is, obviously, very effective at cleaning dirt and mould from both the drum and detergent drawer of the washing machine and also the exterior. 

Add half a cup of bleach directly into your washing machine’s drum, and a half into your detergent drawer. Run an empty hot wash. If you can pause your wash once the machine has filled with water, do so for a good hour. Then start the cycle again. Run an extra rinse cycle to ensure all the bleach has been removed. Once it’s finished, wipe down the inside of the door and dry out the seals. Next time you put on a wash, ensure it’s a white one that might benefit rather than be damaged by any bleach residue left in the washing machine.


Leave the machine time to dry

Cleaning a washing machine doesn’t just involve cleaning. You should allow it to dry properly to prevent mould build-up in the first place. 

Let the cycle come to a natural finish and open the door letting the inside of the drum air-dry. If any bad smells or excess grime are lingering repeat the process. In between washes leave the door open, or at least until the interior and drum has dried out. This reduces the chance of mould and bacteria growing inside. 

How to clean the drawer of your washing machine

Take the detergent drawer out of the machine to clean it properly. It’s easy for bacteria to thrive in the nooks of the drawer, so you need to get good access. Soak it in hot, soapy water, and then work into all areas to get rid of any detergent and mould left behind – a toothbrush is handy for this job. Rinse, then dry before replacing.

How to clean the rubber door seal of your washing machine

Bacteria have the perfect place to thrive in the rubber door seal where water can easily become trapped. Bleach is your go-to again here, but make up a dilute solution and use a cloth to wipe around the seal, ensuring you’re getting into the folds. Wear household gloves to protect your hands. It’s a good idea to run a maintenance wash afterwards so the bleach is thoroughly removed.



How to clean the filter of your washing machine

Neglect the filter and your machine can collect water in the base. You’ll need to open the cover on the front of the machine and use the built-in hose to drain any water into a bowl. Place an old towel on the floor beforehand to catch any spills. Then take the filter out and rinse away any accumulated gunk, and replace. Check your machine’s manual online if you’re not sure how to access the filter.

How to clean the drum of your washing machine

The easiest way to clean the drum of the washing machine is to use the bleach you probably already have in the store cupboard. Bleach is an effective bacteria killer, and it’s so simple to use for the washing machine. All you need to do is add half a cup of bleach directly to the drum and run a hot cycle – at least 60ºC. Oh, and don’t add laundry. 

Once you’re done, run another hot cycle so you can be sure the bleach is thoroughly removed. Check out our list of the best washing machine cleaners, too. They’re handy to have in the cupboard and many tackle limescale as well as bacteria. Our favourite for germ-killing is Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner.


How to clean a washing machine’s outside

The drum, in particular, becomes quickly dusty, but the detergent drawer can drip, as can the drum itself during or after a wash. Using a damp cloth and washing up liquid, clean any stains from the outside of the washing machine and wipe away any dust. Dry the exterior with a clean kitchen towel. 

How to purify your washing machine with sodium percarbonate

Sodium percarbonate is also often labelled as ‘laundry bleach’ or ‘oxygen bleach’ and does a really good job at freshening up and ridding washing machines of unpleasant smells.

Stronger than baking soda but safer than liquid bleach, it’s a great all-rounder for your weekly maintenance clean. It comes in powder form and should be used in the same way as sodium bicarbonate. 

How to stop your washing machine washing smells

You’ve now cleaned your washing machine – but how do you ensure the bad smell doesn’t return? These are the easiest ways to make sure that your washing machine stays fresh-smelling for longer:

  • Keep the washing machine door open: this will prevent excess moisture accumulating and mould from growing
  • Avoid using too much detergent: paradoxically, too much detergent causes bad smells because it builds up inside your washing machine. Use washing powder at least sometimes, even if you prefer liquid detergent
  • Don’t forget the boil wash: even if you don’t use the soda crystals, a hot wash every week will keep your washing machine smelling better than if you just do cold cycles.
  • Brushing off any excess dirt from muddy clothing before putting inside your appliance will keep it as clean as possible.
  • If you live in a hard water area, use a water softener attached to your in-flow pipe or put softener tablets in with your wash. Both of these will help minimise the build-up of limescale.
  •  Washing machine cleaners will keep yours fresh – and keep your washing white, too.

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