Have you ever noticed any bad odour coming out of your freshly washed clothes or unexplainable stains on your fresh laundry? This might be due to a dirty washing machine.

It is a common belief amongst many people that washing machines do not need to be cleaned as they already use so much water to clean the clothes and this cleans the machine too. This, however, is a myth.

Washing machines wash the clothes and not themselves. All the dirt, dust, debris and other things like coins or tissues that are collected from the clothes are deposited either in the lint collector or in some other corners of the rinse tub.

Over some time,  this promotes bacterial growth inside the machine. Other things like soap suds, dirty water etc creates mould growth inside the machine which creates bad odour and stains inside the tub.

Therefore, cleaning the washing machine once in a while is very important not just to keep your clothes fresh and clean but also to extend the longevity of the machine.

Today, in this article, we will discuss how you can easily clean your washing machine on a regular basis. We are also going to tell you how to deep clean your machine when it’s very dirty.

How To Basic-Clean A Washing Machine?

Basic-Clean A Washing Machine

This is an easy and quick way to clean the machine. You can do it regularly to avoid clogging the washing machine and bad odour. It is generally recommended to do a basic cleaning once every month.

You can do a basic cleaning of the washing machine with the following steps:

  • First, clean the lint holder present inside the machine. You might find accumulated dirt, debris, lint, buttons or other material from your clothes. Use a regular detergent to wash the holder and then spray it with an anti-bacterial spray and allow it to dry completely.
  • Now, fill the machine with hot water up to the highest level like you were cleaning a large load of clothes. The temperature of the water should ideally be 40 degrees.
  • You can add some bleach or a washing machine cleaner in the water and then simply run the cycle.
  • When the water is drained, fill the machine again with water to the lowest level and add some antibacterial solution like Dettol or distilled vinegar etc and run it again. You can also re-insert the lint holder after this.
  • You have to ensure that the machine does not have any moisture content before closing the door. You can use a microfiber towel to wipe the interiors to ensure that it is completely dry.

How to Deep Clean a Washing Machine

While basic cleaning is easy and necessary to ensure that your clothes are fresh and clean every time you wash them, deep cleaning is equally necessary to ensure optimum performance and longevity of the machine.

Deep cleaning might require some extra effort, but it will cut down on the servicing and maintenance cost of the machine. You can do a deep cleaning once every 3-4 months to keep your machine in the best condition. Here’s how you can deep clean the interiors and exterior of your washing machine.

Cleaning The Interior of A Washing Machine

Interior of A Washing Machine

  • First, clean the lint holder using the steps mentioned above. Now clean the detergent dispenser using a firm brush, then spray it down with some antibacterial fluid and allow it to dry completely before inserting it back in the machine.
  • For the cleaning drum, fill it up as we did in basic cleaning. Add 4 cups of bleach or a washing machine cleaner in the hot water. Now, you have to let the water sit still for at least 30 minutes and then simply run the cycle.
  • Depending on the duration of your cleaning cycles, you can also increase this time to 60 minutes.
  • You can now use a brush to clean any area that might easily accumulate dirt like a rubber seal on the door of the machine. Be sure to pull back this seal and clean this area properly.
  • When the water is drained, keep the door of the machine open if your machine is placed in a well-ventilated area in order for it to dry completely.
  • If your machine is in a closed space such as a bathroom then use a dryer to completely dry the machine before closing the door of the machine.
  • Additionally, you can use a dryer to dry the machine and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth. Ensure it is properly dry, especially near any electrical wiring.

Cleaning The Exterior of  A Washing Machine

Exterior of A Washing Machine

In order to clean the exterior of the washing machine, you can just simply wipe down the exterior with an antibacterial no-rinse liquid using a microfibre towel. If you want to ensure a proper cleaning then you should follow the steps mentioned below:

  • Move the machine forward and vacuum behind it to remove dirt in the area. You can also check to see if there is any damage to the metal parts (varies according to the model) behind the device.
  • You can also wipe behind the machine using a microfibre towel to remove any moisture content that will lead to rusting and corrosion.
  • You should also check all the pipes like the inlet pipes for any blockage and clean it if you notice any blockage.
  • Also, keep a lookout for any signs of rusting and corrosion. If you find any then promptly clean the area and try to keep it dry.
  • Additionally, check the drainage pipe for any breaks or leaks. Also, check if the drainage pipe is properly attached to the machine. This is to ensure that the water is properly drained and is not accumulating under the machine.

Easy Way to Clean Front Loading Washing Machine

Most front load washing these days comes with an automatic cleaning feature where you just choose the cleaning setting and fill up the water to rinse the tub. If yours does not come with a cleaning setting then you can choose the highest and hottest water setting.

Then repeat the steps mentioned above to thoroughly clean the machine.

Easy Way to Clean Top Loading Washing Machine

The top load washing machine can be cleaned similar to the front load washing machine. Here you have to additionally clean the dryer tub along with the rinsing tub. In order to do that you need to just use some hot water and bleach and gently pour the mixture into the dryer. Now with the help of a towel or a gentle brush clean any area that might accumulate any dirt or rust inside the tub. Dry it thoroughly and you are done.

How Often Should you Clean a Washing Machine:

How often you should clean your washing machine depends on a couple of factors, let’s discuss them;

  • If you wash your clothes every other day, then a basic cleaning is recommended once every week and deep cleaning should be done once every month.
  • If you regularly wash heavy material such as curtains, floor mats, sweaters or bedspreads then also you need to clean the washing machine often.
  • If you live in an area that has hard water, then you should deep clean it once every 3 months and do a basic cleaning once every month
  • If you live in a coastal area that has a lot of salt content in the air and water then you might want to clean often as the risk of corrosion and rusting increases. You should also take extra care to keep the machine dry to avoid rusting and corrosion.

Tips to Keep the Washing Machine Clean and Smell Fresh

1. Take Out Clean Clothes Promptly:

Clean Clothes Promptly

Wet clothes when not removed from the tub immediately can become smelly in the closed space of the tub. When you eventually remove the clothes, the smell will go away from the clothing due to exposure to sunlight but the tub will keep smelling musty for a long time because it is not ventilated properly.

Wet clothes when not removed immediately can promote the growth of fungus and bacteria that can accumulate in your washing machine which might give rise to a bad odour.

2. Remove any Debris or Pet Hair:

Pet Hair

You have to clean the lint holder as well as any other place where dirt and debris might get accumulated. This is because, if not removed they will eventually start ruining your clothes. For example, pet hairs are notoriously difficult to remove from clothes, if you don’t clean them from the lint holder or the inside of the tub, then they will start getting back on your clothing while cleaning.

They will also promote bacteria and germs growth inside the machine. Therefore, it is very important to remove them from the machine.

3. Dry the Gasket:


Gasket is the rubber seal that is attached to the door of the machine. This rubber is generally placed in a way to prevent water from coming out of the machine. The gasket however gets dirty really quickly and is often ignored during cleaning.

It is very important to ensure that this area is clean, as it accumulates mould and mildew quickly due to the constant exposure to water. This can cause a bad odour and also dirt green/brown stains on your clothes while washing. Keeping them dry and clean is of utmost importance.

4. Clean the controls:

Clean the controls


The controls are important for obvious reasons. You need to keep the area clean by wiping the area and keeping it dry. Any moisture that seeps into the control might disrupt their proper functioning.