How to clean a washing machine in 6 steps

Your washing machine is one of the key appliances in your household, so it’s important to keep it as clean as possible. Here’s how to clean your washing machine in five simple steps.

Picture: Caroline McCreddie

Our cleaning expert, Michael Brooke, shares the following process for cleaning your washing machine. Mike recommends doing this process at least once every few months to keep your appliance in top condition. You don’t even need to hire a professional or invest in a washing machine cleaner! Just vinegar and baking soda to do the job.

1. Add baking soda to machine

Add a cup of baking soda to the washing machine.

Take a measuring cup and add a cup baking soda then sprinkle into the washing machine. Picture: Caroline McCreddie

2. Add vinegar

Add 1 cup vinegar water to the machine.

Fill measuring jug with vinegar. Picture: Caroline McCreddie

3. Run through one hot cycle

Allow to fill up with hot water (cold water is a big no-no) and leave to sit for a couple of hours.

Leave to sit for a couple of hours after running through on the wash cycle with the hottest water. Picture: Caroline McCreddie

4. Manually clean any remaining marks

Look inside the washing machine and manually clean off any stubborn soap scums or stains, whether it’s on the tub or rubber gasket.

Read more: How to clean an iron

5. Run through a wash cycle

Pop the machine on one final wash cycle and leave to run through completely.

The final step? Pop on a rinse cycle to thoroughly clean the inside of your machine. Picture: Caroline McCreddie

6. Don’t forget about fabric softener dispenser

If you have a removable fabric softener dispenser, gently pull it out of the machine before soaking it in a bucket of cleaning solution (mix 3.5 litres of warm water, 1/4 cup of dish detergent and 1 cup of oxygen bleach) for 5 – 10 minutes. Wipe with a clean, soft cloth before installing it back to the washing machine.

*For top loader washing machine, the dispenser is located under the lid. As for front loaders, the fabric softener dispenser is usually located next to the detergent dispenser and the bleach dispenser.

How to remove mould and mildew from the washing machine

It’s easy for the washing machine to develop mould especially when the rubber seals are constantly exposed to moisture. If left unchecked, the developed moulds and odour can be transferred onto clothing during the wash cycle. While removing this mould can be tedious, but it can be done.

1. Run a normal cycle

Start by running a normal cycle with hot water and bleach or vinegar.

2. Mix the cleaning solution

Mix one part bleach with four parts water (or equal parts water and vinegar) in a spray bottle.

3. Spray the cleaning solution on the infected areas

Look for areas with mould and start spraying. You should also wear a pair of rubber gloves to protect yourself from the bleach.

4. Wipe with a clean cloth

Wipe it down with a clean cl0th. For stubborn moulds, let the solutions sit for another few minutes before wiping it off.

5. Rinse and clean

Rinse the area with clean water before wiping it with a clean cloth.

This article was originally published as How to clean a washing machine by www.realestate.com.au and is written by Kristy Barratt. Additional content by Stephanie Yap. 

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