How to Clean your Washing Machine: Step-by-step guide

washing machine filled with clothes infront of a mint wall

We often rely on our washing machines to keep our clothes clean, but how often do we think about cleaning the machine itself? Regular maintenance is the key to ensuring your washing machine operates at its best, giving you spotless and fresh clothes each week. 

In this guide, we will go through the step-by-step process of cleaning your washing machine and the importance of this often-overlooked chore. 

Why clean your washing machine ?

Regular cleaning of your washing machine is vital for ensuring your laundry remains efficient, effective and cost-effective. Here are the top reasons why cleaning your washing machine is not just a good idea but a necessity. 

Preventing mould and mildew: 

Your washing machine’s damp and dark environment is a breeding ground for mould and mildew. Regular cleaning helps prevent the formation of these unwelcome guests and helps your laundry smell fresh.

Eliminating unpleasant odours: 

If you’ve ever noticed a musty smell lingering on your clothes, this could be a sign that your washing machine needs a good cleaning. Regular maintenance eliminates lingering odours caused by residue and mould. 

Improving washing efficiency: 

Detergent and fabric conditioner residue can build up on the drum and other components of the washing machine, impacting the machine’s ability to wash effectively. 

Energy efficiency and cost savings: 

By keeping your washing machine clean and free from debris, you reduce the strain on its components, leading to lower energy consumption, which benefits the environment but also translates into savings in energy costs. 


person turning the controls on the washing machine

Signs your washing machine needs cleaning?

Your washing machine might signal that it’s time for a thorough cleaning. Recognising these signs is crucial for maintaining your washing machine.

Foul odours 

One sign that your washing machine needs attention is if a foul odour comes from your freshly washed clothes. Lingering odours are a result from mould growth inside the machine, posing potential hazards.

Visible mould

If you spot mould within your washing machine, that clearly indicates that cleaning is overdue. If left unchecked, it can spread onto clothes, causing an unpleasant appearance and potential allergen concerns. 

Stains on clothes

If you spot mysterious stains on your laundry, this could be a sign of accumulated detergent residue building up and transferring onto your clothes during washing.

Step-by-step guide on washing machine cleaning

In this next section, we will guide you through a step-by-step process to clean your washing machine effectively for optimal performance and lasting freshness. 

Empty the washing machine:

Before starting any cleaning, it is vital to ensure the washing machine is empty of any clothes or items. An empty machine allows for better access to all areas and prevents potential damage to clothing.

person pulling out clothes from washing machine

Clean washing machine drawers: 

Start by removing the detergent dispenser drawer from the washing machine. Rinse it under warm water to remove any excess detergent or fabric softener. For stubborn residue, use a soft brush ( or an old toothbrush ) to scrub away the build-up and get into all compartments for a thorough clean.

open washing machine drawer

Clean washing machine drum: 

To clean the washing machine drum, use liquid chlorine bleach or a DIY white vinegar and baking soda solution. Pour the solution into the detergent drawer or directly into the drum. Run a hot water cycle without any clothes, and this will effectively eliminate odours, break down residue and clean the interior surface of your washing machine drum.

inside of washing machine during hot water run

Clean washing machine rubber gasket:

Located around your washing machine door opening is rubber gasket. This can be a common area for mould growth. Use a DIY solution or washing machine cleaner, brush to get into the crevices, and thoroughly clean the rubber gasket. Ensure that you wipe the rubber dry afterwards to prevent further moisture build-up. 

person cleaning rubber seal on washing machine with a blue microfiber cloth

Wipe down exterior surfaces: 

For the exterior of the washing machine, including the control panels, use an antibacterial spray and microfibre cloth to clean. Pay attention to stains and dry the surface thoroughly to prevent streaks. 

person cleaning washing machine exterior wearing orange rubber gloves and using a blue microfibre cloth

Clean the filters:

Locate and remove any filters in your washing machine. Usually, they are found near the water inlet valve at the bottom of the machine. Clean these filters according to the manufacturer’s guidelines. By cleaning your washing machine filters, water flow is maintained, and clogs are prevented. 


person taking out a washing machine filter out of the washing machine

Washing machine maintenance tips

Just like any household appliance, a little care goes a long way in preventing issues. Below, we have compiled a list of top maintenance tips to keep your washing machine in top-notch condition. 

  1. Regular clean your washing machine ( either monthly or quarterly ) 
  2. Empty pockets 
  3. Ensure an even distribution of clothes in each load 
  4. Regularly check the water supply hoses for signs of wear, leaks or bulges 
  5. Leave the door ajar after each use to allow air circulation and prevent mould growth 
  6. Occasionally run hot water cycles to sanitise the drum 
  7. Regularly check the rubber gasket for wear or mould growth 

For specific maintenance recommendations for your washing machine, visit your manufacturer’s website for guidelines. 

tackle your washing machine cleaning today

Maintaining your washing machine is essential for preventing mould, eliminating odours and ensuring performance.

In this blog, we have discussed how to recognise signs of your machine needing cleaning and a step-by-step process targeting all areas of your washing machine. 

Incorporate these practices into your cleaning routine and enjoy spotless laundry, cost savings and a well-maintained washing machine. 

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