How to Clean Your Washing Machine: A Step-by-Step Guide

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Michael Foster
May 17, 2024
Home appliances
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Are your freshly cleaned clothes not smelling as fresh as they should? Is your washing machine causing more problems than it solves? It might be time for some washing machine maintenance. In our comprehensive guide, "How to Clean Your Washing Machine: A Step-by-Step Guide," we'll walk you through the process of revitalizing your trusty appliance.
Say goodbye to funky odors, mold, and less-than-pristine laundry. And if you need expert appliance repair in Los Angeles, we've got you covered. Let's embark on a journey to restore your washing machine's efficiency and ensure your laundry is always clean and fragrant.

Why Cleaning Your Washing Machine Matters?

Before diving into the cleaning process, let's understand why it's essential to maintain a clean washing machine:
  • Prevents Odors
Over time, detergent residue, dirt, and lint can accumulate in your washer's drum, creating a breeding ground for unpleasant odors. These odors can transfer to your clothes, making them smell less than fresh. Cleaning your washing machine eliminates these sources of odor, ensuring your laundry emerges smelling clean and pleasant.
  • Extends Machine Lifespan
Regular cleaning is not just about hygiene; it also contributes to the longevity of your washing machine. By preventing the buildup of grime and mold, you reduce wear and tear on essential components. This, in turn, can extend the machine's lifespan, saving you money on expensive appliance repairs or premature replacements.
  • Improves Washing Performance
A clean washing machine is a more efficient one. When the drum and internal components are free from buildup, your machine can operate at its best. This improved efficiency leads to better washing performance, ensuring that your clothes come out of each cycle cleaner, fresher, and ready to wear.

How Often Should You Clean Your Washing Machine?

1. Monthly Maintenance
Perform these tasks every month to maintain a clean washing machine:
  • Clean the Lint Filter
Start by removing and cleaning the lint filter. A clogged filter can impede water drainage, causing potential drainage issues and reducing washing efficiency. Keeping it clean ensures your machine runs smoothly and clothes come out cleaner.
  • Wipe Down the Exterior
Regularly wipe down your washing machine's exterior with a damp cloth. This includes cleaning the control panel and buttons. This simple step helps maintain the machine's appearance, prevents dirt buildup, and ensures the control panel functions properly for convenient operation.
2. Bi-Monthly Maintenance
Complete these tasks every two months:
  • Clean the Detergent Dispenser
Every two months, remove the detergent dispenser tray and soak it in warm, soapy water. Scrub away any detergent residue to prevent clogs and ensure proper detergent distribution. Rinse thoroughly before reinserting it for optimal washing performance.
  • Clean the Seal and Gasket
Regularly inspect the rubber seal around the door for mold or mildew buildup. To prevent mold growth, wipe it down every two months with a mixture of water and vinegar. This maintenance step helps maintain a clean and hygienic interior, ensuring your laundry stays fresh and free from odors.
3. Quarterly Maintenance
Perform these tasks every three months for a more thorough clean:
  • Run a Cleaning Cycle
Conduct a quarterly deep clean by running an empty washing machine on the hottest setting. Add a cup of white vinegar or use a washing machine cleaner. This process dissolves built-up detergent residue, mold, and bacteria, keeping your machine fresh and odor-free.
  • Clean the Drain Pump Filter
Locate and clean the drain pump filter following your machine's manual every three months. This essential step removes accumulated lint and debris, ensuring unobstructed water drainage. Proper maintenance of the filter prevents drainage issues and optimizes washing performance.
4. Annual Maintenance
Once a year, it's essential to go the extra mile to maintain your washing machine:
  • Deep Clean the Drum
As part of knowing some tips for maintaining a well-functioning washing machine, perform an annual deep clean by filling the drum with hot water and adding a quart of white vinegar. Allowing it to sit for an hour effectively removes stubborn residues and mineral deposits. Running a full cycle afterward ensures your machine stays in top condition, promoting longevity and optimal performance.


To sum up, maintaining the cleanliness of your washing machine may seem like a small task, but it yields significant benefits. Your laundry emerges smelling fresh, and your appliance's lifespan is prolonged. By adhering to the steps outlined in this comprehensive guide, you can ensure your trusty washer keeps delivering impeccable results.
If, however, you find yourself in need of professional appliance repair services in Los Angeles, don't hesitate to reach out to Home Alliance. Our team of certified and licensed technicians specializes in a wide range of appliances, including washers, dryers, fridges, ovens, stoves, and more. We take pride in offering quality appliance services at very reasonable and economical rates, ensuring your appliances are in excellent hands. Contact us now, and let us keep your home running smoothly!

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

  • Is it safe to use bleach to clean my washing machine?
Yes, you can use bleach sparingly to clean your washing machine. However, make sure to run an empty cycle with just water after using bleach to rinse away any residue.
  • Can I clean the lint filter without removing it?
It's best to remove the lint filter for thorough cleaning. Simply rinsing it under water might not remove all the trapped lint and debris.
  • Should I leave the washing machine door open after each use?
Yes, leaving the washing machine door open after each use is advisable to allow moisture to evaporate, preventing mold and odors from developing in the drum and seals.
  • What if my washing machine still smells bad after cleaning?
If your washing machine continues to have a foul odor after cleaning, consider using a specialized washing machine cleaner or consult a technician for a more in-depth inspection.
  • Can I use regular vinegar instead of white vinegar for cleaning?
Yes, regular vinegar can also be used for cleaning your washing machine. White vinegar is preferred because it doesn't contain dyes, but regular vinegar can work in a pinch.