How to Clean a Washing Machine With Natural Ingredients

Did you know that your washing machine gets dirty? It’s true! In order to keep your washing machine at top performance, you should give it a deep clean every six months.

Do you know how to clean a washing machine? If not, today I will be explaining how!

My husband got our washing machine from Craigslist about five years ago and it’s still running strong. However, a few weeks ago it started getting an egg-like smell whenever we ran a load.

The clothes would come out clean and smell just fine. But the washer itself? It was hard to stand in the same room with it running because of the smell.

I looked it up online and found out that it needs to be serviced every six months. I had it already for 5 years!

Disgusted with myself for not looking this up sooner, I decided to clean it myself. (You could hire a company to do it, but it’s super easy to do yourself!

Why You Should Use Natural Ingredients

Why should you use natural ingredients to clean your washing machine instead of your store bought chemical cleaner?

Well, when you use those chemical cleaners, small amounts of them end up in your clothing, blankets, towels, and dog toys.

In addition, the fumes from chemical cleaners aren’t healthy for you or your dog to breathe in. So why not avoid it if you can?

Natural ingredients are safer, cheaper, and work better most of the time anyway!

Cleaning a Front Loading Machine

You’ll Need:

The first thing you want to do if you want to know how to clean a washing machine is clean the gasket.

how to clean a washing machine gasket

The gasket is the rubber part in front of the metal drum that seals with the washer door and prevents water from leaking out during loads.

Spray the rubber gasket with white cleaning vinegar and wipe it down with a microfiber cloth.

Make sure to lift the rubber and clean under the top lip of the gasket as well.

Especially in high efficiency washers (HE) the gasket collects water, hair, scum, and mildew.

This was the main source of the smell from my washing machine.

I almost threw up when I started cleaning the black sludge under the gasket. It was really gross. 

The second step to cleaning your washing machine is to set the washer to the highest level and the hottest water temperature.

Add two cups of white vinegar where you normally put your detergent and run a complete cycle without any laundry in it. This helps clean the scum stuck to the metal drum of the machine. 

When the cycle is over, set the washer once again to the highest level and the hottest water temperature.

This time, add ½ cup of baking soda right into the drum. (Not the detergent dispenser). Run this load without any laundry as well. 

When the second load is over, take another microcloth and wipe down the inside of the drum and the gasket. While you’re at it, wipe down the outside of the machine too.

Mine had sticky blue detergent drips all over the front from past loads. Now it looks and smells brand new!

Cleaning a Top Load Washing Machine

You’ll Need:

If you’re learning how to clean a washing machine that loads from the top, the cleaning process is a little different than the front loading machine, but still super easy!

The first step is to set the machine to the highest setting and the hottest water temperature.

Then, add four cups of white cleaning vinegar into the barrel and start the cycle.

About ten minutes into the cycle, stop the machine and let it sit for about an hour to let the white vinegar work it’s magic.

While the machine is stopped, take your microcloth and dip it in hot white vinegar water and wipe down the top of the machine.

how to clean a washing machine dispenser

Once that’s done, you can take an old toothbrush and clean out the fabric softener and bleach dispensers.

After an hour passes, continue the cycle with the white vinegar. 

Once the first load finishes, set the washer once again to the highest level and the hottest water temperature.

Take one cup of baking soda and toss it into the machine and run a second cycle.

Once it’s done, take a microfiber cloth and wipe down the inside and top of the machine. 

how to clean a washing machine tips

Tips and Maintenance

Prevent mold and mildew by leaving the washer door open when not in use. 

-Take wet clothes out of the machine ASAP to prevent a musty odor developing in the washtub and on your clothes.

-Remove pet hair and debris every few loads by leaving the door open and letting everything dry out. Then taking a vacuum and sucking up anything that doesn’t belong. 

-Wipe down the gasket after each load to prevent mold growth. 

-Check out the eco friendly products that I use for my laundry and to keep my washer up and running.


I hope that this article helps those housewives out there who didn’t know about cleaning their washing machines either.

Cleaning your washing machine regularly can extend the life of the machine, saving you and your family thousands of dollars in return. 

Do you have a different deep cleaning method for your washing machine? Let me know in the comments!

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