How to clean your washing machine

by Katrina - The Organised Housewife

Clean your washing machine to improve its efficiency, remove mould, mildew and grime and any odours. 

Have you ever washed your washing machine? It sounds funny but washing machines can collect a lot of dust, dirt and grime and can make your clothes smell. Cleaning your washing machine can make it run more efficiently, ensuring your clothes are always clean and smelling fresh.

I clean my washing machine every 6 months. It usually gets a build up of liquid soap in the centre and a good clean will prevent the softener dispenser from clogging up.

How often do you clean your washing machine?

Have you cleaned your washing machine lately?

Check out my tips on how to clean your washing machine to improve its efficiency, remove mould, mildew and grime and any odours.

How to clean your washing machine

How to clean your washing machine

1. Soak the softener dispenser in warm water to help remove any soap scum.

2. While empty put washing machine through a hot temperature full cycle.  Add a good splash of vinegar (1 cup) as it fills.

3. As it is filling up use the water and a cleaning cloth to wipe:

  • top of the washer
  • lid
  • outside body
  • underneath of the lid
  • rim of the washing machine
  • top of the spinner
  • all nooks and crannies you can find any dirt and dust build up

4. Clean and rinse softener dispenser, use a deep clean brush to get into hard to reach places.

5. Repeat with another empty wash.

6. Keep your washing machine clean with a regular quick clean using my DIY Front Loader Washing Machine Cleaner

Use vinegar instead of fabric softener

Did you know you can use vinegar in your wash cycle instead of fabric softener? Vinegar acts as a natural disinfectant, killing germs, bacteria or mould present in the linens and removes soap residue. It won’t make the clothes smell like vinegar and the bonus is, it’s so cheap at the supermarket!

Removing Odours from the wash

Fabulosa disinfectants are extremely effective, yet soft enough you can add to your regular laundry cycle. With three gorgeous fragrances to chose from, freshen your washing while killing 99% of germs that cause foul smells in both cold and hot water. 

The Pink Stuff Multi – Purpose Cleaner 750ml
White Magic Eco Cloth – Household Value Pack
Pink Stuff Cleaning Paste
The Pink Stuff Cleaning Paste 500g


Lunches made easy, healthy and affordable

The cookbook includes over 50 freezer friendly recipes that make for perfect no-fridge, no-heat lunches, ideal for school, work, or even picnics!

HOw to clean your washing machine

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Shrelle Deveney September 7, 2016 - 7:52 AM

I fill my fabric softener dispenser with vinegar for every wash, much clean for the machine and so much cheaper.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 7, 2016 - 9:21 AM

It’s so much better than fabric softerner, doesn’t leave a coating over your clothes!

Kate September 7, 2016 - 5:08 PM

The plastic seal around my front loader went mouldy. When the friendly repair guy came out he told me every 6mo to put 4tablrspoons of dishwasher powder directly in the machine and run on 90degree cycle to kill any mould. Also he said its washing at low temp that cause the grim build up and that it helps the machine if once a week you wash on 40degrees and once a month on 60degrees (or more frequently). Machines been mould free and sparkly ever since!

Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 14, 2016 - 6:03 PM

Wonderful glad you could get rid of the mould. Check out my front loader washing machine posts there are some great ideas there too to prevent mould, shared by other readers.

lisa January 16, 2017 - 6:12 PM

how do i clean my washing machine with cold water only fitted

Alice January 25, 2017 - 5:20 PM

Lisa, I start my washing machine as if doing a small wash then pause/stop it as soon as the cold water starts entering. I then fill a bucket with hot water in my laundry tub and empty it into the washing machine (and repeat as many times as necessary). Hope this helps you!

Lisa-marie September 11, 2017 - 7:36 AM

Every 6 months I wash my machine by filling it with hot water on a extra full load and adding some dishwasher powder. Run the machine but stop it before it drains and leave it siting full overnight. In the morning let it finish the cycle. The bowl will most likely be filled with the scum that has been cleaned from the pipes and bowl which will need a wipe out and another cycle run to wash it away.

Katrina - The Organised Housewife September 11, 2017 - 11:52 AM

Great suggestion Lisa-Marie. Thanks for sharing

Karen September 20, 2021 - 7:48 PM

I’ve recently had a musty smell in my front loader that I just can’t seem to get rid of. I’ve run the drum cleaner cycle using the following: machine cleaner, vinegar, vinegar and bicarb & eucalyptus oil. Wet clothes are never left in the machine. It’s wiped down every load with eucalyptus & vinegar & the door is always kept open. I’ve also recently pulled the rubber seal back as far as I could to clean.

Any tips on what else I can try would be much appreciated

Bernadette Shephard September 23, 2021 - 4:41 PM

Thank you Katrina for having such an informative website. I have found a couple of very useful tips today and I will put them to good use. You sound a lot like me, although I am not a youngster anymore, but I was always organised and kept my home clean and well organised. My friends still tell me I’m OCD, but my mother taught me the ideals of being house tidy, clean and organised which has done me so well over the years. I look forward to following your website each week. Well done Karen for being such a great help to everyone.

Bernadette Shephard September 23, 2021 - 4:43 PM

My apologies Katrina, I kept calling you karen. I really don’t know where I got that from. Old age catching up with me I feel.


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