How To Clean Your Washing Machine

I know it seems silly to say that you need to wash your washing machine, but it is probably a good idea.  You clean your clothes in it – so it would be a logical conclusion to think that you would also be cleaning your washing machine, but that is not really the case.  The grime builds up along with the detergents along the sides, the corners and in the inner workings of your machine and then if you live in a humid area – mold and mildew could be growing!  The house we moved into was a second home and was used very sparingly and the appliances are very dirty inside on the parts that I can see.  And for the most part the house was used during hunting season with many guys staying there – so that will give you an idea of the condition of the appliances!

I knew my washing machine was dirty by looking at it, but I did not know how dirty until I took the photos!  The photos are not great – one of my camera’s stopped focusing and I have not been able to make it to the repair store and no matter where I stood there were many shadows – sorry.

Cleaning Your Washing Machine (top loading non HE machine)

W Machine outside clean

Items Needed

4 cups Vinegar
1 cup Baking Soda
150-20 drops Eucalyptus Essential Oil (optional)

Note: You can use another essential oil that is antiseptic and anti-bacterial – like Tea Tree, Oregano, Lavender, Geranium or Lemon.  I usually use Tea Tree, but figured I had some Eucalyptus, so why not mix it up – I also like the smell better than Tea Tree.

1. Set your washing machine for a large load, highest water level, hot, extra rinse and heavily soiled – allow it to start filling.

2. Pour in the vinegar and let the machine agitate a little to get the vinegar mixed with the water.

W Machine vinegar

3. Add the baking soda and allow the machine to agitate and mix it in.

W Machine baking soda

4. Add the essential oil allow it to mix and then turn the machine off or lift the lid.  Allow the water to sit for 30 minutes to an hour, depending out how dirty it is.

W Machine oil

5. Using a cloth or a sponge, dip it into the water and clean your machine, the lid (inside and out), the rim, the knobs – clean it all!


W Machine bleach dirtW Machine corner grimeW Machine other corner dirt






W Machine bleach cleanW Machine corner cleanW Machine other corner clean





I have to admit that I had to use a toothpick to get all the dirt and lint from under the lid – wow there was A LOT!

6. Shut the lid and allow the machine to complete the wash.  Hopefully you will only need to do this once – but if really dirty do another cleaning load.





This made my laundry area smell very clean.  I have read a couple different suggestions on how often to clean your washing machine, from once a month to twice a year – I think it all depends on how much laundry you do, if you have hard water and what kinds of detergents you use.

A couple of tips:

Leave the lid open on your machine to let it air out

Use non-perfumed laundry products or make your own (that post is coming!)

Instead of fabric softener use vinegar – it will get your clothes really clean, soft and help in keeping your washing machine innards clean!

My dishwasher so needs it next!

This entry was posted in Cleaning and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to How To Clean Your Washing Machine

  1. Candace says:

    This was a great post – as I love seeing something so dirty get so sparkly clean. Good job!! Looks like a new machine. : )

  2. I’ve been knowing for awhile that I need to clean the machine …. I always try to let Beau do the wash … but you are right on the mark. It is dirty and does need clean. I just might even do it today !

    • simply0637 says:

      It took me all of 15 minutes to pour everything in and clean the parts I needed to – then it was all up to the machine. My dishwasher is worse – so starting the research on how best to clean that – I need to figure that one out soon!!

  3. Jo says:

    Wow, what a satisfying job…..great, informative post. This task is now on my to-d0-list! Thanks.

  4. virginia says:

    Yes ours definitely needs it too. You have inspired me Pamela !

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *