How to Clean Your Clothes Washer (It Needs The Attention)

How to Clean your Clothes Washer

You know, we’re thinking about just spending the rest of February in the basement. We’ve already looked at how to clean an unfinished basement floor. Now we’ve got an eye on our washing machine. It’s one of those appliances that people tend to forget to clean. It’s probably because it’s supposed to do the cleaning itself, but the fact of the matter is, your washing machine needs a good cleaning periodically, too, to stay in tip-top working condition–especially if you have hard water. Hard water is well, hard, on washing machines and can leave your clothes looking dull and even rust-stained if deposits build up inside your machine. Here are a few tips to help keep your clothes washer clean and fresh, so it can do its job…   [photo via flickr]


The exterior of your washer can get mighty dingy. Once a week, wipe it down with a solution of one part vinegar to two parts water. To make the job easier, put the cleaning solution in a labeled spray bottle and keep it handy in the laundry room.


Inside the tub is where most of the problems lie when hard water deposits build up. To keep your washer fresh and prevent rust stains on clothing, pour two cups of vinegar or lemon juice into the tub and run a complete cycle on the hottest setting without clothes. Do this once a month to keep everything bright and clean.

Around the Lid/Door

Detergent and mildew tend to build up around the lid or door of a washing machine. To clean, simply spray your vinegar/water solution around the door and let it sit for a few minutes. Wipe it clean with a damp rag.

Bleach and Fabric Softener Dispensers

These small compartments are easy targets for lint and washing product buildup. To keep them from becoming clogged, remove them periodically and remove any lint or hair that has become trapped and scrub thoroughly in the sink. If buildup has occurred and is hard to remove, let them soak in hot, soapy water for 20 minutes, then scrub and rinse.

Tips for Keeping your Washing Machine Clean Longer
  1. When you’re done washing laundry, leave the lid open on the washer so it can dry out. This will help prevent mildew from forming.
  2. Although commercial fabric softener smells nice, it can leave a filmy buildup inside your washing machine. To prevent this, use plain vinegar as your fabric softener in its place. Your clothes will be just as soft; it’s eco-friendly – and you won’t have to clean your washing machine as often.
  3. Inspect the hoses on your washing machine when you clean it to make sure they are properly tight and there are no cracks or leaks.