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How To Clean A Washing Machine With Vinegar (And Other Ingredients Around The Home)

how to clean a washing machine with vinegar

6 ways to cleaning a washing machine

I know this post is about getting a clean washing much BUT I am absolutely NOT game to show you a photo of mine in its current state. My washing machine resides under our house and is therefore exposed to more dust and dirt than normal because underneath our house is not entirely closed in. In my search to figure out how to get a sparkly clean washing machine, one which I have not had in some time, I’ve found some great tips for cleaning a front loading washing machine and top loading washing machine.

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How to clean a washing machine with Vinegar & Bicarb Soda

This seems to be quite a common and popular method to get a clean washing machine and one which I have used and have found quite effective.

For a top loader, add 2 tablespoons of bi-carb soda in washing machine and 1/2 cup of vinegar to the bowl and run on your longest and hottest setting. If you have a front loader, add the bi-carb soda into the powder dispenser and add the vinegar to the tub. If there’s visible mould, it’s good to apply vinegar to a cloth and try to wipe it off.

How to clean a washing machine with Vinegar and Bleach

Before I explain this one I want to point out that you should NEVER mix vinegar and bleach together due to the risk of creating toxic fumes. It’s important to use these products separately as I will explain.

Add 4 cups of bleach to the tub while hot water is filling. Once filled, agitate for a few minutes and then stop the machine and let it sit for an hour. Once the hour has passed, turn the machine on to complete the cycle. Once empty, add 4 cups of vinegar to the hot water while the machine is filling. As with the bleach, let it agitate for a few minutes and then stop the machine and let the vinegar water sit for an hour. If your machine has liquid softner dispensers that can be removed, you can throw these into the vinegar mix to soak for a few minutes in order to get rid of the soap scum and build up. Once finished, turn on the machine and let it complete the cycle.

Front Loader – For a front loader follow the exact same instructions but with half the bleach and vinegar – 2 cups of each.

how to clean a washing machine with vinegar

How to clean a washing machine with Epsom salts 

I’ve never used epsom salts to clean a washing machine but I have seen a number of people recommend it as a washing machine cleaner to remove gunk and build up, so, why not give it a try?

You can use epsom salt in the washing machine for front loaders and top loaders. Simply fill up your machine with hot water and add one cup of epsom salt in the washing machine and 1 litre of white vinegar to the tub. Let your machine agitate for a couple of minutes and then stop the machine and let it soak for about an hour. After an hour, turn the machine back on to finish the cycle.

How to clean a washing machine with Eucalyptus Oil and washing powder

Instead of using vinegar and bi-carb, I saw a suggestion of using vinegar and eucalyptus oil in a front load washing machine or top loader. Add 2 tablespoons of eucalyptus with 2 litres of vinegar to the tub and run on the longest hot wash cycle.

How to clean a washing machine with Clove Oil

Clove oil is great because it actually kills mould spores where other things can simply mask it. You can purchase Clove oil from health food shops and unlike bleach, clove oil does quite well in ensuring mould doesn’t come back. Add about 10 drops of clove oil into the drum and wash on a hot cycle.

How to reduce mould in a washing machine

Wondering how to reduce the build-up of mould? Always leave your washing machine lid/door open after each wash, especially in humid conditions.

Note: Some machines are likely to have a ‘tub clean’ function or similar which you can use when you need to run a cleaning cycle. If your machine doesn’t have a cleaning setting, simply use the longest cycle on hot.

How do you keep a clean washing machine? Do you use vinegar to clean your washing machine?

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how to clean a washing machine with vinegar

Eva Lewis (The Multitasking Woman)
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  1. January 18, 2016 / 6:35 am

    My washing machine is definitely not pretty and it’s one of those jobs I never get around to. I have noticed lately it has a funky smell and needs me to do something! Thanks for this, I needed someone to tell me how to do it x

  2. January 18, 2016 / 8:11 am

    I strip my towels with bicarb and vinegar every few months, so my machine gets a bit of a clean then, although I really should clean the dust off it, too!

  3. January 18, 2016 / 9:00 am

    It has never occurred to me to leave the door open after washing, what a great tip! The drawer of my washing machine is looking a little suspect, so I’ll be trying your tips. 🙂

    • January 18, 2016 / 4:25 pm

      Don’t worry, it didn’t occur to me either. I guess when you have a machine that ‘clean’s things, you can easily forget that it needs cleaning too!

  4. January 18, 2016 / 11:01 am

    My rather newish but just out of warranty front loader washing machine kept stopping mid wash. Turns out the filter was blocked, due to lack of cleaning. Thanks Google… saved me a small fortune on getting a repair man out.

    • January 18, 2016 / 4:24 pm

      Yes, lucky you didn’t get the repair man out!!!! That would have cost you a small fortune, starting with the call out fee!

  5. April 1, 2016 / 11:46 pm

    I always try to remember to leave the door open after a wash so that the water doesn’t sit in the machine and mold. However, I might want to try one of these other methods to clean out the washing machine, since ours doesn’t have an auto-clean setting. I don’t want the machine to seize up because of some build up, and cleaning should be able to prevent the need for repairs. Thanks for the tips!

  6. July 28, 2016 / 10:41 pm

    Over all, the front loader washing machine technology is still relatively young, and as such, by no means perfected.

  7. November 17, 2016 / 8:59 pm

    Your tips really work. Thanks a lot. A few drop of vinegar mixed with bicarb soda is always my favourite. Also one more reason to love baking :v