How To Deep Clean Your Washer in 5 Simple Steps

My washing machine works hard! It washes load after load of laundry and is pretty critical in making sure I’ve got clean undies on any given day. But I’ll be honest, I’m pretty lax about actually cleaning my washing machine. It’s really important to give your machine a little regular care and cleaning, and this guide will show you how to deep clean your washer in just a few simple steps.

Genuinely, I do try to thoroughly clean my machine every couple of months as if I don’t, I do find it starts to smell thanks to a build-up of stale soap and fabric softener. If your washing machine has suddenly started to smell, it’s time to learn how to deep clean your washer!

Deep Clean Your Washer. Deep Clean Your Washing Machine. Easy Steps to Clean Your Washer

STEP 1: Check The Manual

Before doing anything, check your machine’s manual for instructions on how to clean it. Some manufacturers discourage the use of descaling products or cleansers in their machines. So check their recommendations – you don’t want to void your warranty when you clean your machine.

STEP 2: Clean Rubber Seals

This next part is messy so you’ll definitely want to put on gloves! Open the door of your washing machine and start feeling around the big rubber seal surrounding the door. You may be able to flip the seal inside out, or you may just need to curl your fingers into the pockets it creates (there may be guidance in your manual on how to do this). 

Either way, you will likely find a gross deposit of slimy moldy gunk hidden behind your seals (I seriously gagged the first time I did this). Once you’ve figured out how to get into those crevices created by your rubber seals, use an old rag (or multiple rags) to clean out as much of that gunk as you possibly can. Then, take a spray bottle filled with a solution of 1 part bleach to 10 parts water and carefully spray behind the seal. 

If you aren’t easily able to spray the seal, saturate a clean rag in the solution and wipe around the seal. Let the solution sit for a couple of mins and then wipe clean. Repeat this process until there’s no more gunk coming off on your rags. Once your seals are clean, dry them completely with a clean dry rag.

STEP 3: Clean The Soap Drawer & Outer Surfaces 

For front-loading machines, remove the detergent drawer (your manual may have instructions for how to do so). Soak it in hot water and use an old (clean) toothbrush to remove any soap/ fabric softener residue or mold. Rinse it thoroughly and let it dry fully before putting it back. 

Also while it’s soaking or drying, wipe down all the outer surfaces of your machine with a rag and antibacterial spray, including the top, sides, front and in particular in and around all the knobs and then dry with a paper towel or clean rag.

STEP 4: Baking Soda

Put about two cups of baking soda directly into the washing machine (not in the drawer). This is going to gently scrub the inside of the drum and combat those stale, moldy odors that are left behind by old soap and fabric softener deposits. Run a large, long, hot water cycle with the baking soda. If your machine has a self-clean cycle, use it now.

STEP 5: Vinegar

Add 1-2 cups of white vinegar to the drum along with 10 drops of essential oil, like tea tree or lavender oil. The vinegar will help to sanitize your machine and the essential oil will help with mildew and mineral deposits, removing mold and acting as a mild disinfectant. 

Then, run another cycle through and set it to the longest, hottest and biggest setting you can find. Let the cycle finish. Open the door and air-dry the inside of the drum. If any bad odor or residue remains, repeat the process.


  1. Only use the recommended amount of detergent, the extra detergent does not mean your clothes will be cleaner, in fact, the excess will leave residue and decrease the effectiveness of your machine.
  2. Always leave the door open when finished with your load of laundry. This will let any remaining moisture evaporates and will avoid the buildup of mold and mildew growth.

While it’s not glamorous, taking the time to deep clean your washer is definitely necessary but as you can see above, it’s probably more straightforward than you think! Let me know your thoughts or additional tips in the comments below?

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