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  • Writer's pictureClean Team USA

How to: Clean Your Top-Loading Washing Machine

Over time, washing machines can harbor dirt, germs, mold, and mildew, leaving your clothes smelling not so fresh. Learning how to clean and deodorize your washing machine naturally can eliminate odor-causing bacteria without the use of harsh chemicals.

Why Should you Clean your Washing Machine?

  • Cleaning your washing machine frequently can help to eliminate odor-causing bacteria, mold, and mildew that builds up over time.

  • Hard water build-up can cause your washing machine to run inefficiently so regular cleaning can help resolve the issue.

  • In humid climates, moisture in the air prevents the washer from drying out completely, causing mildew and less than pleasant odors.

  • Over time, dirt, grime, and soap scum build up on parts of the agitator and wash bin, leaving them looking dirty.

How to Clean your Top-Loading Washing Machine Naturally

Many tutorials on how to clean a washing machine recommend using bleach. Not only is bleach a toxic cleaner, but it is also very bad for your septic system. Septic systems typically require bacteria to help break down matter. If you use bleach to clean your washing machine it washes down the drain and effects the natural break down, which can lead to a number of different issues. To prevent such issues from occurring, it is recommended that you use natural ingredients to clean your washer.


  • 3-4 cups of white vinegar

  • 1/2 cup of baking soda

  • Microfiber Cloth

  • Old Toothbrush


  • Run hot water in your washer with the largest load setting. (Do not add any detergent or clothes.)

  • Add 3-4 cups of white vinegar and allow the machine to agitate for a few minutes.

  • Add 1/2 cup of baking soda and allow the machine to run in order to mix the baking soda in.

  • After thoroughly mixed, allow the water to sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour.

  • While you wait, clean the outer rim of the wash basin using a clean microfiber cloth and dipped into the vinegar/baking soda mixture.

  • Make sure to wipe down any knobs as well as the top of the wash bin. The small, hard to reach places can be scrubbed clean using an old toothbrush.

  • Allow the wash cycle to resume until the water is completely drained.

  • Once the water is drained, wipe the inside of the wash basin out with a damp microfiber cloth.

If your top-loading washer is prone to mold and mildew build up, remember to keep the lid open after each use and clean your washer using this method every few months.

How to Clean your Front-Loading Washing Machine Naturally


  • 2 cups of white vinegar

  • 1/3 cup of baking soda

  • Spray bottle

  • Peroxide (if needed)

  • Microfiber Cloth

  • Old Toothbrush

Although your front-loading washer may have its own cleaning setting, you may have to do some of the heavy lifting beforehand. The gaskets at the front of the machine are commonly known to harbor bacteria, mildew, and pet hair, so remember to start by cleaning these areas first.


  • Start cleaning the gasket by spraying vinegar into the rubber folds and begin to wipe them down using a microfiber cloth dipped in baking soda. The baking soda allows the cloth to become a bit more abrasive and reacts with the vinegar to disinfect and scrub the area clean.

  • An old toothbrush could also be used to get into the hard to reach places, and, if mold is visible, add a small amount peroxide to the vinegar/baking soda mixture to kill the mold.

  • Once the gasket is completely cleaned, don’t forget to wipe down the door of the washer as well.

  • Next, sprinkle 1/3 cup of baking soda into the drum of the machine and pour 2 cups of vinegar into the detergent dispenser.

  • Turn your machine on to the cleaning cycle and wait for it to complete.

Tips on How to Keep your Front-Loading Washing Machine Clean:

  • Don’t let your clothes sit in the washer after the cycle is complete.

  • Make sure you leave the door open when not in use.

  • Wipe your machine out regularly.

Have any tips on how you keep your washing machine clean? Share them in the comments below!

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