How to Naturally Sanitize a Public Washing Machine

Mary Ylisela

Using a laundromat to wash your laundry isn't always convenient, but sometimes it's the only option. It's normal to assume public washing machines are clean because they are frequently exposed to water and detergent.

Sanitizing the washing machine ensures your clothing gets really clean.

But you never really know what the person before you washed in the washing machine or if germs and bacteria were left behind. Whether you own a laundromat or use public washing machines for your laundry, cleaning and sanitizing the machines is important to safeguard your family's laundry from germs, bacteria and mildew.

  1. Wet a clean cloth with white vinegar. Wipe the exterior of the washing machine, including the underside of the door and around the top of the wash basin.

  2. Vinegar is a natural cleaner and sanitizing agent.
  3. Pour 2 cups of white vinegar into the washing machine. Fill the machine with hot water.

  4. Run the washing machine on a full wash cycle to clean, deodorize and sanitize the interior.

  5. Leave the washing machine door open after sanitizing it. You can use the machine right away, if needed, then leave the door open to allow it to air dry.

  6. Tip

    Add 1 cup of white vinegar to the wash cycle each time you use a public washing machine. This softens and deodorizes your clothing while sanitizing the machine. You can substitute 1 cup of bleach for the white vinegar to clean and sanitize the washing machine.


    Odors and stains can be transferred through the washing machine. Always look in the machine before using it to make sure no stain-causing material is present in the wash basin.