Do it Yourself Washing Machine Cleaner

Cleaning your cleaning appliances may seem a bit strange, but it is actually more practical than you might think. Your washing machine is exposed to dirty water, chemicals, minerals and soap. These things can build up over time, causing your washing machine to become dirty and less efficient. Cleaning can help remove mineral buildup, soap scum, dirt and bacteria from your washing machine and the connecting hoses, which helps get your clothes cleaner and keeps your machine functioning at its peak.

Cleaning your washing machine makes it more efficient.
  1. Set your washer to a normal wash cycle and hot water. Add either 2 cups of vinegar or 2 cups of lemon juice directly to the water. Leave your washer empty besides water and your chosen natural disinfectant.
  2. Allow your washer to run the regular hot water cycle. This first cycle will loosen the dirt, soap scum and grime that has built up.
  3. Remove the fabric softener dispenser when the first cycle of washing is complete. Soak the dispenser in a dishpan filled with warm water and a few drops of dish soap. Scrub film loose with a sponge. Remove it from soapy water, rinse under clean water, wipe it dry with a paper towel and put it back in your washer.
  4. Wipe your bleach dispenser and the top rim of your tub clean with an all-purpose spray cleaner made from 1 cup vinegar and 2 cups water. Wipe out with paper towels and use cotton swabs to reach crevices.
  5. Run your washer again on a regular, hot water cycle. Do not add any vinegar or lemon juice. This cycle is intended to rinse away the loosened dirt, soap scum and mineral build-up.
  6. Wipe the outside of your washer clean with a soft cloth and undiluted vinegar. Check the exteriors of your hoses to make sure none are cracked, loose or in need of replacement.

Things You Will Need

  • Vinegar or lemon juice
  • Dish soap
  • Cotton swabs
  • Dishpan
  • Paper towels
  • Sponge with scrub back


  • Reader's Digest suggests adding 2 gallons of vinegar to a washing machine filled with hot water if you have an extreme amount of buildup present. Let the water and vinegar agitate for about 10 minutes, stop your washing machine and let it sit overnight. In the morning, empty the washer and run one cycle through with plain water.

About the Author

Hillary Marshall has been writing professionally since 2006. Before writing instructional articles online, she worked as a copywriter and has been published in "Ideal Living" "Sass" "Science Edge" and "Shopping Cents" magazines along with countless websites including Gadling a blog by the Huffington post. Marshall studied early childhood education at the Stratford Career Institute.

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