Washing machines are designed to keep our clothes clean and smelling fresh, so a dirty machine just won’t do the job. If your machine is producing not-so-bright whites or is beginning to smell worse than the dirty socks you’re loading it up with, it might be a good idea to give it a good clean, which is easier than you might think.
As each design of machine is different, the best place to start with this is in the owners’ manual. This will tell you whether you can use de-scaling products in the machine and how to remove certain parts for cleaning.
How to Keep Your Washing Machine Clean
A good place to start is with your detergent drawer that can harbour a surprising amount of nasty bacteria. Once you have removed the drawer, soak it in hot, soapy water and remove any grime with a toothbrush or cloth. You can then leave this to dry completely before re-inserting it ready for your next clothes wash.
If the problem seems to be originating in the drum of the washer, then add some vinegar and bicarbonate of soda directly into the washing machine and put it on an empty, hot wash.
To ensure that your clothes always come out squeaky clean, you can put your machine on an empty hot wash of 60°C every 1-2 months and empty the filter (the location and “how-to” for this will be found in the user manual) of any fluff and dirt that collects there. Be sure to leave the washer door open to dry out to prevent a permanently damp atmosphere inside as this encourages mould and bad smells!
If these tips don’t seem to fix your washer’s problem, then read on to discover the washing machine cleaners that others swear by for keeping their machine clean and working for a long time. Be sure to always read your machine’s user manual for products that you can use in your machine, as using some products may break your machine’s warranty or cause unseen problems inside it.
Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner
Well known for tackling dirt around your home, Dettol also sells a cleaner that claims to eliminate bad odours, dirt and limescale from your washing machine while killing 99.9% of bacteria. This product is perfect for cleaning every aspect of your machine by using it in different ways.
It can be primarily used to clean inside your washer by pouring the liquid into the detergent drawer and running an empty wash at 60°C. You can also dilute it with water and use it to wipe down the drum and to clean the detergent drawer. The liquid has a tendency to create a lot of soapsuds, so be sure to use this product in moderation to prevent a wet and soapy kitchen floor!
Ecoegg Detox Tablets
The Ecoegg washing machine cleaner comes in tablet form and is simply placed into the washer which is then put on a hot wash of 60°C. Ecoegg claims that the tablets are only needed every 6 months, meaning that this cleaning is hassle-free and keeps the machine smelling clean for the longest period of time out of the recommended products that we have listed.
The product is also made up of natural ingredients, meaning that waste water from the machine won’t harm the environment. The only obvious issue with the product is its inability to be used as a soap for cleaning other parts of the machine as it is in tablet and not liquid form. There are, however, other products available for cleaning exterior parts and if you are looking for a method for purely cleaning the unseen parts of your machine, then the Ecoegg may be a good and relatively environmentally friendly method.
Dr Beckmann Service-It Deep Clean Washing Machine Cleaner
This Dr Beckmann powder cleaner can be added directly into your washing machine before a hot empty wash to clear away 99.9% of bacteria including MRSA, and it also removes limescale. You use the whole pack provided for one clean and the product can be used in conjunction with other products sold by Dr Beckmann such as the Service-It Liquid that can be used to clean off the dirt that you can see on rubber seals or the detergent drawer.
It is recommended that this treatment is used every 30-40 washes or every 2-3 months and a new Dr Beckmann product must be bought for each treatment as the whole box of powder is used up each time.
JYW Limescale & Detergent Remover for Washing Machines & Dishwashers
This JYW limescale and detergent remover comes as a box of 10-12 sachets, with one to be used once a month to remove limescale and any other grime. The treatment is far more frequent than those previously listed, but the results seem to be the same with limescale being efficiently removed and users being left with a fresh-smelling washer.
This product is easy to use. You simply add a sachet of the powder to your machine and select a hot wash of around 60°C. The product is advertised as being suitable for all washing machines, but you should check your machine’s user manual to be sure before you try the product.
WPRO Indesit Limescale And Detergent Descaler and De Greaser
This WPRO washing machine cleaning product also comes in a pack of 12 sachets of powder and treatment should be repeated every month. It advertises its ability to remove limescale from the unseen parts of your machine and soapy residue left behind after washes.
It is more adaptable than other similar products as it can also be used in your dishwasher, making it especially useful in households with hard water. The packaging claims that it is recommended by well-known washing machine brands such as Indesit, Whirlpool and Hotpoint, amongst others, which makes it seem reputable, but be sure to check your user manual first!