Washing machines should be cleaned regularly to prevent them from becoming a haven for bacteria and mould.
If your machine isn’t cleaned regularly, the bacteria and dirt that accumulates will affect how effective the machine is at cleaning your clothes. Badly washed or damp-smelling clothes are often a sign that you need to clean your washing machine.
There are a few ways to solve this problem, including buying specific washing machine cleaning products.
A cheaper option is to try soda crystals. You might have these around the house for other cleaning jobs anyway, but if not, they’re super easy to get hold of.
Soda crystals are perfect for removing grease, grime and softening water and are therefore a great option for cleaning your washing machine and other white goods around the home.
How to Clean a Washing Machine with Soda Crystals
Regular maintenance wash
Once a month, or whenever your washing machine begins to get a bit smelly, add soda crystals to your detergent drawer or directly in the drum and put it on a hot (60°C or above), empty wash. If your washing machine has a ‘Maintenance wash’ or ‘Service wash’ cycle, choose this.
The combination of hot water and alkaline soda crystals will help to kill bacteria and remove any built-up grime that has accumulated there over time. You could do this or every four to six weeks to make sure your washing machine is as clean as a whistle.
You should use around 500 g of soda crystals for the best results to leave your washing machine looking cleaner and smelling fresher. If you’re cleaning a really dirty machine, you might need to run two cycles the first time you use this method.
Using soda crystals with white vinegar
You can combine the use of soda crystals with other household cleaners like white vinegar, which when added to the drum before a hot wash, will remove any excess limescale and leave it sparkling clean.
You can also scrub the drum and doorway with the white vinegar for the best results.
This video shows you exactly how to clean your washing machine using soda crystals and white vinegar:
Using soda crystals with Zoflora
If you want to, you can get a lovely smelling, clean washing machine by combining soda crystals with Zoflora.
Just add a capful of your favourite Zoflora scent to the drum with the crystals and set the machine away on a hot wash cycle.
Do Soda Crystals Get Rid of Smells?
Soda crystals can be used to clean away the things that create smells, such as mould or grime, but they aren’t normally used in the same odour-absorbing way as bicarbonate of soda.
As an example, if you want to absorb the smells in the fridge, place a small open container of bicarbonate of soda in there.
Soda crystals won’t necessarily work in the same way, but if you want to do some experimenting, you could give it a try.
Using soda crystals with white vinegar gives you double the chance of getting rid of bad smells, especially when cleaning your washing machine.
Cleaning a Washing Machine with Caustic Soda
Caustic soda and soda crystals are sometimes confused, but they are different things. Caustic soda is sodium hydroxide while soda crystals are sodium carbonate.
You can clean a washing machine with caustic soda, but it’s generally not advised since caustic soda can be quite dangerous and could also damage your machine.
We don’t advise cleaning your washing machine with caustic soda. It’s generally much safe to use soda crystals or a specialised washing machine cleaner product instead.
Washing Machine Maintenance Tips
Follow these tips to keep your washing machine mould and bacteria-free and smelling as fresh as possible:
- Clean your washing machine with soda crystals roughly once a month – Regularly cleaning it will help prevent the buildup of grime, mould and odours. If you use your washing machine a lot, you might need to clean it twice a month. If you don’t use it so often, you might be able to leave it a couple of months between cleans.
- Leave the washing machine door open when you’re not using it – This allows for air circulation and prevents mould growth.
- Use the right amount of detergent – Using too much can cause a buildup of soap scum. Follow the instructions on the packaging and adjust it depending on the load size and how soiled your laundry is.
- Wipe the seal after use – Drying off the washing machine seal with a microfibre cloth can help prevent the growth of mould.
In The Wash is your guide to the best laundry and cleaning products, tips and tricks. Our mission is to solve the UK’s cleaning and laundry dilemmas!