How to Use Bleach in the Washing Machine

How to Use Bleach in the Washing Machine

Using bleach in the washing machine is a good way of making sure that your washing machine is free from horrid smells and nasty bacteria! Plus, it can be used to clean clothes!

But bleach isn’t something you should go using haphazardly, it has to be used with caution!

If bleach isn’t used correctly all sorts of things can go wrong, and nobody wants a broken washing machine or destroyed clothes… Check out our tips below on how to use bleach in the washing machine and you’ll avoid a bleaching disaster!


Things to Consider

Before you jump right in and start using bleach in the washing machine you should consider the following points:

  • You should wear gloves when using bleach.
  • Bleach should always be diluted before it’s used.
  • You should not mix bleach with other household cleaning products.
  • Never put bleach on your face or in your eyes.
  • Open a window to remove the smell of bleach from your home.

Bleach Can Damage Clothes


Using Bleach in the Washing Machine

Bleach has many uses, some of them you might be familiar with and others you won’t know about. But did you know that when it comes to washing machines bleach can be used in 2 different ways? These include:

  • Cleaning clothes in the washing machine
  • Cleaning the washing machine itself

We’ll look at both points so you’ll know how to clean your clothes properly using bleach in the washing machine, and how to clean the washing machine itself using bleach!

Using bleach to clean clothes in a washing machine

Before you start cleaning your clothes in the washing machine with bleach, you need to make sure that you’re using the correct type of bleach. Here are the most common types:

Oxygen bleach, or colour-safe bleach, is not as aggressive as Chlorine bleach and it can be used on both white and coloured clothing. This bleach should not be used on wool, leather or silk.

Chlorine bleach, on the other hand, works well on hard-wearing materials. It’s also great for taking out really old and hard to remove stains. If you’re using this type of bleach you need to use it away from kids and animals! And this type of bleach shouldn’t be used on wool, rubber, silk, acetate and wool blends.

Here are the steps you need to take when you use bleach to clean your clothes in the washing machine:

  1. Check the label on your clothes to see if you can use bleach on the material.
  2. Test your clothes – do a small test with some diluted bleach to see what happens to your clothes – dab some of the bleach solution onto the seam of a t-shirt, for example.
  3. Place the bleach into the bleach dispenser in your washing machine – follow the instructions on the pack to see how much you need to use OR, add powdered bleach to the washing machine tub before you add your clothes.
  4. Place detergent into the washing machine as usual – this will help to clean the clothes.
  5. Allow for the bleach to mix with the water – 2 minutes is enough.
  6. Start a regular hot cycle after you’ve popped your clothes in – you may need to choose a ‘warm’ temperature if your clothes are delicate.
  7. Hang your clothes out to dry outside when the cycle has ended, or use a tumble dryer to dry them – check clothes tags for guidance.
  8. Don’t drop any water on the floor as there will be remnants of bleach in the droplets – wipe them away straight away.

Bleaching laundry rules:

  • Don’t pour bleach straight into the washing machine when there are clothes inside – this will ruin them.
  • Don’t assume all clothes can be washed with bleach – check the labels!
  • Don’t assume that all clothes can be washed on ‘hot’.
  • Don’t do some spot cleaning to remove a tough stain – the whole item has to be covered and cleaned with bleach.
  • Don’t over-bleach – this causes yellowing if you use chlorine bleach.

Laundry Bleaching Symbols

Bleach is great for cleaning clothes, but you’ve got to be careful! And you should always read the labels on your products before you start using them.


Using bleach to clean a washing machine

A washing machine, like any other home appliance, needs to be kept clean throughout its life. There are many ways you can clean a washing machine, but who’d’ve thought you could use bleach!

Bleach is good at removing stubborn stains, smells, and it’s great for getting rid of bacteria that’s built up throughout a washing machine’s life!

Here are the steps you need to take to clean a washing machine using bleach:

  1. Check your washing machine’s manual to make sure you can use bleach to clean the machine.
  2. Get any clothes out of the machine – the machine must be clear.
  3. Remove and clean the filter – the filter gets quite dirty over time and it also traps all the hair and chunky pieces of dirt that come off clothes.
  4. Wipe down the washing machine’s gasket.
  5. You don’t have to clean too much – just use hot water and a sponge to clean as much of the dirt inside and remove what’s caught in the filter.
  6. Place 60ml of laundry bleach into the detergent drawer of your washing machine – cleaning bleach is more aggressive and it may ruin the washing machine.
  7. Turn the dial on your washing machine so a ‘hot’ and ‘long’ wash cycle starts – the heat will activate the bleach in the machine.
  8. When the cycle has finished open the door, if you smell bleach run another hot wash cycle.

Keeping your washing machine clean is always a good thing! Not only does it keep nasty smells and mould away, but it also makes your clothes even cleaner! It’s a win-win.



Bleach is very effective for cleaning clothing and washing machines but you need to know how to use bleach correctly before you start washing with it. For example, too much bleach could cause you major problems, but if used well you could end up with dazzling clothes and a sparkling washing machine!

Got your own methods? Tell us about them in the comments.



How often should I bleach my washing machine?

Regularly cleaning your washing machine will keep it clean, smelling fresh, and free from bacteria. You should aim to clean your washing machine with bleach every six months.

But remember, if you want to clean it really frequently you could try these solutions instead; Bicarbonate of soda (baking soda), white vinegar, and specialised products. General cleaning will work wonders too, for example, keep the filter, drum and gasket clean.


Can I use bleach to clean the drawer on my washing machine?

Yes, you can. Make sure you dilute the bleach before you do this. Also, wear gloves!


Will bleach ruin my washing machine?

Always check your user manual to make sure your appliance can be used with bleach. Excessive bleaching can cause problems in the long-run, but if you clean your washing machine responsibly and you don’t use too much bleach, any potential issues should be kept to a minimum!


I think I used too much bleach to wash my clothes, what will happen to them?

Using too much bleach on your clothes will likely impact the strength and the quality of the material. To ensure this doesn’t happen again follow the steps below:

  • Read clothing labels.
  • Test your clothes first.
  • Don’t rush to do all your clothes at once – do some clothes then do some more.
  • Read the label on your bleach product.
  • Don’t go overboard with the bleach – put less bleach in the washing machine if need be!