Can You Run a Washing Machine Empty

Can You Run a Washing Machine Empty?

You can absolutely run a washing machine empty, and in fact, you should make a point of doing it regularly!

If you want your washing machine to remain in peak condition, it’s important to keep it as clean as possible. 

Why Is it Important to Run Your Machine Empty from Time to Time?

The best way to properly clean your washing machine is to run it on a hot cycle with nothing inside. A hot wash means running the machine on a cycle of at least 40°C, but ideally, you should set the machine to the hottest option if you’re aiming for the best possible clean. 

This is known as a maintenance wash, clean cycle, or service cycle.

This process is even more important if your most common wash cycle is a cold one. Sometimes your machine needs that hot water to run through the pipes and effectively eradicate any lingering bacteria and possible detergent accumulation. 

If there’s unseen grime somewhere in your machine and you don’t clean it regularly, it could start to affect the clothes that you wash and they may come out with lingering smells, or simply will not be entirely rid of any bacteria that may have been on them before the wash cycle.

importance of running empty cycle wash

If you’ve just bought a new washing machine it is also recommended to run it on an empty cycle before you start using it for your clothes or bedding. This is to ensure that there is no dust, oils, or any other residue left inside the machine or its pipes. 

It’s also the perfect way to test out the machine and make sure there are no issues with the installation or the machine itself. 

You don’t have to use any cleaning products when running this empty wash cycle, but if you want to give a little extra cleaning power to the cycle then it could be beneficial to add a few capfuls of Zoflora or two cups of vinegar into the detergent drawer. 

You can also pour half a cup of bicarbonate of soda into the drum of the machine before setting the machine to the hottest cycle and letting the cleaning magic happen! Bicarbonate of soda is a natural deodoriser and will help eradicate any lingering unpleasant smells.



Eliminating all germs and build-ups is the best way to ensure that your clothes washing cycles are as effective as they can be, so try to run your machine with nothing in it as regularly as you can. 

Some machines even have a designated ‘cleaning’ cycle on the dial so look out for that function and check the instructions on the machine’s manual to be sure that you use the feature correctly.