Woman washing machine

Do Washing Machine Cleaners Work?

There are a lot of washing machine cleaner products on the market from brands such as Dr. Beckmann, Dettol and Calgon.

But do these washing machine cleaners actually work?

The short answer to this question is that yes, washing machine cleaners do work. However, not all washing machine cleaners work all the time. It’s quite common to use a product and not notice much of a difference.

Washing machine cleaners can be divided into two main categories:

1. All-round cleaners

These products are designed to kill bacteria and remove odours. If your washing machine smells bad or you’re worried about bacteria growth, it could be a good idea to use a product like this.

Using an antibacterial cleaner every 3 months or so can help prevent your washing machine from getting smelly.

However, bear in mind that these products are quite harsh and could be a bad idea for those with asthma or sensitive skin. They’re also not environmentally friendly.

2. Limescale prevention products

These products remove the limescale that can build up in your washing machine, particularly if you live in a hard water area.

They can also help with removing a build-up of laundry detergent. Sometimes these products double as washing machine and dishwasher cleaners.

Some products such as Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner combine limescale prevention with killing bacteria.


How washing machine cleaners work

Washing machine cleaning products work using antimicrobial ingredients and surfactants. They often contain several of the following ingredients:

  • Non-Ionic Surfactants – These ingredients create a foam and help remove grease and grime.
  • Benzalkonium Chloride – This is a preservative and antimicrobial agent that can kill bacteria.
  • Didecyl Dimethyl Ammonium Chloride – This is an is an antiseptic/disinfectant.


What to do if a washing machine cleaner doesn’t work

If your washing machine cleaner product doesn’t work, you can try using different products until you find one that does work.

If there is visible black mould in your washing machine, you should remove it manually (using gloves), as you need friction to remove it. Mould often accumulates around the seal, and simply using a washing machine cleaner isn’t enough to remove it.


DIY washing machine cleaner

You can make a cheap and effective DIY cleaner using products in your kitchen cupboards.

You can make a homemade washing machine cleaner using bicarbonate of sodar and white vinegar.

Here’s a method for cleaning your washing machine cheaply and without using harsh chemical products:

  1. Sprinkle 2 cups of bicarbonate of soda in your washing machine
  2. Run the washing machine on the hottest and longest cycle
  3. Pour 2 cups of white vinegar (and optionally 5-10 drops of essential oil) into the washing machine
  4. Run the washing machine on the hottest and longest cycle