How to Clean your Washing Machine Without Using Harsh Cleaners! {Cleaning Tips}

How to Clean your Washing Machine Without Using Harsh Cleaners! {Cleaning Tips}

 

What you need:
  • Vinegar* or Lemon Juice
  • Cleaning Cloth
  • Small Brush  (toothbrush)

1. Start by wiping down the exterior of your washing machine with the cleaning cloth using the vinegar.

2. Pour two cups of lemon juice or vinegar into the tub and run  a full cycle on the hottest setting.  (If you have a front-loading machine then put the vinegar/lemon juice in the detergent dispenser instead).

3. Scrub the lid/door and all the corners with vinegar using the small brush and/or the cleaning cloth.

You are done!!!

Note: Remember to always leave the door open after you finish a load to allow the washing machine to dry out completely. This is specially important with front-loading machines to prevent mildewing.

*White vinegar is ideal, but you can definitively use cider vinegar if you wish (just keep in mind that it is a bit more expensive). Cider Vinegar  is more likely to be organically produced, which is better for the environment.
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Angela V

Founder and Writer at One Smiley Monkey blog
Hi, my name is Angela and I am a Canadian mom living in Vancouver with my wonderful husband and two happy little boys. I am the founder and primary contributor behind One Smiley Monkey. Welcome to my blog!
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87 responses to “How to Clean your Washing Machine Without Using Harsh Cleaners! {Cleaning Tips}”

  1. Melissa R — February 4, 2012 @ 3:39 am (#
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    Love the easy steps!

    Reply

  2. Brianna and Brian Laughman — February 4, 2012 @ 8:56 am (#
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    Thanks for this. I really need to do this but I didn't want to harm my cloth diapers. This should be easy and use things I already have in the house!

    Reply

  3. MommaSparkleBot — February 4, 2012 @ 9:50 am (#
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    Seems so easy! Thanks!

    Reply

  4. el03ro — February 4, 2012 @ 2:27 pm (#
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    February 4–Thank you for this tip. I know Heloise is always telling us about the uses of vinegar and baking soda. I will try this as It is less toxic than using a commercial bleach product.-el03ro

    Reply

  5. Amy M — February 4, 2012 @ 5:05 pm (#
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    I was just thinking about how to clean it this morning.. so glad I found this. Don't want to use bleach or whatever chemical that is recommended. Thanks!

    Reply

  6. Sabrina — February 4, 2012 @ 8:06 pm (#
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    Thanks for the simple steps! Good reminder re leaving the door open.

    Reply

  7. Vanessa Coker — February 4, 2012 @ 9:34 pm (#
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    Really great tips! we actually cleaned ours last weekend and used many of the same ingredients listed here. Except we ran a wash with vinegar first and then another cycle with baking soda.

    Reply

  8. Cynthia Mollison — February 4, 2012 @ 9:37 pm (#
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    Great tips! Thanks so much! Will definitely give it a try!

    Reply

  9. Bidchka — February 5, 2012 @ 6:32 pm (#
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    That's some great advice. Thanks a lot.

    Reply

  10. Deb Dorrington — February 5, 2012 @ 10:40 pm (#
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    Thanks for this, I need to clean my machine and I will definitely use your tip.

    Reply

  11. Samantha Jenkins — February 6, 2012 @ 4:09 am (#
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    Thanks for the reminder. I need to clean my washing drum and I just bought white vinegar too. 🙂 Great tips!

    Reply

  12. Lisa KH — February 21, 2012 @ 2:47 pm (#
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    Thanks for the tip about using vinegar. We purchased a new washer last year and I’ve been looking for a natural cleaning solution to ensure our washer “stays new”.

    Reply

  13. Karina — February 25, 2012 @ 7:16 pm (#
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    Great tip !!!

    Reply

  14. Katy — February 26, 2012 @ 4:45 pm (#
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    I needed this…my washer is due a good clean! Thanks x

    Reply

  15. Adri — March 5, 2012 @ 8:30 pm (#
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    I wanted to get a front-load – now I know what to do

    Reply

  16. Ester G — March 11, 2012 @ 8:53 am (#
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    Super important to clean a front load. We noticed our clothes were smelling funny, then decided to regularly clean the washer and it is great!

    Reply

  17. morgan danskin — March 12, 2012 @ 8:43 pm (#
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    wow this is super easy! glad to read this cuz i just noticed my washer is smelling fuuuuuunky!!!!

    Reply

  18. Hoa — March 13, 2012 @ 7:56 pm (#
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    Nice, very useful tips!

    Reply

  19. Lynn Hall — March 15, 2012 @ 12:15 pm (#
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    a lot cheaper than those products they sell. Thanks

    Reply

  20. Cherry — March 25, 2012 @ 11:35 am (#
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    Thank you for this useful tips!

    Reply

  21. Perk11 — April 2, 2012 @ 7:58 pm (#
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    Thank you for this post, we did all your tips and our machine is smelling so much fresher…

    Reply

  22. Shirley — April 3, 2012 @ 6:06 pm (#
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    Thanks for the tip. I would like to get away from chemicals too.

    Reply

  23. Kathy T — April 7, 2012 @ 11:00 am (#
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    so simple – great ideas

    Reply

  24. Candice — April 13, 2012 @ 8:14 am (#
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    Thanks for the great tips!!

    Reply

  25. jennifer laur — April 14, 2012 @ 8:16 am (#
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    thanks for sharing this! our machine is in desperate need of a good cleaning but i like to stay away from chemicals

    Reply

  26. Krystal M — April 16, 2012 @ 7:40 am (#
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    Great advice! I usually give it a good clean with white vinegar at least every month. I wish everyone in the house would follow the rule about leaving the door open when not in use….. the hubbs is still in training! LOL

    Reply

  27. dry cleaning Monroe County — April 30, 2012 @ 12:13 am (#
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    These are great washing machine cleaning tips! It is good to note that there are gentle cleaners that can be used for this task. Thanks for sharing a very helpful article.

    Reply

  28. Dreena — May 1, 2012 @ 3:15 pm (#
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    Thanks! The washing machine is smelly a little funky!
    Cheers.

    Reply

  29. Tracy Dixon — May 6, 2012 @ 6:48 am (#
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    Great tips, thanks!

    Reply

  30. MissT — May 7, 2012 @ 7:11 pm (#
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    That sounds easy. Vinegar is always so useful to clean with.

    Reply

  31. Ann Demill — May 8, 2012 @ 5:43 am (#
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    The front loaders tend to smell so these are great tips, thanks

    Reply

  32. nancy — May 14, 2012 @ 8:52 am (#
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    thanks! Those are some great tips.

    Reply

  33. InezbyDesign — May 15, 2012 @ 9:11 am (#
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    These are great tips. I also use white vinegar in each laundry load. It really helps with very hard water.

    Reply

  34. M Turner — May 18, 2012 @ 5:59 pm (#
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    Thank you just got a front loader.

    Reply

  35. Srishayini — May 23, 2012 @ 9:21 am (#
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    i use 1 cup bleach
    usual detergent for load x 2
    run with hot water

    Reply

  36. Heather — June 4, 2012 @ 7:33 pm (#
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    Great tip and its one that I will definitely use! Thanks!

    Reply

  37. kelly — June 8, 2012 @ 8:17 am (#
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    Thank you so much for this post! I was looking at our washer the other day and thought, man I need to clean it but what do you use? This is so helpful!

    Reply

  38. Kristin — August 19, 2012 @ 10:36 pm (#
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    Thanks for this info–I’ve been wanting to clean our washer, but didn’t know where to start!

    Reply

  39. S — August 21, 2012 @ 7:25 pm (#
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    Is there a difference between lemon juice and vinegar for this?

    🙂

    Reply

    • Angela at OneSmileyMonkey — August 21st, 2012 @ 7:36 pm

      You can use either. I have cleaned it with both and I found that it worked equally well. 🙂

      Reply

  40. Sarah — August 27, 2012 @ 1:48 pm (#
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    This has motivated me to get cleaning!

    Reply

  41. amy v — August 30, 2012 @ 7:22 pm (#
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    great tips!!i think this is important and i love how safe it is!

    Reply

  42. Shelley R — September 9, 2012 @ 8:54 am (#
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    Thanks so much! I need to try this

    Reply

  43. Melissa Bono — September 19, 2012 @ 10:14 am (#
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    Great info! Thanks so much!

    Reply

  44. Nena Sinclair — October 6, 2012 @ 11:56 pm (#
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    Thanks, I like the sounds of this so much better than using harsh chemicals! I bet I could use this in my dishwasher, too!

    Reply

  45. Angela — October 14, 2012 @ 8:32 am (#
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    Great idea. Thanks!

    Reply

  46. Lindsey — November 9, 2012 @ 9:56 am (#
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    good idea! I will try that with mine! 🙂

    Reply

  47. Sarah — December 5, 2012 @ 9:40 pm (#
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    Great to know! I’ve been wondering about cleaning the washing machine especially since using cloth diapers.

    Reply

  48. catherine — January 9, 2013 @ 6:30 am (#
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    This is an awesome idea instead of using the Affresh products which can be so gross.

    Reply

  49. Stephanie LaPlante — January 13, 2013 @ 9:59 am (#
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    This is an awesome idea. Harsh cleaners literally make me choke.

    Reply

  50. Emilia T — January 16, 2013 @ 9:23 pm (#
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    I better start cleaning it. I only left the door open for a bit after a wash.

    Reply

  51. Sarah Lewis — February 23, 2013 @ 3:32 pm (#
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    Who knew you’d have to clean the thing that cleans 🙂

    Reply

  52. Heather Diotte — March 19, 2013 @ 6:40 am (#
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    Wish I’d have seen this before attempting to run a javex load through my front loading machine! The result was completely scary as I dumped the javex into the detergent cup and the javex splashed right up into my right eye! I spent all day at emerge getting it flushed out! NEVER AGAIN will I use javex! At least the result of natural cleaners cannot harm your body should anything like this ever happen! Lemon juice or vinegar may sting, but it’s not horrible like that stupid bleach!

    Reply

    • Angela V — March 19th, 2013 @ 7:30 am

      That sounds scary Heather! Yet another reason why chemical cleaners are horrible and should be avoided. Imagine if that happened to a child as well… Glad you are o.k!

      Reply

      • Heather Diotte — March 21st, 2013 @ 8:18 am

        Thank you … it was so scary!

  53. Robin Wilson — April 18, 2013 @ 12:48 pm (#
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    Hard to believe that something that cleans ~ needs cleaning! But so glad that you have posted this wonderful solution to a tricky problem!

    Reply

  54. Rachel N — May 23, 2013 @ 1:11 pm (#
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    This is great! I have been buying those special cleaners but they are quite expensive. I will give vinegar a try next time.

    Reply

  55. Erika B — May 24, 2013 @ 10:13 am (#
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    My front loading washer stinks!!!! I thought it was the water but its coming from inside. This is a great way to clean without using chemicals or spending money on expensive washing machine cleaner. Thanks so much ill be sharing with friends and family for sure!!

    Reply

  56. Vesper — July 16, 2013 @ 9:24 am (#
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    Sounds really easy to do and I have lots of vinegar in the house to use

    Reply

  57. Judy C — July 23, 2013 @ 3:18 pm (#
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    Thanks for the tip! I have a front loader and have been buying the cleaning tablets for it. I will try this next time I clean it!

    Reply

  58. Linda L — August 8, 2013 @ 10:20 am (#
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    I have a HE Front Loader Samsung Washer
    I also pull out the soap/bleach/softener drawer at the end of the wash day as the mildew will also build up inside of it too.

    As well when cleaning the drum, I remove the same drawer and give it a thorough cleaning as soap & softener scum also builds up — yuck.
    Linda

    Reply

  59. Elaine Buonsante — September 5, 2013 @ 10:52 am (#
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    Thanks for doing the research of green cleaning!

    Reply

  60. Jeannie — October 3, 2013 @ 7:26 am (#
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    It never occurred to me to clean the washing machine. I will have to do that this weekend!

    Reply

  61. loriag — October 27, 2013 @ 5:23 am (#
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    LOVE that I can use vinegar to do this. I think lemon would be a bit expensive so I will try the vinegar.

    Reply

  62. Elizabeth Matthiesen — November 1, 2013 @ 6:39 am (#
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    I must admit that I am surprised by how many people use these chemical cleaning products these days. I fortunately grew up using vinegar & newspaper to clean windows etc, in fact vinegar was probably the most used product in the household – good old mum :-).

    Reply

  63. Tiffany Wilson — December 6, 2013 @ 12:41 pm (#
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    Just what I was looking for. Sounds easy!

    Reply

  64. Christine Topley — March 11, 2014 @ 1:04 pm (#
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    Thank you for this! Love it!

    Reply

  65. DARLENE W — June 29, 2014 @ 7:50 pm (#
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    Often there is a strange odour coming from the washing machine, I am going to give this a try

    Reply

  66. Elaine Buonsante — July 4, 2014 @ 10:06 am (#
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    Thanks for the tip on cleaning my washer with vinegar…it sounds so much better than buying a specialty product.

    Reply

  67. Laurie P — July 7, 2014 @ 8:39 am (#
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    This is great! Cleaning my washing machine has been on my mind recently, today might be a good day for it seeing as it’s raining and I’m not venturing out…

    Reply

  68. Elaine Buonsante — July 25, 2014 @ 9:15 pm (#
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    Thanks for the tip! I’m going to try the white vinegar on the fabric softener as well.

    Reply

  69. Jeannie — August 4, 2014 @ 10:32 am (#
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    I have never washed my washing machine before, but now I’m thinking of giving it a try.

    Reply

  70. Wanda Tracey — August 23, 2014 @ 8:51 pm (#
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    Thank you so much for this tip to clean my washing machine.That’s so good to know and also a good reminder to do this soon.

    Reply

  71. Anna W — September 11, 2014 @ 9:32 am (#
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    This sounds like a nice easy green way to clean my washer. I don’t trust the chemical cleaners they sell in the stores to clean. Thank you

    Reply

  72. Alexia H. — October 24, 2014 @ 6:03 pm (#
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    Great information for natural cleaning power. My washer could use this treatment.

    Reply

  73. kathy+downey — November 17, 2014 @ 5:43 am (#
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    Thanks for this,I have noticed my machine smells stinky

    Reply

  74. kathy downey — March 3, 2015 @ 6:08 am (#
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    Oh I hate when the washer gets that yucky smell,going get it a clean hope it works

    Reply

  75. kathy downey — April 5, 2015 @ 7:27 am (#
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    Thanks for these easy steps.

    Reply

  76. kathy downey — October 24, 2015 @ 12:12 pm (#
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    My friend had a front load and the sucker stinks,she has tried this along with other things and iits horrible ,i dont think i want one seems like a lot of work

    Reply

  77. kathy downey — November 17, 2015 @ 1:01 pm (#
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    These are actually really good tps thanks

    Reply

  78. Darlene W — August 13, 2016 @ 11:57 am (#
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    good to know, thank you

    Reply

  79. Janet M — August 21, 2016 @ 9:53 am (#
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    Vinegar is amazing as it has so many uses.

    Reply

  80. Tannis W — October 11, 2016 @ 9:17 pm (#
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    Thanks for the tips! I think my washing machine is due for a freshening up!

    Reply

  81. janie vezina — December 16, 2016 @ 5:56 pm (#
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    yes, thanks for the reminder, need to do this tomorrow.

    Reply

  82. Wanda Tracey — January 3, 2018 @ 6:50 pm (#
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    Thank you for the great tips to cleaning my washing machine.I know it’s important to the life of our machines and I try to remember to do it at least once a month. 🙂

    Reply

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