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 van Tijn and I live in Vancouver, Canada with my wonderful husband, our two boys and our puppy. I am the founder and primary contributor behind One Smiley Monkey. Welcome to my blog!

89 responses to “How to Clean your Washing Machine Without Using Harsh Cleaners! {Cleaning Tips}”

  1. Love the easy steps!

  2. 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!

  3. Seems so easy! Thanks!

  4. 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

  5. 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!

  6. Thanks for the simple steps! Good reminder re leaving the door open.

  7. 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.

  8. Great tips! Thanks so much! Will definitely give it a try!

  9. That's some great advice. Thanks a lot.

  10. Thanks for this, I need to clean my machine and I will definitely use your tip.

  11. Thanks for the reminder. I need to clean my washing drum and I just bought white vinegar too. 🙂 Great tips!

  12. 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”.

  13. Great tip !!!

  14. I needed this…my washer is due a good clean! Thanks x

  15. I wanted to get a front-load – now I know what to do

  16. 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!

  17. wow this is super easy! glad to read this cuz i just noticed my washer is smelling fuuuuuunky!!!!

  18. Nice, very useful tips!

  19. a lot cheaper than those products they sell. Thanks

  20. Thank you for this useful tips!

  21. Thank you for this post, we did all your tips and our machine is smelling so much fresher…

  22. Thanks for the tip. I would like to get away from chemicals too.

  23. so simple – great ideas

  24. Thanks for the great tips!!

  25. thanks for sharing this! our machine is in desperate need of a good cleaning but i like to stay away from chemicals

  26. 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

  27. 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.

  28. Thanks! The washing machine is smelly a little funky!

  29. Great tips, thanks!

  30. That sounds easy. Vinegar is always so useful to clean with.

  31. The front loaders tend to smell so these are great tips, thanks

  32. thanks! Those are some great tips.

  33. These are great tips. I also use white vinegar in each laundry load. It really helps with very hard water.

  34. Thank you just got a front loader.

  35. i use 1 cup bleach
    usual detergent for load x 2
    run with hot water

  36. Great tip and its one that I will definitely use! Thanks!

  37. 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!

  38. Thanks for this info–I’ve been wanting to clean our washer, but didn’t know where to start!

  39. Is there a difference between lemon juice and vinegar for this?


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

  40. This has motivated me to get cleaning!

  41. great tips!!i think this is important and i love how safe it is!

  42. Thanks so much! I need to try this

  43. Great info! Thanks so much!

  44. Thanks, I like the sounds of this so much better than using harsh chemicals! I bet I could use this in my dishwasher, too!

  45. Great idea. Thanks!

  46. good idea! I will try that with mine! 🙂

  47. Great to know! I’ve been wondering about cleaning the washing machine especially since using cloth diapers.

  48. This is an awesome idea instead of using the Affresh products which can be so gross.

  49. This is an awesome idea. Harsh cleaners literally make me choke.

  50. I better start cleaning it. I only left the door open for a bit after a wash.

  51. Who knew you’d have to clean the thing that cleans 🙂

  52. 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!

    • 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!

      • Thank you … it was so scary!

  53. Hard to believe that something that cleans ~ needs cleaning! But so glad that you have posted this wonderful solution to a tricky problem!

  54. This is great! I have been buying those special cleaners but they are quite expensive. I will give vinegar a try next time.

  55. 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!!

  56. Sounds really easy to do and I have lots of vinegar in the house to use

  57. 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!

  58. 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.

  59. Thanks for doing the research of green cleaning!

  60. It never occurred to me to clean the washing machine. I will have to do that this weekend!

  61. LOVE that I can use vinegar to do this. I think lemon would be a bit expensive so I will try the vinegar.

  62. 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 :-).

  63. Just what I was looking for. Sounds easy!

  64. Thank you for this! Love it!

  65. Often there is a strange odour coming from the washing machine, I am going to give this a try

  66. Thanks for the tip on cleaning my washer with vinegar…it sounds so much better than buying a specialty product.

  67. 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…

  68. Thanks for the tip! I’m going to try the white vinegar on the fabric softener as well.

  69. I have never washed my washing machine before, but now I’m thinking of giving it a try.

  70. 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.

  71. 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

  72. Great information for natural cleaning power. My washer could use this treatment.

  73. Thanks for this,I have noticed my machine smells stinky

  74. Oh I hate when the washer gets that yucky smell,going get it a clean hope it works

  75. Thanks for these easy steps.

  76. 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

  77. These are actually really good tps thanks

  78. good to know, thank you

  79. Vinegar is amazing as it has so many uses.

  80. Thanks for the tips! I think my washing machine is due for a freshening up!

  81. yes, thanks for the reminder, need to do this tomorrow.

  82. 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. 🙂

  83. I like how you use Vinegar* or Lemon Juice instead of buying something because I think it’s ridiculous to have to put out money for stuff that will work that’s already in your house.

  84. I need to try this, I have memory issues and have forgotten loads in there a few too many times and the smell is awful! Hopefully this will work! Thank you!

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