How to … clean your front-loading washing machine

Here is a cheap, safe and eco-friendly way to keep your front loader washing machine – and your clothes – clean.

How to … clean your front-loading washing machine

It’s frustrating taking clothes out of the washing machine to find them covered in fine lint or caked in soap residue. Here’s a simple way to keep your hard-working washing machine clean and in action.

In most washing machines the soap dispenser is removable. This tray is a common location for mould to grow. To wash the soap dispenser, gently pull it out and place it in the top rack of your dishwasher or wash it by hand using hot, soapy water. If it doesn’t come out easily, check the machine instructions, as it may not be removable. If this is the case, wipe it with hot water and vinegar.

Next, gently clean out the filter. Lint and soap suds often build up here, commonly causing problems for front loader washing machines. When following the manufacturer’s instructions, the filter should jiggle loose easily.

Inspect the inner door and seals of your washing machine for mould. If mould has grown, you can remove it using a cloth dipped in an equal parts mix of hot water and white vinegar. Between washes it’s best to leave the door of your washing machine slightly ajar. This will allow airflow into the machine, giving it a chance to dry and reducing the likelihood of mould growing.

To clean the inside of the machine itself, put half a cup of white vinegar into the drum and two tablespoons of bicarbonate soda into the detergent dispenser drawer. Run a normal hot wash cycle. Check on your machine regularly during this wash, especially if you have not cleaned it in a while as it may cause left over soap to foam up.

How often do you clean your washing machine – if ever? Do you have any tips or tricks you want to share with other readers? Let us know in the comment section below.

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    COMMENTS

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    Connie
    1st Mar 2020
    10:27am
    You should also leave the soap dispenser open most quality frontloads have a clean cycle which usually runs about 128 minutes
    Amelia
    1st Mar 2020
    11:18am
    "detergent dispenser draw"- what happened to spellcheck (or the ability to spell simple words)?
    inquisitive
    2nd Mar 2020
    3:37pm
    spelling must be very important to you ? pedantic?
    Alan
    1st Mar 2020
    1:01pm
    Well said Amelia. This particular word is a favourite of the ignorant. Granted, spellcheck is what they should be using, but really, what can you do with adults who don't know the difference between DRAW and DRAWER?

    Proof reading seems to have disappeared over the years as I see this sort of idiocy more and more often.

    A more recent addition to the idiot dictionary is the use of the word LOOSE instead of LOSE.
    Amelia
    1st Mar 2020
    1:29pm
    Indeed, Alan! Grounds for continuing despair!
    Bundabergian
    1st Mar 2020
    2:58pm
    we see "Chester draws" (chest of drawers) all the time in our local buy/sell pages.
    Alan
    1st Mar 2020
    3:08pm
    Chester Draws - LOLOL
    Mariner
    1st Mar 2020
    8:35pm
    Like in a Cowboy Movie, eh?
    Denny
    1st Mar 2020
    1:01pm
    What about cleaning top loading washing machines? I presume you use the vinegar and bicarbonate of soda solution.
    The Sheriff
    2nd Mar 2020
    11:56am
    Great question, Denny. Many of us prefer top loaders.
    Hillbillypete
    1st Mar 2020
    6:25pm
    PULL YOUR HEAD IN ALL YOU SMART PRICKS OUT THERE AND YOUR SPELLING!! I carnt spell for shit but every one knows what I am saying!
    Julian
    1st Mar 2020
    7:26pm
    Adding bicarb to vinegar simply neutralises the mix, ie acid plus base equals salt plus water.

    Simply running a full cycle with vinegar alone is enough.
    The Sheriff
    2nd Mar 2020
    11:59am
    Merci, Professor Julian.
    Julian
    2nd Mar 2020
    12:06pm
    Correction: carbon dioxide is also a by-product.

    This will annoy some people.
    moama jock
    1st Mar 2020
    8:03pm
    With either top or side clean can you do a normal wash ie. clothes plus detergent
    Jezemeg8
    1st Mar 2020
    8:24pm
    Since I began to use ionic laundry balls instead of detergents and fabric conditioners I only have to clean the lint filter and clean the seal around the door once a month! There is no residue left on clothing, all laundry comes out clean and dries to a lovely soft texture. A bonus is there is no 'stink' of the scents that so many companies believe necessary for their products (but which cause me to leave them on the shelf). There is an initial cost for the balls, but most last for over 150 washes, so in reality they are quite inexpensive, there is no need for any other treatments like conditioners. Some can be refilled, although they are getting harder to find. In any case I will never go back to using detergents. An added bonus is that there is no stink coming from the pump either!!!!!
    Mariner
    1st Mar 2020
    8:37pm
    Yep, they are a bit more expensive but you are certainly on the money - only buy them now and quite a few of them when "on Special".

    1st Mar 2020
    9:33pm
    I gave up using powder detergents after a few too many washes came out with white streaks where detergent had not rinsed away. Now I use liquid detergent only. Never had another wash with streaks and the machine stays clean. Unlike another contributor, I quite enjoy the perfume smell in my clothes after using the special conditioners. Mind you, another bloke was eyeing me off down at the supermarket. The perfume must be attracting unwanted attention since I smelt so flowery LOL.
    JoJozep
    2nd Mar 2020
    10:47am
    All the above is good advice. I clean the inside of my rubber folds around the drum rubber, every month or so and just use a paper towel sheet that I spray with dish washing detergent (once only) and that's about 90% of where the smell comes from. The remainder can be from the detergent tray. Always leave the glass door ajar after a wash to air dry the WM. Check for any black spots developing anywhere on the rubber folds or tray, this indicates mould build up and cleaning required as above.

    Only had a smelly machine once in 10 years of use (small Miele front loader 6.5 Kg) Also some machines are so mingy with water (mine included), they don't rinse properly, so I always add extra water per wash. The other trick is to use half or less than the recommended detergent. If you see lots of foam developing during the wash, you've put in far too much detergent. This will leave the clothes with too much residue. Never used the self clean cycle. Once I did a wash cycle with a little detergent, (30 minute express wash) no clothes and just used the express option. (about once per year.)

    Important to use powder detergent designed for front loading machines. It doesn't, or shouldn't, foam up very much. Any brand ("el cheapo") is as good as any. Don't believe the BS hype of expensive detergents. I buy Coles brand or OMO when it's half price on special, other wise any El cheapo will do! All the brands contain the same ingredients for washing!.

    Even the added "freshener" liquid added during the rinse cycles is Coles "El Cheapo" After the clothes dry on the line on a sunny day I have to wear sun glasses to stop the glare from white towels, when I bring in the washing. I'm not kidding!
    Elizzy
    2nd Mar 2020
    6:04pm
    I always wipe the folds of the rubber door seal after each wash. I use about a desert spoon of liquid detergent for a load. Manufacturers instructions for dosage are based on a full load of very dirty items and the amount is way too much. Anecdotally, after using a technical wash and proof for a load of gortex jackets, my machine was stayed impeccably clean for over 2 months now.


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