How to Clean a Washing Machine with Vinegar

Keeping your washing machine clean and maintained can help prolong its lifespan and ensure it delivers fresh, clean laundry every time. We know vinegar makes a great cleaner, so if you’ve ever wondered how to clean a washing machine with vinegar, you’re about to find out.

Front-loading washing machine

You can make your washing machine sparkle like new with just a bottle of distilled white vinegar! Learn how to clean a washing machine with vinegar and you can say goodbye to dirty clothes and hello to fresh-smelling laundry. 

One of the most effective cleaning agents you can use on your machine is white vinegar, a natural and environmentally friendly alternative to harsh chemicals. These cleaning tips apply to both top-loading washing machines and front-loading washing machines.

Why Does a Cleaning Appliance Need to be Cleaned?

You’d think a machine that cleans things would stay clean itself. But like a shower or tub, your washing machine needs to be cleaned regularly, and for most of the same reasons.

Soap scum: Over time, soap scum, dirt, and grime can build up in various parts of the washing machine, including the drum, detergent dispenser, and drain hose. This buildup can reduce the efficiency of the machine and lead to unpleasant odors.

Mold and mildew: The damp environment inside a washing machine can aid the growth of mold and mildew. Regular cleaning helps prevent their growth and ensures that your clothes come out smelling fresh.

Maintain performance: Cleaning your washing machine helps maintain its performance by removing any clogs or blockages that may have formed due to trapped debris or lint.

Eliminate bad odors: A dirty washing machine can develop odors that can transfer to your laundry. Cleaning it prevents this.

The Parts of Your Washer Vinegar Can’t Clean

Regular maintenance is essential for keeping your washing machine in good working condition. There are a few parts of it you can’t simply clean with vinegar, so be sure you’re aware of them.

Clean the Lint Filter

Clean the lint filter after every use to prevent blockages and ensure efficient airflow. A clogged filter can cause your machine to work harder, leading to potential damage over time.

Check the Machine Hoses

Inspect the machine hoses for signs of wear or damage. Replace any hoses that show cracks, bulges, or leaks to prevent potential flooding or other damage.

Avoid Overloading

Do not overload your machine. Overloading can cause damage to the drum and motor, affecting the efficiency and longevity of your washing machine.

Why Vinegar Can Clean a Washing Machine

Distilled white vinegar is a great natural cleaning agent that is perfect for cleaning your washing machine. Here are a few reasons why:

  • Vinegar is an effective cleaner that can remove dirt, grime, and odors from your washing machine’s drum and dispenser.
  • It is safe to use on most surfaces, including your washing machine’s drum and dispenser.
  • Vinegar is an environmentally friendly option that is gentle on both your machine and the planet.

Using vinegar to clean your appliance is a quick and easy way to maintain its cleanliness and keep it running smoothly.

NOTE: Over time, plain white vinegar can damage rubber seals, gaskets, and hoses, especially in front-loading machines. Always use distilled white vinegar, which is less acidic. Do not use vinegar in your laundry cycle.

Step-by-Step Guide: Cleaning Your Washing Machine Drum with Vinegar

Cleaning the drum of your washing machine with vinegar is a simple and effective way to remove dirt, grime, and odors. 

  1. Fill the machine with hot water.
  2. Add two cups of white vinegar to the drum. If you have a high-efficiency (HE) washer, use 4 cups.
  3. Run a complete wash cycle on the hottest setting to allow the vinegar to penetrate and clean the drum.
  4. Once the cycle is complete, run another hot rinse cycle with just water to remove the smell of vinegar and help remove any remaining dirt.

That’s it! Your washing machine drum should now be clean and fresh-smelling.

It’s important to note that you should only use distilled white vinegar for this cleaning method, as other types of vinegar may stain your clothes. 

How to Clean Your Washing Machine’s Exterior with Vinegar and Water

If you want to give the exterior of your washing machine a thorough clean, you can use a mixture of white vinegar and water. Follow these simple steps:

  1. Mix equal parts water and white vinegar in a spray bottle.
  2. Spray the solution onto the exterior of your machine, including the top, sides, and front.
  3. Use a clean, damp cloth to wipe down the areas you sprayed.
  4. For stubborn stains, mix baking soda and water to create a paste and apply it to the affected areas. Scrub with a soft brush and wipe clean with a damp cloth.
  5. Finally, wipe down the entire exterior with a clean, dry cloth to remove any remaining moisture.

By using this simple method, you’ll be able to keep the exterior of your washing machine looking clean and fresh, without using any harmful chemicals or abrasive materials.

Clean Your Washing Machine’s Detergent Dispenser with Vinegar

Over time, your washing machine’s dispenser can collect residue from detergents and fabric softeners, leading to clogs and even mold growth. Here’s how to clean it using vinegar:

  1. Remove the dispenser tray from your washing machine.
  2. Fill your sink or a basin with a mixture of equal parts water and white vinegar.
  3. Place the dispenser tray in the solution and let it soak for 30 minutes.
  4. After soaking, scrub the dispenser tray with a soft brush to remove any remaining residue.
  5. Rinse the dispenser tray thoroughly with water and dry it before replacing it in the washing machine.

By regularly cleaning your washing machine’s dispenser with vinegar, you can ensure that your machine is running efficiently and producing clean, fresh-smelling laundry.

Why You Should Clean Your Washing Machine’s Rubber Seal Regularly

The rubber seal on your washing machine can collect dirt, grime, and mildew over time. Due to its location, it can be challenging to clean, making it an often-overlooked part of your washing machine’s maintenance. However, regularly cleaning the gasket can help prevent unpleasant odors and ensure a hygienic wash.

Here are a few reasons why you should add cleaning your washing machine’s rubber gasket to your regular maintenance routine:

  • Dirt, grime, and mildew can accumulate on the gasket over time, leading to unpleasant odors and decreasing your machine’s overall efficiency.
  • Cleaning the gasket can also help prevent mold growth, which can lead to respiratory issues and other health concerns.
  • A dirty gasket can also compromise the seal and cause leaks, which can lead to more significant issues with your machine.

To clean the gasket, start by mixing one part white vinegar with five parts water in a spray bottle. Spray the solution onto the gasket and use a cloth or soft-bristled brush to scrub the area thoroughly. Be sure to get into all the small crevices where dirt and mildew tend to accumulate. Rinse the gasket thoroughly with water and wipe it dry with a clean cloth or towel.

Top Tips for Maintaining Your Washing Machine’s Freshness and Cleanliness

Keeping your washing machine clean and fresh not only helps prolong its lifespan but also ensures that your clothes come out smelling and looking great. Here are some top tips for maintaining your machine’s cleanliness:

  • Wipe down the drum and door after each use to remove any excess moisture and prevent mildew.
  • Run a monthly wash cycle with hot water and white vinegar to deep clean the machine.
  • Launder towels and other heavy items separately to prevent build-up in the machine and ensure a cleaner wash.
  • Avoid using too much detergent as this can result in leftover residue in the machine.
  • Consider using a washing machine cleaner product every few months to help remove any build-up and odors.

By following these simple tips, you can ensure that your washing machine stays clean and fresh, providing you with clean and fresh clothes with every wash.

What Not to Do When Cleaning Your Washing Machine with Vinegar

While vinegar is a great natural cleaning agent for your washing machine, there are a few things you should avoid doing:

  • Do not mix vinegar and bleach: Combining vinegar and bleach can create toxic fumes that can be harmful to your health. Always use vinegar on its own and rinse thoroughly before using any other cleaning product.
  • Avoid pouring vinegar directly into the machine’s dispenser: Pouring vinegar directly into your machine’s dispenser can cause clogs and damage. Instead, add the vinegar to the drum and run a wash cycle on the hottest setting.

The Best Way to Clean Washing Machines with Vinegar

Regular cleaning and maintenance of your washing machine can help extend its lifespan and ensure a hygienic wash every time. Vinegar is a versatile and natural cleaning agent that can effectively remove dirt, grime, and odors from your machine.

Remember to always follow safety guidelines and avoid mixing vinegar with other chemicals. By incorporating these cleaning tips into your regular routine, you can maintain a fresh and clean washing machine for years to come.