A Step-By-Step Guide On How To Clean Your Washing Machine Drawer

It might sound rather bizarre cleaning an appliance designed to wash dirty clothes: the washing machine.  The truth, though, is that it needs regular cleaning, as it develops pretty easy mould due to its wet environment. Over time, dirt, limescale and soap scum block your machine’s proper efficiency and produce a foul smell inside the washer which is transferred to your laundry. 

A woman using the washing machine drawer

To ensure that your freshly washed garments are clean, you should regularly carry out cleaning maintenance to your machine’s outside and inside surfaces. Nevertheless, you should pay attention to some more susceptible areas like the detergent drawer which accumulates residual detergent leftovers and dirt. Laundry detergent and fabric softener clog up in the detergent drawer leaving residues which in turn help in the development of mould.

Special washing machine cleaners are available in the market that can make your machine brand new. However, there’s no need for wasting your money on such products.  Follow our top cleaning tips using products that you already have at home to help you get rid of mould from your washing machine’s drawer at once.

Why is it important to clean the washing machine’s detergent drawer?

You must keep the appliance’s drawer clean to avoid mould and scum residues, which will prevent your machine’s good efficiency and hygiene of your clothes. The soap dispenser is a breeding ground for bacteria and mildew to grow due to high humidity levels. Detergent residue, along with the moisture environment, leads to the development of black mould in the drawer, ending up in your machine drum and eventually your clothes. 

A very dirty washing machine's drawer

Black mould is rather harmful, especially to those who suffer from respiratory issues and asthma. Thus, to keep your and your beloved’s good health, clean the washing machine detergent drawer on a regular basis.

What’s the best way to clean the washing machine’s detergent drawer?

One of the best ways to clean your machine’s drawer is to use bleach. It‘ll kill mould spores, bacteria, sanitise and give a deep cleaning to the drawer, removing detergent leftovers. 

For that purpose, you’re going to need:

  • Bicarbonate of soda
  • A spray bottle
  • White vinegar
  • Bleach
  • A scrubbing sponge

A mouldy washing machine's open drawer

And these are the steps to success:

  1. The first thing to do is to remove the drawer. Press the button over the softener section and pull the dispenser out. You may find this button on the side of the drawer. Look at the manual to ensure its exact position. 
  2.  Fill the sink with warm water and place it in there for a while to soften the soap scum. 
  3. Soak the sponge in the water and pour some bleach over it. Start scrubbing the drawer. 
  4. Rinse the drawer very well with cold water.
  5. Clean the housing of the dispenser using the same sponge. Pay extra attention to the top and bottom of the housing. You may also need to use a small brush to scrub the hard-to-reach areas where grime likes to hide. 
  6. Place a tablespoon of bicarbonate of soda in the housing and pour or spray it with vinegar. Soda will start to foam and fall into the drawer pipe. Combining these two ingredients will eliminate any foul odours and remove any dirt left inside the pipe. 
  7. Allow the drawer and its housing to dry. Once they’ve dried place the drawer back in place.

Note: You can also use bleach to clean the inside of your washing machine too.

What’s the best way to clean the washing machine’s drawer naturally?

You can use white vinegar and soapy water to clean the drawer if you’re one of those people who aren’t fond of chemical cleaning product.

Here’s what you’ll need: 

  • Warm water
  • White vinegar 
  • Liquid detergent

A really dirty washing machine's drawer

Now, follow these steps for a clean washing machine and get rid of mouldy detergent and softener from the drawer:

  • Remove the drawer. Release the button lock which is located over the conditioner section and pull the drawer towards you. On some machines, the button lock is to the side of the drawer. Check the manual to see where exactly it is in your device if you aren’t sure or you can’t find it. 
  • Fill the basin with water and soak the drawer. Add some detergent and vinegar and let the dispenser drawer soak until all the grime and soap residue soften.
  • Once the residue has softened, clean all the parts of the drawer. Use a toothbrush (or a bottle cleaner) to do so. You should also remove the fabric softener lid and clean it. Don’t forget the syphon tube; it needs to be cleaned as well. 
  • Clean the drawer housing. Use a toothbrush soaked into the vinegar-soapy water to reach the top, underside and inside of it. A silicone spatula could help you remove any wax-like fabric softener or detergent residue found at the bottom of the housing. 
  • Let the drawer and housing dry before putting everything back in place.  

How to clean the washing machine’s door seal?

Mould can also appear in the washing machine door seal, as there you can find the same conditions as in the dispenser drawer; high levels of moisture, lint and grime. You’ll probably notice mould on the rubber seal and behind it. Τhe cleaning process is more or less the same as the drawer. 

You’re going to need:

  • A bowl
  • Water (hot)
  • Liquid detergent
  • Some clean cloths

A very dirty washing machine's door seal

Then, do as follows:

  1. Fill the bowl with hot water and pour a  few drops of detergent. Stir very well to mix them. 
  2. Soak a clean cloth into the hot water mixed with soap and wipe all parts of the door seal. Pull back the rubber seal to wipe also behind it as mould usually hides in there.
  3. Use a small brush to access all the difficult areas between the seal and the drum. 
  4. Soak a new cloth in cold water and rinse all the parts.
  5. Finally, wipe dry the door seal with a dry cloth. 

How to prevent your washer’s dispenser drawer from building up mould?

If you don’t want to see mould covering your machine’s dispenser drawer in the future and repeat that hard work, you should do some things to prevent mould build-up:

  • Perform once a month a maintenance cleaning wash at high temperatures (60 – 90 degrees) on your washer using bleach. Along with water (hot), it will kill bacteria, mould spores and thoroughly clean your appliance. Just carry out an extra rinse cycle to rinse any bleach residue left to prevent damaging your next load.
  • Use the right dosage of laundry detergent and fabric conditioner. If you aren’t sure about the correct amount, check the manufacturer’s manual and the instructions labelled on the detergent package. 
  • Clean the drawer, door seal and drum regularly
  • Wipe the drawer every time you use the washing machine.
  • Keep the detergent dispenser a bit open after a wash cycle ends. 
  • Use high-quality detergent and fabric conditioner to avoid leftovers.
  • Prefer washing with hot water rather than cold as it keeps mould away.

    A clean washing machine's drawer that is open

Cleaning the drawer once a month is the ideal frequency to keep mould away from your machine’s drawer. You’ll maintain its proper operation and remove all dirt, lint, hard water limescale and suds build-up which develops black mould, affecting both your machine’s efficient function and cleaning your laundry.

After all, keeping it clean leads to healthy clothes and healthy life. No need to risk it anymore! Keep yourself and your loved ones safe by doing a cleaning session every now and then. It’s now that hard after all!

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