The Ultimate Guide On Cleaning Your Washing Machine With Bleach

Are you wondering why does your washing machine smell and how to fix it? I first heard that I needed to clean the washing machine a few years ago when I moved into my flat. And to tell you the truth, I had no clue how to do so. I’ve asked around, and everyone was telling me about different ways and cleaning products to use. I was told about special washing machine cleaners and more natural ways like using soda crystals, vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide and bleach. 

A woman cleaning the inside of a washing machine's door with a cloth

I’ve searched for details and portions, and here we are. Ready to tell you how to clean washing machines and turn your smelly, dirty device into a sparkling one. 

How to clean your front-load washing machine with bleach?

Cleaning your front loader with this product is important to keep musty smells, dirt and bacteria out of your machine. This way you’ll clean the drum of your front-loading washer thoroughly from the dirt that soiled clothes leave while washing them and any foul odours. You should always keep your machine empty and dry before starting the cleaning process.

A woman setting a cleaning program in a washine machine

Now follow the below steps:

  1. Mix ½ cup of bleach with 3.8 l water and wipe the inside of the door. It’s important not to miss that step. You should wipe the door before running the cycle so that it remains will be surely washed away. 
  2. Add ½ cup of liquid chlorine to the detergent drawer and fill the dispenser drawer with chlorine to the highest level. 
  3. Set your machine to hot wash to make sure that all grime will be removed.
  4. Now, run your washing machine. Choose a long cycle or a shorter one depending on how long you have to clean it.  If the washer has a “Maintenance Cycle” or a “ Clean out cycle,” you can run this one.
  5. Once the wash cycle is finished, run an additional rinse cycle to ensure no residue is left.

How to clean your top-loading washer with bleach?

Top loaders also need to be cleaned regularly. this product can help you get rid of dirt, mould and mildew from all surfaces. There isn’t much to do. There’s no need for elbow grease,  use it in the right compartment and it will do the rest. 

And here’s how to do it:

  1. Fill the bleach dispenser.  
  2. Set the hot cycle. Hot water will remove any grease and sanitize the inside of the washer.
  3. Now, set the regular long cycle or if your washing machine has a “Maintenance Cycle” or a “Clean out Cycle” select this one. 
  4. Once the appliance fills with water, pause the cycle to let the bleach soak. Wait for an hour and then turn it on again to finish the process.
  5. Run an extra rinse cycle on hot temperature again, to wash away any leftovers. 

How to clean the drawer using bleach?

Ιn addition to the inside of the washing machine, the detergent drawer needs cleaning as well. Laundry detergents and fabric softeners usually leave residue in the drawer and all the crevices leading to mould growth. Here’s how to kill all bacteria and germs, sanitize the drawer and remove soap scum build-up

You’re going to need:

  • ½ cup of bleach
  • 3.8 l water
  • Cloths 
  • An old toothbrush
A woman filling a cup with bleach to clean the washing machine

Now, follow these simple steps:

  1. Remove all the detergent compartments of the drawers to clean them properly.  
  2. Make a mixture of bleach and water. Soak the toothbrush in the solution and clean all the parts of the drawer and its housing. 
  3. Get a cloth soaked in the solution and wipe all the removable compartments. Then rinse them very well and let them dry. Also, rinse the housing of the drawer. 
  4. Once the removable parts are well-dried, place them back.

Wiping down additional areas

The methods mentioned above will clean your washing machine internally from all harmful bacteria and nasty smells that accumulate. However, some places on the device also need to be cleaned as they might collect gunk, soap scum, mould, like in the filter, the drum or the door seal. Let’s see how to clean all the parts of your washing machine. 

The filter

The filter is usually located on the front of the machine, behind a panel. The filter traps lint, hair and debris that comes out of clothes during the cleaning cycle. You should clean and empty the filter out to prevent clogging up at least every three months. Otherwise, if it is clogged, it might have an effect on your device’s performance. If you don’t know where precisely the filter is and how to remove it, then check the manufacturer guide

A dirty filter of a washing machine

The rubber seal

The rubber seal, also known as the gasket, is between the drum and the door. It’s an area where you can find soap scum, lint, hair, debris, and mould. Mostly, mould can remain there permanently, sink into the rubber porous and then you will be unable to remove it.

A woman cleaning the rubber seal of a washine machine with a cloth

Here’s all you have to do:

  1. Mix a part bleach with 4 parts water in the spray bottle.
  2. Spritz the rubber with the solution.
  3. Let the mixture stay for 15 minutes or more
  4. Next, scrub the rubber to remove the mould away with the brush.
  5. Finally, rinse it with water and dry it with the towel. 

The drum

The drum can be easily cleaned once a washing cycle has finished. Usually, when filthy garments have been washed, a dirty residue remains on the drum, which should be cleaned right away. You can do it easily by wiping the drum with a household cleaner or repeating an entire cycle with an empty drum, using chlorine. Either way, you should rinse very well afterwards 

The outside of the washing machine

And cleaning doesn’t stop only for the interior parts. You have to clean the outside too. But that’s the easiest and the least time-consuming of all. Wipe the top and sides once a week just with a damp cloth. Or you can mix dish soap with warm water. Dampen a cloth into the soapy water and wipe the exterior surfaces. But if the outer part of the door or the sides have stains or even mould, you need something more powerful.

A woman cleaning the outside of a washine machine with a cloth

You’ll need:

  • ¼ cup of diluted chlorine
  • Cloths

Now, you have to: 

Soak a clean cloth into the solution, wipe all the machine’s exterior parts, and then rinse several times with water to remove all residue. That’s all!

Is it safe to use the washing machine after cleaning it with bleach?

Don’t hesitate to use the washing machine after you’ve cleaned it. It’s absolutely safe, as long as you follow some “rules”. Every time you clean the machine with this product, you should keep your device empty of clothes. What’s more, for the sake of not damaging your laundry, run an extra rinse cycle to make sure that all residue has been washed away

For extra safety, you should be accurate while adding your product. Measure precisely the dose. The combination of hot water with a lot of this product creates much foam, so measure the amounts. Also, avoid using it with other cleaning products because it can damage your washing machine instead of cleaning it. 

How often should I clean the washer with bleach? 

There isn’t a rule on the cleaning frequency. It’s generally recommended to clean it once a month to kill all bacteria and sanitise it of harmful germs. However, you can do it more often, and more specific every time you wash filthy and oily clothes. Or every time your machine has a nasty smell. That means that mould has developed. 

Cleaning your washing machine regularly is vital for the proper maintenance and function of your appliance. Dirt, lint, hard water limescale and suds build-up can create musty smells to your laundry and affect the device’s operation. There are numerous products to clean your machine. Bleach though can deeply clean all inner and outer parts of it and at the same time sanitise the surfaces. 
Just remember! Never use it with any other detergent or DIY cleaning solutions made of white vinegar or baking soda. Such a combination might create a reaction that could damage your device. Bleach and hot water are more than enough.

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