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A man looking at limescale build up in a washing machine door seal.

How to Clean a Smelly Washing Machine

Your washing machine, along with your Persil detergent, does a lot of hard work: getting load upon load of laundry fresh and clean, and banishing the mud and stains that active children regularly bring home on their clothes. Dirt is good – which is why it’s so important to give your machine a little regular care and cleaning so that your family can continue having fun getting messy.

One of the problems that can crop up if you don’t clean your appliance is a smelly washing machine. If you’ve suddenly developed a smelly washing machine, it’s time to learn how to clean a washing machine. This way, your appliance can keep working efficiently and keep your clothes looking and smelling great.

This easy guide provides a few simple tips for regular washing machine maintenance and suggestions for how to clean a smelly washing machine.


How to Clean a Washing Machine

It’s not the most glamorous of jobs, but giving your washing machine a good once-over every so often will keep it in peak condition. If you’re methodical about it, the whole process really won’t take long – just follow these easy steps:

  1. Consult your machine’s manual for instructions on how to clean your machine. Some manufacturers discourage the use of de-scaling or products or cleansers in their machines. Doing so may invalidate your warranty.
  2. For front-loading machines, remove the detergent drawer (your manual may have instructions for how to do so). Soak it in hot water and use an old (clean) toothbrush to remove any residue or mould. Rinse it thoroughly and let it dry before putting it back.
  3. Set your machine for a hot or sanitising cycle and add a cup of white vinegar to the drum. The vinegar will help to sanitise your machine.
  4. Let the cycle finish. Open the door and air-dry the inside of the drum. If any bad odour or residue remains, repeat the process.
  5. Finally, take a damp cloth and wipe around the rubber seals of the machine, being careful to lift them away from the metal where possible to get any residue that’s hidden away. Wipe the surfaces of your machine, too.
  6. Your washing machine should now smell fresh and clean!


Washing Machine Maintenance – How to Keep Your Washing Machine Smelling Fresh and Clean

A clean washing machine is a fresh-smelling machine: if there’s something smelly about yours, it means mould or bacteria-laden residue has been allowed to build up in the inside. Here’s how to keep your machine dirt-free:

  • Use only as much detergent as really necessary: follow the guidelines on the packaging, as excess detergent can build up inside the machine. You can also find our dosing guides here.
  • Rinse off excess dirt from soiled clothing before putting it in your machine.
  • Use a home water softener attached to your in-flow pipe, or tablets in your machine, to minimise the build-up of limescale deposits.
  • Leave the door open between washing loads – or long enough so the interior of the drum dries out – to reduce the possibility of mould growing inside. If you have a front-loading washing machine, it’s a good idea to open the detergent drawer as well, to prevent mould from growing.
  • Run an empty hot wash once a month to eliminate any build-up that has already occurred.

Do you have any tips for keeping your washing machine clean? Let us know in the comments box below.

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