How to clean a smelly washing machine

Many people might have the wrong impression that washing machines do not need to be cleaned because they will clean themselves while washing clothes. Unfortunately, in reality, the truth is ugly. Washing machines should also be cleaned like other household appliances. Otherwise, there will be bad odor accumulating in the machine and this terrible smell could stay on the washed clothes. In this blog, Sparkling and Beyond will disclose to you how to clean the washing machine properly. Front-load and Top-load are the 2 most common types of washing machines.  This blog will provide individual cleaning methods of both types as they are equally popular.

The cause of unpleasant odor in the washing machine

The smell from washing machines is mainly from the residue that gradually built up with each time of laundry. For top load washers, it is the soap residue pileup that creates the odor. As for the front load washers, the smell comes from accumulated grime, mold and detergent leftover. Therefore, it is important to clean your washer from time to time so that the smell will not generate and pollute your clothes.


The cause of unpleasant odor in the washing machine
The cause of unpleasant odor in the washing machine

Guide to clean front-load washing machine

The methods of cleaning front-load washers and top-load washers are different.

Let’s start with the front-load ones:

  1. You will need: ¼ cup of baking soda and 2 cups of vinegar
  2. Blend the baking soda with water in equal amounts. We only need 1/2 cup of such mixture. Next, pour this mixture into the detergent dispenser of the washer.
  3. Apply 2 cups of white vinegar into the drum.
  4. Make the washer run in a high speed and high-temperature cycle.
  5. When the cycle is done, wipe away any dirt that is still in the drum with a solution of water and vinegar.


Guide to clean front load washers
Guide to clean front load washers

Guide to clean top-load washing machine 

  1. You will need: Microfiber cloth, washing machine cleaner tablet, toothbrush
  2. Use the wet cloth to wipe the outside of the machine to clear any dust.
  3. Mix the cleaner tablet with water and pour the solution into the drum. Let the machine operate in self-cleaning mode or normal hot water mode. When the cycle is finished, the drum should be spotless. Some newer versions of washers do not require any detergent in the self-cleaning mode so make sure to check this on the instructions of your machine. 
  4. Clean the interior surface with a wet cloth.
  5. Lastly, remove the detergent drawer and, again, wipe it with the wet cloth to clear any remaining detergent, softener, or bleach. A toothbrush can be used for more unyielding stains.


Clean top load washers
Clean top load washers

Some general washer maintenance advice

When not using the washers, it is important to keep the inside dry. Wipe the interior after each laundry and leave the door open to let the moisture out. For the front load type, remember to wash the detergent dispenser regularly with soap and water to prevent the buildup of detergent remains. As for the top load washer, make sure to load the proper amount of clothes, which is around 2/3 of the drum. If the drum is overfilled, there will be too much moisture left in the drum after laundry, making it harder to dry the drum. On the other hand, if the amount of clothes is under 2/3 level, excess detergent leftover will stay in the washer and accumulate rapidly.


Some general washer maintenance advice
Some general washer maintenance advice


It is important to clean your washing machine regularly to avoid unwanted odors contaminating your clothes. Simply follow the steps above and you will have a polished washer! Also, keep in mind to leave the washer dried when it is not running and wash the detergent container frequently. Lastly, make sure to wash the clothes in the right proportion. We hope this blog is helpful for your laundry. If you need professional cleaning services to take care of your appliances, Sparkling and Beyond are willing to help you! Visit our website or dial 415-966-1101 for more information and free quotes!



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