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How to clean a washing machine inside and out – expert tips you need to know

Mrs Hinch and more experts reveal their simple but effective washing machine cleaning tips

laundry room with a washing machine
Chloe Best
Lifestyle Features Editor
Updated: April 26, 2023
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People are often so focused on cleaning their clothes, that it slips their minds to clean the washing machine itself. If you're anything like us, you'll shamefully struggle to recall the last time. But that's set to change thanks to the top cleaning tips from Mrs Hinch, and other cleaning experts.

Blitz the build up of laundry detergent and fabric softener in a few easy steps – and then you can rest easy knowing your washing machine is squeaky clean while it spins your best clothes.

WATCH: Mrs Hinch reveals how to clean your washing machine

Mrs Hinch reveals how to clean your washing machine

To begin, Sophie puts an old tea towel down on the floor and removed the drawer. The cleaning influencer explained that she uses Flash Bathroom spray to clean the drawer "because it removes soap scum so perfect for removing old fabric conditioner etc".

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Then it's time to clean behind where the drawer typically sits using bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar, along with her trusty Sonic Scrubber to tackle the harder to reach places. Use a sponge to soak up the old water and squeeze to rinse it away.

Mrs Hinch washing machine clean

Mrs Hinch showcased how she cleaned her washing machine

Sophie then uses the bathroom spray once again to clean the rubber rim of the machine, before cleaning the washing machine drum itself. Simply add a capful of white vinegar and a scoop of bicarbonate of soda into the drum along with the cloths you have used, then put the clean drawer back into your machine and put it on a quick spin cycle to leave the inside sparkling clean. Sounds easy, right?

READ: Mrs Hinch swears by this genius steam mop – and it's in the Amazon sale

How to clean the outer shell of your washing machine

cleaning washing machine© Photo: iStock

This is a job that you should do regularly, and one that doesn't take much effort. "This operation does not take much time: simply dust with a damp cloth," Ben Peach, Laundry Product Manager at Haier Europe, recommends. "Same thing as the glass on the door, clean it regularly with a damp cloth and it will shine like a brand new one."

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READ MORE: 5 best budget washing machines

How to give your washing machine a maintenance wash

Lara Brittain, Kitchen expert at Currys, says a regular maintenance wash is the best way of making sure you keep getting results from your wash. "A maintenance wash gets rid of any bacteria, stains, sludge and mould that might have built up inside the washing machine. Plus, it clears out any old water that might be left in the drum," she says.

It's advised to do a maintenance wash once a month, and especially if you see black spots building up inside your washing machine door seal. Here are the simple steps you need to follow…

  1. Make sure your washing machine’s empty.
  2. Add a washing machine cleaning solution. Refer to the instruction leaflet for the amount you need to use.
  3. Choose the 'cotton' cycle on your machine.
  4. Press the temperature control until it goes to your hottest setting.
  5. Start the cycle.
  6. When the cycle ends, open the door, pull back the seal and wipe away any debris or water.
  7. Leave the door open until everything inside dries out.

"This will stop any sludge or black spots of mould building up inside your door seal, and it’ll also stop any nasty smells. Perhaps most importantly, it helps increase the life of your washing machine," Lara explains.

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How to clean your detergent drawer

Washing machine drawer© Photo: iStock

After every maintenance wash you should also clean your detergent drawer, to stop old detergent deposits building up.

"The detergent we pour in the dispenser for the laundry is not always used completely by the washing machine. The detergent that isn't used remains encrusted in the drawer and transforms into mould," Ben says.

"To effectively clean it and get rid of the bacteria, you can easily remove the drawer, then soak it for half an hour in hot water; to remove the mould from hard-to-reach corners you can use a toothbrush," he recommends.

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Once the drawer is clean, you can rinse it, dry and reassemble, then slot back into your machine, but give the drawer slot a good wipe before you do.

How to clean your washing machine filter

You should also aim to clean your washing machine filter every four to six weeks. This is usually found right at the bottom of your washing machine, and you may need to remove a small cover to access it.

"Some water will leak out when you remove your filter, so put some towels down to protect your floor. Unscrew the filter and let the water flow out," Lara says. "Then clean the filter by running it under hot water. Screw it back on tightly, replace the cover, and you're all done!"

How to make your own washing machine cleaning solution

If you’ve run out of washing machine cleaning solution, you can make your own. Use two cups of white vinegar, half a cup of water, and a quarter cup of bicarbonate of soda. Mix well before you use it.

What products do you need to clean your washing machine?

Mrs Hinch swears by her Sonic Scrubber for everything from cleaning the kitchen to her bathroom tiles, and if you haven't got one already, you're going to want to invest.

Amazon Sonic Scrubber

Sonic Scrubber household electrical cleaning brush, £18.99, Amazon


Meanwhile, bicarbonate of soda is a great natural ingredient for cleaning, whether it's for getting your oven sparkling clean or tackling your washing machine like Sophie has.

Bicarbonate of soda

Dri Pak Bicarbonate of Soda, £9.29, Amazon


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