Person wiping drum of Maytag® washer

HOW TO CLEAN A WASHING MACHINE: STEP-BY-STEP GUIDE

You may think that your washing machine remains clean throughout many cycles of laundry, but washing machines actually need to be cleaned from time to time. Removing the soap scum from your washing machine helps ensure your clothes come out clean. Cleaning your washing machine can not only help it run better, but it can help prevent mold and grime from building up.

If you’re noticing that your clean loads don’t smell as fresh as they used to, your washing machine might need to be washed. Read this step-by-guide to learn more about how to clean your washing machine so you can get back to powering through your next pile of laundry.

HOW OFTEN SHOULD YOU CLEAN YOUR WASHING MACHINE?

Cleaning your washer is an important part of maintaining your appliance, and you should clean it once about every thirty washes. Some washing machines have cycles specifically for cleaning your washing machine, or you can manually clean it. Follow these steps to ensure your clothes come out of a clean washer.

HOW TO DEEP CLEAN A WASHING MACHINE IN 4 STEPS

Learning how to clean a washing machine can help ensure that your washing machine runs optimally and your clothes come out clean and fresh each time. Methods and products may vary when cleaning front load and top load washers, so check your model's owner’s manual for specific information on how to clean your washer.

For step-by-step instructions, watch the video or read on for more detailed information.

SUPPLIES NEEDED TO CLEAN A WASHER
  • affresh® tablet1

  • Liquid chlorine bleach

  • Damp cloth

  • All-purpose cleaner

Person placing affresh® tablet in washing machine

STEP 1: CLEAN THE WASHER TUB

  • Remove any items left in the tub.

  • Add an affresh® washing machine cleaner tablet to the bottom of the tub. If you don’t have affresh® tablets, you may be able to use liquid chlorine bleach. Check your owner’s manual as bleach should not be used in certain front load models.

  • Close the door and select your washer’s cleaning cycle.

  • For top load washers, when the cycle ends, run a rinse and spin cycle to clear away any excess cleansers. To get an even deeper clean, remove and wash the agitator.

  • Leave your washer door open to let the tub dry.

Person wiping detergent dispenser

STEP 2: CLEAN THE DETERGENT DISPENSERS

  • Pull out the dispenser drawer until you feel resistance. Depending on your washer, the drawer may or may not be completely removable.
  • Use a damp cloth or an all-purpose cleaner if needed. 

  • Dry with a towel 

  • Note: Dispensers are not generally dishwasher safe.

Maytag tip icon

MAYTAG TIP: LEAVE THE DOOR OPEN

Leave your washer's door or lid open between washes to dry out the inside and help prevent odors.

Person wiping inside of washing machine door

STEP 3: CLEAN IN AND AROUND THE WASHER DOOR

  • Remove any clothing or items from the washer.

  • Open the washer door or lid and wipe down the inside glass or metal with a damp cloth.

  • On front load washers, wipe the outside of the rubber door seal. Then lift up the edge and wipe the interior surfaces as well.

Maytag tip icon

MAYTAG TIP: WASH WITH WARM ONCE IN A WHILE

Washing with warm or hot water occasionally (not exclusively cold) can help slow down soil and detergent build up.

Person wiping outside of washing machine

STEP 4: CLEAN THE OUTSIDE OF THE WASHER

  • Use a soft, damp cloth or sponge to wipe away any spills. 

  • Use only mild soaps or cleaners when cleaning outside surfaces.

SHOP AFFRESH® WASHING MACHINE CLEANER

HOW DO I GET RID OF THE SMELL IN MY WASHING MACHINE?

To remove and prevent smells in the washing machine, leave the washing machine door or lid open after each wash and clean the washing machine around every 30 loads. 

Cleaning your soap, bleach, and detergent dispensers thoroughly can also alleviate washing machine odors. You can even scrub the dispensers with a toothbrush to ensure they are fully cleaned. If compatible with your model, liquid chlorine bleach is another option for curing a smelly washing machine. Chlorine bleach works well to kill mold and mildew, which could be the culprits of the odors. 

Before cleaning your washing machine, always check the washing machine’s use and care guide for instructions.

Maytag® washer and dryer set in laundry room Maytag® washer and dryer set in laundry room

CAN BAKING SODA DAMAGE A WASHING MACHINE?

Baking soda is safe to use in most washing machines and can have deodorizing capabilities for both your machine and your clothing. Again, always check your owner’s manual to make sure.

DISCOVER MAYTAG® WASHERS & DRYERS

Maytag brand offers a variety of washing machines designed for performance, control, and convenience. Select Maytag® washers include a Clean Washer cycle to help you carry the load and power through the laundry pile.

More Essential Washer Info

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1. affresh® brand products and the recommending brands’ products are all owned and distributed by Whirlpool Corporation.