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Do I Really Have To Clean My Washer?


People are often asking if cleaning their washing machine is actually necessary. They ask, “isn’t the washing machine constantly just washing itself?”

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It is often mistaken that washing machines are self-cleaning, but that simply is not true. Washing machines can actually accumulate a lot more dirt, grime, grease, and bacteria than realized. Your washing machine is constantly removing gross things from your clothing, some of it is washed away when the water empties, but much is left behind.

Imagine a time when you have given a bath to a dirty child. After you finished scrubbing them down you unplugged the bath and watched the water empty. What is left behind? In many cases, there is a ring of dirt that remains. This example is similar to what happens when you wash dirty clothes.

Why You Should Clean Your Washer

If you haven’t been cleaning your washer regularly, you are probably creating the perfect environment for bacteria growth! There are a lot of things that can be causing a bacteria buildup including food, pet fur, detergent residue,and even fecal matter.

Nobody wants to create bacteria in their home, especially in a place that is meant to wash germs away. Also, the buildup can actually destroy the inner-workings of your machine which will shorten the life of your washer. Additionally, the build-up can make your clothes smell funny.

Once you start noticing a foul odor on your clothes, even after a fresh wash, then you are likely behind on your washing machine cleaning maintenance.

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How Often Should I Be Washing My Washer?

Washing machines should be rinsed once a week by going through a “clean cycle” where the washing machine is completely empty and does not have clothes or detergent.

It is recommended that every washing machine should be deep-cleaned at least once a month. Cleaning can be done more frequently if the consumer is washing articles of clothing that are especially dirty and filled with grime.

It is not advised to wait until there are apparent signs that the washer needs to be cleaned. In other words, don’t wait until there is a gross smell before you decide to clean it!

How Should I Clean My Washing Machine?

Deep-Cleaning your washing machine should be done at least once a month. There are a few ways to clean your washing machine to make sure you can avoid build-up, bacteria growth and stinky smells. You can clean your washing machine by using vinegar, Affresh Tabs, hydrogen peroxide, and/or baking soda.


You can add two cups of vinegar to a clean cycle to help clean out your washer and help with the build-up. You can pour the vinegar into the laundry detergent compartment. The vinegar will not only clean out detergent build-up but can also help kill the foul smelling odor particles.

Affresh Tabs

The simplest way to clean your washer is to get a Affresh tab and throw it into your machine (follow the instructions on the back of the box). Affresh makes it really easy to ensure you are breaking up build-ups and avoiding bacteria growth.

All you do is throw in one tab each month into your washer and run a cycle. The tab is slow-release and will clean up grime, residue, and build-up that everyday cycles leave behind.

Affresh also has wipes that you can use to get every angle of the washing machine to ensure that you are getting your washer as clean as possible.

Hydrogen Peroxide

In order to keep the washing machine smelling fresh you can use hydrogen peroxide. To use hydrogen peroxide to clean your washer you can add two cups to an empty washing machine and then run an empty hot cycle.

Baking Soda

There is a reason that baking soda is used in so many different brands of washing detergents; the benefits are amazing! Baking soda helps remove foul odors, boosts detergents and also stimulates bleach. Baking soda can be added to each load of laundry to help avoid bacteria, help with build-up, and to prevent odor.

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What Should I Not Be Using to Clean My Washer?

Never use soaps that are not specifically designed for a washing machine. Don’t clean your machine with dish soap, handsoap, bubble bath, or shampoos. Soaps not created for washing machines can cause more build-up and might possibly ruin the mechanics of your machine.

Are There Any Ways To Prevent a Dirty Washer?

There is no way to completely avoid the need to thoroughly clean your washing machine. However, there are several ways that you can protect your machine from frequently dealing with build-up and foul smells.

Pre-rinse clothes: Before you put your clothes into the washer make sure that you pre-rinse anything that won’t wash away in water easily. Remember, whatever you throw into the washer will be in the same water as all of your other clothes.

Check through clothing before washing: Double check your clothes to make sure that you aren’t throwing in toys, electronics, money, tissues, or paper products. All of these items can inhibit the ability to thoroughly wash and rinse your load

Remove items from traps: After every wash, look around and grab everything that isn’t supposed to be in the washer. For front load washers, pull back the trap in the front to ensure that nothing is stuck inside there. Anything from garbage to small socks can find themselves lodged.

Choose the right detergent: One of the biggest mistakes made by washing machine owners is not using the proper detergent, or the right amount. High Efficiency washers need specific detergent and only need a tiny amount to be effective. Too much detergent can create build-up and eventually ruin your machine if not handled properly.


It is essential to clean your washing machine once a month to avoid bacteria growth, bad smells and residue. You can clean your washing machine with vinegar, baking soda, hydrogen peroxide or Affresh Tabs. Cleaning your washing regularly can ensure that your clothes smell fresh and it will give your washing machine a longer life.


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