This is my guide on cleaning your washing machine and most importantly, how to clean your washing machine using vinegar and baking soda – without toxic chemicals.
My how to clean washing machines demonstration includes an easy way to get rid of washing machine odor and smells, cleaning front-loading washing machines, and washing machine cleaner to keep your washer clean.
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Table of Contents
How to Clean Your Washing Machine with Vinegar and Baking Soda (Front Load and Top Loading)
We have had our LG front-loading washing machine for a few years now. We love them (thanks, Mom and Dad!). Although, there was one thing we did not like, washing machine odor and smells. You know, the moldy smell coming from our washing machine.
I try to be more careful about the number of chemicals we are putting in, on, and around our bodies. I like finding ways to clean naturally, with few harsh chemicals.
How to Get Rid of Washing Machine Odor and Washing Machine Smells
According to some sites, to get rid of washing machine odor you should keep your washing machine door open to let it air out after each cycle.
I have tried leaving the door ajar with a piece of masking tape connecting the door and the edge of the machine. Although, I often forget to do this.
Time to Bite the Bullet and Figure Out How to Clean Washing Machine
Alas, it was time to clean the washing machine. I had been putting this task off for a while. This afternoon, I finally decided to bite the bullet and just get it done. I searched for how to clean washing machines with vinegar and baking soda. Surprisingly, it was quite easy to clean the LG washing machine and it took very little time.
Clean Your Washing Machine Using Vinegar and Baking Soda
How do you clean a washing machine? I did some research. I used Pinterest (of course), some Google searching, and the LG Caring For Your LG Front Load Washer cleaning manual.
How to Use the LG Washer Tub Clean Cycle
If you have an LG washing machine or some other brands, then check to see if you have a special cycle mode called “Tub Clean”, or “LG Tub Clean” or something like that. On my front-loading washing machine, this option is in the upper right corner.
The tub clean LG washer feature removes detergent buildup and other residues.
As parents of 3 little kids, Force of Nature is our go-to all purpose cleaner. It's nontoxic but is EPA approved for use against Covid-19.
We love vinegar, but we use Force of Nature every day.
Before running the tub clean cycle, follow these steps.
- Remove all attachments, including the dispenser.
- Use a solution of 3/4 cups bleach to 1 gallon of water to clean gaskets, and inside the door. Note: Instead of bleach, you could try using vinegar, but don’t use both.
- For front loading washers, manually drain and clean the drain pump filter.
Once the above steps have been completed, start the Tub Clean cycle using a washing machine tub cleaner. For tablets, add them directly to the drum. Powders can be poured into the main wash compartment in the dispenser. Liquid cleaners go in the main wash compartment.
LG recommends running this Tub Clean cycle monthly in order to remove detergent buildup and other residues.
7 Reasons Why LG Washer Not Draining
- Improper drain height: If your washing machine isn’t installed correctly, water won’t drain out of it.
- The drain hose is clogged, pinched, or kinked.
- Wrong detergent, or excessive detergent. Believe it or not but detergent can create cleaning problems. Similar to dishwashers, detergent can cause clogs. That is one of the many reasons we use Earth Breeze Laundry Sheets.
- Poor Load Distribution: Unbalanced loads are one of the main causes of a vibrating front-load washer.
- Clogged Drain Pump Filter: Many times, especially after the wash cycle is complete, LG washers drain very slowly or not at all. Generally, this is because of a blockage in the drain pump filter. If you hear the drain pump operating but no water is draining from the tub, then there is a clog.
- The Lid Switch Is Broke
- The Drain Pump Is Broke
How To Clean LG Washing Machine Filter
- Locate the washing machine’s filter and set up a towel and shallow pan to catch the water. To find the filter, search for your manufacturer and filter.
- Remove the filter and wipe with a cloth to remove debris.
- Soak the filter in a solution of warm soapy water for 10 minutes.
- Scrub the filter with a soft-bristled brush.
How to clean washing machine tub
If you have a smelly washer and you want to remove odors from the washing machine, then here are instructions for cleaning the washing machine tub.
- First, be sure the wash drum is empty (no clothes, towels, etc.).
- Then, pour bleach, tub cleaner, or vinegar into the dispenser, but do not add any additional detergent or fabric softener. If you are using a powdered cleaner, remove the liquid detergent cup and add the powder to the main wash compartment.
- After closing the drawer and door, select the tub clean mode and then start.
- Then, after the cycle is complete, open the door and use a towel or cloth to wipe the various parts of the door (opening, door seal, glass door) and wipe inside the rubber seal as well.
I get my natural cleaning products from Amazon. If you do too, be sure to read my tips for finding Amazon coupons.
If your washing machine does not have a tub clean mode or it needs a more thorough cleaning, then continue on to the next part to clean your washer tub by hand.
How to Clean Washing Machine with Vinegar and Baking Soda – Front Loader Washing Machine Cleaning
I have become more cautious about the chemicals we use in our house. It is impossible to eliminate all chemicals, but if I can, I try to substitute gentler cleaning products in exchange for harsh chemicals.
This method of cleaning a front-loading washing machine involves using water, vinegar, and baking soda. I try to stay away from bleach. I clean almost everything with vinegar.
If your washing machine is super dirty and has lots of mildew, then you might need to use something stronger than the water, vinegar, and baking soda combination. Remember, if you choose to use bleach, make sure the room is well-ventilated (open doors and windows), wear gloves, and do not use vinegar or ammonia at the same time as bleach.
Steps to Clean a Front Loading Washing Machine with Vinegar and Baking Soda
First, prepare a spray bottle with a mixture of half vinegar and half water. Get discounted spray bottles here.
Then, thoroughly spray the inside of the washing machine. Be sure to pull back the rubber gasket/s, where there will most likely be mold and spray there too.
Next, using a cloth or paper towels wipe down the entire inside of the washing machine. Be sure to wipe down the area underneath and behind the pulled-back rubber gasket. In addition, you may even want to use a toothbrush to get in between the tight spaces. You will pull out all kinds of fun (gross) stuff.
If there is still mold remaining, then soak a rag in the vinegar and water solution, squeeze it in between the rubber gasket, and let it sit for an hour.
Or, add some baking soda to extra grimy or moldy parts. Then, let it sit and then clean off the baking soda with the water/vinegar.
After that, using a clean cloth wipe down the inside of the washer until everything is dry and the grime is removed.
Next, open the washing machine detergent dispenser and wipe down the inside with a cloth, water, and vinegar.
Now, add 2 cups of vinegar to either the tub or dispenser and run your washing machine on the hottest setting possible. Note – If you used bleach to clean the inside of the tub, run a hot wash cycle without vinegar first, before running the vinegar cycle.
After the cycle is done, use a rag with water and vinegar to clean the inside of the door and outside of the washing machine.
Now you have a clean washing machine! That wasn’t bad, was it?
How to Keep It Clean
Consider getting a washing machine dust cover.
Did you notice anything about the picture? I just realized my legs are in the photo in the reflection on the door. Oh well. That must mean the washing machine door is sparkling clean, right?
How to Use Washing Machine Cleaning Tablets
In order to keep your machine clean and not have a smelly washer, you’ll want to keep up with your cleaning.
One method to keeping your washing machine clean is to wipe it down after each use and keep the door ajar, if possible. You can clean your washer with a dry rag or spray a mixture of water and vinegar first.
These washer machine cleaning tablets are designed to penetrate, dissolve and remove odor-causing residue that can occur in washing machines. They got great reviews on Amazon and is Amazon’s choice for “washing machine cleaner”.
Erin is the mother of identical twin girls and their slightly older brother. She is a domestic engineer, and previously had a career leading customer service teams for a major HVAC company. Cleaning without harsh chemicals, and cooking easy and usually healthy meals are part of Erin's daily life. She volunteers with youth leaders, and genuinely wants to help others win. Erin has a degree in Communications, with a focus on Broadcast Journalism.