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How to Naturally Clean a Washing Machine

How to Naturally Clean a Washing Machine

You read that right. Regardless of what you think, a washing machine doesn’t clean itself.

Chandler from Friends may have been right – but while soap is self-cleaning, your washing machine is another story altogether. Lucky for you, I’ve found an easy way to get the job done quickly and naturally.

Why do I need to clean my washing machine?

Soap residue from washing powder or liquid can build up in your machine over time, particularly if you have never given the machine itself a clean through the hundreds (probably thousands at my place) of wash cycles it has done.

Washing machines can be breeding grounds for salmonella and other germs, as bacteria can get trapped in the film that detergents leave behind. Add in the hot and humid environment of a laundry and you’ve got yourself a hotbed of thriving bacteria.

Remnants from dirty clothes that might have been left behind after a wash could also be making your machine dirty. The amount of caked up baby food I found hiding in my machine’s detergent dispenser was eye-opening for sure!

You only need to do this once a month to keep your machine fresh. If you’re like me, the first time you do it will be very revealing!

What you need:


2 Cups White Vinegar

2 Tablespoons Bicarb Soda


Scrubbing Brush



How to clean a washing machine the natural way

You’ll be running an empty load today, so set your machine to a hot water/large load setting. No clothes or detergent in this load just for something different! Put the vinegar into the basin, start the machine and let it fill with water.

Let it run for a few minutes, then stop the machine.

Add the bicarb soda, let it run for a couple of minutes, then stop it again.

With the machine not running, let the water, vinegar and bicarb soda sit for an hour or two. While you’re waiting, give the outside of the machine some love with an equal parts mixture of water and vinegar, ensuring you get into all the crevices with a scrubbing brush if needed.

After the hour or two is up, get the machine going again and finish the cycle. I can’t tell you what a great feeling it was to hear the machine beep and not have to hang clothes out!

Run another hot water (just water this time) just to flush everything out, before wiping the whole inside of the basin down with a new, dry cloth.

Why does it clean my washing machine effectively?



While the vinegar will eliminate built up grime, it will also sanitise your machine. The bicarb soda will do a great job at neutralising odours, while it also has its own cleaning properties.

An added bonus is that as your mixture drains away, the pipes will get a clean too.

How can I keep my washing machine clean?

Get your clothes out of the machine right after washing. I know many times I’ve put a load on, gotten distracted, and then raced to get the clothes out on the line hours later. Sadly my ‘it’ll be right’ method breeds bacteria on clothes, especially in a warm laundry. Might be worth running the machine again if it’s been left too long.

Leave the door or lid open after a wash. This will allow the basin to dry to help prevent mould or bacteria growth. I like to leave my lid up when I can to keep air flow going and prevent mould on the seals.

Don’t overdo it. Loading up the machine with large loads time and time again will cause it to overwork which can clog up the pipes.

Clean mess as it happens. Try not to leave spilled detergent or fabric softener around, or in the machine. Some may have chemicals that cause corrosion or over time, may build up in your pipes and drain.


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