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How to Clean Your Top or Front Load Washing Machine

How to Clean Your Top or Front Load Washing Machine

31st May 2022

Washing machine cleaning tips for top-load and front-load washing machines

You use your washing machine to keep your clothes fresh, odour-free, and beautifully clean. But did you know that washing machine cleaning is also an important part of its upkeep?

The good news is that it doesn’t take much time or involve many steps. And this once-a-month effort will prevent bad smells as well as mould, mildew, and detergent build-up, plus keep your washer running efficiently.

[Read our blog post: Top load vs front load washers: which is right for you?]

Whether you have a top or front load washer, follow these steps every 30 days to keep your machine — and your family’s clothes — fresh, clean, and pristine.

What you’ll need:

  • One affresh® Washing Machine Cleaner tablet OR liquid chlorine bleach
  • All-purpose cleaner OR liquid chlorine bleach mixed with water
  • Distilled white vinegar
  • Cleaning wipes or soft cloths
  • Additional soft cloths for drying surfaces
  • Measuring cup
  • Microwave
  • Bucket
  • Rubber gloves (to protect your hands)

Front Load Washing Machine

Washing machine cleaning for front load washing machines is easy. Assemble the above materials, put on your rubber gloves, and get ready to see your machine sparkle!

  1. Start with an empty drum
  2. Use a cleaning wipe to clean the detergent dispenser, tray, and any attachments. You can also use a damp cloth and all-purpose cleaner. Dry all surfaces with a soft cloth.
  3. Make a solution of ¾ cup of chlorine bleach and one gallon of water. Use to wipe the rubber door seal and interior door glass.
  4. Place an affresh® Washing Machine Cleaner tablet in the bottom of the drum. If you don’t have cleaning tablets, add ¼ cup of liquid chlorine bleach to the detergent drawer.
  5. Shut the door and select your washer’s cleaning cycle (consult your machine’s care guide) or a wash cycle with hot water.
  6. When the cycle has completed, allow your washing machine to cool.
  7. Wipe the door glass and exterior surfaces with a soft cloth or towel.
  8. Leave the door ajar to allow your washer to dry.

[Read our blog post: Agitator washers vs. impeller washers: what's the difference?]

Top Load Washing Machine

There’s a different washing machine cleaning process for top-loading machines, but they also require a once-a-month scrub. The process is similar to cleaning a front-loading machine, with a few specific tips for removing residue from the dispenser tray.

  1. Start with an empty drum
  2. Use a cleaning wipe or a damp cloth and all-purpose cleaner to clean the detergent dispenser, tray, and any attachments. Dry all surfaces with a soft cloth or towel.Tips: If your dispensers are not removable, heat one cup of distilled white vinegar in a microwaveable cup, pour it into the dispensers and let it sit for 15 minutes minimum.If the dispensers are removable, submerge them in a solution of hot water and one cup of heated distilled white vinegar for 15 minutes.Use a soft brush (e.g. old toothbrush) to scrub away remaining residue.
  3. Make a solution of ¾ cup of chlorine bleach and one gallon of water. Use to wipe the inside of the lid and gasket around the drum.
  4. Place an affresh® Washing Machine Cleaner tablet in the bottom of the tub. If you don’t have cleaning tablets, add ¼ cup of liquid chlorine bleach to the detergent drawer.
  5. Shut the door and select your washer’s cleaning cycle (consult your machine’s care guide) or a wash cycle with hot water.
  6. Run a rinse and spin cycle to remove any excess residue.
  7. Allow your washing machine to cool.
  8. Wipe the door glass and exterior surfaces with a soft cloth or towel.
  9. Leave the door ajar to allow your washer to dry.

Keep your machine pristine between cleanings

Great! Now you have the tools and know-how to complete your washing machine cleaning once a month. Here are some simple ways to keep your machine free from dirt and odours between monthly cleanings.

  • Remove clothes promptlyAs soon as the washing cycle is over, take your clothes out of the machine. This helps to minimize moisture in the drum, which can lead to mould and mildew.
  • Keep surfaces dry — inside and outIf you notice moisture on the drum, lid, or gasket, wipe with a soft cloth. Avoid keeping laundry products on top of your washer. Spills can also damage electronic controls.
  • Leave the door open between washesKeeping the lid open or door ajar helps the drum and seals to dry out after each use. This is especially important if your washer operates in a humid area. Airing out your machine prevents mould and mildew from forming.
  • Use the right amount of detergent Detergent works hard to remove stains and dirt from your clothes. However, using too much can lead to build-up in your machine. This residue makes your machine dirtier and your clothes feel scratchy and less soft.
  • Try an occasional hot washIf you typically wash your clothes with cold water, use a warm or hot cycle a few times per month. Warmer water helps to minimize dirt and detergent accumulation.

Keeping your top or front load washing machine spotless is one way to extend the life of your washer and your clothes. For more tips on washing machine cleaning and caring for your washing machine — like our laundry sizing guide — check out our laundry tips and tricks