How to Clean a Top Loading Washing Machine
See how to clean a top loading washing machine using non-toxic ingredients, like vinegar and baking soda!
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In this week's edition of the cleaning 101 series, we're tackling a task you probably haven't thought about lately.
Over time, those washing machines just tend to build up gunk. It definitely doesn't happen overnight – but I challenge you to go really inspect your washing machine right now. Kind of gross, isn't it?
In Journey to Clean, I have a specific cleaning task just for taking care of the washer, dryer, and deep freezer (it's under the living areas week). The process you're about to see isn't something I do every month; most of the time, I just give everything a good wipe-down and make sure there are no obvious messes. But, every few months, I like to give the washing machine (and the dryer – stay tuned for that one) a good deep clean. Your clothes will thank you!
How to Clean a Top Loading Washing Machine
For this deep clean, I use non-toxic ingredients that you might already have (and, if you don't, you should). I use baking soda and vinegar to clean so many things throughout the home – they are both super versatile! Grab 4 cups of vinegar and a cup of baking soda for this one. (You'll also need cleaning towels and an old toothbrush.)
Start off by filling your washer as high as possible with HOT water.
To do this on my machine, I set it to hot with the largest load size setting. The regular cycle setting is fine, as long as you catch it when it is through filling.
(For those wondering, I have a Speed Queen – they are the best and I 100% recommend them!)
Once the washer is about halfway full, open the lid and add 4 cups of vinegar to the drum.
Allow it to fill some more and add 1 cup of baking soda, getting a little bit in the fabric softener cup.
The mixture will fizz; it's supposed to!
You can also add a little bit of vinegar to the fabric softener cup too.
Once the drum is full, allow the machine to agitate for 1-2 minutes, just to mix in the baking soda well. Then, open the lid to stop the cycle.
Allow this mixture to sit in the washer for about an hour to break up and dirt and grime.
After an hour, dip your cleaning cloth in the vinegar water to scrub and gunk from around the bleach dispenser, fabric softener cup, or door. I also have a toothbrush on hand that I use just for cleaning – it works great on this.
Once you're through scrubbing all of the surfaces, close the lid to allow the cycle to finish. Make sure there is a rinse in the cycle to get all of the vinegar/baking soda out of your machine.
And that really is all there is to it! You'll be amazed how clean your washer looks after doing this.
Day to Day Washing Machine Maintenance
One more tip – to keep your washer mildew (and smell) free, keep the door of your washer open when not using. This has made a massive difference in keeping our washer clean and un-smelly.
Now go forth and do one simple cleaning task, friends! Now that you know how to clean a washing machine, I promise this one isn't difficult and makes a huge impact.
You can also see more of my laundry room here.
Catch up on a few more of the Cleaning 101 series with the links below!
- How to Clean a Microwave
- How to Clean Cast Iron
- How to Clean a Dishwasher
- How to Deep Clean a Dryer
- How to Clean Upholstered Furniture
- How to Clean an Oven
- How to Clean a Mattress
- How to Clean Grout
Hi Leslie! I may be a little late to this post… found you through Pinterest… but I’m glad I did. I was looking for an effective way to clean my washer without using harsh chemicals. Reading through your post, I come across the pictures of your washer. We have the EXACT same washer!!! I agree with your sentiment that they are the best!! Love mine… it just needs a good degunk!! 😆 Going to try this trick tmrw. Thank you for sharing!!
Oh aren’t they great?! Worth every penny. Hope the cleaning tutorial helped!
Hi Heather, in this article you said “we’re tackling a task you probably haven’t thought about lately.” Untrue, I had an old toothbrush after my washer just the other day, but I thank you for all this wonderful information to go along with my toothbrush. I know you said you pour cleaner into the fabric softener cup, do you pour anything into the bleach dispenser? I can’t wait to get home and try this. Thank you!
Hi Lisa! I didn’t pour anything into my bleach dispenser.
I have a Speed Queen, but the lid locks so I can’t stop it after it’s full. Any suggestions?
Ooh, not sure about that. I can open mine at any point in the cycle – hopefully somebody will see this comment with a suggestion.
Just an FYI to those reading this. Excellent tutorial! BUT if your washer is like mine, it auto-drains after leaving the lid open for 5 minutes. I was so excited to find an easy cleaning method, but my efforts were wasted, unfortunately.
Great info, thanks!
Great to do on your washer. My parents just did theirs and my dad said he found underwear, socks and other little things. It’s really good for longevity of your machine 🙂
We have the same exact machine and I love it! Have you ever removed the agitator and done a deep clean? We’ve had our machine for about 10 years and I often wonder about what might be stuck in an area I can’t see. Just curious if you have done this or know how to. Thank you for all the thoughtful content!!
I haven’t yet…I kind of researched it, and it doesn’t seem super easy to remove. But I would be interested if anything lurks underneath!