How to Clean a Washing Machine From Dirt and Limescale in 5 steps

How to Clean a Washing Machine From Dirt and Limescale in 5 steps

Regular cleaning of your washing machine not only helps to keep it looking its best but also helps it run efficiently. The fact is that washing machines tend to accumulate:

  • Fungus and mold in the sealing gum and, accordingly, the appearance of unpleasant odors;
  • Scale on the heating element;
  • Residues of powder, rinse aid, and other additives inside the machine;
  • Dirt and small things in the drain pump filter;
  • Rust and sand in the filter in the inlet hose.

Therefore, over time, you may notice that your clothes (especially light-colored ones) after washing have ceased to shine cleanly, as they were before. And external dirt that quickly covers the door, countertop, and protruding parts of the machine spoil the view of the room.
How often do you need to clean the washing machine from scale and dirt? Optimally – once every 2-3 months. If you have a pet at home or you often wash woolen things in a typewriter, then major cleaning should be carried out more often.
From this material you will learn how to properly clean the washing machine in the complex, namely:

  • How to clean the drum of the washing machine, and most importantly – the heating element;
  • How to clean a pump in a washing machine (drain filter);
  • How to clean the tray and powder receiving compartment;
  • How to clean the inlet hose filter;
  • How to remove external dirt on the car body and door.

And at the end of the article, you will find some tips for the prevention and care of your assistant.

How do clean a washing machine?

Well, shall we begin? To make the instructions clear, we decided to test the theory in practice and cleaned the Bosch washing machine. Looking ahead, we present you with a photo of the result.

Step 1. Cleaning the drum and heating element of the washing machine from limescale

At the first stage, we need to clean the inside of the machine, namely, remove mineral deposits on the heating element and drum. How to descale my washing machine? The secret of all methods is simple and the same:

Since scale consists of magnesium and calcium salts, it is necessary to act on it with organic or inorganic acids. What acids are there in every home and are they worth nothing? That’s right, ordinary vinegar or citric acid.

Method 1. How to clean a washing machine with vinegar and soda
You will need:

  • 2 cups alcoholic white vinegar (preferred) or regular vinegar 9%
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup water
  • A sponge with a hard side.

What should be done:

clean a washing machine
To get a 9% bite, we diluted 70% acetic acid essence with water in a 7: 1 ratio

Mix the baking soda and water in a small bowl, add the baking soda mixture to your machine’s detergent tray, and pour the vinegar into the drum. Run the machine idling at the highest temperature and for the longest time.

Cleaning the washing machine with vinegar and soda from scale, rust and mold from the drum and heating element
Cleaning the washing machine with vinegar and soda from scale, rust and mold from the drum and heating element

Method 2. How to clean a washing machine with citric acid
Cleaning your washing machine with citric acid is even easier.
You will need:

  • 1-6 packs of citric acid. How much citric acid to pour depends on the volume of the washing machine and the degree of its pollution.

What should be done:
Add citric acid powder to the detergent compartment. Run the machine at the maximum temperature and operating time.

How much citric acid to pour - 1, 2 or 6 packs at once, depends on the volume of the washing machine and the degree of its pollution
How much citric acid to pour – 1, 2 or 6 packs at once, depends on the volume of the washing machine and the degree of its pollution

Step 2. Cleaning the cuff (sealing gum)

Hooray! The machine has finished self-cleaning and we can start washing the sealing gum. This dark and humid place loves to accumulate dirt and mold, so it must be especially carefully cleaned. This can be done with any cleaning agent such as Pemolux or soda. If you see too much mold, which also exudes a strong unpleasant odor, then take a more powerful remedy, for example, Domestos, Duckling, Komet (pictured), or Whiteness. But keep in mind that it is too often undesirable to use chlorine-containing products, otherwise it threatens rubber deformation.

What should be done:
Apply a little of the chosen product to a damp cloth or sponge, gently pull the rubber towards you and wipe the metal part of the case.

Also, remember to clean the rubber cuff itself in the same way.

Most of the dirt accumulates in the lower part of the hatch, but its entire circumference should be cleaned.

Be careful not to pull the rubber too hard to avoid damaging it. Finally, wipe the entire cuff clean with a damp cloth.

Step 3. Clean the tray (container / tray / dispenser)

Find the instruction manual for your machine at home or on the Internet for instructions on how to remove the detergent dispenser. Most often, you can do this like this:

  • Pull the tray out until it stops. If you see that a blue/blue part is built into its middle compartment (in modern Bosch, Samsung, Veko, etc.) typewriters, then you need to press it and pull it forcibly, while simultaneously supporting the container itself.

  • If there is no blue/blue part in the tray of your typewriter (often trays in Indesit typewriters are arranged this way), then you just need to pull the tray towards you and down, then slowly pull it out completely to the right and left.

As soon as you take out the tray, most likely, the following picture will appear in front of you – the remains of the powder have accumulated in its compartment. Remove this build-up with any cleaning agent and wipe the compartment clean. Keep in mind that this must be done carefully so as not to damage the rubber tube.

It was not easy to clean the powder compartment as it contained a lot of hard-to-reach places, small protruding parts, and depressions covered with rust. We deliberately did not bring the result to the ideal, this work is too laborious. But you can do it more cunningly: generously sprinkle all the walls of the compartment with a cleaning agent from a spray bottle, leave the plaque to soak for a couple of hours, and only then start manually cleaning.
Next, we proceed to clean the tray itself, which is usually covered with a rusty coating, powder residues, and other cleaning additives. For this you can use:

  • A mixture of vinegar and soda;
  • Household chemicals;
  • A mixture of hot water, vinegar, and baking soda.

Cover the container with the product of your choice and leave / soak it for 30 minutes, or preferably a couple of hours.
Next, start brushing it with a sponge and a toothbrush (it is especially needed for cleaning hard-to-reach places). Finally, remove any leftover products, wipe the tray dry and insert it back (most often you just need to insert it into the compartment and close it).

  • If you have a dishwasher, you can wash the tray in it. The rust may not go away completely, but it will be much easier to remove it after cleaning in the dishwasher.

Step 4. Cleaning the washing machine filter (drain pump)

Now is the time to clean the drain pump filter. If you run the filter hard, the machine will sooner or later refuse to drain the water, because of which it will go up and may break out. Fortunately, cleaning your washing machine filter is very easy.
You will need:

  • A container that is suitable for height, for example, a baking sheet in an oven.
  • Towel or rag.
  • A flat screwdriver or any solid flat tool (if needed).

What should be done:

  1. Open access to the filter, which is usually located at the bottom of the case.
  • In some models of washing machines, the filter is simply covered with a small panel. If this is your case, then you can open it, if necessary, pry it with a flat screwdriver as shown in one of the following photos.
  1. So, you see a closed filter. Before unscrewing the lid, lay a towel on the floor and place a container under the drain to collect water (in our case, it seemed superfluous). Please note that it can pour out up to half a liter!
The pallet in our case turned out to be superfluous, since the water was pouring completely past it. Therefore, we released the liquid directly onto the towel, periodically turning it over, while opening and closing the lid.
The pallet in our case turned out to be superfluous, since the water was pouring completely past it. Therefore, we released the liquid directly onto the towel, periodically turning it over, while opening and closing the lid.
  1. Unscrew the lid counterclockwise and remove all accumulated debris and dirt from the hole: it can be coins, hair, wool, toothpicks and other trifles.
As you can see in the photo, in our case there was very little debris in the filter.
As you can see in the photo, in our case there was very little debris in the filter.
  1. Wipe the hole, close it, and reinstall the decoration panel.

Step 5. Cleaning the water inlet filter

In addition to the drain pump filter, each washing machine has another filter – this is the inlet hose filter. Over time, this filter becomes clogged with rust and sand, then a failure occurs – the machine refuses to wash and reports that water intake is not possible.

  • If all the previous procedures need to be carried out regularly, then the stage of cleaning the filter in the inlet hose can be carried out less often, for example, once every six months.

You will need:

  • An old toothbrush;
  • Pliers or pliers.

What should be done:

  1. Turn off the cold water tap to the washing machine (required!).
  2. Turn the machine around to gain access to the rear side. On the top right of the case, you will see the inlet hose.
  3. Unscrew the hose nut counterclockwise. Look inside the hole, see a small filter with a mesh? Remove it with pliers or pliers.
  4. Clean the filter in water with a toothbrush;
  5. Replace the filter and screw the inlet hose clockwise tightly.
  6. Open the access of cold water to the machine by turning the corresponding tap.

When you’re done, you can also wipe down the back of the machine and then unfold it and put it back in its usual place.

Step 6. Clean the case and door

Well, that’s all, the inside of the car is clean and ready to go! You just have to bring out the external beauty: wipe the control panel (especially the protruding buttons), wash the door from the inside and outside, wipe the top and side panels.

And a little about prevention

  • Use just as much powder, bleach, and conditioner as you really need (see the manufacturer’s instructions). After all, excess detergents do not enhance the result, but simply settle and accumulate inside the washing machine.
  • Always remove small items from pockets so that they do not clog the drain filter.
  • Try not to delay starting the machine if you have already thrown dirty things into the drum. Well, take out clean things immediately after washing and send them to dry.
  • Try to keep the machine open at all times to prevent mold from developing in it due to high humidity.

Question answer

Why is there a smell in the washing machine?
There may be several reasons why an unpleasant odor may appear in the washing machine. The three most common are:

  • Most often, the smell in the washing machine appears due to the fact that users have a habit of closing the hatch immediately after washing. As a result, due to the remaining moisture, the drum and the sealing gum begin to smell bad when sealed and run the risk of becoming moldy. So after every wash, remember to leave the door ajar for a couple of hours to allow the drum to dry.
  • Another common cause of unpleasant odors and mildew in a washing machine is the accumulation of moisture in the folds of the rubber cuff, as well as small debris. This should be monitored and the cuff should be washed from time to time with dishwashing detergent. If the mold is overgrown, the gum should be replaced with a new one.
  • Finally, the third reason is the habit of collecting dirty laundry in the drum. This is convenient, but keep in mind that the combination of high humidity and stale clothing creates favorable conditions for odors, bacteria, and mold growth.

If everything is in order with the drum and the cuff, but there is still a smell, it is worth checking the tray, the detergent powder supply channel, the drain filter, the drain hose. All these parts must be clean, free of powder and mildew. The hoses can be checked with a flashlight. Mold usually forms somewhere at the beginning of the hose, so it can be seen and cleaned out with a small brush.

  • Sometimes an unpleasant smell can appear due to the accumulation of scale on the heating element (for example, it can be a burning smell). In this case, clean the washing machine with vinegar or citric acid (see Step 1 in the instructions).

How to clean the washing machine from odors?
First, locate the source of the odor by checking the above machine parts and fix the problem locally. You can also just follow our step-by-step instructions and clean the washing machine comprehensively. Be sure that there will be no trace of an unpleasant smell.


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