Home » Life » The Easiest Way to Clean Your Washer

The Easiest Way to Clean Your Washer

Here is the easiest way to clean your washer …all it takes is ONE ingredient and a few minutes to leave your washer smelling squeaky clean.

If you guessed that the secret ingredient is vinegar, you’re right! Vinegar really does clean anything! Not only do I use it to clean my washing machine, but I also use it to clean my floors, bathrooms, windows, kitchen and more.

cleaning washer with vinegar

Twice a year, I go on a big cleaning streak. It’s usually some time during the summer and then once again in the New Year. During that time, EVERYTHING gets cleaned. We’re talking everything from top to bottom. Closets get cleaned, baseboards are scrubbed, vents are switched out and anything else I can think of. Cleaning my washer is definitely on the list too. Because let’s face it…sometimes even the washer needs a good cleaning!

using vinegar to clean washer

How to clean washing machine with vinegar

Older top loading washing machine:

Set on the longest setting, fill with HOT water and then add 3 cups of distilled vinegar (don’t add anything else). Let sit for 30 minutes and then let it run it’s cycle.

Newer top loading washing machine:

Turn to the clean setting and then add 2 cups of vinegar to the dispenser (don’t add anything else). Then let it run it’s cycle.

Front loading washing machine:

Select the hot water setting/largest load and then add 1 to 2 cups of vinegar to the dispenser (or until full). Then let is run it’s cycle. Wipe down the drum and seal afterwards.

Easy peasy! After the water has all drained, make sure to give your machine a big scrub (maybe even pull out the handy dandy tooth brush) and it will look good as new. Clean your washing machine with vinegar every few months, or as needed.

Remove mildew from clothes

Vinegar also works wonders on laundry, too! If you’ve got towels (or swim clothes) that smell like mildew, place 1 cup of vinegar in the wash and do a cycle with HOT water. If they’re really bad, they may need 2 cycles. Then place them in the dryer on a high heat setting with a dryer sheet and that will leave them smelling nice and clean!

removing mildew from towels with vinegar

More tips for keeping your washer clean

Now how do you keep it clean longer? Make sure to:

  • Leave the door open after you run a cycle for at least an hour. This will allow the water to evaporate and not let water get trapped in there.
  • Clean the detergent tray so that there’s no buildup or grime on it. You can also leave the tray halfway open so it has time to dry out.
  • Run a baking soda cycle after the vinegar cycle. Set on the longest setting, fill with HOT water and then add 1/2 cup baking soda. Then let run it’s full cycle.

Stay organized with these helpful cleaning checklists:

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


  1. I use vinegar and blue Dawn dishsoap for shower/tub cleaner! 1 cup of each in a spray bottle, spray shower/tub, let sit for an hour (I turn the fan on to rid of some of the vinegar odor) and rinse/lightly scrub. The tub has that amazing sparkle like it’s brand new! Love it!

  2. Here’s something no one talks about……. Cat Urine.
    I know, right? Throw it out!
    But wait!
    My son’s cat managed to get locked in his room, and after a whole day, she peed on just about everything. After deciding not to immediately ground or adopt anyone out, I called my Grandma.
    Turns out, if you put half loads in the wash with 1/2 of vinegar, wash on HOT, then do another wash with 1 Tbs (or 2) of Baking Soda (again on hot), It’ll get the worst smells out!!
    Who knew!?!
    Thank you for the tip with the washer!! Good as new!

  3. Thanks for the tip. I use vinegar instead of a softener when I wash anything made of fleece and I clean the cattle with it. As you said it’s great!

  4. I have started using vinegar on just about everything!  I get the best results with vinegar in a spray bottle then use a microfiber cloth to wipe clean  windows, mirrors, glass tables, and my glass cooktop.  They just sparkle!! 

  5. I use vinegar for cleaning just about everything, including my floors. My son complained about the smell as well sooooo….I started adding essential oils to my bucket of vinegar and water….pine, orange, lemon, tangerine, and lime to name a few. Pine is very strong so it doesn’t take quite as much. ? Hope that helps! 

  6. I have been using vinegar alone or with baking soda for quite sometime….I was told vinegar is a natural disinfectant.  I recently used a paper toweling soaked with vinegar to sit on my water dispenser catcher on the refrigerator door to get rid of the hard water.  I let it sit for about an hour and it loosened all the hard water.  

  7. Will this leave the washer smelling like vinegar when done?? And how much should I use for a normal top load washing machine? Thanks! 

    1. Nope! It just smells clean!

      I have a normal top load washing machine, and I used two cups when I did mine last night. In the center of my agitator, I have a well for softener and I filled that with vinegar too and now it’s clean as well. 😀

  8. Love the vinegar tip.  Do you have a good tip for stainless steel.  Have tried some other homemade recipes and still does not get it clean have fingerprints all over like I didn’t even try.  The solution I have tried is windex .  The other is in a spray bottle with the following Ingredience mix of 1and 3/4 cup water 1/4 cup vinegar 2 tsp olive oil and 8-10 drops of lemon estimable oil.   Any help would be appreciated thanks so much for your time.  

    1. Tin foil and water
      I know it sounds crazy but if you take a small piece if tin foil and crumple it up then spray with water or vinegar on the area you want to clean. Scrub with the tin foil which will NOT scratch the surface and you should have amazing results. You can do this on chrome as well. The chrome legs of my coffee table were rusted and pitted. I did this process with out any scratches and the kegs looked brand new.

  9. Hi,
    I also clean my floors with vinegar but I add lemon juice (real or concentrate) to dampen the smell. One of my friends washed hers with Javel water but she didn’t know it attracts cats to urinate on them (strong amonia smell I guess). She tried my trick (with an extra dose of lemon and orange smell which repels cats) and it worked.

  10. I have been using vinegar and/or baking soda to clean my entire home for several years. I have never liked the idea of my little dog picking up a morsel of food that falls on the floor after the floors have been cleaned with bleach or ammonia or other commercial floor cleaner products . Plus, I love that it makes my home smell like a salad!

  11. I use it when running the dishwasher to keep the dishes nice and sparkling. It makes sure there are no water marks on any of my dishes =) And also to clean the dishwasher 😉

  12. I make a paste of baking soda and water, pat it all over my oven, top, bottom , sides and trays, leave for about an hour, then spray it all with white vinegar, once it finishes foaming then I wipe it all out,no strong fumes from chemicals, and if you leave a bit it doesn’t smell next time you turn oven on

  13. Thanks, Jamielyn for sharing this article. I really liked the way you to explained how to remove the mildew smell from towels. Keep on posting such kind of article. 🙂


  14. love this ! saw cleaning hack and all i could think was wow it better be vinegar ! glad its finally being recognized for its awesomeness

  15. I have an older top loader, and fabric softener is added into the top of the agitator. How do I clean the fabric softener residue From inside the reservoir and also on the agitator? Thanks

    1. If you’re able to remove it I would remove it and try to soak it in vinegar. If not you could try getting an old toothbrush and dipping it in vinegar to scrub in the harder to reach areas.

  16. Anyone have any suggestions on addressing the mildew smell from a dishwasher? Mine is relatively new, but for some reason, it keeps smelling of mold/mildew even though I have tried my best to use Clorax wipes to clean the surfaces.