Our beloved washing machine has officially thrown in the towel (sorry, I had to). This machine has appeared in countless Clean My Space videos and posts. In its final wash, where it made enough noises to scare a burglar away, we just knew it was no longer going to be a part of our family. To honor the fine service this washer has provided us over the years – AND because it’s one of our MOST requested topics – I’m going to show you how to thoroughly clean your washer and dryer.

Maintaining your washer and dryer is really important. They are expensive to repair and replace and pretty necessary for modern life. Also, proper maintenance keeps them going at peak performance. I would recommend watching the video also so that you can have good visuals on how to do each step.

How to Clean a Washing Machine

Cleaning your washing machine is actually pretty straightforward and necessary. Therefore, consider doing this cleaning once a month if you are a heavy user and a couple times a year otherwise. Maintaining it also means it lasts longer. As well, it allows you to get rid of moldy smells caused by stale soap build up and fabric softener. Above all, it means you get a better quality wash.

Cycle One – Baking Soda

Begin with an empty washing machine. Add in about two cups of baking soda directly into the washing machine. This is going to gently scrub the inside and combat those stale, moldy odors that are left behind via old soap and fabric softener deposits. Next, run a large, long, hot water cycle and leave it be. If your machine has a self-clean cycle, use it.

Cycle Two – Vinegar

After that, you want to add 2 cups of plain white vinegar and 10 drops of essential oil like tea tree or lavender. The reason being that these EOs help with mildew and mineral deposits and act as a mild disinfectant. Then, run another cycle through and set it to the longest, hottest and biggest setting you can find. The vinegar will help break down any deposits and further remove moldy smells.

After both cycles are complete, you can give a quick wipe down to the drum and agitator using a microfiber cloth and vinegar. If you have any stains, try rubbing them with a paste of baking soda and water and a non-scratching sponge. That should remove just about everything.

Furthermore, on front load washers, that rubber seal clings on to all kinds of bad stuff. So, for this area, dip a cloth into plain white vinegar and 10 drops of tea tree oil or lavender oil and give it a good wipe down. You’ve got to get rid of all that mildew.

When looking for the best cleaning tools, check out Maker’s Clean Products. They offer amazing microfiber cloths for all your cleaning needs!

Clean Machine Exterior, Door, and Dispensing Trays

Next, we’ll tackle the exterior parts of the machine including your detergent dispensers, all cracks and crevices, door frame and all exterior surfaces. First, clean the inside and outside of the door with vinegar and water using a microfiber cloth. You might really need to scrub well! Secondly, use an all-purpose cleaner and pre-soak really dirty areas around the washer. Finally, scrub grimy areas where necessary with a cleaning toothbrush (and baking soda, if needed) and wipe everything clean with a cotton cloth. You can also soak your dispensing trays and then wipe clean. They can get really grotty and moldy.

Extra Care Tips

Always leave the door open when you are done with your washing – always. This lets the remaining moisture evaporate and avoids mold and mildew growth. If smelly laundry is a problem, this will solve it.

Remove your clothes from the washing machine ASAP for the same reason as the last point.

And try to avoid store-bought fabric softeners. They leave a residue, not only on your clothes but also in your washing machine. As we now know this causes odors. We have some easy homemade fabric softener alternatives available.

Finally, use the correct amount of detergent, always. Too much detergent will cling to the walls of your machine and lead to odors and dull clothes. These detergents are designed to be used in small quantities, especially in HE machines.

How to Clean a Dryer

Cleaning the dryer is a little more difficult than cleaning the washing machine. However, it’s very important to clean your dryer, because dirty dryers can lead to fiery dryers. Lint is flammable stuff and if it touches a heating coil, well, you know what happens. You can do this every 6-12 months depending on usage. So brace yourself and get a screwdriver, we kinda have to take it apart.

  • Start by unplugging your dryer and emptying the lint trap.
  • You can also take the discharge hose out from the back of the dryer (the silver elephant trunk thing). Then give it a good shake to remove any debris.

Now all dryers are created differently. I would strongly recommend consulting your manufacturer’s instructions for the exact directives on these next steps.

  • Firstly, you want to unscrew the back panel and then pop it off. After you remove that, you’ll likely see a TON of lint on the base, in the canal leading to your discharge line and throughout the innards of your machine. Vacuum this up and use a brush attachment or a crevice tool to get into any difficult areas.
  • Secondly, vacuum the lint trap itself. If you can, remove part of the lint trap by unscrewing it to get to the inside; you’ll find a freakish amount of dust. Make sure you keep those screws separate as you don’t want to vacuum those up! Some people use a specialty vacuum part or a brush to do this, which is totally acceptable.
  • Next, vacuum anything left behind in the drum. However, be warned that you might find a zoo full of dust bunnies down there.
  • Finally, give it a quick wipedown using an all-purpose cleaner and a microfiber cloth. Then put everything back together including panels, hoses and plug it back in.

You’ll notice your dryer will do much hotter and more effective cycles, not to mention, your machine will be safer to use.

Congratulations – you just cleaned your washer AND your dryer!

See our E-Book Bundle to take your cleaning game to the next level! It gives you our top 3 e-books (my 3 Wave Cleaning System, 50 DIY Cleaning Recipes, The Complete Guide to Essential Oils) and will give you the perfect start to a fresher and cleaner home!

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Looking for a BETTER & EASIER Way to Clean Your Home?

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Melissa Maker is an entrepreneur, cleaning expert, founder of Toronto’s most popular boutique cleaning service, and star of the Clean My Space channel on YouTube (but she still hates to clean!). Every week, Melissa delivers new videos dishing expert advice on cleaning products, tools, DIY substitutes, and practical, timesaving solutions to everyday problems. Melissa has appeared on the Today Show, and has been featured in InStyle, Real Simple, and Better Homes and Gardens.


  1. It’s crucial to retract the rubber seal and thoroughly clean the area beneath it, not limited to just the section that makes contact with the door. Surprisingly, a substantial build-up of grime and debris can accumulate in that hidden space

  2. Have you ever considered using washing soda as an alternative to baking soda? Personally, I create my own laundry detergent, and I’ve got plenty of washing soda on hand. It’s conveniently stored right next to my washing machine. 😄

  3. Thank you for sharing these cleaning tips. I had never considered using baking soda and vinegar for wash cycles before. I had been using bleach, but I’m really glad to learn about a healthier alternative. Appreciate it!

  4. I appreciate the cautionary tips and the safety reminders, especially when dealing with cleaning agents and the dryer vent. It’s clear that you’ve put a lot of thought into creating this guide.

  5. Thank you so much for sharing these cleaning tips! I had never considered using baking soda and vinegar for a wash cycle before, but it sounds like a fantastic, healthier alternative to bleach. I truly appreciate the valuable information you’ve provided. I can’t wait to try it out and see the results. Thanks again!

  6. A highly effective cleaning method for your washing machine involves using citric acid. To do this, simply sprinkle 100 g of citric acid into the empty machine and run the longest and hottest cycle available. Once that cycle is complete, run an additional cycle. This process effectively eliminates any detergent buildup, particularly if you use detergents containing zeolite instead of phosphate.

  7. Thank you for sharing this detailed guide on cleaning the washing machine and dryer. I’ve been neglecting this task, but now I realize how important it is for maintaining the performance and longevity of these appliances. These instructions are clear and easy to follow, and the tips on using baking soda, vinegar, and essential oils for effective cleaning are fantastic. I can’t wait to give my machines a thorough cleaning and enjoy fresh-smelling laundry. Great job!

  8. Hey! I just finished reading your article on washer and dryer maintenance, and I must say, it was incredibly helpful. As someone who’s always struggled with keeping my laundry appliances in good condition, I appreciate the practical tips and tricks you shared.

    First off, I loved how you emphasized the importance of regular cleaning. It’s so easy to overlook this aspect, but it truly makes a world of difference in extending the lifespan of our washers and dryers. Your step-by-step instructions on cleaning the drum, door gasket, and detergent dispenser were spot-on, and I can’t wait to give them a try. The video tutorial was a nice touch too, as it made the process even more accessible for visual learners like myself.

    Another aspect I found particularly insightful was your advice on handling different types of stains and odors. Your suggestions for tackling mold, mildew, and soap scum were practical and easy to follow. I also appreciated the tip about using white vinegar as a natural fabric softener—it’s great to have an alternative to the chemical-laden options available in stores. Your article truly covered all the bases when it comes to washer and dryer maintenance, and I can’t thank you enough for sharing such valuable information.

    Keep up the fantastic work, CleanMySpace team! Your blog continues to be my go-to resource for all things cleaning-related, and this article was no exception. I’m looking forward to implementing your tips and tricks to keep my washer and dryer in top-notch condition. Thank you once again for providing such practical and user-friendly advice. Until your next article, happy cleaning!

  9. Wow, these cleaning tips are an absolute game-changer! I can’t believe I never thought of using baking soda and vinegar for my wash cycles before. It’s such a brilliant and healthier alternative to bleach. Thank you for sharing this gem of wisdom! I can’t wait to try it out and experience the magic of these natural ingredients. You’ve truly opened my eyes to a whole new world of cleaning. Cheers to a sparkling clean and toxin-free home!

  10. The cleaning of the washing machine is one of the difficult things that people avoid. These tips will undoubtedly assist such individuals in performing the most thorough cleaning ever. Thank you for sharing this!

    Excellent video, thanks! For the house cleaning installment, I am interested to know as to why “bleach-looking” spots appear on my towels and occasionally my clothes when I do not use bleach or a detergent containing bleach or a stain remover?

      • Thanks for the most HELPFUL tips I founs after searching and watching dozens of videos the way I did it was your way this time and I wish I would have done so for awhile now. The others i tried just didn’t quite so the job it still kinda smelled musky. So ya taught an old dog a new trick! Haha thanks again!

  11. Great information, thanks!! For this series, I am wondering how “bleach” looking spots end up on my towels mostly and sometimes clothes when I don’t use bleach or a detergent with bleach or stain fighter?

    • Hi Nitin, this is an interesting question! There are a few reasons this might be happening.

      1. If you are adding detergent into the machine directly. I would recommend adding detergent to the detergent tray, and not directly onto the clothing or towels when doing a load. Detergent should mix with water before it hits the clothing.

      2. Detergent buildup in your washing machine could cause spots on your clothes. Make sure your washing machine is clean before use. For more info read How To Clean Your Washing Machine and Dryer.

      3. If your items are coming into contact with specific products, like makeup or cleaning products, you may not notice spots and stains right away but they could show up after a wash.

      I also have an article on washing bath towels if you need more info. Hope this helps!

  12. Thanks for this cleaning tips. I never thought to do a wash cycle with baking soda and one with vinegar. I was doing them with bleach, but I want healthier alternative.

  13. First of all congratulations on this post. I think this is among the most important and useful info for me. Your blog is underrated I think it should get more reach on the web. The way you explained all the information is totally different and such a piece of valuable information to me. I’m going to share this article on my social media accounts.

  14. Recently I was facing out some problem related to the washing machine as it was too dirty so I thought to clean it up then I found this article which was straight to the point and with really helpful points better than the rest of the article on the internet especially the vinegar and baking soda one helped me a lot.
    Appreciate the writer
    Thanks for sharing it.

  15. Thanks for the cleaning tips. I never thought to do a wash cycle with baking soda and one with vinegar. I was doing them with bleach, but I wanted a healthier alternative.

  16. I have a question of clarification: Are your amounts for baking soda and vinegar for an he machine or non-he? Since you mention the grime on the door I assume you are referring to an he machine. How much would you use for a non-he machine?

  17. whoah this blog is wonderful i like reading your articles.
    Stay up the good work! You understand, a lot of individuals are looking around for this information, you can aid them greatly.

  18. It’s great to know that vacuuming a drying is safe to do when cleaning it. I recently received a broken dryer from my aunt in order to help me out in moving to my new apartment. I better start looking for a washer and dryer repair service soon so that I can make use of it right away.

  19. Hi , good stuff. I have tried cleaning washing machine once with the descaler packet available in market. I guess it must have some baking soda type stuff. But works ok.

  20. Now that i have moved out of my parent’s house, all i am learning on internet is how to clean this , how to cook this haha Thank you for the value lets see how good i can clean practically but it gave me the confidence to do it .

  21. Thanks, Melissa Maker. You have written deeply about washer and dryer. I used to clean my washing machine with baking soda and vinegar. But you suggested adding 10 drops of essential oil. I love this tip. You also recommend vacuuming the lint trap beside the cleaning of washer drum, dispensing trays, and door. It’s really appreciated. I am very happy to see this and will be reading your other content.

  22. I am stumbling on all sorts of helpful tips on your site! Tips and tricks I have never thought to try. I love the idea of adding essential oils to the vinegar wash to help the smell be more pleasant. Excited to read more of your tips!

  23. Aha nice, I’m gonna try this on my washing machine now. Is there any suggested quantity of baking soda & vinegar to use while cleaning? My machine is smelling damn bad now so I may use huge quantities

  24. I had no idea that I could use baking soda, vinegar, and hot water to clean my washing machine. However, I am in need of a repair to my washing machine, not just a clean one. I will make sure to keep this in mind for the future after I get my machine fixed by a quality repairment.

  25. Yes, this is true that a dryer is a little more difficult than cleaning the washing machine. Thanks for sharing this lovely article with us.

  26. well, I must say great tips Especially that vinegar tips. I tried baking soda but not vinegar this time I will try that one also and share results with you 🙂

  27. I followed this process to clean my washing machine. Now my machine is free from that nasty smell. Thank you so much for giving the process and tips.

  28. Am i to drain out the baking soda water and then add vinegar in the next , new cycle. Or just add vinegar to the soda water. I haven’t cleaned my washing machine in years, is it ok if i let the mixture sit for , say 2 hours.

  29. Affresh tablets come in handy. Liquid detergent, hard water and mold are the bane to my laundry existence. Having to share a washer with stupid people only compounds the problem.

  30. I also recommend to clean the lint filter in warm/hot soapy water to remove any residue build up, especially if using dryer sheets. Might need a toothbrush to scrub it if it been a while.

  31. I love your cleaning tips, but you missed one I just happened upon which has become my all time REALLY, cheap hack that seems like a joke at first.
    Here it is:

    When you washer is at the point of water starting to fill washer for any size load, add about one tablespoon of ground black pepper!! Your laundry will be softer than ever before and I have tried everything on the market THIS REALLY WORKS AND IS EXTREMELY INEXPENSIVE. I am six weeks out in my use of the pepper and I remain amazed.

  32. This was great info! Cleaned my washer and dryer out yesterday. I used lemongrass essential oil. What a difference it made! Thanks for the info! I love all of your videos!

  33. Thank you! I followed your tips and cleaned my washing machine today. However i still need help cleaning the detergent dispenser. Mine is so dirty, I just don’t know how to get it clean. Any tips on a more intensive deep clean for the detergent dispenser? Thank you!

  34. I would love to be able to do all this to my washer and dryer, but alas, starting over I live in an apartment complex with 72 other units, where we all share 6 washers and dryers in the basement. And at 1.75 per load, it adds up very quickly(don’t even bother to sort anymore). Is there a way to clean the washer at least before we use them so my stuff doesn’t end up smelling like cumin or stale smoke or others? Or getting tar stuck inside jeans back pocket and greasy oily looking marks on varies places on other clothes from the dryer. Basically do you know a quick easy way to clean/sanitize a community washer without having to put it thru a cycle, just so I can wash my stuff and feel like they actually got clean?

  35. I get build up on the inside “ring” at the back of my front loading HE dryer. It will periodically stain white shirts with streaks. I have tried cleaning it with a rag with only limited success. Any suggestions?

  36. Great video, thanks!! For the laundry series, I am wondering how “bleach” looking spots end up on my towels mostly and sometimes clothes when I don’t use bleach or a detergent with bleach or stain fighter?

  37. my husband found your site and we love it! cleaned our dishwasher filter yesterday. Didn’t even know they had filters! Going to clean the washer & dryer today – Thankyou so much. Debbie from AZ.

  38. Hi Melissa! I have a cat who sheds a lot of hair and they cling onto my wet laundry when it comes out of my washer. I prefer not to use my dryer so that my clothes can last a little longer. Do you have any tips on how to remove pet hair quickly from wet laundry?

  39. how can i get rid of a very bad drain like smell every time i use my washing machine? luckily the clothes smell fine but the whole bathroom stinks. thanks

  40. I’m paranoid about keeping my dryer and associated vents free of lint. Aside from routine removal of lint, I hire a dryer vent place and they come once a year and follow the silver elephant thing all the way up to the roof!

  41. One cleaning method that also works well on your washing machine is to sprinkle100 g of citric acid and into the empty machine and run the hottest and longest cycle. After that, run one more cycle. That gets rid of any detergent buildup, especially if you use detergents with zeolite instead of phosphate.

  42. I have Hard Water I can feel it on the back of my dishes. After a few washes my clothes began to have a more dull color. Is there anything i can do about this.

  43. What about using washing soda instead of baking soda? I make my own laundry detergent so I have a few big boxes of that stuff right next to my machine 🙂

  44. Cleaning of washing machine is one of the hectic task which people avoid to step into. These tips will definitely help such to make their best cleaning ever. Thanks for sharing this post!!!

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  46. Thanks for the cleaning tips. I never thought to do a wash cycle with baking soda and one with vinegar. I was doing them with bleach, but I wanted a healthier alternative. Thanks.

  47. It’s important to pull back the rubber seal and clean underneath it too, not just the part that comes in contact with the door. Super nasty stuff collects under there.


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