Have you noticed a strange smell coming from your washing machine? The appliances can carry a lot of dirt from the clothes you regularly wash, causing an ugly coating inside them.
When this dirt builds up, the washing machines can clog up, making it harder to run a load of laundry which can cause a major malfunction. A dirt-coated washer is a tired one because it has to work twice as hard, which leaves them susceptible to frequent breakdowns.
The clog-up, mixed with the moisture in your washer, can cause a pungent odour to emanate from your washer. This is why your washing machine requires regular cleaning. We have compiled a list of five of the best washing machine cleaners and have also provided information on what makes the cleaners tick and their disadvantages, so that you can choose the best washing machine cleaner for you. Read on to find out more.
Things to consider before buying a washing machine cleaner
A washing machine should be a long-term investment, and properly maintaining it is the first step towards ensuring that it works for a long time. A good washing machine should be strong enough to dissolve dirt and grease, remove limescale, and clean all surfaces. The main features to look out for are:
- Is it efficient in both hard and soft water?
The water supply in some places contains a higher salt content and, when mixed with cleaning solutions, causes a hard coating on the inside surfaces of your washing machine. This build-up is known as limescale and may cause overheating in your machine, which can cause a gradual breakdown. A good washing machine cleaner should clear the coating inside all hidden areas, including pipes and drums.
- Does it remove bad odour?
Isn’t it a relief when you can feel your washing machine change from having a foul smell to a pleasant scent? The bad smell from your washing machine could be caused by mould, mildew, and bacteria, and the best way to get rid of that is to use an effective washing machine cleaner. To freshen up your laundry room, consider using scented cleaners.
- Does it have antibacterial properties?
Some of these cleaners aren’t dissimilar to a mild soap, and these don’t kill bacteria. Having an anti-bacterial cleaner is essential, especially if you’re a germ freak or have at-risk people living in your home. These cleaners will have a disclaimer such as 99.9% bacterial protection. If you need your washer sanitized often, then antibacterial cleaners are the best choice for you.
- Is it eco-friendly?
Some washing machine cleaner manufacturers go the extra mile to provide eco-friendly products. If you’re environmentally conscious, look for cruelty-free cleaners made from non-genetically modified materials. Some of these cleaners are even vegan friendly.
- Can I use it on other surfaces?
Imagine having an efficient multipurpose cleaner for all your surfaces instead of a cleaner for every worktop, counter, or table. Who doesn’t enjoy a good cost saver? If you’re looking for budget-friendly options, then multipurpose cleaners are just what you need.
Top 5 Best Washing Machine Cleaners
1. Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner
Removes dirt and limescale
Can clean hard to reach places of your washing machine
We start this list off with a well-known and trusted brand – Dettol. Dettol Washing Machine cleaner comes in a 250ml bottle and has five essential features to keep your washer clean and fresh at all times. The cleaner comes in liquid form, making it easy for it to clean even the hard to reach areas of your washing machine.
To ensure that the cleaner is effective, take a bottle and pour its entire content into your washing machine drawer, don’t add your laundry to it. Switch on your washing machine and run a 60°C wash programme. This helps distribute the cleaner all over the washer, removing all dirt and limescale.
The lemon scent of this cleaner is perfect for keeping your washer smelling fresh. The cleaner has anti-bacterial properties that help keep your machine free from germs and bacteria.
Besides cleaning your washing machine, this cleaner by Dettol is also effective for use on the glass doors, rubber seals, and drawers. You will need a sponge and a little bit of water for this. Dilute a tablespoon of the cleaner in 200ml of water and use the sponge to wipe the surfaces down.
This cleaner can be a bit corrosive, so ensure that you have gloves on when using it. Protect your eyes and skin because contact with the cleaning solution may cause irritation. The cleaner is recommended for use once every couple of months since it can corrode metal when used daily. The bottle is packaged with instructions and recommendations for using the cleaner safely, so make sure to read them.
Top Pick For Freshness
For a fresh smelling washing machine, the lemon fragrance is ideal, keeping bad odours at bay.
If you want to ensure that you get into all the crevices and unseen parts of your washing machine that may have a build up of dirt then the Dettol liquid is a perfect option for you.
2. Beckmann Service-It Deep Clean Washing Machine Cleaner
Effective descaler and cleaner
Active carbon that bonds with dirt and detergent residue
Corrosion inhibitors to increase your washer’s shelf-life
Dr. Beckmann is yet another popular washing machine cleaner, especially in the UK. It comes in a two-pack, each bottle holding 250g of cleaning powder.
The cleaner is designed to help prolong your washing machine’s shelf-life by protecting the rubber joints in your washing machine using its corrosion inhibitors.
It’s anti-bacterial, which not only cleans your washer but also keeps it free from bacteria, germs, and fungi. The anti-bacterial feature comes from the sodium percarbonate, an active oxygen-based bleach in Dr. Beckmann’s cleaner.
If you’re looking for an effective descaler, Dr. Beckmann’s cleaner is an excellent choice for you. It removes dirt, stubborn limescale, and detergent build-up that could be the cause of the foul odour from your washing machine. Beckmann is also an excellent product for removing mildew along washer door seals.
This cleaner is infused with carbon for effective cleaning. The carbon essentially attracts and bonds the detergent remnants from hidden washing machine parts such as pipes, the drum, and seals of your washer. For this to work, switch on your washer and pour Dr. Beckmann’s washing machine cleaner into the detergent compartment, then run a wash cycle at 60°C. The carbon will then be flushed out after the cycle, leaving your washing machine smelling and looking fresh and clean.
The package also comes with instructions on use and how to protect yourself while cleaning. You are also required to use protective gear such as gloves and remove your contact lenses before cleaning your washing machine.
It is recommended you should clean your machine with this solution after every 30 wash cycles. Simply put, clean your washing machine every two months if you can’t keep track of the number of cycles.
Great For Effective Cleaning
If you want a cleaner that has effective components such as carbon and corrosion inhibitors – then look no further.
You can be assured that your machine will be completely cleaned – from the seal, to the drum, to the pipes.
3. Indesit Limescale and Detergent Remover
Long lasting pack
Power descaler and detergent remover
Efficient grime remover
Can be used in all models of washing machine
Next up, we have Indesit’s limescale and detergent remover. This cleaner is effective in both hard and soft water. It comes in a ten-pack and is efficiently usable in most washing machine brands.
The cleaner is tough on detergent residue and descales your washing machine. It also dissolves any grime from the washing machine’s joints allowing your washer to run at full capacity for a long time.
Each sachet of Indesit contains 250g of cleaning powder, which is enough for one cleaning cycle. The manufacturer recommends cleaning your washing machine monthly, and the 10-pack is enough for almost a year. Like most washing machine cleaners, Indesit Limescale and Detergent cleaner also requires that you run a 60°C wash cycle, with the powder in the detergent compartment.
Using the cleaner will clean up the detergent build-up, refreshing the washing machine. This cleaner isn’t scented, so your washer will be clean but will smell normal. The cleaner doesn’t have anti-bacterial properties either.
You can choose Indesit detergent remover for its excellent cleaning properties and combine it with another cleaning option like the Dettol cleaner if you would like your washing machine to be fresh smelling as well as clean and germ free.
Ideal Choice For Easy Cleaning
Need a cleaner to rid your washing machine of limescale? – Then Indesit have got the perfect cleaning powder for you.
With its powerful cleaning properties it can dissolve dirt and grime easily. We recommend you choose this cleaner if you want effortless cleaning.
4. Ecozone Washing Machine and Dishwasher Cleaner
Environmentally friendly product
Multiple scent choices
Has a fragrance free option
Ecozone’s cleaner works for both washing machines and dishwashers. The cleaner comes in a pack of six tablets. You can choose between different scents, including eucalyptus, mint, and lemon. There’s a fragrance-free version for those who are allergic to strong fragrances.
The Ecozone cleaner is an excellent descaler that can remove built-up limescale and detergent in one wash. Its scent choices also make the cleaner an excellent freshener, leaving your washing machine clean and odourless.
The manufacturer is environmentally conscious, so each tablet comes in a soluble wrapper. This shows even in their manufacturing process as the cleaner uses no artificial colouring, preservatives, or GMO products. Ecozone has covered all its bases as the cleaner is vegan-friendly and cruelty-free.
Using this cleaner requires a slightly different approach. First, the tablet goes inside your washing machine’s drum instead of the detergent compartment. You only need one tablet. You can then run a hot cycle of about 60°C and wait until the wash is done before adding any laundry. Ecozone recommends that you clean your washing machine monthly when using their cleaner.
Top Pick For The Environmentally Conscious
The Ecozone cleaner makes an excellent choice for those of you that want a multipurpose product that is friendly to the environment and allergy sufferers.
It is the perfect option because it is both an efficient cleaner, but a delicate product.
5. Pro-Kleen Washing Machine Cleaner and Descaler
2-in-1 cleaning feature
50 treatments in one pack
Gets rid of foul machine odours
Who doesn’t love a good deal on cleaning products? Pro-Kleen combines the functions of both a cleaner and descaler, which solves two problems in one go.
The cleaner comes in a 5 litre bottle, and you only need 100ml to clean your washing machine. This means that you can clean your washer around 50 times before it runs out.
Pro-Kleen is fragrance-free, making it an excellent choice for allergy sufferers.
The cleaner can remove limescale from your washing machine’s interior, which will help it to keep working effectively and last longer.
The manufacturer recommends that you run the washer at 50°C and clean it every 2-3 months. The Pro-Kleen cleaner is very efficient and cleans bacteria, mildew, lime, mould, and gunk from your washer, so you can wash you clothes knowing that your machine is taking good care of them and they will be cleaned with maximum freshness.
Perfect For Eliminating Bacteria
If you are looking to buy a cleaning product that will last you quite a while, then Pro-Kleen is a perfect choice for you. A 5 litre bottle will give you 50 cleans before you need to buy more.
It can clean a plethora of bacteria from you washing machine, as well as using its descaling agent.
The best way to clean a washing machine
How frequently you clean your washing machine depends on the cleaner you choose. The washing machine cleaner’s manufacturer may direct you to clean your washer monthly or once every two months.
You will need:
- Lukewarm water
- Microfibre cloth
- Washing machine cleaner
Regular cleaning reduces the chance of toxic dirt build-up in your washing machine. When dirt builds up in your washer, you may notice clothes coming out with dirt marks even after a complete wash cycle.
Start the cleaning process by removing parts such as the control knobs and the soap tray to and set them aside. You may need to wash these separately in warm soapy water. Next would be to clean your washer’s surface. You can’t escape regular laundry runs, and this causes lint to build up around your laundry room’s surface.
Wet the microfibre cloth with soapy water and wipe down the surfaces. If you’re using a multipurpose cleaner, dilute a little bit in 200ml of water to wet the cloth and wipe down the washer, including the door’s gasket and rubber seals.
Read the instructions on your cleaner’s package and clean the washing machine accordingly. You will need to run a hot wash programme for this step. Remember to wear protective gear, especially for your hands, and let the washer run first without a load of laundry after cleaning.
Once the wash cycle is complete, open the washer door and let everything dry out before running your next load of laundry.
1. Can a washing machine get dirty?
Most of the dirt coming from your washer gets drained out with greywater, but some of the dirt attaches to your washing machine’s surface. Over time, the dirt accumulates and forms a layer. Soon enough, this dirt will start attaching itself to your clean laundry, which can be a nuisance. To ensure that your clothes remain freshly washed, you need to clean your washing machine regularly.
2. What are the types of washing machine cleaners?
You can choose between different washing machine cleaners, including liquid, powder, and tablets.
Liquid cleaners are the easiest to use, and they can access your washing machine’s crevices even better. These cleaners are usually strong and effective, and because they dissolve faster during a wash cycle, they don’t leave remnants.
Wipes are convenient because you don’t need another rinse after scrubbing. They can be used when there is an extensive build-up of gunk. You can use them to wipe surfaces such as the washer door, drum, and outside surfaces. Because it’s essentially a wipe down, you can use these cleaners daily to keep your washer fresh.
Tablets dissolve slowly and will work best if you use them while still doing your laundry. Because these tablets dissolve slowly, they gradually remove stuck dirt, flushed with the greywater. Using tablets leaves no chance for extra clean-ups because there’s no chance of spillage.
Spray cleaners are as effective as wipes since they are also touch and go. Spraying cleaner onto a washer’s surface will help reach all hidden crevices, dissolving the dirt.
3. How often should I clean a washing machine?
How often you clean a washing machine depends on how often you use it. Cleaning your washer shouldn’t be a daily occurrence because some cleaners contain chemicals that may corrode it. Once or twice a month should be enough time for effective cleaning. Any longer, and the gunk build-up may negatively impact the efficiency of your machine.
4. Can I use vinegar to clean a washing machine?
Some people advocate using vinegar because of its anti-bacterial nature, but this isn’t a good idea. Vinegar can eat into the rubber parts of your washer, causing them to start leaking. The best way to clean your machine is to use cleaning products only dedicated to washing machines.
5. Why does my washing machine still smell even with regular cleaning?
Before cleaning your washing machine, clean your washer door and ensure that you get into all nooks and crannies. You may be missing some spots. Ensure that you’ve cleaned up the machine buttons separately and use high-quality cleaners.
The best way to prevent a build-up of dirt in your washing machine is to clean it regularly. Introducing a regular cleaning routine will prevent your laundry room from foul odours and is part of a healthy maintenance regimen.
DIY cleaners may seem cheaper, but you may be doing more harm than good to your washer. Products such as vinegar, which is usually recommended for most cleaning hacks, can corrode the rubber seals in your washer and eventually tear them.
Ready to clean up your washer? What are you waiting for? Choose between the five best washing machine cleaners we’ve listed and watch your washer work effectively for longer.
Meet our reviewer
Jimmy Pearce is our resident expert on domestic cleaning appliances. Having managed a large electrical retail store for over 10 years and with a family that includes 3 kids, there is little Jimmy doesn’t know or hasn’t seen when it comes to domestic cleaning. When he’s not spending time with the family or reviewing domestic appliances, Jimmy is often found in his man cave jamming on his bass guitar.