How to clean top loader washing machine?

  1. Prepare the washing machine.
  2. Run a hot water cycle with vinegar.
  3. Run a baking soda cycle.
  4. Clean the agitator and drum.
  5. Clean the dispensers and filters.
  6. Run a final rinse cycle.
  7. Wipe down the exterior.
  8. Clean the lid and gasket.
  9. Clean the drain pump filter.
  10. Use high-efficiency detergents.
  11. Avoid overloading the washing machine.
  12. Schedule regular cleanings.

As someone who does a lot of laundry, I know how important it is to have a clean and properly functioning washing machine. But it’s easy to forget that washing machines need regular cleaning too. If you have a top loader washing machine, you may have noticed that over time, detergent residue, fabric softener, and dirt can build up inside the machine, leading to musty odors and decreased performance. That’s why it’s important to regularly clean your top loader washing machine to keep it working properly and smelling fresh.

I’ve personally experienced the benefits of regular washing machine cleaning. After neglecting to clean my top loader washing machine for some time, I noticed an unpleasant smell coming from the machine, and my laundry wasn’t coming out as clean as I would like. I did some research and discovered the importance of regular cleaning, and since then, I’ve made it a part of my cleaning routine. Now my washing machine works more efficiently, my laundry smells fresh, and I don’t have to worry about costly repairs or replacements.

Here, I’ll share my step-by-step guide to cleaning a top loader washing machine, as well as some expert tips to help you maintain its performance.

Related : Troubleshooting a Top Load Washing Machine Leaking from the Bottom

Supplies Needed

Before getting started, make sure you have the following supplies:

  • Bucket
  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • Cleaning cloth or sponge
  • Toothbrush or small brush
  • High-efficiency laundry detergent

Step 1: Prepare the Washing Machine

The first step in cleaning a top loader washing machine is to prepare the machine. Here’s what to do:

  1. Turn off the washing machine and unplug it.
  2. Remove any items from the washer, including clothing and laundry detergent.
  3. Open the lid and check for any debris or lint on the agitator or drum.

Step 2: Run a Hot Water Cycle with Vinegar

The next step is to run a hot water cycle with vinegar. Vinegar is a natural and effective cleaner that can help remove buildup and odors from the washing machine.

  1. Fill a bucket with two cups of white vinegar.
  2. Set the washing machine to the largest load size and hottest water temperature.
  3. Pour the vinegar into the drum and start the washing machine.
  4. Allow the washing machine to run through a full cycle.

Step 3: Run a Baking Soda Cycle

After the hot water cycle is complete, it’s time to run a baking soda cycle. Baking soda is a natural deodorizer and can help remove any remaining buildup in the washing machine.

  1. Sprinkle one cup of baking soda into the drum.
  2. Run the washing machine through another cycle on the hottest water setting.
  3. This will help to remove any buildup and deodorize the washing machine.

Step 4: Clean the Agitator and Drum

While the washing machine is running, use a cleaning cloth or sponge to wipe down the agitator and the inside of the drum. Pay special attention to any areas that look dirty or discolored. If necessary, use a toothbrush or other small brush to scrub hard-to-reach areas. You may need to repeat this step a few times until the agitator and drum are thoroughly clean.

Step 5: Clean the Dispensers and Filters

It’s important to clean the dispensers and filters in the washing machine regularly. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Remove any dispensers or filters from the washing machine.
  2. Use a cleaning cloth or brush to remove any buildup or residue.
  3. Rinse the dispensers or filters with water and dry them thoroughly before replacing them in the washing machine.

Step 6: Run a Final Rinse Cycle

After the baking soda cycle is complete, run one more cycle with just hot water to rinse out any remaining residue. This will also help to remove any vinegar or baking soda smell from the washing machine.

Related : Understanding the Causes of Unpleasant Odors in Top Load Washing Machines

Step 7: Wipe Down the Exterior

Once the final cycle is complete, use a cleaning cloth or sponge to wipe down the outside of the washing machine. Clean the control panel, the top of the machine, and any other visible areas. This will help to keep the washing machine looking its best.

Step 8: Clean the Lid and Gasket

It’s important to clean the lid and gasket of the washing machine regularly to prevent mold and mildew. Here’s how to do it:

  • Wipe down the lid and gasket with a cleaning cloth and hot water.
  • Pay attention to any areas where dirt or debris may have accumulated.
  • Use a toothbrush or other small brush to scrub hard-to-reach areas.

Step 9: Clean the Drain Pump Filter

The drain pump filter is another area that needs to be cleaned regularly. Here’s how to do it:

  1. Locate the drain pump filter, which is typically located at the front of the washing machine.
  2. Remove the filter and clean it thoroughly with hot water and a cleaning cloth or brush.
  3. Replace the filter and ensure it is securely in place.

Step 10: Check for Mold or Mildew

It’s important to regularly inspect the drum and other parts of the washing machine for signs of mold or mildew. If you notice any, clean them with a mixture of water and bleach. Rinse thoroughly with hot water and wipe dry.

Step 11: Use High-Efficiency Detergents

Using high-efficiency detergents is essential for maintaining the performance of your top loader washing machine. These detergents are specially formulated to work with high-efficiency washing machines and can help prevent buildup and odors.

Step 12: Avoid Overloading the Washing Machine

Overloading the washing machine can lead to poor performance and buildup. It’s important to properly load the washing machine to ensure that it works properly. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions and avoid packing too many clothes into the machine.

Step 13: Schedule Regular Cleanings

Regular cleaning is key to maintaining the performance of your top loader washing machine. Depending on how frequently you use the machine, you may need to clean it every few months. Set a reminder in your calendar to ensure that you stay on top of regular cleanings.

Step 14: Troubleshooting Tips

Even with regular cleanings, issues can still arise with your washing machine. Here are some troubleshooting tips to help you identify and fix common problems:

  • Strange noises: Check for any loose parts or debris in the machine. You may also need to replace the agitator or bearings.
  • Leaks: Check for any cracks or damage to the hoses or valves. You may need to replace these parts to stop the leaks.
  • Poor performance: If your clothes aren’t coming out clean, it could be a sign of buildup in the machine. Run a cleaning cycle to remove any residue and improve performance.

Step 15: Conclusion

Cleaning a top loader washing machine may seem like a daunting task, but it’s essential for maintaining its performance and extending its lifespan. By following these steps and regularly scheduling cleanings, you can ensure that your washing machine stays in top condition for years to come. Remember to use high-efficiency detergents, avoid overloading the machine, and troubleshoot any issues as they arise. Happy washing!


How often should you clean your top loader washing machine?

Clean it every few months, depending on how frequently you use the machine. Neglecting to clean your washing machine can lead to buildup and odors, which can affect the performance of the machine over time.

What type of detergent should you use for a top loader washing machine?

Use high-efficiency detergents that are specially formulated to work with top loader washing machines. Using regular detergent in a top loader washing machine can lead to excess sudsing and poor performance.

How do you clean the drain pump filter in a top loader washing machine?

Locate the filter, remove it, clean it thoroughly with hot water and a cleaning cloth or brush, and ensure it is securely in place before screwing it back into the washing machine.

Why should you avoid overloading a top loader washing machine?

Overloading can lead to poor performance, buildup, excess wear and tear, and detergent buildup that can affect the machine’s performance and lifespan.

What are some signs of mold or mildew in a top loader washing machine?

Black or gray spots on the drum or gasket, or a musty odor, may indicate mold or mildew. Use hot water and vinegar or bleach to clean the machine thoroughly to prevent the mold or mildew from spreading.

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