How to Clean the Washing Machine Without Harsh Chemicals

Wendy Mallins
by Wendy Mallins
1-2 Hour
It’s quick and easy to clean your washing machine using natural products.
For this cleaning job we use soda crystals and white vinegar both of which are available cheaply at the supermarket.
I prefer to clean the washing machine using more natural products especially as I have young children at home – chemicals are best kept to a minimum especially around inquisitive types! You do have to make sure you store soda crystals out of sight and reach of children as they are an irritant.
What you need:

cup of soda crystals

2 cups of white vinegar

dish washing soap
First remove the soap dispenser and give it a wash in warm soapy water, scrub any crevices using an old toothbrush. This will remove any build up of black gunky soap that can hang around in there.
Clean inside the soap dispenser space in the washing machine, again use dish washing soap and a toothbrush to scrub any small tight areas and finally wipe around with a cloth before returning the clean soap dispenser.
Add the soda crystals to the soap dispenser.
Tip the white vinegar directly into the drum of the washing machine.
Put the washing machine on the highest temperature cycle to wash.
Once it’s finished use a soft cloth to wipe clean the inside of the glass door and the rubber door seal. Dry the rubber door seal and leave the door slightly ajar so air can circulate.

The outside of the washing machine can be cleaned with a microfibre cloth and warm soapy water. It’s a good idea to do this once every few weeks as part of an easy housework routine.

Washing Machine Cleaning Tips:

Door seal – this is the one part of the washing machine that gets black mould on it the quickest. Once the black mould is on the rubber door seal this can’t be removed. Only option is to change the seal. You can usually order door seals from the parts department of the manufacturer. The best way to prevent the door seal getting black mould on it is to make sure you dry the seal after use and leave the door slightly ajar so air circulates.
Wendy Mallins
Want more details about this and other DIY projects? Check out my blog post!
Frequently asked questions
Have a question about this project?
3 of 5 questions
  • Jonniemae.thompson Jonniemae.thompson on Feb 02, 2017
    what are soda crystals?

  • WENDY WENDY on Dec 24, 2017
    Ok.... I want to try this for my front loader. But.... I’ve never heard of “soda crystals nor soda ash”. Please tell me where/what store sells this.

  • Patti Patti on Jan 03, 2022

    I would like to try this method for cleaning my washer but after reading all the comments, I am a little confused about what soda crystals are. Can you tell me what it is and where to buy it?


Join the conversation
2 of 13 comments
  • Danielle Odin Danielle Odin on May 27, 2017
    Well, I clean my clothes and my machine at the same time. I use non-scented bio detergent, Oxi clean powder for heavy soils and white vinegar as a rinse. I am allergic to the rinses offered as all fabric softners have the same composition. My machine is quite old as I live in an apartment that has them and it was here when I moved in and I have no idea how many tenants it has served. It is a stackable unit with the dryer on top. The white vinegar and the Oxi-clean are good cleaner for the machine as well.

  • HomyHolds HomyHolds on Apr 14, 2020

    Spot on! Your step by step instructions with images is very helpful. I have been using home remedies to clean my washing machine as well. However, sometimes I use a commercial product and I prefer Affresh in that case. I wrote an article on my site as well to clean a washing machine with home remedies. I will love it if you check and give feedback. Thanks!