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How To Clean a Front Load Washing Machine (Step-by-Step)

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Your washing machine needs regular maintenance to keep it in tip-top condition, and cleaning it monthly is an excellent way of maintaining and caring for it. So, how do you clean a front-load washing machine?

To clean a front-load washing machine, work systematically and use suitable materials and detergents. Prepare the machine for cleaning, then thoroughly clean the interior (the detergent tray, gasket, and drum). Finish by cleaning the exterior and the area around the machine. 

If you’re looking for a step-by-step guide on how to clean your front-load washing machine, keep reading. This article describes everything you need to know.

How to Clean a Front Loading Washer (Step-by-step guide)
I made a video of the process if you prefer watching over reading.

1. Prepare the Front Load Washing Machine for Cleaning 

Preparing your front-load washing machine for cleaning involves the following: 

Gather Your Supplies

You’ll need the following to clean a front-load washing machine: 

  • White vinegar
  • Baking soda
  • A narrow tufted cleaning brush
  • Microfiber cloths
  • 2 buckets
  • A mop
  • An old toothbrush
  • A bowl
  • A measuring cup
Tools required.

Unplug the Washing Machine 

The first part of the preparation involves unplugging your washing machine, as this makes it easier to clean the exterior. 

After unplugging it, secure the plug cable above the washing machine with tape to protect it from cleaning fluids or water.

Empty the Drum 

Emptying the drum ensures that nothing interferes with the efficient cleaning of the machine. 

You should remove anything inside the drum, including:

  • Items of clothing
  • Detergent 
  • Water

Remove Foreign Objects From the Gasket

After emptying the drum, remove any foreign objects from the gasket. A front-loading washing machine’s gasket is a rubber seal that prevents water from leaking and runs along the drum’s opening. 

Once you locate the gasket, open the door as wide as possible and pull back the gasket to check for foreign objects and dirt. Removing foreign objects from the gasket is essential as they could harm the washing machine as you clean it.

2. Clean the Detergent Tray

Cleaning the detergent trey in a basin using a tooth brush.

After preparing your washing machine for cleaning, clean the detergent tray. Since it has compartments that hold laundry detergent, bleach, and fabric softener, it may have a soap scum build-up. This can result in the detergent unit clogging up, leading to your washing machine operating inefficiently.

A soap scum build-up can leak small amounts of old detergent into the drum even when the washing machine isn’t in use. When this happens constantly, it can cause foul odors in the machine and cause your laundry to smell bad.  

Make sure you clean the detergent trey’s slot as well. There usually is a build-up of detergent and fabric softener residue in there.

Here’s how to clean your front-load washing machine’s detergent tray:

  1. Put some warm water in a bucket, add dishwashing liquid, and mix well. Dawn Ultra Liquid Dish Soap from Amazon is ideal as it’s a mild, powerful, versatile, natural cleaner. It can quickly cut through any detergent scum and grime on the detergent unit.
  2. Remove the detergent tray from the washing machine and detach all the removable parts.
  3. Immerse the detergent tray and loose parts in the bucket.
  4. Let them soak for 10 minutes to loosen any built-on scum and dirt.
  5. Use a sponge to clean and rinse the place where the detergent tray was. This removes any residual detergent. 
  6. Clean the empty detergent tray holder and each tray part thoroughly using the sponge.
  7. Rinse the parts with clean water and dry them with a microfiber cloth. A HOMEXCEL Microfiber Cleaning Cloth would be great for cleaning any part of your front-load washing machine. These microfiber cloths are durable, highly absorbent, and also scratch, lint, and streak free.
  8. Reinsert the detergent tray in the washing machine. 

3. Clean the Gasket

If you inspect the gasket, you will find that it is full of dirt.

The next step is to clean the gasket. This part can easily gather dirt, soap scum, and bacteria. 

Cleaning the gasket helps prevent:

  • Bacterial build-up, which can turn into mold. If your laundry comes into contact with mold, it can become stained and be a health hazard.
  • Mold residue on your laundry after a wash cycle.
  • Foul-smelling laundry after a wash cycle.

Here’s how to clean the gasket:

  1. Put some warm water in a bowl and add 2 tablespoons (30 ml) of white vinegar. The vinegar helps remove soap scum, mildew, and mold and kills bacteria in the gasket. I recommend Heinz Cleaning Vinegar from Amazon as it’s natural, and its acidity is 6%, making it a powerful cleaning agent. 
  2. Mix the solution well.
  3. Open the washing machine door.
  4. Dip the cleaning brush into the solution. 
  5. Pull back the gasket and clean it thoroughly using the wet brush. 
  6. Clean the exterior of the gasket with a sponge.
  7. Rinse the sponge. Fill the other bowl with lukewarm water and rinse the interior and exterior of the gasket.
  8. Rinse thoroughly until the smell of vinegar disappears.

4. Clean the Inside of the Door

Tor Rydder cleaning the washing machines door.

Once the gasket is sparkling clean, it’s time to clean the inside of the door. The door also becomes dirty over time, and it’s essential to clean it to prevent a build-up of dirt and bacteria that can cause a foul odor. 

Here’s how to clean the door:

  1. Open the door wide, and dip the cleaning sponge in the white vinegar and warm water solution. 
  2. Clean the inside of the door with a sponge.
  3. Rinse the sponge, and place lukewarm water in a bowl.
  4. Rinse the inside of the door thoroughly using the sponge and lukewarm water.
  5. To ensure your washing machine door is extra-clean and shiny, mist some window or mirror cleaner on the glass and then wipe it off with a clean microfiber cloth. 

5. Clean the Drum

Once the gasket and door are clean, you can clean the drum. The drum needs regular cleaning due to the following reasons:

  • It experiences chemical build-up from old detergents, which can affect your laundry.
  • The drum attracts bacteria, eventually giving the machine and your clothes a foul odor.
  • The drum attracts dirt, which can cause your laundry to be dirty even after a wash cycle. 

Some front-load washing machines have a “drum clean setting” that automatically cleans the door gasket and the drum. However, manually cleaning it removes chemical deposits and dirt more efficiently. 

Distilled white vinegar is a fantastic cleaning product that works great for cleaning your washing machine.

Here’s how to clean the drum manually:

  1. Put warm water in the bowl, add white vinegar, and stir well.
  2. Open the door and use the solution and a microfiber cloth to thoroughly clean the drum’s interior. 
  3. Pay close attention to any crevices inside the washing machine – you can use a toothbrush to clean the crevices.
  4. Put clean water in a bowl and rinse the drum using a microfiber cloth. 
  5. Pour 2 cups (473 ml) of white vinegar at the bottom of the drum.
  6. Put warm water in the bowl, add a quarter cup (45 g) of baking soda, and stir well. Pour the solution into the soap dispenser compartment and close the door. 
  7. Select the heavy-duty cycle and the maximum temperature so the drum can soak the baking soda and white vinegar solution for longer to ensure a thorough clean.
  8. Start the cycle and run an additional rinse cycle without adding any products to the water. This rinses away any residue in the drum. 

You can use a washing machine cleaner as an alternative to a white vinegar solution. These products are widely available and can clean the washing machine’s drum effectively. Follow the directions on the label, or place the cleaning solution in the drum and select a long washing cycle. 

6. Dry the Front-Load Washing Machine’s Interior

Once the drum is clean, you can dry the machine’s interior using a dry microfiber cloth. 

This involves the following parts:

  • Drum
  • Gasket
  • Inside of the door

7. Clean Your Washing Machine’s Filter

Cleaning the washing machine’s pump filter isuing a tooth brush.

Now that the inside of your washing machine is clean, you can clean the exterior. The first step involves cleaning the filter. In a front-load washing machine, the filter is usually at the front of the unit or toward the end of the drainage hose.

It’s essential to clean the filter because:

  • The filter traps loose hair, lint, dust, and detergent. Not cleaning it regularly can result in a clogged filter. When the filter clogs, it can limit your machine’s efficiency.
  • A dirty filter can lead to lint deposits on the laundry, making it look dirty even after washing.  
Make sure you drain the before you pull the filter out.

Here’s how to clean the filter:

  1. Look for the filter compartment, open it and remove it – you can use the user manual to guide you.
  2. Take the filter to the sink and scrub it to remove mold, hair, lint, and soap scum. 
  3. Rinse it thoroughly and dry it.
  4. Use a microfiber cloth to thoroughly clean the empty filter compartment in the machine, as it also accumulates dirt. 
  5. Rinse the filter compartment and dry it.
  6. Reinsert the clean, dry filter, and close the compartment.

8. Clean Your Washing Machine’s Control Panel

Your front-load washing machine’s control panel can quickly accumulate dirt and grime. When this happens, it can make it difficult and frustrating to select washing programs.

Using a soft microfiber cloth and gentle, all-purpose cleaner, wipe the control panel and give it a final wipe with an antibacterial wipe if desired. If it looks streaky or there is a small amount of detergent build-up, mist it gently with some window or mirror cleaner, and wipe it with a soft clean cloth. 

9. Clean Your Washing Machine’s Exterior

Tor cleaning the washers exterior.

This step involves cleaning your washing machine’s exterior. Your washing machine’s exterior gathers dust, grime, and dirt that requires cleaning to keep the appliance looking as good as new.

Here’s how to clean your washing machine’s exterior:

  1. Close the door to prevent dirty water from entering it.
  2. Pull the washing machine out a little to access the back and sides. Since you’ve already unplugged the device, it’s safe to move it slightly.
  3. Put warm water and dishwashing liquid in a bucket, and mix well. 
  4. Dip the sponge in the solution and clean the dust and dirt around the machine’s exterior.
  5. Put some clean, lukewarm water in the bucket, dip the clean sponge, and start rinsing the machine.
  6. Take a dry fiber cloth and dry the machine’s exterior. 

10. Clean the Area Around the Washing Machine

Once the interior and exterior of your front load washing machine are clean, it’s essential to clean the area around the appliance. The areas around the washing machine include the following: 

  • Walls
  • Corners
  • Floor

These areas accumulate dust and dirt daily and therefore need cleaning. In addition, by the time you’re through with cleaning the machine, the walls and floor around the device will most likely have splashes of detergent and water. There’s no joy in having a clean washing machine in a dirty area. 

Here’s how to clean the area around the front load washing machine. 

  1. Put water in the bucket, add dishwashing liquid, and mix.
  2. Dip the microfiber cloth in the mixture and wring out most of the water, so it doesn’t drip to the floor. 
  3. Use the microfiber cloth to clean the walls around the washing machine.
  4. Rinse the microfiber cloth and use it to rinse the walls.
  5. Dry the walls with a dry cloth.
  6. Mop the floor around the machine using soapy water – ensure you reach any corners around the device.
  7. Rinse the floor using the mop and clean water.
  8. Dry the floor.
  9. Allow the area to dry.
  10. Return the machine to its original place when the area is dry.

11. Open the Washing Machine’s Door

Leaving the machine open will help prevent mold.

Now that the exterior, interior, and area around your washing machine are clean, the next step is to open the door. Once done, do the following:

  • Open the detergent unit slightly: Opening the detergent unit slightly enables the compartment to dry completely. This decreases the chances of a mold or bacterial build-up in the machine. 
  • Leave the machine’s door open: It’s best to leave the appliance’s door open for several hours. Doing so allows any residual moisture inside the machine to air dry, thus preventing mold and bacterial growth.

Final Thoughts

There you have it! You can easily clean your front-load washing machine using simple cleaning detergents and materials. These tips will help you clean your front-load washing machine systematically and thoroughly, and should only take an hour. 


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