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Complete guide on how to clean a washing machine

4 minute read |

You run water and washing detergent in your washing machine regularly. Does it mean it’s clean? Not necessarily. Like any other home appliance, your washing machine needs a deep clean so it performs at its best for longer. Otherwise, mould and mildew may grow in its damp crevices, causing both your machine and laundry to smell.

As a rule of thumb, thoroughly clean it at least once a month depending on your washing habits. Don’t worry, this is easy with Zanussi washing machines. Whether for a front-loader or a top-loader, refer to this DIY guide on how to clean a washing machine with 6 simple steps:

1. Run your empty washing machine with hot water
2. Clean washing machine pump with soft towels
3. Unscrew the cap and clean washing machine pump filter
4. Spray the gasket and door
5. Clean up the detergent dispenser
6. Wiping down the machine exterior

Preparation before washing machine cleaning 

The process, on average, will take about three hours, but most of it is just waiting for the cycles to finish. Here are the materials you need: 

  • Microfibre cloth 
  • Warm soapy water 
  • Small brush 
  • Spray bottle 
  • Washing machine cleaner: This is your best option since it’s specially formulated to do the job without causing damage to your appliance.

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How to clean a washing machine properly


For each step, focus on one area.

1. Washing machine drum cleaning

 

Make sure no clothes are left inside before you start. Follow the instructions of the washing machine cleaner you have. This may come in a form of a tablet, powder, or liquid that you’ll have to load directly in your drum or detergent dispenser. 

You can then run your washing machine on a normal cycle with hot water.

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2. Clean the pump


Water may be collecting in your drain and filter, potentially harboring germs. When the cycle is finished, unplug your machine, then look for a small panel on its lower front portion. Ready towels or a tray underneath to contain the water. Open the panel and unscrew the dial slowly to control water as it flows out. 



3. Clean the pump filter

 

Completely unscrew the cap, inspect both the filter and drain, then remove any foreign objects clogging them such as lint or forgotten objects from pockets. If left unchecked, this could cause excessive vibrations and long cycle times. Run the filter through warm water and scrub with a small brush. 

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4. Clean the gasket and door


Soap and water residue in the rubber gasket combined with the warm environment inside your machine, is the perfect breeding ground for mould and odours.  

While the washing machine cleaner should have cleaned this, it’s best to check again. For a more thorough clean, spray hot soapy water on the gasket, gently pulling back the folds to really get in there, then wipe with a clean cloth. Include the inside of the door too.

>>> Read more: How to operate an automatic washing machine


5. Clean detergent dispenser 


Overtime, detergent can build up in the crevices of your dispenser, causing blockage. To clean it, gently remove the drawer. One long tray should easily slide off. Separate all the removable inserts, and soak them in warm soapy water. Scrub off all residue to make sure they’re squeaky clean, and then wipe dry. Before returning it, use a brush or cloth to make sure the drawer cavity is free of any powder residue. 

6. Clean washing machine exterior 

Finish off by wiping down the machine exterior and controls using a damp cloth. Now your machine is spotless inside and out. 

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Additional tips on keeping your washing machine fresh smelling for longer 

 

  • Before every wash, give your clothes a thorough going over before putting them in to remove loose coins, tissue or paper from pockets. Shake off excess dirt from heavily soiled garments. 
  • After the cycle finishes, immediately take the clothes out. 
  • After washing, immediately wipe the rubber gasket, and keep the door and drawer ajar to dry out the interior and prevent molds and odors. 
  • Occasionally use a water softening powder to slow limescale buildup.  
  • Use only the correct amount of detergent and softener for your load. Otherwise, you risk damaging your clothes and leaving more residue in the drum. Most Zanussi washing machines have an AutoDose feature that helps to measure for you based on your load so you get it right every time. 

 

If you need further information about our products, find the support you need for your Zanussi washing machines now!

Frequently asked questions about how to clean a washing machine

  • How often should a washing machine be cleaned?
    It is recommended that a washing machine be deep-cleaned at least once a month. Cleaning can be done more frequently if you wash pieces of clothes that are especially dirty and filled with grime.
  • Can I leave washed clothes in the washing machine overnight?
    You can leave your washed clothes in the washer from eight to twelve hours. After that, they will start to create odour, which can cause mould and mildew to the machine.
  • How do I clean the washing machine using vinegar?
    You can run an empty cycle once a week using two cups of white vinegar instead of detergent. Simply add the vinegar to the detergent dispenser. This will kill germs and bacteria in the washing machine.

    However, for the best care of your machine, it might be necessary to use professional cleaners.
  • How do I know when my washing machine needs to be cleaned?
    There are several signs that your washing machine needs cleaning:
    • Unpleasant odor caused by mold and bacteria in the washing machine.
    • Clothes not being fully cleaned after running a load of laundry.
    • Strange noises heard during the washing cycle.
    • Residues found inside the washing machine due to the build-up of washing detergents and fabric softeners.
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