Let’s face it, washing machines do a lot of heavy lifting in our homes. They’re removing stains, odors, and grime from our laundry. While there are many commercial cleaners available, you might be surprised to learn that there’s a single, natural ingredient likely already in your pantry that can do the job efficiently: white vinegar.

Here’s a step-by-step guide to using white vinegar to keep your washing machine (whether front-loading or top-loading) fresh and clean.

Why White Vinegar?

  • Natural & Safe: Unlike many commercial cleaners, white vinegar is natural and doesn’t contain harmful chemicals.
  • Effective: Its acidic nature helps to dissolve mineral deposits and soap scum.
  • Odor-Neutralizing: It naturally neutralizes odors, leaving your washing machine smelling fresh.


Steps to Clean Your Washing Machine:

  • Prepare the Washing Machine: Empty out any clothes or items from the washing machine.
  • Add White Vinegar: For a top-loading machine, pour 2-4 cups of white vinegar directly into the drum. For a front-loading machine, add 2-3 cups of white vinegar to the detergent dispenser.
  • Run a Cycle: Select the hottest water setting and the longest cycle. Let the machine fill with water and then run the cycle as usual. If your washing machine has a ‘clean washer’ option, choose that!
  • Pause and Soak (Optional): If your machine has a noticeable build-up or hasn’t been cleaned in a while, consider pausing the cycle once the machine is filled with the hot vinegar water. Let it sit for an hour to allow the vinegar to work its magic, then resume the cycle.
  • Run a Rinse Cycle: After the first cycle is complete, run another cycle with just water to rinse out any vinegar remnants.
  • Wipe Down: Once the rinse cycle is done, open the washing machine and wipe down the drum, seals, and door with a clean cloth. This step is especially important for front-loading machines, where mold and mildew can build up in the seals.
  • Clean the Detergent Dispenser (for front-loaders): Remove the detergent dispenser drawer and soak it in a solution of equal parts water and white vinegar for an hour. After soaking, use a soft brush to scrub away any residue, rinse, and place it back.

Cleaning Cloth Kit

Tips for Regular Maintenance:

  • Regularly Clean: To keep your washing machine in top shape, make it a habit to clean it once a month using the white vinegar method.  If your washing machine has a filter, make sure you clean that out monthly as well.
  • Leave the Door Open: After each use, especially with front-loading machines, leave the door open to let the machine air out and prevent mold and mildew build-up. This will keep the dreaded stink away that is associated with front loaders.
  • Check for Obstructions: Every so often, check for and remove any items that might be trapped in the seals of the machine, like coins or lint. Remove the lint trap and vacuum the area below the lint trap too.

With these simple steps, your washing machine will not only work more efficiently but will also last longer. And the best part? You did it using just one natural ingredient!  Looking for laundry products that are safe, natural, and really work?  Shop my favorites here!