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How to Clean a Front Loading Washing Machine & Stop Smells

How to Clean a Front Loading Washing Machine & Stop Smells

Wondering how to clean a front loading washing machine? If you feel like your washing machine smells then this easy cleaning solution is what you need. I am so embarrassed to say that mine did and I wasn’t sure how to fix the bad smell.

Turns out your washing machine can be the perfect breeding ground for mold which leads to those bad smells. No one wants a dirty washing machine when you’re trying to clean your clothes.

So, I did a bunch of research and figured out the best way to clean a front load washing machine with bleach, vinegar, and baking soda. Turns out it is really easy to do and takes little effort!

So, don’t be embarrassed like me, just follow these 5 simple steps to clean your front-loading washing machine and feel good about using your laundry machine again.

These are the questions I will answer for you in this step by step guide.

  • How to Clean the sludge out of my washing machine?
  • How Do I stop my washing machine from smelling?
  • What can I use to clean my washing machine?
  • How can I quickly clean my front loading washing machine?

Wondering how to clean your washer? Does your Front Loading Washing machine smell or have mold? Follow these five easy steps using vinegar, baking soda and bleach. You will be amazed at how quick and easy it is!

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How to Clean A Front Loading Washing Machine with Bleach

What You Will Need

  • 2 cups vinegar
  • ¼ cup baking soda
  • ¼ cup of water
  • 2 cups bleach
  • Cleaning rag, old toothbrush or small scrub brush
  • Bucket with warm water and dish soap

Step 1 – Clean the Sludge

First, use a cleaning rag and some warm water to wipe down the washer door and give it a thorough cleaning. Then scrub and wipe down the inside of the washer seal with an old toothbrush or cleaning rag.

This will get rid of the soap scum or detergent residue in your washer that soapy water can leave. You will be amazed at how much soap scum and even mold you will find on the door and between the rubber seal and the washer.

Here is how dirty my front-load washer door looked like before I cleaned it.

Cleaning the Door of your Front Load Washer

Make sure to clean the rubber ring part of the rubber seal with your old toothbrush and warm water.

Use a small scrub brush to clean the rubber seal.

Next, make sure to pull back the rubber part and really clean the washer rubber seal. But be gental you don’t want to tear anything. 

Don't forget to pull back the Washer Rubber Seal and clean it.

Related ArticleGenius DIY Cleaning Hacks for People Who Hate to Clean

Step 2 – Use Baking Soda & Vinegar Mixture

Next,  you will clean the inside of your wahser by creating your baking soda mixture for the first cleaning.

What you need to make the paste and the measuring cup of vinegar.

Do this by combining ¼ cup of baking soda and ¼ cup of water together in a measuring cup or small bowl. Separately, add 2 cups of vinegar into a measuring cup.

Now go to your washing machine and add the baking soda mixture to your detergent tray. The tray is the pull out detergent drawer where you add liquid detergent.

Add your baking soda mixture to your washers soap dispenser.


Then pour the 2 cups of vinegar into the inside of the machine. Yes, I know it sounds odd to pour the liquid into the wash tub of the machine but it works.

Last, set your machine to a normal cleaning cycle on the hottest water setting or if you have a clean washer cycle, use that. This step will help break up any mineral deposits and mold growing inside the tub. It will also help get rid of the musty smell.

Related ArticleThe Best Ways to Clean a Dishwasher in No Time

Weekly Cleaning Rountine made easy with a Free Printable Checklist. Get organized and take the stress out of cleaning your house. #cleaning #cleaningchecklist #weeklycleaningroutine #cleaningroutine

Step 3 – Use Bleach

This step is how you will kill any bad smell that is left in your machine. I really wanted to make sure I got rid of all the mold so I did an extra step of running a cycle with bleach.

If you are already taking the time to clean your washer, you might as well take this extra step and finish killing off any mold or soap scum that might spread.  So, bleach is the way to go.

To do this, pour two cups of bleach into the soap dispenser and run the washing machine on the same hot water settings as before.

Related ArticleMicrowave Cleaning Hacks with No Scrubbing

Step 4 – Final Rinse

When the bleach cycle is done run a final rinse-only cycle just to make sure all the bleach is gone and you won’t ruin any of your clean clothes.

Step 5 – Final Cleaning

Wipe down the washer’s seal again one more time with a rag and warm water to get out any mold that is left. I would also do one more quick wipe down of the inside drum and the door to the washer with an old towel.

After this, the washer should no longer have a smell and you should have a clean washing machine ready to use.

Going forward SAVE MONEY with awesome Laundry Detergent from Dollar Tree. Learn more in our 45 Cleaning Supplies from Dollar Tree You Should Be Buying

After following these steps you will have a clean washing machine.

More Tips to Your Clean Washing Machine

1.After you run a load of laundry, leave the door open to let it dry out after every wash. Or hang an old towel over the door so that it stays open a crack to let air in but won’t be in your way.

2. Remove laundry right away after it is washed to keep mold from building up.

3. Wipe down the rubber seal after each time you use it with the old towel you are going to hang over the door.

4. Check the rubber seal for any little treasures that have fallen out of pockets in the wash.

5. Try to do a regular cleaning of your washer once a month to maintain a clean, odor-free washer.

Easy Cleaning Hacks

Easy Microwave Cleaning Hacks with Lemon, Vinegar and Baking Soda. All 3 are super simple way to get the stuck on food out of your microwave. All you need is 20 minutes and you'll have a clean microwave. #microwave #cleaninghacks #cleaningtips #lemon #vinegar #bakingsoda #cleanmicrowave

When you’re done cleaning your Washing Machine clean up your Microwave next. Get rid of all that baked-on food and stink with easy Microwave cleaning hacks using Lemon, Vinegar, or Baking Soda.

It will take you 20 minutes with these no-scrub cleaning methods

How to Clean a Smelly Dishwasher in 4 Easy Steps with Vinegar & Baking Soda.

Did you know you need to clean your dishwasher too? Don’t worry it super easy to do! Follow these 4 steps to clean your filter and disinfect your whole dishwasher with our Best Ways to Clean a Smelly Dishwasher.   

23 Amazing Cleaning Hacks, Tips & Tricks for Bathrooms, Kitchens and your whole house. You won't believe you didn't know these before! Make cleaning easier so you can get it done faster. #cleaninghacks #cleaningtips #householdhacks #diycleaningtips #householdtips

For those of you who hate cleaning, you’ll love our DIY Cleaning Hacks for Lazy People. Their insanely easy cleaning tips for deep cleaning your house with the least amount of work. Your gonna want these tips!

How to Clean a Front Loading Washing Machine with Vinegar and Baking Soda.  5 Simple Steps to get the smell out of your machine and clean again. It's easier than you think. #cleanwashingmachine #frontloadingwasher #vinegar #bakingsoda #cleaninghacks

How To Save on Cleaning Supplies

45 Best Cleaning Supplies at Dollar Tree and how to make an organizational Caddy. These must have products will clean your whole house. Let me help you find the cleaning items that will work for you! #cleaning #cleaningsupplies #organization #dollartree

Want to SAVE MONEY on cleaning your washing machine and your whole house? I found the best cheap cleaning supplies that actually work at Dollar Tree. Yes, Dollar Tree!

You will be amazed at how many cleaning supplies you use that are only $1. Check out my 45 Best Cleaning Supplies at Dollar Tree and get inspired to save money.

Make sure you have all your cleaning supplies ready when you want to clean the house with my Ultimate Cleaning Supplies List. Get this free printable and never forget what you need at the store again.

Get Organized Too


Free Printable Weekly Cleaning Schedule to get you organized at home. Clean every room in your house without getting overwhelmed.

What has helped me the most with cleaning my house is a simple cleaning schedule. The free printable is a realistic cleaning checklist that makes you feel less stressed about all the cleaning tasks and more focused.

Plus you’ll really love checking things off the list when you’re done.

Download my free Cleaning Schedule for Busy Moms and stop feeling overwhelmed today.

While your busy cleaning start organizing your house too.  You’ll feel great when it’s done! Get started with our Simple Decluttering Tips for your whole house and then focus on Kitchen Organization so you can finally find your pots and pans and Tupperware when you open your cabinets. 

I hope this article has taught you how to clean your front loading washing machine with bleach, vinegar, and baking soda. Let me know in the comments how it worked for you.

If you have any other great tips please share them with us in the comments.  I love to hear from my readers.

Get more great tips for household hacks, easy meals, and family travel ideas by becoming part of the Happy Mom Hacks community and receiving my weekly newsletter.

As a bonus, you will get a free printable Weekly Cleaning Routine checklist to take the stress out of cleaning your house.

Weekly Cleaning Rountine made easy with a Free Printable Checklist. Get organized and take the stress out of cleaning your house. #cleaning #cleaningchecklist #weeklycleaningroutine #cleaningroutine

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Don’t forget to Pin this for later

Wondering how to clean your washer? Does your Front Loading Washing machine smell or have mold? Follow these five easy steps using vinegar, baking soda and bleach. You will be amazed at how quick and easy it is!How to clean a washing machine in 5 easy steps. Get the smell and mold out of your front load washer with a mixture of bleach, vinegar and baking soda. Save money and clean your washer yourself!

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How to Clean a Front Loading Washing Machine in  5 Easy Steps. Get the smell out of your washing machine with bleach, vinegar, baking soda and a clean rag. You'll be amazed what a difference you can make with these quick cleaning tips. #laundry #cleaningtips #frontloadingwashingmachine #washingmachine #cleanwashingmachine
5 Easy Steps to Clean your front loading Washing Machine. Use Vinegar, baking soda and bleach to get rid of the mold and smell in your washing machine. Just follow the simple DIY tutorial with pictures and you'll have a clean washing machine in no time.

Nina Paul

Wednesday 4th of August 2021

Hi! Thanks for sharing this great advice. What type of vinegar do I need to use like chemical-based or organic?


Friday 20th of August 2021

Hi Nina - I used Heinz Distilled White Vinegar not organic but you could probably use organic if you wanted to. Hope that helps!


Sunday 9th of August 2020

I had a problem with the baking soda dissolving in the water in the soap dispenser. I thought it was well mixed in the measuring cup before pouring it into the soap dispenser. Thoughts? Did I miss something?


Saturday 15th of August 2020

Maybe cut it in half next time? It dissolved in my machine not sure why it didn't in yours. Sorry about that.