Cleaning Your Washing Machine with Vinegar

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If you know me at all, you would probably know that I hate to clean. It is just not my strong suit. Cooking, yes. I pretty much just clean to keep things hygienic and so I can have space to cook some more. I like a clean house as much as the next person, but it’s just not high on my priority list to keep everything spic-and-span.

Which is why my washing machine may have not ever really been cleaned since we bought it. I’m not going to disclose how many years ago that was. It’s a front-loader, but we’ve always been able to keep the door open most of the time, keeping it from many of the stinky front-loader problems people have.

Still, crud builds up on the door and especially in the rubber seals. Ick!

Washing machine inside

You can’t tell, but there is a lot of grime in there.

You may also know that I am an enthusiast for natural cleaners. I think vinegar, baking soda, a lemon, and some essential oils can clean pretty much anything. So I decided to put vinegar to the test and use it to give my washing machine a good deep clean.

Vinegar and baking soda for cleaning

Following a little tutorial from Popsugar, I filled my detergent space with 1/4 cup baking soda mixed with 1/4 cup water. Then I added 2 cups of plain distilled vinegar directly to the basin. I washed it on a normal cycle with hot water. When the cycle was done, I wiped down the inside and the door. The vinegar disinfects the basin, lifting icky scents and loosening any grime so it’s easily removed.

Getting inside the rubber parts was a little less simple. I started just wiping them out with a washcloth after this wash cycle, which did work. But for extra oomph, I used some straight vinegar on my cloth and managed to rub the insides of the pieces. I removed some build up, hair, dust, and other yuck that was living in there! I feel a lot better about the cleanliness of my washer now. I didn’t have any bad smells on mine; but if you do, I bet the vinegar will help neutralize them. Yes, the vinegar smell is strong at first – but the scent lifts quickly, taking with it some of the bad smells it has sucked away.

Since the inside of the washer was looking so great, I decided it was time to tackle the outside, too! I was using the top as a holding area for way too much junk, including tons of shells I’d fished out of my kids’ pockets, safety pins, buttons, and for some reason a curly plastic straw!


Getting rid of the trash, relocating the bucket that used to hold homemade detergent, and then wiping down the whole outside with vinegar made it sparkling, clean, disinfected, and much neater.


I am so happy with how well vinegar and baking soda gave my washing machine a great spring clean! It even made me want to tackle the dishwasher next. With as simple as the treatment was, I might even be able to keep it up once a month as recommended. has a plethora of great tips for cooking, cleaning, gardening, even working on the car with vinegar! I learned a ton just from their Laundry tipboard. Here’s my amazing vinegar secret: I get some bad reflux when I am pregnant (usually only then, but occasionally otherwise). Drinking tea with 1/2 teaspoon of raw apple cider vinegar totally keeps it at bay. Nature’s medicine! How do you use vinegar around your home?

You can find VinegarTips around the web at these place.

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4 thoughts on “Cleaning Your Washing Machine with Vinegar

  1. I’ve been thinking about doing this for a while because I love cleaning with vinegar and I also have a front-loader. Does it smell like vinegar afterwards or can you run another load right away with no problems?

    • The vinegar scent dissipates pretty quickly. And as a bonus, any vinegar left will act as a fabric softener. I use vinegar as my fabric softener sometimes and never smell it.

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