How to Clean Your Washing Machine

Washing Machine

Dirty clothes go in and clean clothes come out; it’s like magic! Only this magic is limited to how well you take care of your washing machine. Did you know you should clean your washing machine once a month? Dirt and grime that gets removed from your laundry during a washing cycle winds up trapped within the machine, and over time clothes may not come out as clean and fresh smelling as they once did. If you want to keep your washer running at its best and avoid buildup of mold, mildew, and scum that contribute to odor, you need to clean your machine. Here’s how:

Things you should know:

Don’t let wet clothes sit. Remove wet clothes promptly after washing cycle. Leaving wet clothes, even for a few hours, can lead to mold and mildew growth. This will affect the smell of your clothes as well as the performance of your washing machine.

Give it some air. Once a washing cycle is complete and wet clothes have been removed, don’t close the door… keep it open instead. Closing the door to your washer after you’re done traps in moisture, creating the perfect environment for mold and mildew growth. By leaving the door open you give the remaining water a chance to evaporate.

Keep the soap and softener dispenser clean. If your machine has a soap and softener drawer that gets wet during the process, take it out, clean, and dry it after every cycle.

Deep clean once a month. Keeping up with everyday maintenance helps to prevent mildew, but it’s still important to do a deep clean every month.

How to Deep Clean a Front-Loading Washing Machine

  • Fill the washing machine with hot water. If you own a newer model it likely has a self-cleaning cycle option; if so, fill with hot water on this setting. If you do not have a self-cleaning option, use a hot wash cycle.
  • If the inside of your machine is stained, add a quart of bleach through the dispenser so that it mixes with the hot water, then let the machine finish the cycle.
  • Once the cycle has ended, you can clean the rubber seal on the door. This area is prone to mold growth because water can get trapped between the machine and seal. To clean the rubber seal, use an all-purpose cleaner and a sponge and dry with a paper towel.
  • Don’t forget the soap dispensers! Use an all-purpose cleaner or a vinegar and water solution. Use a sponge to remove all traces of detergent, dirt and any other possible debris that could clog your dispenser.

How to Deep Clean a Top-Loading Washing Machine

  • Fill the washing machine with hot water. The easiest way to do this is to turn on the hot wash cycle and interrupt it after the water has been filled.
  • Add a quart of bleach and turn the washing cycle back on for a few seconds to mix the bleach and water. Once mixed, shut it back off and let the chlorine mixture sit for at least an hour. As it sits it will start lifting the mildew, grime and other unwanted substances within your machine.
  • After an hour, turn back on the washing cycle and let it finish. Once the cycle is finished the machine will be sanitized. If your machine smells like bleach once the cycle is complete, fill with hot water and pour in a quart of vinegar. Let that sit for an hour and then run the washing cycle once more.
  • Clean the soap dispensers. Use a vinegar water solution and a scrubber to remove detergent, dirt and any other debris that tends to get caught in there. Cleaning the dispenser clean is an important part to keeping the inside of your machine clean.

Don’t Forget

When you do your deep clean, no matter if you have a front or top-loading washing machine there are 3 things you should not overlook:

  • Clean the exterior. Use a soft damp cloth to wipe up spills; never use an abrasive cleanser or solvent it may scratch and damage the surface.
  • Check and clean the inlet hose filters. You will find them inside the water inlet connections. Their purpose is to prevent dirt and debris from getting inside the washer, but when they are clogged water will not flow adequately into the machine for a wash cycle.
  • Does pet hair find its way into your washer? The easiest way to remove it is to leave the door open until the pet hair and drum are thoroughly dry. Once dry, use a vacuum with a soft brush attachment to remove the hair.


Stay informed on the latest P.C. Richard & Son sales product news, tips and tricks, contests, P.C. Richard & Son Theater shows and more! Subscribe today.

Common Washing Machine Problems and Solutions


The next time your washing machine isn’t working try checking all the simple things first before you call the repair man. Troubleshooting can save you a lot of time and money. If you still can’t resolve the issue after you have done these simple checks, then it might be time to call professional help.

Whether you have a front load washer or a top load washer, here are some common problems that can occur with your machine and easy solutions to fix them.

My Washer is Vibrating

There are a few possible reasons your washing machine could be vibrating: unbalanced load of laundry, the washer is not level, or the washer feet may not be locked in and contacting the floor.


  • Rearrange the load of laundry and be sure that you are loading your washer correctly to avoid shifting.  Check your manufacturer’s instruction book; inside you will find a recommended maximum or optimum load weight. Use that as a guide. When you fill your washer, make sure the clothes still have room to move freely and aren’t packed too tightly.
  • Check the floor to see if it’s level. You may need to add a ¾-inch piece of plywood under your washer.
  • Be sure the washer feet are in firm contact with the floor. Washing machines have adjustable, front leveling legs with a lock nut. You should adjust each leg to the proper height and then tighten the lock nut up against the body of the machine to keep the leg from rotating. After adjusting each leg, lean against the machine and make sure that you feel no movement. Some machines have the same type of legs in the rear that should be adjusted, but most machines have “self-adjusting” rear legs. These legs are set by tilting the entire machine forward onto its front legs with the rear legs about 3 inches off the floor and then setting the machine back down. The legs should adjust automatically.

My Washer is Leaking

If your washer is leaking water, it doesn’t automatically mean you need a major repair.  Leaking water could happen due to simple issues such as:

  • The washer is not balanced or loaded properly.
  • Hoses are not attached/inserted properly.
  • Hose washers are worn.
  • Drains are clogged.


  • Check to see that your machine is balanced and make sure that the washer basket is not out of alignment causing water to spill out.
  • Check all your hoses and make sure they are tightened and properly connected. Check the hose washers for cracks or damage.
  • Check water lines and faucets to ensure they are not leaking.
  • Make sure the washing machine is draining properly. If it’s not, check the drain hose as it could be clogged with lint, hair, or that missing sock.

My Washer is Making Strange Noises

Weird sounds such as clicking, gurgling or humming can be caused by objects that are caught in the washer, clogged drains or internal sensors.


  • A clicking sound may mean that an object is caught in the washer drain. Be sure to check your drain and remove any objects that have been caught.  Make sure to always check and remove items from pockets before washing.
  • If your washer is making an unusually loud gurgling noise, this may indicate that the washer drain line is partially clogged. Check the line and remove the blockage before a real problem can occur.
  • If you hear a humming or buzzing noise, that may indicate that something has jammed the pump. Check your pump and remove any objects that do not belong. If damage has been done you may need a new pump.

My Washer Will Not Run or Fill With Water

Before you think the worst, there are several simple items you should check first.

  • Don’t overlook the plug. The first thing you should always check is if the machine is plugged in. It may sound silly but dozens of times this problem has been solved by simply checking the plug.
  • If the power cord is plugged in, check to be sure the outlet has power and that your circuit breaker wasn’t tripped.
  • Check the water supply. Make sure the hoses are attached and both water inlet valves are open. Look for kinks in the hoses and make sure nothing blocking the inlet valve screens.
  • Check the inside lid switch. For most washers the lid must be closed and the lid switch engaged to operate. Make sure there is no lint or dirt on the switch that is causing it to jam.

My Washer Won’t Drain or Spin Correctly

Drainage problems are most commonly caused by clogged hoses, improper loading of clothes, obstructions or too much detergent.


  • Sometimes items are overlooked even when you have checked pockets before loading your washer.  Small items like coins, pens, or even a sock, can get caught in the pump or between the basket and tub blocking draining. Check the pump and between the basket for any unwanted items and remove them.
  • Overloading or improper loading will cause the machine to be unbalanced and prevent the washer from spinning correctly. Check your load and adjust by redistributing the wet laundry or removing some laundry to allow the washer to finish spinning.
  • Make sure the drain hose has been properly installed. The end of the drain hose should not be higher than 96 inches above the floor.
  • Remove and inspect the drain hose for clogs. Before reattaching, be sure to remove any residue from the hose.
  • Check to make sure you are using the proper amount of detergent.  Using too much detergent causes an overabundance of suds, which will slow the draining process and cause the washer to malfunction.

My Washer Dispensers are Still Full of Detergent

The most common problems with an automatic dispenser malfunctioning is the use of the wrong formula or a lack of cleaning.

  • Check your washer manual to make sure you are using the right formula in designated dispensers. If your washer manual instructs you to use liquid bleach, don’t use powder bleach.
  • Make sure to clean your dispensers every month. Heat a cup of distilled white vinegar and pour it into the dispenser, then run the washer on a regular cycle. The vinegar will clean away any clogs or built-up residue.

My Washer Smells Funny

Washer odors are common, but with simple preventive maintenance, you can keep your washer and laundry smelling clean.


  • Once again, make sure you’re using the proper amount of detergent. Excessive suds leave dirty residue on washer parts and trap odors.
  • Cleaning your washing machine monthly helps prevent smelly residue.
  • Check around your washer for mold or mildew growth. There may be an issue with moisture, which must be corrected immediately. Mold and mildew is not only unpleasant smelling, but it’s also dangerous to your health.


If you’re still experiencing problems with your washing machine after following these troubleshooting tips, it may be time to call a professional. At P.C. Richard & Son, we service what we sell, and if you purchased your washer from us we would be happy to take a look at it. Learn about our repair services here!


Stay informed on the latest P.C. Richard & Son sales product news, tips and tricks, contests, P.C. Richard & Son Theater shows and more! Subscribe today.