How to Clean a Top Loader Washing Machine with Vinegar and Baking Soda (2023)

top loader washer

I am a fan of natural cleaning, which means vinegar and baking soda have their place in my home. I decided to share my experience on one of the most common household appliances where the two can really make a difference: the washing machine.

A few months ago, we had the washing machine break down, so I took the opportunity to give it a good cleaning right after it’s fixed.

Here is what I did to clean my top loader washing machine with baking soda and vinegar.

Let’s start!

What You’ll Need:

Baking Soda

White vinegar

Brush or microfiber cloth



  1. Add 4-5 cups of white vinegar to a wash cycle. Run it for 3 minutes, then let it sit for 45-60 minutes. 
  2. Drain the washer.
  3. Mix half a cup of baking soda and half a cup of water to create a paste. 
  4. Dip the brush or microfiber cloth in the paste. Use it to clean the soap and fabric softer dispenser and the inside of the washer. Get rid of all the soap build-up.
  5. Run another wash cycle with just water. 
  6. Drain again. Check the inside of you’re washer for any leftover baking soda residue. 
  7. Leave the washer door open when you’re done to prevent mold and mildew from forming. Clean your washing machine at least once a month.

Can I Use Baking Soda on a Wash Cycle?

I know people who do a baking soda wash cycle right after the white vinegar cycle. But I don’t want to risk baking soda clumping and clogging my washer. I’m satisfied with the result of just the vinegar cycle. 

I suggest you go easy on the amount of baking soda you use if you ever decide to do a wash cycle with it. Try using a little first to test it out.


Take care of your washing machine, and it’s going to take care of your clothes. 

If you’re looking for other ways baking soda can aid you when doing laundry, see my article on how to use baking soda to remove armpit stains from shirts.

I hope that you find this post helpful.

Thanks for reading my blog!

-Baking Soda Guy

FAQ (Frequently Asked Questions)

Cleaning a Top Loader Washing Machine with Vinegar and Baking Soda:

  1. Can I use apple cider vinegar instead of white vinegar to clean my washing machine? While white vinegar is commonly recommended for cleaning washing machines, you can also use apple cider vinegar as an alternative. Both types of vinegar have natural cleaning properties.
  2. How often should I clean my top loader washing machine with vinegar and baking soda? It’s recommended to clean your top loader washing machine with vinegar and baking soda at least once a month to prevent soap scum, residue, and odor buildup.
  3. Can I add essential oils to the vinegar and baking soda cleaning solution for a pleasant scent? Yes, you can add a few drops of essential oils to the vinegar and baking soda cleaning solution to enhance the scent. Essential oils like lavender, lemon, or tea tree oil can help mask any vinegar smell.
  4. Is it safe to use baking soda and vinegar to clean a washing machine with a stainless steel drum? Yes, baking soda and vinegar are generally safe to use on washing machines with stainless steel drums. They are non-abrasive and can effectively clean the interior without causing damage.
  5. Can I clean the exterior of my washing machine with vinegar and baking soda? Yes, you can use a mixture of vinegar and water or a baking soda paste to clean the exterior of your washing machine. Be sure to wipe it down with a clean cloth afterward.

Washing Machine Maintenance:

  1. Can I use bleach instead of vinegar for cleaning my washing machine? While bleach is an effective cleaner, it is a harsh chemical that may cause damage to certain components of your washing machine. It’s best to use vinegar and baking soda, which are natural and safer alternatives.
  2. Should I leave the washing machine door open all the time to prevent mold and mildew? Leaving the washing machine door open between uses can help prevent mold and mildew growth by allowing air to circulate and moisture to evaporate. However, if you have small children or pets, ensure it is out of their reach.

Safety Precautions:

  1. Can I clean the washing machine while clothes are inside? It is not recommended to clean the washing machine while clothes are inside, as the cleaning agents may come into contact with the fabrics and affect their colors or textures. Always clean the machine with an empty drum.

Disclaimer: Before using vinegar and baking soda or any cleaning method on your washing machine, refer to the manufacturer’s guidelines and instructions for safe and proper maintenance. If you have any concerns about cleaning your washing machine, seek professional advice or contact the manufacturer.

Top Photo by Andrew Winkler on Unsplash