Natural Washing Machine Cleaner: A Gentle and Effective Solution

washing machine open door

Have you noticed a musty odor or stains on your clothes after washing them? 

Your washing machine might need a thorough cleaning. 

In this article, we’ll explore the benefits of using a natural washing machine cleaner, discuss the key ingredients to look for, and provide a step-by-step guide to making your own DIY cleaner. 

Let’s dive in!

What is a Washing Machine Cleaner?

Before we delve into the specifics of natural washing machine cleaners, let’s understand what they are. 

A washing machine cleaner is a specialized product designed to remove dirt, grime, detergent residue, and other build-ups from your machine. 

Regular cleaning helps maintain the efficiency and longevity of your washing machine, ensuring your clothes come out fresh and clean every time.

Benefits of Using a Natural Washing Machine Cleaner

  1. Environmentally Friendly: Natural washing machine cleaners are typically made from eco-friendly ingredients, minimizing their impact on the environment compared to conventional cleaners.
  2. Gentle on Fabrics: Natural cleaners are formulated to be gentle on fabrics, protecting them from harsh chemicals that may cause fading or damage.
  3. Removes Odors Effectively: Natural ingredients like essential oils have powerful odor-fighting properties, eliminating unpleasant smells from your machine.
  4. Safer for Your Health: Unlike chemical-laden cleaners, natural alternatives are less likely to cause skin irritations or respiratory issues.

Ingredients to Look for in a Natural Washing Machine Cleaner

When choosing a natural washing machine cleaner, keep an eye out for the following ingredients:

  1. Baking Soda: Known for its deodorizing properties, baking soda helps neutralize odors and remove stains.
  2. Vinegar: A versatile ingredient that effectively removes grime and buildup, vinegar also helps eliminate unpleasant odors.
  3. Essential Oils: These oils not only provide a pleasant fragrance but also possess antibacterial and antifungal properties. Popular choices include lavender, tea tree, and lemon.
  4. Citric Acid: A natural cleaning agent, citric acid helps dissolve mineral deposits and detergent residue.

How to Make a DIY Natural Washing Machine Cleaner

If you prefer a DIY approach, making your own natural washing machine cleaner is simple. Just follow these steps:

Step 1: Gather the Ingredients

To make your DIY cleaner, you’ll need the following ingredients:

  • 1 cup of baking soda
  • 1 cup of vinegar
  • 10-15 drops of your preferred essential oil (Optional)

Step 2: Mix the Ingredients

Put the baking soda in a bowl. Gradually add the vinegar, stirring continuously until the mixture forms a thick paste. Finally, add the essential oil drops and mix well.

Step 3: Application and Cleaning Process

  1. Empty your washing machine of any clothes or items.
  2. Apply the DIY cleaner to the drum and other areas prone to buildup, such as the detergent dispenser and rubber gasket.
  3. Run a hot water cycle without any clothes, allowing the cleaner to work its magic.
  4. Once the cycle is complete, wipe down the drum and other surfaces with a clean cloth.
  5. For stubborn stains or residues, repeat the cleaning process if necessary.

4 Tips for Effective Use of Natural Washing Machine Cleaner

To get the most out of your natural washing machine cleaner, keep these tips in mind:

  1. Clean Regularly: Aim to clean your washing machine at least once every three months to prevent buildup and maintain its performance.
  2. Use Hot Water: Hot water helps activate the cleaning agents and dissolve stubborn grime more effectively.
  3. Wipe Down the Exterior: Don’t forget to clean the exterior of your machine regularly to remove dust and dirt.
  4. Follow Manufacturer’s Guidelines: Always consult your washing machine’s manual for specific cleaning instructions and recommendations.

How Often Should You Clean Your Washing Machine?

The frequency of cleaning your washing machine depends on usage and water hardness.

For average use, cleaning every three months is recommended. 

However, if you have hard water or notice signs of buildup sooner, more frequent cleaning may be necessary.

Signs Your Washing Machine Needs Cleaning

Here are some signs that indicate your washing machine may need cleaning:

  1. Lingering Odors: If your clothes don’t smell fresh after a wash, it’s likely time for a cleaning.
  2. Stains or Residue: Notice visible stains or residue on your freshly washed clothes? Cleaning is in order.
  3. Reduced Performance: If your machine is not cleaning clothes as effectively as before, it could be due to buildup affecting its performance.


Regularly cleaning your washing machine with a natural washing machine cleaner is a simple yet essential step to maintain its efficiency and prolong its lifespan. 

By using natural ingredients and following the DIY recipe provided, you can effectively eliminate odors, remove stains, and ensure your clothes come out fresh and clean every time.

Do you need to clean some jeans but your washer is dirty? Read How to Deodorize Jeans Without Washing (with Baking Soda).  

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Can I use a natural washing machine cleaner in any type of washing machine? 

A: Yes, natural washing machine cleaners can be used in both top-loading and front-loading machines. Just make sure to follow the instructions provided by the manufacturer.

Q: Are natural washing machine cleaners safe for septic systems? 

A: Yes, natural washing machine cleaners are generally safe for septic systems as they are made from biodegradable ingredients. However, it’s always a good idea to check the product label or consult the manufacturer for specific information.

Q: Can I use a natural washing machine cleaner for cleaning other appliances? 

A: While natural washing machine cleaners are primarily designed for washing machines, some of the ingredients, such as vinegar and baking soda, can be used for cleaning other appliances like dishwashers or coffee makers. Always check the manufacturer’s guidelines before using them on different appliances.

Q: Is it necessary to remove the detergent dispenser before cleaning the washing machine? 

A: It depends on your washing machine model. Some machines allow you to remove the detergent dispenser for cleaning, while others have self-cleaning mechanisms. Refer to your washing machine’s manual for instructions on cleaning the detergent dispenser.

Q: Can I use a natural washing machine cleaner if I have hard water? 

A: Yes, natural washing machine cleaners are effective even in hard water. The citric acid and vinegar present in many natural cleaners help dissolve mineral deposits and combat the effects of hard water.

Image by Steve Buissinne from Pixabay