How to Clean the Inside of Washing Machine (How to Clean the Washing Machine, Part 2)

Question:  “My dark clothing always comes out of the wash with white all over it – like residue or fluff of some kind. Any thoughts, suggestions?”

Aside from checking and double checking your pockets for tissues, papers, etc. this question kind of stumped me. However, I did a little research and found a couple of interesting bits of info for you on how to clean the inside of washing machine.

1. Adding 1/2 cup of white vinegar to the wash load will prevent lint from clinging to your clothes. (source).  I haven’t ever done this but if you are having a lint issue, and the next tip doesn’t help, I think it’s worth trying.

2. Clean your filter.  Personally I didn’t even know that my washing machine had a filter!  I mean it makes sense but my washer is a hand-me-down so I don’t have a manual or anything to tell me about cleaning my filter.  (If you don’t have a manual for your machine look online and I’m sure you will be able to find one to tell you how to clean your particular model).  I was very curious about this so I had to try it out.

Remember this?  We just cleaned it a couple of weeks ago, but apparently there’s more than meets the eye!
Yep, it comes apart!
Pull the top part off and then pull this piece out to expose the filter.
Here’s what mine looked like.  Gross, but not too bad.
My bleach dish has never worked and I’ve tried cleaning it out but I can’t get anything to drain from it so it’s always looked like this, YUCK!
I tinkered around a bit though and discovered that I could pop it out.  FYI: the hose that is attached to it, DON’T let it fall down because you will have some water issues (like waster on the floor!) if you do!!!  Unfortunately I had to learn this the hard way. :(
I soaked all my parts in a bowl full of 1/2 vinegar & 1/2 water.
After only a few minutes and a quick scrub down they looked brand new again!
I cleaned the lint out of the filter and wiped it out with a sponge and some straight white vinegar.
Now my whole washing machine looks brand new again and I don’t have to worry about any lint getting on my clothes!

Good luck and happy washing!


More washing machine posts!

How to Clean a Washing Machine


About the Author

"Hi I'm Anna! Welcome to Ask Anna where I love to answer your household questions! I have always loved to clean, organize and decorate and this blog is a fun way for me to help you love it too! I am a busy mom of a beautiful little girl and I'm married to the love of my life. Together we fill our days with projects , laughter and love. I serve an incredible God and overall I'd say I'm truly blessed!"

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  1. Way awesome. My laundry has actually been doing this a lot lately. I always shave those fuzzies off, not thinking twice about WHY it might be happening. I am putting this on today's to-do list, along with the lemon cleaning from last week. Thanks, Anna. You are rock!

  2. Super awesome! My black jackets and pants have been having this issue! Thank you for giving me some tips! You rock!

  3. One of the MOST helpful things I have ever read. I too have a fuzzy issue. Did you know that Tide makes detergent to clean your washer. You are supposed to use it once a month to freshen it up. It smells really good.

  4. This is just the post I needed to read! You have no clue how happy this makes me! Thanks!

  5. You made my day!! Thank you for sharing :)

  6. Wowie!!! I will have to try cleaning those.My bleach dish usually looks like that, too.

  7. Anna,I never knew the machine comes apart like that! I get those balls sometimes on our clothes. I love your blog and it has motivated me to get on a schedule to get organized. I mentioned you on my blog so check it out. And Oh BTW, I saw your post about cleaning the blinds~~I have some blinds that need cleaning really really bad~~thats an upcoming project as soon as it is warm enough outside!!Diana

  8. Wow, this was such a great post. I really can't believe the gunk that can be found in those machines! Thanks for posting these excellent instructions! If you have 5 minutes to spare I would love it if you could link this up to my blog today? I am hosting an impromptu "cleaning the house" Linky party!Best wishes,Natasha.

  9. very interesting…i have never checked either of these in my washer and am almost afraid of what i'll find…thanks for sharing the tips on ff!blessings,alisonstuff and nonsense

  10. Thanks for this info. I'm going right now to take my washer apart!Sherry @ A Happy Valentine

  11. wow! how brave of you to show this. :) I have often wondered how something that washes clothes can get so dirty!Hopefully I'll get to mine soon.thanks!gail

  12. I love to do laundry and learn new tips! I wondered where those fuzzies were coming from…..thanks for the photo tutorial!

  13. This post was most clicked on at "AP Tuesday!" I will be featuring you during this "Anti-Procrastination Tuesday" Party. Thank you for linking up!!

  14. We have to sell our Washer/Dryer before we move and your tutorial was WONDERFUL! We just followed your part 1 & 2 steps for cleaning your washer and it worked perfectly! We did have to substitute a magic eraser for the sponge to help get some of the grime off. Thanks!! Also, do you have any tips on how to clean the oven?

  15. Just read Part I and II of cleaning out your washing machine. I think I am going to have to do that!! Mine looks pretty bad. That center part where your filter is… that is the yuckiest part of my washing machine, but I never knew how to clean it! Now I am going to have to go check to see if mine comes apart like yours does! (fingers crossed) Thanks for the great tutorial!

  16. I have the same exact washing machine, and the same problem with the bleach dish. Does your bleach dish work now?

  17. Anonymous says:

    The appliance pros clean the washers this way:Fill the washer with water, then turn the machine off. Pour in half of a small bottle (so about a cup to a cup and a half) of muratic acid. You must make sure that you can air out the room as the fumes can get to you. Close the lid and let the machine sit like that for 24 hours or as long as possible. Then turn the washer on and let it rinse. Let the machine go through one more cycle to rinse again. If you can take apart your filter as was done in the tutorial here, do that before you pour in the acid. This will also clean in the inside drum of your machine where liquid fabric softener collects (a place you don't see unless you take the machine apart. If you try this, be sure to add the acid once the drum is full of water, never before & vent the area well. I have done this in my tiny laundry room with the little window open and a fan and there were no fumes experienced. DO NOT ADD ANYTHING ELSE TO THE ACID! If you have any hard water build up on the washer, the acid will eat it right off. It will not damage the plastic parts.

  18. I am so glad to know that others' washing machines look as dirty as mine! I just never have time to clean mine. Everytime I look at it, I am putting laundry into it. Thank you!

  19. WE have been having a problem with clothes having a "film" on them especially whites and darks… upon taking my washer apart, I see why! I am cleaning it now… I HOPE this solves my problem:))

  20. Well I just found your site? Very informative. I thought I might add a tip on cleaning your dryer filter. Wash it once in awhile with Dawn dishwashing soap. Dryer sheets tend to leave a film on them and air doesnt flow as freely. I scrub it with my dish brush and it comes out clean as a whistle.

  21. Just took off my fabric softener dispenser and YUCK!!! I mean ewwwwwww gross!!! I don't have a filter there but there was such a buildup of softener and grime, it was like a brown coating all over everything. Thank you for this post….but now I'm wondering what else needs cleaned!

  22. Great tips! How do I clean the fabric softener stuff that has got stuck on the sides of the tub on the top and in the center? YUK!!!!!Help!

    • Try Super Washing Soda-Arm & Hammer. It’s awesome for all kinds of cleaning. Just cleaned out my washer this morning with it-nice!

  23. Thanks so much for your post on this! I knew my machine NEEDED to be cleaned. Even more so since I do cloth diapers. I'm only on Step 1 and the water is so icky!

  24. I didn’t even know my new washer had a filter. I will be checking that. I love my new washer. My old one was 20 years old. I thought it washed good until I got the new one.

  25. Thank you for this post. Very helpful.

  26. Moira Barlow says:

    Thanks for the white vinegar tip – I’m going to try it out and hope my results are as good as yours – thanks again for sharing.