How to Clean a Front Loading Washing Machine With Vinegar And Baking Soda


How Do I Clean My Washing Machine With Vinegar And Baking Soda?

Bicarbonate of soda and white vinegar are commonly used in household cleaning around the world and has been for generations. 

Most household items just require a simple wipe down with vinegar or at most a harder scrub with baking soda. 

However, for complicated appliances like washing machines, it can be difficult to know what to do.

Our front-loading washing machines are made up of tiny compartments and hidden pipes that can develop bad smells if left to grow mould and odour. 

If you’re wondering how to clean a front loading washing machine with vinegar and baking soda then you’re in the right place. 

In this post, we will cover step by step how to clean a washing machine with bicarb vinegar, and a few cloths.

How to Clean A Washing Machine With Vinegar And Baking Soda

The cleaning power of baking soda and vinegar is no secret, but using them effectively is less common knowledge. 

If you’re new to using these edible ingredients in your cleaning routine and ask yourself “How do I clean my washing machine with vinegar and baking soda?” then Clean and Tidy Living is here to help!

Before we start our instructions, it’s always good to understand what the products you’re using do, and how they do it. 

Why Does Vinegar Work for Cleaning? 

Vinegar is an acid, which means it cuts through grime effortlessly. It’s regularly used in cleaning because it can dissolve build-ups from soap scum, grease and even limescale. 

Vinegar is a great alternative to chemical-based cleaning products that are often more expensive and less effective.

Why Does Bicarbonate of Soda Work for Cleaning? 

Baking soda is well-known in cleaning for its ability to neutralise odour, act as a natural abraser, and break down grime and grease. 

In fact, it’s odour neutralising properties is so good that it’s a common fix for vomit smells! Check out our post on How To Get Sick Out Of A Carpet, or bookmark it for unfortunate emergencies…


The alkali works for cleaning because it reacts with acids to stop bad smells and causes a foaming reaction to deeply clean where we can’t get to. 

Read more about how, what and why of this magical powder in our post How To Use Bicarbonate Of Soda For Cleaning.

How to Clean Washing Machine With Baking Soda and Vinegar

So now we know why we’re using baking soda and white vinegar, let’s get into the instructions of how to do it.

We’ve broken the cleaning process down into each component listed here:

  • Front-Loading Drawer
  • Rubber Seal (Gasket)
  • Exterior and Buttons
  • Filter
  • Drum

Cleaning the Front-Loading Drawer

If you’ve ever taken out the drawer of a front loading washing machine and had a look inside, then you know how much gunk and unidentifiable stains can get built-up in there. 

Cleaning The Front-Loading Drawer - HOW TO CLEAN WASHING MACHINE WITH BAKING SODA AND VINEGAR - Clean and Tidy Living

1. Remove the drawer and place in the sink and spray with white vinegar, then scrub until it’s clean and rinse with hot water. 

2. Using a paper towel or damp cloth, wipe out the inside of where the drawer normally is to remove as much grime and soap as possible. 

3. Once you’ve wiped out the easy-budging built-up soap, spray the inside with white vinegar and use a scrubbing brush to work the acid into the dirt. 

4. Wipe away the loosened dirt and repeat if necessary until the drawer cavity looks brand new. 

5. Once the drawer space is clean, add one tablespoon of baking soda and spray with white vinegar to create a loose foam that will travel down the pipes and react with the soap inside to clean them too.

6. After the vinegar and baking soda foam have mostly gone, put your clean drawer back into its cavity. 

Cleaning the Rubber Seal (Gasket)

A front-loading washing machine has the disadvantage of requiring a rubber seal to stop water and soap from leaking out. Unfortunately, this causes gunk, and if not properly dried mould and mildew, to build-up underneath the gasket and cause smells or stains on clothes. 

1. Spray vinegar along the sides of the rubber seal and use a damp cloth to wipe around the inside and underneath the rubber seal. Keep going until all the dust, soap and marks have gone and the cloth is coming out clean. 

2. Use a towel or microfibre cloth to completely dry the inside of the rubber seal.

3. Take another cloth or sponge and sprinkle a small amount of baking soda onto it and wipe around the inside of the rubber seal. This will help to stop the damp mildew smell from emerging as baking soda neutralises odour. 

Woman cleaning a Washing Machine seal under £300 - Clean and Tidy Living

Cleaning the Exterior and Buttons

The outside of the washing machine can be dusted as part of your usual routine or part of a deep washing machine clean. Since washing machines are usually next to dryers, they’ll gather dust much more quickly than other appliances. 

1. Spray diluted vinegar on the top of the washing machine and wipe away with a damp cloth. 

2. Spray the buttons, door and outside of the drawer with diluted vinegar and wipe down with a sponge or cloth. If any buttons or seals have heavily caked on or built-up grime, use a toothbrush and baking soda to lift out the dirt. 

We like to use our OXO Deep Clean Brush Set to scoop out the dirt around buttons and dials.  

3. Dry the washing machine with a microfibre cloth and admire its shininess.

Cleaning the Filter

Filters are often forgotten when it comes to cleaning our washing machines, and some people might not even know where to find it. 

There will probably be a small removable panel at the bottom of the washing machine with the filter behind it. 

The filter can fill up with hair, hair grips, clothes fibres and random bits left in pockets. Not cleaning it out can affect the cleaning ability of a washing machine, so it’s worth checking to see what’s in there. 

1. Find a tray or baking dish that will fit underneath the washing machine so that when the water pours out it won’t go all over the floor. 

2. Remove the filter and allow the water to pour out into your tray or dish. 

3. Clean the filter with vinegar and a scrubbing brush in the sink and leave the vinegar to disinfect the filter for a few minutes.

4. Spray the filter cavity with vinegar and scrub the inside with a toothbrush, OXO Deep Clean Brush or a small sponge. 

5. Dry the filter and filter cavity with a rag or microfibre cloth. Put the filter back in and reattach the panel if your washing machine has one. 

Cleaning the Drum

We leave this step until last because we like to throw in all of the cloths used in the cleaning process in with the cycle. 


1. Add two tablespoons of bicarb to the washing detergent drawer.

2. Add half a cup or about 250ml of white vinegar into the drum itself, along with any cloths and towels used in the cleaning process. 

3. Put a cycle on it’s longest and hottest setting, or if your machine has a dedicated cleaning cycle then that will work too. 

Mrs Hinch Washing Machine Deep Clean 

Although Mrs Hinch uses some chemical products in her washing machine cleaning tutorial, she does also use baking soda and white vinegar.

This video is a great demonstration of how to clean each component, and you can replace any of the chemical products with vinegar or hot water. 

Tools for Cleaning a Washing Machine

Here are some products we recommend using for easy washing machine cleaning, that can provide powerful cleaning without as much product. 

1. OXO Deep Clean Brush Set

OXO Deep Clean Brush Set to deep clean a front loaded washing machine

This clever combo tool is great for all around the house for those areas where dirt can get stuck, such as grout, around sinks and stoves, windows, and buttons. 

This brush set will become an essential part of your cleaning kit.


2. SonicScrubber Household Electrical Cleaning Brush 

SonicScrubber Household Electrical Cleaning Brush

The SonicScrubber cleaning brush does away with that arm ache after scrubbing a room. Its motorised spinning bristles will clean hard-wearing dirt quickly and with minimal product. 

It gets the dirt off quickly without damaging surfaces and can get things looking good as new. 


3. AmazonBasics Microfibre Cleaning Cloths 

AmazonBasics Microfibre Cleaning Cloths

If you don’t already use microfibre in your cleaning routine then definitely pick some up. 

They all do the same job but we recommend a set with 3 or 4 different colours, so you can reserve one for toilets, one for bathrooms, and one for the rest of the house. 


Final Thoughts on How to Clean a Front Loading Washing Machine With Vinegar And Baking Soda 

We hope this post has been informative and that you know now how to clean a front loading washing machine with vinegar and baking soda. 

Since our clothes are so close to our skin, it’s nice to know that a washing machine can be effectively cleaned without the need for harsh chemicals. 

At Clean and Tidy Living we always like to use natural products when they can clean just as well as their chemical alternatives. 

Cleaning a front-loading washing machine is definitely one of these occasions.

For more cleaning tips and advice, check out some more Clean and Tidy Living posts below. 

Related Deep Cleaning Articles:

Cleaning a Washing Machine With Vinegar & Baking Soda

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