What Is the Best Washing Machine Cleaner in the UK 2020

Best Washing Machine Cleaner - Clean and Tidy Living

Which Is The Best Cleaning Product For Washing Machine Appliances? 

A washing machine cleaner should keep limescale, mould and bacteria at bay, to keep clothes smelling fresh and the appliance in good working condition. 

If a washing machine isn’t cleaned or well-maintained, damp smells and visual black mould can start to appear in the detergent drawer and around the drum.

These smells and mould spores can transfer to our clothes and leave them smelling worse than before they went in the machine. 

Well, maybe not quite that bad. 

But even so, having a stench of dampness isn’t something anybody wants to be known for.

A neglected or poorly-cleaned washing machine can also lead to internal limescale build-up, which can lead to a costly repair or even a complete replacement. 

Cleaning the washing machine isn’t a tricky job once you know how to do it, how often to do it and what to use. 

If you’re not completely clued-up about washing machine maintenance, then you’re in the right place. 

As well as washing machine cleaner reviews for our Top 5 recommendations, you’ll also find information and advice on the following topics:

  • How to Use a Washing Machine Cleaner
  • Is Using a Washing Machine Cleaner Necessary?
  • How to Clean a Washing Machine 
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If you’d rather skip the reviews, here are our Top 5 Products for Cleaning Washing Machines:

  1. Dettol Anti Bacterial – Best Washing Machine Cleaner
  2. Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner Lemon – Best Washing Machine Cleaner for Damp Smells 
  3. Dr. Beckmann Service-it Power Descaler – Best Washing Machine Cleaning Product for Limescale
  4. Calgon 3-in-1 Washing Machine Water Softener Tablets – Best In-Wash Machine Cleaner
  5. Ecozone Washing Machine and Dishwasher Cleaner – Best Eco Washing Machine Cleaner 

What Is the Best Washing Machine Cleaner in the UK 2020

1. Dettol Anti Bacterial – Best Washing Machine Cleaning Product

Dettol is well known for its anti-bacterial cleaning products and less known for its appliance-care products. 

We love this Dettol washing machine cleaner because of it’s 5 in 1 formula which targets:

  • Bad odours 
  • Limescale
  • Bacteria
  • Hidden Dirt
  • And leaves a long-lasting fresh smell. 

This product is also rated the best product for cleaning washing machines by common review platform Which?

A powerful, trusted product that tackles bacteria, limescale and odours whilst leaving a long-lasting fresh scent. 

How to use Dettol washing machine cleaner:

Every 2 months, or less often depending on the frequency of use, pour the entire bottle into the detergent drawer of an empty washing machine and set to a 60-degree cycle for at least one hour. 

Pros

Kills 99.9% of bacteria
Leaves a nice smell behind  
Removes limescale 
Easy to use  
Removes hidden dirt  
Strong formula  

Cons

One use per bottle
Will still need to clean rubber seal, detergent drawer and outside of a machine

After researching and reviewing this washing machine cleaner we would suggest that it’s the best option for an all-round washing machine cleaning product because it targets multiple problems that come with washing machine usage, whilst also killing bacteria and leaving a fresh scent. 

For more information, including price details and product reviews, click the button below. 

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2. Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner Lemon – Best Washing Machine Cleaner for Damp Smells 

This lemon-scented cleaning product is from the same range as the above Dettol cleaner. 

If your washing machine smells musty, or your laundry room smells like mildew then we definitely recommend this cleaner. 

If you can visibly see mould spores or black/grey gunk in the washing machine, we recommend treating that specific area with bleach or a strong mould cleaner. 

For mould removing tips, take a look at our article What Is The Best Mould Remover UK

A powerful cleaner that tackles several washing machine problems and leaves an extra lovely smell compared to the usual Dettol anti-bacterial cleaner. 

If a washing machine has a strong mould and mildew smell, it’s likely to be in all the hidden areas. 

We recommend thoroughly cleaning the rubber seal and detergent drawer with a soapy sponge or any non-bleach cleaning product, making sure it’s properly dried after cleaning. 

Pros

Kills 99.9% of bacteria
Leaves a nice smell behind  
Removes limescale 
Easy to use  
Removes hidden dirt  
Strong formula  

Cons

One use per bottle
Will still need to clean rubber seal, detergent drawer and outside of a machine

After researching and reviewing this Dettol cleaner, we would suggest that it’s the best option for damp smelling washing machines because it removes the bad odours but also provides long-lasting freshness.

For more information, including price details and product reviews, click the button below. 

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3. Dr. Beckmann Service-it Power Descaler – Best Washing Machine Cleaning Product for Limescale

Dr Beckmann Service-it Power Descaler cuts through limescale build-up fast with its incredibly powerful formula. 

It also helps prevent future build-up and malfunctions in your washing machine or dishwasher.

Limescale removing deep cleaner that works on dishwasher and washing machines to remove scale build-up from hard water. 

We recommend using this product every 1-3 months, depending on how hard the water is in the area. 

To use, pour both sachets into the washing machine detergent drawer and set the machine on a 70-degree cycle for at least one hour. 

If your washing machine is small, e.g. less than 5kg, then one sachet will suffice.

Pros

Great at removing limescale  
Can be used on washing machines and dishwashers 
Strong formula   

Cons

Doesn’t leave a scent 
Not designed for cleaning rubber seal, detergent drawer and outside of the machine

After researching and reviewing this washing machine cleaner we would suggest that it’s the best option for hard water dishwashers or deep cleaning a dishwasher that has developed a lot of limescale build-up due to lack of maintenance.  

The formula is very strong and specifically designed for limescale. 

Therefore, we wouldn’t recommend this product for washing machines that have strong damp and mildew smells because the product isn’t designed to remove these fungi spores or remove bad odours. 

For more information, including price details and product reviews, click the button below. 

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4. Calgon 3-in-1 Washing Machine Water Softener Tablets – Best In-Wash Cleaning Product

Calgon water softener tablets are extremely easy to use.

All you need to do is add one tablet to each wash in addition to your usual detergent, inside the detergent drawer.

Regularly using these tablets will prevent limescale, reduce or eradicate detergent and soap-scum build-up, and eliminate odours in the washing machine.

An easy to use, in-wash water softening tablet that helps prevent limescale, odours and detergent build-up to prolong the life of the machine. 

Calgon also say that these tablets work to protect your drum, pipes, hoses, pump, and all the components of your washing machine that come into contact with water.

Pros

Can be used in clothes cycle so it’s fast and easy to use 
Gets rid of detergent build-up 
Prevents limescale  
Available to bulk buy  
Designed to prolong washing machine performance and health   

Cons

Expensive to use in every wash as suggested
Still need to clean detergent drawer, rubber seal and outside of a machine
Not designed for deep cleaning

After researching and reviewing this washing machine cleaner we would suggest that it’s the best option for maintaining and preventing issues with frequent use of a washing machine because it’s easy to use and requires hardly any extra effort. 

However, we wouldn’t recommend this product to those looking for a deep-cleaning treatment as it’s designed to go in the wash with clothes and laundry to maintain the machine so the chemicals aren’t powerful enough for a strong descaling treatment. 

For more information, including price details and product reviews, click the button below. 

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5. Ecozone Washing Machine and Dishwasher Cleaner – Best Eco Washing Machine Cleaner

These Ecozone washing machine and dishwasher cleaner are fragrance-free and ideal for those looking for a natural solution to appliance maintenance. 

Since it’s fragrance-free, it’s also the best option for people with sensitive skin.

One reviewer says, “Ecozone’s washing machine cleaner will give your machines a thorough M.O.T service and help get rid of limescale if used regularly.”

If you’re into eco-laundry, you might like our recommendations for The Best Natural Washing Powder In The UK

A great eco-friendly, vegan and fragrance-free appliance cleaner that deodorises, descales and sanitises. 

To use these Ecozone tablets simply drop one tablet into the drum of an empty washing machine and select and run a hot (60°C or higher) cycle without a pre-wash.

Pros

Eco-friendly product 
Removes limescale  
Removes detergent deposits  
Free from animal testing   
Septic tank safe formula  
Sanitises machine   

Cons

No strong fragrance 
May need multiple uses for large amounts of limescale

After researching and reviewing this washing machine cleaner we would suggest that it’s the best option for those who want to avoid chemicals in their appliance or those with sensitive skin. 

However, we wouldn’t recommend this product to people looking for a deep-cleaning or powerful descaler because you may need to run multiple cycles to get an appliance to a high standard. 

For more information, including price details and product reviews, click the button below. 

If you’ve found our product reviews helpful, you might also like our Clean and Tidy Living article What Is The Best Dishwasher Cleaner UK

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How to Use Washing Appliance Cleaning Products

Of course, our first recommendation is to read the manufacturers instructions of the cleaning product and also of the appliance. 

Some washing machine manufacturers don’t recommend using their appliances with no laundry inside, in which case you should run maintenance was with a few clean rags or tea towels inside. 

Using a washing machine cleaner will depend on the product itself, but most will need to be poured into the detergent drawer of an empty machine and set to a hot wash of over 60 degrees Celsius, for at least one hour but longer if possible. 

If it’s an in-wash tablet-like Calgon’s descaler, then place inside the detergent drawer alongside the usual detergent and fabric conditioner and run your usual cycle with a full load of laundry. 

Make sure to clean each component of the washing machine using our instructions below, under How to Clean a Washing Machine. 

Is Using a Washing Machine Cleaner Necessary?

Much like our showers and dishwashers, all though they are designed to clean washing machines do require cleaning themselves. 

Using a washing machine cleaner or manually scrubbing each component will stop and prevent mould and mildew, damp smells, limescale build-up, bacteria, soap-scum and detergent build-up. 

The benefits of this cleaning process are that the washing machine will have improved and prolonged internal and external health. 

The washing machine will also smell better, look better and in turn leave our clothes smelling and looking fresher. 

Washing machine odours and grime can occur faster with cooler cycles, and as many of us switch to energy-saving washes, unfortunately, this is becoming more common. 

By regularly deep cleaning our washing machines, we can keep the bill-saving cooler cycles and skip the damp smells. 

Another massive benefit to using a washing machine cleaner is prolonging the life of the machine and its parts.

If it’s properly maintained, costly washing machine replacements and repairs are less common – saving time, effort and money.

How to Clean a Washing Machine – Washer Cleaning Guide 

Cleaning a washing machine involves cleaning each part separately, so we’ve broken our instructions down into each part. 

For a full deep clean of your appliance, the following sections will make sure it’s pristine: 

  • How to Clean a Washing Machine’s Rubber Door Seal
  • How to Clean Washing Machine Drawer
  • Can you Clean a Washing Machine with Vinegar?
  • How to Clean the Inside of a Washing Machine
  • How to Clean a Washing Machine Filter 

If you’re wondering how to clean a washing machine with vinegar, take a look at our article on How To Clean A Washing Machine With White Vinegar.

Best Washing Machine Cleaner - Clean and Tidy Living

How to Clean a Washing Machine’s Rubber Door Seal

To clean the rubber gasket, you will need:

  • An absorbent sponge 
  • Rubber gloves 
  • Non-bleach based cleaning product such as: Flash bathroom or multi-purpose cleaner of choice, white vinegar or diluted washing up liquid

The reason we suggest a non-bleach based cleaning product is because any bleach that remains inside or on the rubber seal could cause bleach stains to clothes. 

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

It’s difficult to see whether any bleach is stuck in the gasket, so it’s best to avoid it altogether. 

  1. Spray the rubber gasket with your chosen cleaning product, and wipe all around the inside with a damp sponge. 
  1. Continue rinsing your sponge and wiping until all of the browny grey gunk has gone. 
  1. We recommend drying the inside of the rubber seal with a tea towel or microfibre cloth as much as possible to prevent mould and mildew building up. 

How to Clean Washing Machine Drawer

Like with the rubber seal, we recommend avoiding bleach when cleaning the washing machine as it’s impossible to clean all of it away, which could cause nasty staining to towels, bedding and clothes. 

Washing Machine Cleaner for Drawer - Clean and Tidy Living

To clean the detergent drawer you will need:

  • Absorbent sponge
  • Rubber gloves 
  • Non-bleach based cleaning product or white vinegar
  • Optional) baking soda
  1. Remove the drawer compartment completely and leave in warm water in the sink with a soap-scum removing cleaning product, like Flash bathroom. 
  1. In the empty drawer compartment, spray the entire thing with white vinegar or a non-bleach based cleaning product and scrub until clean. 

Make sure you get right inside the drawer compartment and shine a torch to help see where you’ve missed. We like using our Sonic Scrubber, but a toothbrush does a good job too. 

  1. Wipe away the gunk and detergent with a damp cloth. 
  1. For an extra step: add a spoon of bicarb into the empty drawer and pour on white vinegar and let it seep down into the pipes to clean them from the inside. 

Note: Only pour baking soda and vinegar into the pipes if you’re putting on a maintenance/cleaning cycle after the detergent drawer. Leaving the vinegar and baking soda in the pipes without putting on a wash cycle can cause damage to the machine or rubber parts. 

How to Clean the Inside of a Washing Machine

To clean a washing machine with a washing machine cleaner, follow the instructions listed above under the heading ’How to Use a Washing Machine Cleaner’.

Alternatively, use a non-bleach based cleaning product (to prevent stains) and a soft-bristled brush to manually scrub the drum compartment. 

How to Clean the Inside of a Washing Machine - Appliance Cleaner - Clean and Tidy Living

Wipe away as much of the cleaning product you’ve used as possible to avoid damage to fabrics in the next wash cycle.

How to Clean a Washing Machine Filter 

Many people don’t know what or where a washing machine filter is, let alone how to clean it. 

We’ll admit that before we started our Clean and Tidy Living journey, we were one of those people. 

Like the detergent drawer, the washing machine filter won’t get cleaned during a maintenance cycle, so it’s up to us to make sure this component is clean and has no blockages. 

Luckily cleaning out the washing machine filter isn’t as complicated as it sounds like it’ll be. 

We follow Mrs Hinch’s advice for this – as she has a great way of explaining how to do it cleanly and easily. 

You’ll need: 

  • Rubber Gloves
  • An old baking tray or large shallow tub
  • Scrubbing brush or toothbrush
  • Microfibre cloth or teatowel
  • Cleaning product of choice: e.g. vinegar, washing-up liquid, degreaser, mould remover, diluted bleach, baking soda etc. 
  1. Locate the washing machine filter. It’s usually at the bottom of the front of the machine on the left or right-hand side. 
  1. Place your baking tray or tub underneath the filter to catch the water that will run out. Unscrew the filter cap and wait until all the liquid, gunk and random objects have drained. 
  1. Using your toothbrush or small scrubbing bruh and your cleaning product, scrub the inside of the filter until it’s clean as well as any other components. 
  1. Dry the inside of the filter and components with a cloth or tea towel and replace all the different parts. 

Can you Clean a Washing Machine with Vinegar? 

Although it is possible to clean a washing machine with just vinegar, we prefer to use a combination of white vinegar and baking soda to clean the appliance

Bicarbonate of soda is a great deodoriser and polisher because of it’s gently abrasive texture. 

These qualities combined with the degreasing and de-scumming characteristics of vinegar mean that washing machines can come us as good as new by just using these two modest ingredients to make a homemade washing machine cleaner.

The above links give detailed instructions on how to clean a washing machine with vinegar, but the quick instructions are as follows: 

  1. Spray and wipe every reachable part of the outside of the machine and detergent drawer with half water and half white vinegar.
  1. To clean the drum, fill the detergent drawer with white vinegar and put the washing machine on it’s hottest and longest setting – or a maintenance wash if it has one. 
  1. To clean the filter: place an old baking tray underneath the filter (usually at the bottom of the front of the machine) and unscrew the cap. Allow the water to drain and then spray and scrub with white vinegar until clean.

For more information, check our out article: How To Clean A Washing Machine With White Vinegar.

Where to buy white vinegar - Clean and Tidy Living

The Best Washing Machine Cleaner in the UK – Final Thoughts

So our key takeaways from this post is that spending a bit of time and money using a good washing machine cleaner can save you hundreds down the road. 

And with hardly any effort at all, your washing machine can be sparkling once again.

Most washing machine cleaning products simply require pouring into the detergent drawer and starting a hot cycle. 

The benefits of regularly maintaining appliances massively outweigh the cons of spending a few minutes more crouched over our machines. 

And since when things go wrong with the washing machine it really is annoying, taking these small steps to avoid them is a no-brainer. 

There are loads of great products out there to suit all household needs and budgets. 

At Clean and Tidy Living we try and select products to suit as many requirements as possible so that there’s something for all households. 

We hope that our reviews and washing machine cleaning advice has been helpful and informative. 

If you’ve enjoyed this post, you can find some related articles from us listed below. 

Or, in case you missed anything, here are our recommendations again:

  1. Dettol Anti Bacterial – Best Washing Machine Cleaner
  2. Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner Lemon – Best Washing Machine Cleaner for Damp Smells 
  3. Dr. Beckmann Service-it Power Descaler – Best Washing Machine Cleaning Product for Limescale
  4. Calgon 3-in-1 Washing Machine Water Softener Tablets – Best In-Wash Machine Cleaner
  5. Ecozone Washing Machine and Dishwasher Cleaner – Best Eco Washing Machine Cleaner 

Related Cleaning Articles:

What Is the Best Washing Machine Cleaner in the UK 2020

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