Best washing machine cleaner: 6 buys to banish washing machine smells and limescale

Buy the best washing machine cleaner to keep your appliance running perfectly, for longer

the best washing machine cleaner
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If your washing machine smells, it's likely you need a washing machine cleaner to freshen it up. It makes sense – after all, we use our washing machines many times during the week, sometimes more than once a day, so it’s important to keep the insides fresh and free from mould, mildew and limescale. 

There is a range of special washing machine cleaners on the market, ranging from liquid solutions to tablets that you add to the detergent drawer. Look for value for money with something that goes a long way as well as added benefits such as those that kill bacteria or protect the inner plastic parts to keep the washer working well for longer.

Check out our selection of the best washing machine cleaners to buy right now and don't miss our guide to the best washing machine, too!

What are the best washing machine cleaners to buy?

We think the best washing machine cleaner you can buy is the Calgon Washing Machine Tablets 2 in 1, as they not only clean inside the appliance but help to protect the drum and any plastic parts from limescale build-up, too. We also think the Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner in lemon is worth buying, as it kills 99.9% of bacteria and also acts to remove limescale inside the machine.

The best washing machine cleaners

Dishwasher cleaners

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1. Calgon Washing Machine Cleaner Tablets 2 in 1

The best washing machine cleaner

Specifications
Best for: Preventing rubber pipe surfaces from deteriorating
Size: pack of 45 tablets
Reasons to buy
+Softens hard water+Protects and cleans at the same time+Helps prevent limescale
Reasons to avoid
-Have to add one tablet with every wash for best results

These Calgon tablets will help keep the inner drum and all plastic parts from becoming dirty and rusty over time.

Why we like it:

If you don’t use a washing machine cleaner, the inner working parts can become encrusted with limescale over time and stop working properly. These tablets should be added to every wash to keep the appliance running smoothly.

Protect and clean

As well as protecting the heating element from over working and breaking down, the tablets keep the drum and all plastic parts clean.

 Can be used in…

Hard water areas, as the active polycarboxylates will soften hard water ingredients for a better working, cleaner machine.

Results

If the inside of your washing machine is clean, then your laundry is too, so add one tablet to every wash for consistently good results.

Good to know

As well as helping to clean and protect the inner parts of your machine, the results will also prevent any nasty odours building up, too.

Dishwasher cleaners

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2. Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner

The best washing machine cleaner for a getting rid of odours

Specifications
Best for: A thoroughly hygienic washing machine, with no germs left behind
Size: 250ml
Reasons to buy
+Gets rid of all hidden dirt, including germs you can’t see+Removes limescale to improve the performance of your washer+Prevents odours from forming over time
Reasons to avoid
-Save money with a multipack

Kill 99.9% of bacteria with this lemon scented Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner and use it to remove limescale at the same time

Why we like it:

You get a really hygienic clean, as this liquid cleaner is recommended to be added to the washing machine every two months to kill 99.9% of bacteria.

Removes limescale

The enemy of all washing machines is limescale, especially in hard water areas, so use this liquid cleaner to work as a descaler and keep your appliance working fully.

Can be used in…

Cases where the washer is starting to smell a bit iffy, especially if it’s never been cleaned inside before.

Results

For best results use every two months in a wash on its own and let the formula reach hidden areas, killing bacteria and getting rid of any bad odours to leave your machine – and laundry - smelling fresh.

 Good to know

This specially designed sanitising solution can reach all areas inside the machine, removing dirt, limescale and killing germs.

Dishwasher cleaners

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3. Pro-Kleen Washing Machine Cleaner

The best washing machine cleaner for tackling limescale

Specifications
Best for: Removing lingering smells
Size: 5L
Reasons to buy
+Perfect for a deep, powerful clean+Helps the washing machine run more effectively+Can remove limescale build-up
Reasons to avoid
-Might not work so well on really old machines

Get rid of odours caused by mould and mildew inside the machine with the Pro-Kleen Washing Machine Cleaner...

Why we like it:

Rejuvenates your washer, making it smell all fresh and lovely again.

Descales and cleans

As well as cleaning the inside of your appliance, this 2 in 1 liquid solution will also descale, removing and preventing build-up of harmful limescale. Ideal for hard water areas.

Can be used to…

Improve the overall efficiency of your washer, making sure it works to its full potential by keeping internal pipes clean and limescale-free.

Results

Gives excellent value for money as you get 50 doses per bottle.

Good to know

You only need around 100ml for each treatment so a little goes a long way.

Dishwasher cleaners

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4. Wpro Limescale & Detergent Remover

The best washing machine cleaner for dishwashers, too

Specifications
Best for: Giving the inside of your machine a hygienic clean
Size: Pack of 10
Reasons to buy
+Helps to sanitise the inside of your washer+Cleans the tub, drum, element, pump and pipes+Can be used with all makes and models
Reasons to avoid
-Use-by date runs out quickly

These replacement Hotpoint and Indesit limescale descaler sachets remove limescale, grease and detergent build-up

Why we like it:

You get 10 months of protection as it’s recommended you use one sachet every month for best results.

Descales and cleans

Just one sachet can help remove limescale build-up from all the inner working parts of your washing machine.

Can be used to…

Eliminate powder build-up inside the washer as well as any bacteria that could be causing nasty smells.

Results

A fantastic preventative solution for new washers, especially if you prefer using low temperature wash cycles that don’t dissolve detergent so easily as a hot wash, which in turn leaves a residue behind.

Good to know

If you use this straight away after buying a new washing machine, it’s said to reduce detergent quantity by up to a third.

Dishwasher cleaners

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5. Ecozone washing machine and dishwasher cleaner

The best eco-friendly washing machine cleaner

Specifications
Best for: Protecting washing machines and dishwashers without the use of chemicals
Size: pack of 6
Reasons to buy
+Lemony scent leaves the washer smelling fresh+Removes limescale and detergent deposits+Safe and eco-friendly
Reasons to avoid
-Some users say it doesn’t work well in hard water areas-Takes few goes for some

This vegan certified Ecozone Washing Machine and Dishwasher Cleaner is easy to use and has a no-mess soluble wrapper...

Why we like it:

It's a deep clean for your appliance, leaving it fresh smelling and with all parts limescale and dirt-free.

Cruelty-free

Under the Humane Household Products Standard, this cleaner is free from animal testing and is vegan friendly.

Can be used to…

Help prevent pricey call-out charges and repair bills by making sure your washing machine doesn’t break down due to limescale build-up inside.

Results

Your washer will be left smelling lemon fresh and clean as a bell.

Good to know

Ecozone is a British company and this product is Allergy UK Friendly Approved.

Home Master Limescale & Detergent Remover

(Image credit: Amazon )

6. Home Master Limescale & Detergent Remover

The best washing machine cleaner for removing detergent build-up

Specifications
Best for: All washing machines from any brand
Size: pack of 12
Reasons to buy
+Restores your machine to its shiny old self+Removes limescale inside the appliance+Cleans at the same time
Reasons to avoid
-Some users say the washer didn’t smell any fresher after one use

An all in one limescale, detergent and purifying remover, this Home Master washing machine cleaner is great for hard and soft water areas...

Why we like it:

You juts need to use it once a month to help keep your washer completely limescale-free, prolonging its life and avoiding costly repairs.

Doubles up

You can also use this product in the dishwasher, too, with 12 applications in one pack.

Can be used to…

Cleanse and sanitise the inner workings of your appliances, reducing odours at the same time.

Results

Works well with all major appliance brands and can be used in hard and soft water areas.

Good to know

Pour half the contents of the sachet into the drum and the remaining into the drawer. Set on a 40ºC cycle – no laundry included – and turn on.

How to buy the best washing machine cleaner 

By keeping the inside of the washing machine clean, you’ll benefit from an appliance that won’t break down every few years or need a new part, which in turn saves you money and hassle in the long term. Here's what to look for in a good washing machine cleaner.

Does it tackle limescale?

In order to keep your washing machine working properly, it’s important to clean the inside regularly. Not only does this deal with any unpleasant odours resulting from damp, mould and mildew, but it will also help prevent limescale build-up, the enemy of any appliance that uses water, especially if you live in a hard water area. 

Does it tackle odours?

A good washing machine cleaner will tackle odours inside the appliance caused by soap scum, grease and grime from clothes, which will in turn leave your laundry smelling fresh. 

Does it kill germs?

Look for a cleaner that doubles up, removing stinky odours as well as descaling, cleaning and helping to protect plastic inner workings and the drum itself makes sense. But some solutions are antibacterial, too, killing germs at the same time, while others can also be used in dishwashers.

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