3 quick hacks to clean a washing machine that smells bad

Washing machine smelly? Learn how to clean your washing machine quickly and easily with these clever hacks

how to clean a washing machine
(Image credit: Ikea)

Starting to spring clean, and want to know how to clean your washing machine? There is no shortage of advice on cleaning washing machines online – our own guide to cleaning a washing machine gives comprehensive tips on how to use all-time favourite ingredients such as baking soda and vinegar. These hacks, on the other hand, are about less well-known methods and ingredients that will help get your washing machine clean in no time. 

Washing machine cleaning hack #1: sodium percarbonate 

Everyone's heard about cleaning a washing machine with baking soda or sodium bicarbonate, and equally, there's lots of advice online for cleaning your washing machine with bleach, aka hydrogen peroxide. How about a chemical compound that will give you the benefit of both? Look for sodium percarbonate, which is a combination of sodium carbonate and hydrogen peroxide. It's often the main ingredient in products labelled as 'laundry bleach' or 'oxygen bleach'. Simply run your washing machine empty on a hot cycle with sodium percarbonate, and it will clean and deodorise. 

Washing machine cleaning hack #2: the e-cloth

Depending on how hard the water is in your area and how long ago your washing machine was last cleaned, running your washing machine on a hot cycle is unlikely to get rid of all the gunk around the door and rubber seal. One of our favourite ways of cleaning these areas of the washing machine is by giving them a good scrub with an e-cloth. Ignore the advice that tells you to use an unspecified 'damp cloth' in these areas: you won't get a great clean and won't get rid of all the bacteria that have accumulated around your washing machine door. An e-cloth works by picking up the dirt and bacteria without re-depositing them back – just rinse it well afterwards.

Washing machine hack #3: the toothbrush

Old toothbrushes are surprisingly effective at cleaning washing machine trays and that awkward bit where the filter goes in. For maximum efficacy, pre-soak your tray in some washing-up liquid (or dissolved dishwasher tablets) and hot water before giving it a good scrub with the toothbrush. Do the same with the filter, and use the toothbrush to really scrub out the gunk that's accumulated in the opening where the filter fits. You may choose to wipe out excess buildup with some paper towels first.