Our Guide to Cleaning Your Washing Machine with Vinegar – Say Adios to Odors and Build-Up!

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Over the years, vinegar has been recognized and well-known as a cleaning solution for different areas of the home. Because it’s non-toxic, environmentally friendly, budget-friendly, and safe to use, it’s no surprise that it comes in handy in almost every home. While vinegar is effective as a laundry deodorizer and fabric softener, the question remains: Will cleaning a washing machine with vinegar work?

Yes, it will. Because of its high acid concentration, vinegar is a robust cleaning agent that eliminates excess grease, soil, and dirt in your washing machine caused by unrinsed clothes and detergents.

Do you want to know how to use vinegar to clean your most beloved cleaning appliance, your washing machine? Scroll down to start learning about cleaning your washing machine with vinegar!

Is Vinegar Effective in Cleaning a Washing Machine?

Vinegar is one of the most versatile go-to cleaners for different appliances, especially washing machines. Instead of using harsh chemicals to remove nasty bacteria and dirt or that funky smell from your washing machine, vinegar is a natural, cost-friendly, and effective way to clean it due to its high acetic acid.

However, use vinegar only in moderation since extensive or “too-much” usage can damage rubber seals, hoses, and gaskets.

How Do I Know If My Washing Machine Needs Cleaning?

It’s better to monitor and check for signs that your household washing machine needs cleaning every time you use it. As you know, a washing machine goes through cycles of dirty clothes every week, so it would not be a surprise if funky odors, smells, dirt, grease, or lime build-up occurred. Like how we take care of our clothes, it’s only fair that we also take care of our washing machines.

One way to know that your washing machine needs cleaning is when you see your clothes are not in their best condition. That means your washing machine is not washing them to a high standard, and it’s a sign that the filter of your washing machine needs heavy cleaning.

Another sign that your appliance needs cleaning is when it releases foul odors or funky smells.

Finally, a significant warning that your washing machine is screaming and calling for cleaning is when you spot a black stain on the rubber seal around its door. These stains come when the rinse cycle does not remove the excess laundry detergents.

Keep an out for these signs, then follow the guides below for cleaning a washing machine with vinegar.

How Often Do I Need to Clean My Washing Machine?

According to Whirlpool, a washing machine company, you should clean your washing machine regularly to keep your clothes clean and smelling fresh.

Excess detergent, soap scum, fabric softener, fiber residues, and hard water can clog the drain. It is also recommended to deep clean the washing machine every 3 to 4 months.

Should I Clean My Washing Machine with Bleach or Vinegar?

Facts showcase that bleach and vinegar are powerful cleaning products for your washing machine. Bleach is even considered one of the most hard-working or effective sanitizing products. 

However, if you wish to avoid cleaning with harsh chemicals such as bleach, white vinegar is an excellent alternative with robust deodorizing and potent bacteria-killing properties.

Whether you want to use bleach or vinegar to clean your washing machine, don’t worry or hesitate because the results will only be the same. However, white vinegar proves to be more environmentally friendly. But whatever you do, please don’t mix the two since it can cause a dangerous gas.

How to Deep Clean a Washing Machine with Vinegar


Deep cleaning your washing machine should not be difficult. Let vinegar do the trick and save your day with these following tips:

What you’ll need: 

  • Vinegar
  • Baking Soda
  • Lavender Oil 


Step 1: Add one to two cups of baking soda into the washing machine’s drum. 

Step 2: Run your washing machine on a long, hot wash to get the most out of the cleaning properties of baking soda. 

Step 3: Rerun a complete cycle and add two cups of vinegar and lavender oil for the best smell. 

Read our article – Can Baking Soda Clean Clothes? to learn how to clean your clothes with baking soda.

How to Clean Your Front Loading Washing Machine with Vinegar

Have you noticed that your front-loading washing machine has started to build up soil or excess detergent causing clothing to develop a strong smell? Clean it up with these five easy but effective steps:

What you’ll need: 

  • Baking soda
  • Soft cloth
  • White vinegar
  • Spray Bottle


Step 1: Before cleaning the main washer drum, spray white vinegar around the gasket and wipe it with a damp, soft cloth. 

Step 2: Set your washing machine settings with the hottest water temperature setting to its maximum level. 

Step 3: Add two cups of white vinegar to the detergent dispenser and run your washing machine through an entire cycle. 

Step 4: Rerun another entire cycle to the maximum level and add around ½ cup of baking soda. 

Step 5: After the cycle has run, wipe the washer drum with a soft, damp cloth. 

How to Clean Top Loading Washing Machine with Vinegar

Do you own a top-loading washing machine and want to clean it up? Follow the steps below for a significant but quick fix: 

What you’ll need:

  • Soft cloth
  • White vinegar
  • Toothbrush
  • Baking soda


Step 1: Set your washing machine’s hottest temperature at the maximum level. Then, add around four cups of white vinegar to its wash cycle. 

Step 2: Once the cycle spins, pause your washing machine and let it sit for one hour. At this time, wipe the top of your washer using a cloth dipped in hot water and vinegar. 

Step 3: Scrub the bleach dispensers and fabric softeners with a toothbrush. 

Step 4: One hour later, continue your washing machine’s cycle. And run another entire cycle with one cup of baking soda. 

Step 5: Finally, wipe the top of your washer tub with a cloth to eliminate any mildew or scum. 

Can you Clean the Washing Machine with Apple Cider Vinegar?

Apple cider vinegar may be milder than white vinegar, but you can use it to clean your washing machine. Like white vinegar, ACV is non-toxic and works efficiently to remove dirt, bacteria, and minerals.

Cleaning your washing machine with apple cider vinegar is easy. Just add 2 cups of this solution and run an empty washer through a laundry cycle.

What Are the Advantages of Using Vinegar to Clean Your Washing Machine?


Over the years, vinegar has ranked as one of the top household cleaning supplies. Aside from its immense use in the bathroom and kitchen, vinegar has been used widely for cleaning floors, countertops, and even dishwashers. So, if you’re wondering, here are the advantages of cleaning your washing machine with vinegar:

  • Vinegar has a potent amount of acidity. 

The acidity of vinegar makes it effective at eliminating any visible signs of bacteria. Using it in your washing machine raises your water’s acidity, which helps remove grease, lime, or soil clinging to your home appliance.

  • Vinegar is cheap and easy to find. 

As a natural cleaner, vinegar is budget-friendly and easy to find in retailers and grocery stores. In addition, while you can save money by utilizing vinegar for your appliance, you can also save the environment since the “said solution” does not contain toxic properties.

  • Vinegar is much safer to use around kids and pets. 

Since vinegar is mild and absorbs odor, dirt, grime, and soil way faster, it’s safer for kids and pets. So, if you’re worried about the harsh chemicals released by other store-bought potent cleaners, you can clean your washing machine with vinegar as a fantastic alternative.


Once again, vinegar proves its reputation as an effective and safe cleaner for your washing machine. Plus, the cleaning process is simple since all you have to do is follow our step-by-step cleaning guides above. And voila, all the build-up dirt, bacteria, and nasty smells will go away.

There are advantages to using vinegar to clean your washing machine, like its acid content, its affordability, and its safe to use.

Want to use something besides laundry soap to clean your clothes? Check out our article – 12 of the Best Non-Toxic Laundry Detergent Substitutes

Did you know you can wash your clothes with baking soda? Check out our article below to learn how!

Can Vinegar Clean Clothes?