It might seem weird to clean an appliance that is designed for cleaning, but the washer needs love, too. Grime builds up on the walls of the drum, the chemical dispensers, and the lid/door.
Start by dumping two cups of vinegar into the washing machine and setting it to the hottest cycle (i.e. make sure there are no clothes inside). The vinegar should remove stains, smells, and any buildup of detergent. As an option, lemon juice can be added to give it a nicer smell.
While the washer is running through this “self-cleaning” cycle, scrub the exterior. Use a mixture of vinegar and water or an all-purpose cleaner to remove dust and dirt.
After the cycle has finished, use the same cleaner to remove any detergent buildup on the rim of the door and lid. Also, scrub clean the bleach and fabric softeners dispensers. It is easiest to clean them if they can be removed.
Keeping it Clean
Now that the washer is nice and clean, keep it that way! After finishing with all loads for the day, leave the lid open to let any remaining water evaporate. Water that sits around can promote mildew.
Another good way to keep the drum clean is to use vinegar as a fabric softener. It works great and helps to clean the surfaces of the drum, too!