Washing Machine Cleaners To Give Your Machine Some TLC

Keep your machine and clothes spick and span with the best washing machine cleaner.

washing machine cleaner

by Eleanor Weaver |
Updated on

How many of us think to add a washing machine cleaner to our shopping list? Whether you’re running your washing machine once a week or every day, we can bet the cleanliness of your machine has been neglected. You may think it must be super clean with the amount of detergent going through the system, but it can actually be home to a build-up of soap scum, lint, hair, bacteria, and mould. And who wants to put their clothes through that? We suggest looking at our round-up of the best washing machine cleaners for your home.

Best Washing Machine Cleaners At A Glance

Best for preventing bad odours: Dettol Anti Bacterial Washing Machine Cleaner - View on Amazon UK
Best eco-friendly washing machine cleaner: Ecozone Washing Machine And Dishwasher Cleaner - View on Amazon UK
Best for providing a deep clean: Dr Beckmann Service-It Deep Clean Washing Machine Cleaner - View on Amazon UK

To make sure your machine goes the distance and your clothes are as fresh as a daisy after every wash, we’ve found the best washing machine cleaners and provided a guide to keeping your washing machine clean and healthy. Whether you're looking for a 10kg machine, integrated or washing machine under £350, we've got an expertly-researched list.

Need some advice for buying a washing machine? We've got a buyer's guide for you, or scroll to the FAQs at the end of this article.

Best Washing Machine Cleaners

Best for preventing bad odours

Dettol Original Antibacterial Washing Machine CleanerAmazon/Dettol

This Dettol Anti Bacterial Washing Machine Cleaner offers whopping five-in-one protection against bacteria, odours, limescale, and dirt with lasting freshness. Working its way into even the hard-to-reach hidden areas, it’ll oust bad smells and improve the function of your washing machine. It has a lovely, fresh scent but also comes available in ‘lemon breeze’. 

Customer review: “My washing machine is two years old, and it’s never had a proper tub clean. As you can imagine it was more than a bit smelly. I ran one of these through and it’s now smelling lovely. I would definitely recommend this. Another plus is it’s from a highly trustworthy brand. So you know it isn’t going to leave you itching after you wash the next few loads.”

Pros

  • Fresh scent
  • Effectively cleans machine drum
  • Easy to use

Cons

  • Might not be strong enough to tackle particularly grimy machines

Best eco-friendly washing machine cleaner

Ecozone Washing Machine and Dishwasher Cleaner TabletsAmazon/Ecozone
Price: $22.09

This environmentally friendly Ecozone Washing Machine And Dishwasher Cleaner will freshen up your washing machine like never before and is a great, non-toxic alternative. With a lemon scent, it’ll protect your washing machine, remove dirt and limescale, and in turn, help avoid costly repairs. As well as being vegan-certified, we love that the tablet wrapper is soluble too. 

Customer review: “We moved into a new house with an integrated washing machine. It is seven years old. I used one of these and there was a huge amount of scale. I did another wash and there was more, another wash and more still! Very strong and kept breaking down the scale. The machine now runs much better.”

Pros

  • Eco-friendly solution
  • Streamline design
  • Great for maintenance cleaning

Cons

  • Might not produce the results you're looking for if you need a deep clean

Best for providing a deep clean

Dr Beckmann Service-It Deep Clean Washing Machine CleanerAmazon/Dr Beckmann

Give your washing machine a deep clean with this Dr Beckmann Service-It Deep Clean Washing Machine Cleaner and not only will it smell fresh, but it will leave it looking brand new. Best to use after every 40 washes, it’ll remove 99.9 per cent of micro-organisms and bacteria, including that which grows in the humidity of the machine, and leave your machine hygienically clean. 

Customer review: “My washing machine has a drum clean program, and we use limescale tabs, so I’d like to think we attempt to look after the machine. But we’d noticed mould in the rubber seal of the door, which we’ve never suffered from. We tried washing it off and used a bit of mould cleaner, some came off but the stuff is difficult to shift. So we followed the instructions and ran the program. The mould was gone, we are very happy with it and would buy it again.”

Pros

  • Easy to use
  • Effective on limescale
  • Eliminates odours

Cons

  • Take care to not to over-portion how much you use as it can froth

Best washing machine cleaner tablets

Calgon 4-in-1 Washing Machine Cleaner and Water Softener Tablets, 75 TabletsAmazon/Calgon
Price: $58.00

“Washing machine live longer with Calgon”, and now you’ll have that in your head for the rest of the day – sorry! This Calgon 4-in-1 Washing Machine Cleaner and Water Softener Tablets, 75 Tablets will help protect against odours, dirt, and limescale, great if you live in a hard water area. Unlike other cleaners, this is recommended to be added to every wash like detergent – it cleans your drum, pipes, hose, pump and anything else that encounters water. 

Customer review: “This is the first time I've used them. I've recently bought a new washing machine and live in a very hard water area. I saw these on offer so I thought I'd try them. I'm impressed. After following the instructions and adding one tablet to the manufacturer's recommended dosage for soft water areas, I was very surprised to see how clean my clothes were, as I only used 45ml of powder compared to the recommended dosage of 115ml for my water type (Surf). I always thought items like this were overpriced and 'gimmicky', but price wise I will more than cover that in the saving I make on washing powder, as I'm only using just over a third of what I used to per wash. Plus I'm increasing my washing machines 'life'. One final tip, drop one of these in your toilet cistern occasionally to reduce limescale build-up.”

Pros

  • Great for hard water areas
  • Prevents and dislodges existing limescale
  • Good value for 75 tablets

Cons

  • Some reviewers found the tablet didn't fully dissolve in the wash

Best cleaner for preventing faults

HG Deep Clean and Service for Washing Machines & DishwashersAmazon/HG

If you want a service without paying for an engineer to service your machine, the HG Deep Clean and Service solution has been designed to solve and prevent malfunctions by cleaning the machine to ensure filters, floaters, pipes, and invisible parts don’t become clogged up. Easy to use, it’ll prevent musty smells, machine damage, and leaks, so it can work optimally for longer. 

Customer review: “I moved into a property with an 18 old month washing machine which smelt absolutely awful. I tried everything and then finally looked for something on Amazon. The reviews for this product were very good so I thought I'd give it a go. I wish I knew about this stuff before. 1 application and my washing machine smells beautiful and it sparkles. Highly recommend and I got a spare, so I'll do this regularly. I can't tell you how relieved I am as I thought it would require an engineer to try and source where the smell was coming from.”

Pros

  • Can use on washing machines and dishwashers
  • A great solution for fixing blockages/machine issues

Cons

  • Only two to four treatments from this product

Best cleaner for soap build-up

Dylon Washing Machine CleanerAmazon/ Dylon
Price: $9.95

Recommended to use every three months or after every 40 cycles, the Dylon 5-in-1 Washing Machine Cleaner provides hygienic cleanliness to your machine removes limescale, dirt, and residue, freshens up vital parts of the machine and prevents bad smells. Not only will it make sure your machine lasts longer, but it protects your laundry too. 

Customer Review: “Wowowow! Tried all washing machine cleaners but this one is AMAZING. Had a terrible issue with my machine making my clothes sticky and dirty due to me overusing laundry powder, used this once, it has a wipe with it that will WIPE EVERYTHING DOWN, even dried laundry powder! Makes it smell clean and look and feel shiny. My white clothes finally come out white and not grey! Amazing product honestly. Also if you’re having issues with sticky clothes, switch to gel-based laundry soap, did wonders for me and helped stop the build-up of soap.”

Pros

  • Effective on the build-up of soap
  • Easy to use
  • Good for preventing clothes from getting discoloured

Cons

  • May struggle to clean the door seal

Best for tackling hair build-up

Vamoosh 6-in-1 Washing Machine CleanerAmazon/Vamoosh

If you’re a pet owner or a particularly hairy household, you’ll know the pain that comes with hair getting stuck in the filter and rubber seal of your washing machine. With Vamoosh 6-in-1 Washing Machine Cleaner you can wave goodbye to blockages as the solution dissolves hair, as well as giving your machine a deep clean and eliminating bad odours. 

Customer review: “Absolutely amazing! The machine had an utterly VILE smell whenever it was draining, nothing else had worked. Was honestly ready to buy a new machine but this actually worked so I’m very pleased.”

Pros

  • Eliminates bad smells
  • Easy to use
  • Great for pet hair
  • Good performance in hard water areas

Cons

  • Some found it struggled to clean the rubber seal

Best washing machine care kit

Wpro Washing Machine Care Kit Currys Business/Wpro

Take your maintenance to the next level thanks to the Wpro Washing Machine Care Kit. This set includes 10 three-in-one descale sachets and one anti-limescale magnet, that will ensure your drum is clean but also prevents limescale from building up in the first place. 

Customer review: "Only used it once so far, but it appeared to clean the machine well and now there is no residue on clothes."

Pros

  • Universal usage
  • Simple to use with clear instructions
  • Effectively cleans the machine leaving a fresh scent

Cons

  • For business accounts only

OUR VERDICT: Which Is The Best Washing Machine Cleaner?

If you’re looking for a washing machine cleaner that does it all, we recommend the Vamoosh 6-in-1 Washing Machine Cleaner. Delivering sparkling results, it’ll descale your machine, eliminate bad smells and leave a lovely fresh scent. Removing 99.9 per cent of bacteria and micro-organisms, it’ll leave your machine as hygienically clean as any other cleaner on our list but with the added bonus of its hair-dissolving technology – something we love and need for our own washing machines.

FAQs

When should I clean my washing machine?

While it may be easy to wait for the smelly tell-tale sign that your washing machine needs cleaning, you should regularly clean it to make sure you’re getting the best results from your wash and to keep your washing machine in good nick.

It’s recommended to give your washing machine a deep clean on a monthly basis. This is especially if you’re in the habit of using your machine at least once a day. This gets rid of a build-up of bacteria, keeps it smelling fresh, and extends its life span by preventing issues from decay or limescale - caused by hard water.

According to Persil, some other signs that your washing machine needs some TLC to include:

Black stains on the rubber seal of your door – a sign of mould or mildew that thrives in a damp environment

A dirty detergent drawer with a build-up of washing powder or liquid residue

A clogged filter could contribute to a bad smell

You can scroll down to our answered FAQs to know how to give your washing machine a full MOT deep clean.

Woman smelling clean clothes
©Getty Images

Is washing machine cleaner worth it?

Commercially available washing machine cleaners not only oust the grime within your washer, but they’ll also do it safely without damaging your machine. As well as being easy to use, washing machine cleaners can:

Reduce the risk of mould

Protect inner parts and mechanisms

Kill bacteria

Remove grime and build-up

Prevent unwanted odours

How do I deep clean my washing machine?

Run a cycle: First, check if your washing machine comes with its own cleaning cycle – many newer washing machine models do. If not, add your washing machine cleaner to the dispenser and run a normal cycle with hot water.

Rinse and spin: Once the cleaning cycle has finished, pop it back on for a rinse and spin. Make sure all the cleaner washes out.

Clean the drawer and filter: If your machine has a removable dispenser drawer, take it out, pull it apart and clean it in the sink with hot water. Gently scrub away any built-up detergent or conditioner using an old toothbrush before reassembling and popping back in the washing machine. The same process can be applied to your filter – rinse off fluff and dirt.

Clean the drum and rubber seal: Wipe down the rubber seal and make sure to dry it too – this is where mould can easily build up as it stays damp. Give the door and drum a final wipe and then leave the door open to air dry.

It’s always worth checking your washing machine’s manual. Some manufacturers provide specific advice or guidance on how to clean their machines.

How do I use washing machine cleaner?

Using a washing machine cleaner is simple – just follow the instructions on the product. In most cases, you simply need to add the required dose to the detergent drawer, leave the drum empty, and run at a high temperature.

Can I clean my washing machine naturally?

If you want to avoid the chemicals, there are some natural options you can try.

Clean My Space recommends creating a paste with two parts baking soda and one part water. This will help lift any build-up and smells on the inside of the drum. Apply directly to the inside of the machine using a sponge before wiping out with a wet microfibre cloth.

Then take a cup of white vinegar with 10 drops of tea tree essential oil to break down soap scum, mould, and odours, pouring directly into the detergent drawer and setting your cycle to the hottest possible on your machine.

However, you should avoid cleaning the washing machine with vinegar too regularly. After all, it can damage rubber parts inside the machine which may lead to leaks.

What are washing machine cleaning cycles?

As well as using a washing machine cleaner, some washing machines come with specific cleaning cycles designed to give your machine a thorough clean. We spoke to Vivien Fodor, Hotpoint’s Category Manager for Laundry in the UK and Ireland, who shared how their washing machines have been made to keep your wash as hygienic as possible.

“Contrary to their primary purpose of keeping our clothes clean, washing machines can collect dirt and bacteria inside of them. Yet one in five Brits never clean their washing machines – this is partly due to a lack of awareness of needing to, and people not knowing how. To tackle this, at Hotpoint, we developed an automatic cleaning cycle that runs through our washing machines. Simply press and hold the AutoClean button for five seconds, and the machine will start a cleaning cycle - removing detergent, soap build-up, chemicals and bacteria.

“Many of Hotpoint's washing machines also feature an antimicrobic door seal, which prevents and protects your machine from bacteria build-up by 99 per cent*. Therefore with Hotpoint, you don‘t need to worry about cleaning your washing machine by hand, and it will work effectively for longer warding off unpleasant smells and keeping your clothes clean and fresh.”   *Certified by TUV

Eleanor Weaver is the Deputy Homes & Garden Product Editor for A Modern Kitchen, specialising in kitchen accessories and appliances, including washing machines and microwaves. Having been a renter for a decade now, she loves looking for home inspiration in her spare time and is a master of DIY.

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