How to Clean Your Top Load Washing Machine

How to Clean Your Top Load Washing Machine

Your top load washing machine is an integral part of your household and cleaning routine and probably one of the appliances you use the most often. Using your washer frequently can eventually lead to the accumulation of dirt, grime, residue and buildup, which in turn can impact the quality of your washer’s performance.

That’s why it’s important to regularly clean your top load washer to help ensure your washer is operating at its best and that your clothes are as clean as possible. Learn more about steps and tips to follow to maintain a clean top load washing machine.

What Should You Use To Clean a Top Load Washing Machine?

You can use a variety of products to remove buildup from a top load washing machine including: specialized washing machine cleaners, distilled white vinegar, dish soap and baking soda. Before using any cleaning products, first reference your appliance’s manual to ensure it is safe to use.

Manufacturers recommend using washing machine cleaning solutions, like affresh® washing machine cleaner, to clean your top load washer. Since these tablets are designed specifically to clean washers, they are made with ingredients formulated to break down residue and hard water minerals, making cleaning your top load washer simpler than ever.

Can You Clean a Top Load Washing Machine With Vinegar?

White vinegar is generally safe to use to clean a top load washer. White vinegar can be used to help dissolve mineral deposits, eliminate odors and remove detergent buildup. When using vinegar to clean your washing machine, you should first combine equal parts vinegar and water to create a solution.

Vinegar can also be used when cleaning a front load washing machine to help eliminate unwanted odors and residue.

Cleaning a Top Load Washer: A Step-By-Step Guide

Maintaining a clean top load washer is essential to your appliance’s longevity and to the overall cleanliness of your laundry. With time, detergent residue and mineral deposits can build up inside your washer and cause unwanted odors. That’s why regularly cleaning your washing machine is so important. The following steps can help you ensure your top load washing machine is thoroughly clean and working properly.


  • Affresh® washing machine cleaner
  • Vinegar
  • Hot water
  • Baking soda (optional)
  • Dishwashing liquid (optional)
  • Bleach (optional)


  • Clean microfiber cloths
  • Old toothbrush (optional)
Supplies and Tools

1. Empty the Washing Machine

Before you begin cleaning your washer, you should first ensure that it is completely empty. Make sure to also remove any debris such as lint or buttons before you begin cleaning.

2. Select Washer Settings

Select the hottest water setting and longest wash cycle available on your top load washer and then allow the washer to fill with hot water. Stop the washer from filling before it begins agitating.

Water and Soap

3. Create Cleaning Solution

Combine warm water with vinegar, dishwashing liquid or bleach to create a cleaning solution to use to remove bacteria and buildup from your top load washing machine. You can also use washing machine cleaning tablets if you prefer.

Make sure to always reference your appliance’s manual before using a cleaning solution to ensure it is safe to use on the appliance.

4. Run a Full Wash Cycle

Add in your cleaning solution and run the longest wash cycle available on your washing machine. Be sure to let the wash cycle run in its entirety.


5. Clean Dispensers on Your Top Load Washer

If detergent dispensers are removable, you can clean them by soaking them in a sink full of hot water. After they’ve been soaking for about 15 to 20 minutes, try scrubbing off residue and detergent buildup. If you notice stubborn buildup still remaining, try soaking the dispensers for an additional 15 minutes before scrubbing again. An old toothbrush can be used to scrub in the hard to reach spots on the washer if needed.

If your washing machine has dispensers that cannot be removed, try pouring warm water combined with your choice of cleaning solution directly into them, letting it sit for 15 minutes and then scrubbing away residue. After residue has been efficiently scrubbed away, use a microfiber cloth to dry the dispensers.

Lint Filter

6. Clean the Lint Filter

If your top load washing machine has a lint filter, then it’s imperative to clean this element as it can contain lint and built-up residue that can be redeposited onto your clothing. Reference your washer’s manual to locate the lint filter on your washer.

If your washer does have a lint filter, you can simply use a damp microfiber cloth to wipe away any lint or buildup. For stubborn lint buildup, you can use a vinegar and hot water solution to scrub away buildup with an old toothbrush.


7. Run a Final Wash Cycle

After you’ve wiped down and thoroughly cleaned every part of your top load washer, run one final wash cycle with hot water to flush out the appliance.

8. Clean Top Load Washer Exterior

As a final step, you will want to wipe down the exterior of your top load washing machine. Use a mix of warm water and your choice of cleaning solution to wipe down the exterior of your top load washer with a microfiber cloth. Make sure to thoroughly clean the control panel and around the lid to ensure all dust, grime and buildup has been removed.

Tips for Cleaning a Top Load Washer

Maintaining a clean top load washing machine can be simple if you follow a few maintenance tips. Here are some different ways to keep your washer clean, free of buildup and smelling fresh.

  • Avoid using too much laundry detergent when regularly cleaning your clothes. This can help you avoid excessive buildup in your top load washing machine.
  • Clean the detergent and fabric softener dispensers often to prevent buildup. When dispensers become full of detergent, lint and other buildup, it’s possible for your washer to begin to smell.
  • Leave the top load washer lid open after a wash cycle until the washer interior is completely dry to prevent mildew from accumulating.

Explore affresh® Washing Machine Cleaner

Your top load washing machine works hard to keep all your favorite clothes clean and smelling their best. With regular maintenance and care, your washer should be able to regularly care for your clothes and run efficiently.

Affresh® washing machine cleaner helps clean deep inside the pump, valve, tub, drum, agitator, filter and hose of your top load washer to ensure your appliance is free from odor-causing residues and grime.