A laundry machine does an excellent job cleaning your clothes and linens, but it is often the most overlooked appliance. This is because most people need to be made aware that laundry machines — much like other appliances — must also be serviced regularly to function properly.
It is recommended that you clean your washing machine at least once a month to remove bacteria and keep your machine smelling fresh. Routine servicing and cleanup can also prolong the life of your washer since it disintegrates grime and builds up in areas that are not visible to the naked eye.
So, if your machine is smelling funny, it’s time to invest in a washing machine cleaner to keep it (and your wash load) fresh and tidy. To assist you, we researched, surveyed, and evaluated a wide range of options to bring you the top washing machine cleaners of 2023, which are listed below!
Washing Machine Cleaner: A Comprehensive Buying Guide
If not correctly cared for and maintained, a washing machine can retain strong odors for months, even years. This odor can quickly permeate your clothes, linens, and other washables. To prevent this, it is vital to tidy up your washing machine on a regular basis. Experts recommend cleaning your washer twice a month or more depending on your frequency of usage.
Unfortunately, many users wait until the machine — or their freshly washed load — stinks before cleaning up. Your machine requires a thorough cleaning from the inside out and proper maintenance to function optimally.
Many options on the market cover all types of machines, be it front-loading or top, making it difficult to find the perfect one for yourself. But don’t worry; we have compiled a list of factors to help you make your decision. From the type of cleaners to their costs, we will break everything down next!
Foremost, look for a washer cleaner that will clean both the inside of the machine and the drain. Some products only clean the tub, while others go deeper and scrape the residue off of parts that are not visible to the naked eye. So, look for a product that promises the latter.
Washing machine cleaners come in a variety of forms, including sprays, wipes, powder, liquids, gels, and tablets. Because most cleaners are compatible with most washing machines, the type you use depends on your preference and the severity of the odors or accumulated gunk.
Tablets and powders are among the most used form of cleaners. Wipes and sprays are not popular options because they require more time — and elbow grease — to clean your washer. Gels have a more concentrated cleaning power and work well for solid odors.
The ingredients of your product should be checked too. Some washer cleaners contain organic, eco-friendly ingredients like sodium percarbonate, caustic soda, and citric acid; others contain harsh ingredients like colorings, synthetic fragrances, sulfates, and even phosphates.
When selecting a washing machine cleaner, keep your allergies and hypersensitivity in mind to prevent irritation and other side effects later on. You should also look for an eco-friendly washing machine cleaner with biodegradable ingredients so it isn’t harsh on our planet.
Even though most washer cleaners are designed to work with various machines, it is always a good idea to read the label. Some cleaners are designed explicitly for front-loading, top-loading, or high-efficiency machines. Tablets are the most convenient to use in various washing machines, but powders also work great.
Front-loading washer door casings can quickly gather grime, mold, and fungus, so look for a cleaner that directly targets these areas or scrub them individually with a wipe. Similarly, top-loading washers can accumulate grime in the interior parts of the machine, so look for a strong action product that can go deep and clean up well, showcasing great and long-lasting results.
If you have got a septic system, make sure your laundry detergent is septic-safe. This is because using any harsh chemical in your pipes, including some washer cleaners, can cause septic system damage, resulting in potentially smelly and often costly problems. While making a purchase, look for the septic safe label on the packaging or purchase one that clearly states that to avoid any damage to your system.
Washing machine cleaners, like other detergents, have a scent. Some are very strong and may irritate sensitive users, whereas others have a fresh, mild scent. If you are extremely sensitive to smells and chemicals, we strongly advise using natural essential oil-based washer cleaners.
If not, you can choose the one that better serves you and your machine. Although it is recommended that you select a fresh, clean-scented option because it will not only remove the old odor but will also give your load a cleaner scent for weeks.
Some washer cleaners must be used once a month, while others must be used twice a month. A cleanser that is used less frequently is the better decision for saving time, effort, and money. To ensure hygiene, you must still clean your washer once a month.
Another important consideration is the packaging of the product you are purchasing. It’s critical, especially with cleaning agents like these, to look for a company that offers secure packaging that keeps air and moisture out. This is crucial because moisture can activate the cleaning agents and ruin their effectiveness even before they arrive at your door.
To avoid accidents, look for secure plastic packaging and a shipper that offers safe deliveries. Finally, once they arrive, you can place them in an airtight glass jar to keep them safe for a longer period.
Finally, you must consider the cost. Choosing an expensive option can add up over time and may not be the right approach. For this, look for alternatives that produce comparable results at a lower cost. It is also recommended to buy in bulk or subscribe to a year-round supply to get the finest product and services at a low price.
Comparing the Top Washing Machine Cleaners of 2023
Starting with our top pick, the Active washing machine cleaner tablet, which is unquestionably the ideal option for many. From classic top loaders to front-loaders, it is compatible with Samsung, GE, Whirlpool, LG, Maytag, Electrolux, and other brands. Compared to liquid descalers and wipes, which generate unnecessary waste, these organic effervescent frothing tablets are septic safe. They are also packed with less wrapping making their storage and eco-friendly.
One of its unparalleled features is the lack of scrubbing required. This is because when the tablets come into contact with water, they disintegrate into strong scouring powder cleaning agents. These cleaners then dissolve hard water buildup and gunk in no time! Because of its ability to effectively descale your machine’s inner gasket, laundry drum and pipes — the active machine cleaner takes the top spot on our list.
Another popular product on the market is this heavy-duty cleaner that cleans deep inside pipes, valves, tubs, drums, hoses, and filters. It is recommended by many companies, including Maytag, Amana, and Whirlpool. Compatible with front and top-loading washers, the tablet removes buildups, residues, and foul odors.
You can benefit from this six-month value bundle pack or even sign up for a year-long supply plan. To use it, simply empty the washer, place a single tablet, and run the clean washer/tub cycle. After that, wipe down the drum to remove any remaining residue, and you are done! It is regarded as the holy grail of washing machine cleaners because of its ease of use, excellent performance, and environmentally friendly pledge.
OxiClean produces excellent clothing stain removers, so its washing machine cleaner is no exception. It contains sodium carbonate and sodium percarbonate to target gunk and buildup in your washer. The powder arrives in pouches, making application a breeze. Simply tear one open, toss it in your washing machine, and run a hot cycle. Remove any leftover residue from the laundry drum before running a load with clothes to avoid ruining your laundry.
Using one bag per month makes this a cost-effective way to keep your laundry machine tidy, spotless, and smelling fresh. You can even register for shipments through an online store to help you save more cash. It is compatible with and safe for all washers and septic systems, so you do not have to worry about damaging your existing setup. Combining potent ingredients and easy application, this is another great choice to consider.
With its newly crafted surface-active ingredients, this next option penetrates, pulls away, and eradicates odor-causing substances and deposits. The single box contains five independently packed pouches, which activate 20% quicker than tablets. It combines the cleaning performance of Oxi and TAED to increase the cleaning action on your washing machine by over 20% since Oxi alone isn’t enough. The TAED and Zeolite combination works effectively even in hard water and quickly removes years of build-up.
The powder’s small blue granules create a super cleaning boost and leave your machine clean and smelling great. One packet is sufficient to deep clean the inner parts of your washing machine once a month. All you have to do is place the powder in the drum and run a clean tub cycle to see its magic. It will remove residue, fight odors and leave a fresh scent!
Works with hard water
Easy to use with all types of washers
It gets rid of soap and softener build-up
Smells great and revitalizes old washers performance
Last but not least on our list is this heavy-duty cleaning option, which is yet another excellent choice for your washer. These tough tablets thoroughly clean the drum, pump, filter, valve, and hose of your washing machine. They are also compatible with all types of washers, including semi-automatic and automatic (front-loading and top-loading) models. True Fresh cleaner eliminates odors, removes stains and dirt, and also extends the life of the washing machine.
It will last over a year with over 20 tablets per carton, making it excellent value for money. It is great for removing tough messes and odors from the washing machine, such as pet odors, mold spores, slime, and grime. For the quickest results, use two tablets and run a hot cycle and see the grim and smell vanish!
Ideal for front-loading machines
Cleans and sanitizes the washer
Deep cleans and super simple to use
Cheap and poor packaging
People Also Asked
Q: What is the correct way to use a washer cleaner?
A: The steps for using a washing machine cleaner will differ depending on the type. For tablets, simply place a tablet in the machine and run a clean cycle. Cleaning settings are available on some washing machines, while others lack this functionality. If your machine belongs to the latter type, simply run a hot cycle using only the tablet. Before you resume your regular laundry duties, running a rinse cycle or two is a good idea.Drop powder or liquid cleaners into the drum of your washing machine and run a hot cycle. Run a rinsing cycle after the first cleaning cycle to remove any residuals. Cleaning wipes require more effort because you have to clean up the machine's interior manually. Before washing clothes or linens, as with other types of cleaners, run a rinse cycle to ensure any residue is rinsed away.
Q: How frequently should a washing machine cleaner be used?
A: The frequency of use of washing machine cleaner is determined by a number of factors, including the type of washer you have, the mineral content of your local water, and how frequently you do your laundry. You should use a washing machine cleaner once a month to help maintain your machine in good condition. If you notice any accumulation or particularly strong odors, crank up the frequency of use.
Q: Can I clean my dishwasher with a washing machine cleaner?
A: While cleansers for washing machines and dishwashers have similar components, the terms should not be used interchangeably. Washer cleaners are usually larger or more concentrated than dishwasher cleaners because a laundry machine is typically larger than a dishwasher.Dishwasher cleaning tablets, fluids, or powders are recommended in small amounts for standard dishwasher sizes. Finally, it is advised to purchase specific products for their purposes and not to use one product for another task unless specified.
Q: What happens if my washing machine is never cleaned?
A: Aside from bad odors that may not have been completely removed from your clothes, you may have mildew issues in your washed clothing. This is not only unhealthy but also extremely frustrating. Finally, years of build-up, mold, and debris can destroy your machine and force you to replace it.
Q: What are some natural ways to clean your washing machine?
A: Using apple cider vinegar in your washing machine is an excellent way to keep bacteria and mildew at bay. To clean your washing machine, fill a wash cycle with two cups of apple cider vinegar. Use the cleaning cycle on your washer if it has one. If not, simply run a regular wash cycle with the vinegar.Next, combine in a bucket one part apple cider vinegar to four parts warm water and hand-wipe all around the door and the gasket with a clean sponge. An old toothbrush is ideal for cleaning the liquid soap and fabric softener dispensers and any tight areas around the door. Add one cup of cider vinegar to your laundry load to remove germs and keep your laundry odor-free.
The Old House Journal Review Team’s product reviews and in-depth guides are here to help you restore, repair, update, and decorate your home. The content is created by The Old House Journal Review Team. The Old House Journal editorial staff is not involved. Old House Journal is reader-supported: When you buy through links on our site, we may earn an affiliate commission. All questions regarding articles or product testing can be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org