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The Best Washing Machine Cleaners for Maintaining Your Washer

Last updated on November 11, 2023
Best Washing Machine Cleaner

Our Review Process

Don't Waste Your Money is focused on helping you make the best purchasing decision. Our team of experts spends hundreds of hours analyzing, testing, and researching products so you don't have to. Learn more.

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Our Picks For The Top Washing Machine Cleaners

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Product Overview
Key Takeaway
  The Best Overall

Affresh Deep-Clean Time-Release Washing Machine Cleaner, 6-Count

Don't Waste Your Money Seal of Approval


Deep-Clean Time-Release Washing Machine Cleaner, 6-Count

This washing machine cleaner provides a deep clean. It washes out the hose, filter, valve, tub, pump and agitator. It is suitable for both top and front load washers.

Overall Take

Deep CleanThis washing machine cleaner gets into all the nooks and crannies.

 Runner Up

OxiClean Washing Odor-Eliminating Washing Machine Cleaner, 4-Count


Washing Odor-Eliminating Washing Machine Cleaner, 4-Count

Ensure there are no more unpleasant odors coming from your washing machine with this cleaner. You just need to use one pouch per month. It will not harm your septic tanks.

Overall Take

No More SmellsThis washing machine cleaner gets rid of unpleasant odors.

  The Best Value

ACTIVE Eco-Friendly Washing Machine Cleaner, 24-Pack


Eco-Friendly Washing Machine Cleaner, 24-Pack

This washing machine cleaner has natural ingredients and uses less packaging. It is designed to self wash so you don’t need to brush or wipe. The cleaner comes with a one-year supply.

Overall Take

Eco FriendlyThese washing machine tabs are made with natural materials.

 We Also Like

Tide Residue Removing Washing Machine Cleaner, 5-Count


Residue Removing Washing Machine Cleaner, 5-Count

Ensure your washer smells pleasant with this cleaner. It can lift away residues and deposits from the washer. The cleaner works with high-efficiency and non-high efficiency washers.

Overall Take

Fresh ScentThis washing machine cleaner leaves behind a pleasant scent.

Buying Guide

Not many people realize they have to clean their washing machines. In a way, it seems counterintuitive to have to clean something that is often filled with soap and water. After all, wouldn’t the washing machine just be cleaned every time it washes your clothes? While that does help a little bit, washing your clothes in the washing machine is not the same as washing the machine itself.

Did you know that your washing machine is filled with detergent chemicals, minerals and soap residue? If you don’t clean your washing machine, then it begins to develop a thin film of those substances, which can actually trap bacteria inside it. Keep in mind that bacteria thrive in warm and humid environments, which is exactly what a washing machine is. The bacteria in your washing machine can clog up certain mechanisms of the machine, which can affect its performance. In addition, the filmy residue and bacteria can also release unpleasant odors, so your washing machine may start to smell. Not just that, but the smell may also get onto your clothing.

A washing machine cleaner is a formula that can help you get rid of the built-up film as well as the bacteria. Ideally, you should use the washing machine cleaner to ensure the inside of your machine is spotless once a month. It’s also important to wipe down the outside of the washing machine with a wet cloth once a month as well. If not, you’ll begin to notice unpleasant stains from your dirty clothes or streaks from spilled laundry detergent.

What to Look For

  • There are a number of different washing machine cleaners available. Liquids and gels are easy to use and go right into the detergent drawer or the washer drum. You run the wash cycle using hot water when using these kinds of washing machine cleaners. They are effective at getting into all the areas of the washing machine and then washing away properly without any leftover residue. Another option is tablets, which you also run on an empty hot-water cycle. Unlike liquids and gels, you don’t have to worry about any accidental spills.
  • If you want a quick and easy clean, you can opt for washing machine sprays. They don’t need to go through a wash cycle. You can just spray, wipe or rinse them off. Many sprays can be used for both the interior and the exterior of the washing machine. Wipes are another variety of washing machine cleaner and are ideal if you need to scrub something. They can also be used on the interior and exterior of the machine.
  • Ensure whichever washing machine cleaner your select can clean limescale that builds up as a result of hard water. These kinds of deposits can accumulate in pipes and the drum. You may even find limescale residue on your clean clothes.
  • If you notice a strange odor coming from your washing machine, it’s likely a buildup of bacteria. Often, your washing machine may smell musty or funky. Check to see whether the washing machine cleaner has odor removal qualities.
  • If you think your washer has mold or mildew buildup, it’s important to get rid of it fast. You don’t want the smell to permeate your clothes. Look for a washing machine cleaner that is specially formulated to get rid of mold and mildew.

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