Best Washing Machine Cleaner


Have you ever noticed a less-than-pleasant smell coming from your washing machine? Or perhaps your clothes are not coming out as clean as they used to? It might be time to consider using a washing machine cleaner. Over time, your washer can become a breeding ground for bacteria and mold due to the moist environment inside, which can lead to odors and even impact your washer’s performance. But which cleaner should you use to get your machine back to its optimal state?

Our Top Picks

To ensure you get the most suitable product for your needs, we’ve painstakingly gone through heaps of reviews, consulted with experts, and tested a selection of products to bring you our top recommendations for the best washing machine cleaner.

Our #1 Top Pick: Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner

This cleaner is designed to penetrate, dissolve and remove odor-causing residue that can occur in all washing machines. The tablets are safe to use with front load washing machines and top load washing machines, including high efficiency (HE) and conventional washers. Use once a month to keep your machine fresher and cleaner, and its septic-safe formula means it won’t harm your septic system.

Pick #2: Tide Washing Machine Cleaner

Tide is a brand synonymous with cleaning power, and their washing machine cleaner is no exception. This powerful formula tackles the grime that can lead to unpleasant odors and ensures your washing machine is sanitized and fresh. It’s specifically designed to help remove and dissolve away odor causing residues that may build up in your washer over time.

Pick #3: Eco-Gals Eco Swirlz Washing Machine Cleaner

If you prefer an eco-friendly cleaning solution, Eco Swirlz is an excellent choice. Easy to use, these tablets are phosphate-free and are safe for septic tanks. They are also designed to clean and freshen your washer without harsh chemicals, making them suitable for homes with sensitive skin or allergies.

Pick #4: OxiClean Washing Machine Cleaner with Odor Blasters

For those who are dealing with particularly strong odors, the OxiClean Washing Machine Cleaner with Odor Blasters might be the solution. It is designed to eliminate odors and also maintains machine performance. It’s great for both standard and HE washers, and the presence of OxiClean’s signature oxygen-based formula means it tackles the odorous residues head-on.

Pick #5: Glisten Washer Magic Machine Cleaner

Glisten Washer Magic is a versatile cleaner that not only cleans your washing machine but can also be used to clean dishwashers. It’s a liquid formula so it can be used to target specific areas more effectively than tablets. Designed to remove hard water buildup and detergent residue, it will keep your washer running efficiently.

What to Know Before You Buy

  • Compatibility: Ensure the cleaner is suitable for the type of washing machine you own. Some cleaners may not be compatible with certain models, particularly high-efficiency machines.
  • Septic Safety: If your home uses a septic system, it’s critical to choose a septic-safe cleaner to avoid disrupting the system’s balance.
  • Ingredients: Check the list of ingredients if you have any allergies, or if preferring eco-friendly and non-toxic products is important to you.
  • Residue Targeting: Consider what type of residue you’re dealing with. Some cleaners are better at dealing with detergent build-up, while others are more effective against limescale or mold and mildew.
  • Application Method: While most cleaners come in tablet form, others are liquid-based or powder. The choice depends on your personal preference and your machine’s configuration.
  • Odor: Some washing machine cleaners come with a scent, which can help keep the machine smelling fresh. However, if you are sensitive to fragrances, look for fragrance-free options.

Factors to Consider Before Buying

  • Frequency of Use: Take note of how often you should use the cleaner. Some are designed for monthly use, while others might require more frequent application.
  • Quantity per Package: Consider the number of cleaning applications in one package. A larger pack could offer better value over time.
  • Eco-friendliness: Review the impact of the cleaner on the environment. Some brands offer biodegradable or plant-based cleaners.
  • Performance: Look for a cleaner that not only sanitizes the washing machine but also improves its overall performance and efficiency.
  • Price: Compare the costs of different cleaners to find one that fits your budget but still meets all your needs.
  • Reviews: Always read customer reviews to gauge the effectiveness of the cleaner. A cleaner might claim to do wonders, but actual user feedback is invaluable.

Why Trust ChooseRight?

At ChooseRight, we bring a comprehensive and meticulous approach to product reviews, ensuring you have the most reliable information at your fingertips. We’ve scoured through thousands of customer reviews and reached out to professionals in the field to obtain a well-rounded perspective on the effectiveness and efficiency of the washing machine cleaners on our list. With an ever-keen eye for detail and a commitment to providing clear, actionable advice, you can trust that we have no other agenda than guiding you to the best product choices for your needs.

Finishing Thoughts

Cleaning your washing machine is just as important as cleaning the clothes that go in it. A good quality washing machine cleaner can remove odors, prevent bacteria build-up, and extend the lifespan of your appliance. While each product on our list has its strengths and weaknesses, it’s crucial to choose one that aligns with your machine type, personal values, and cleaning needs. Frequent maintenance with a reliable cleaner will ensure fresh, clean laundry and an efficiently running machine.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why do I need to clean my washing machine?

Over time, washing machines can accumulate detergent residue, lint, and minerals from water which can create an unpleasant smell, harbor bacteria, and potentially affect the performance of your machine. Cleaning your washing machine helps prolong its life and ensures your clothes come out clean and smelling fresh.

How often should I clean my washing machine?

It is recommended to clean your washing machine once a month, but this can vary depending on usage. If you notice odors or residue, it might be time to clean it regardless of the time frame.

What are the signs that my washing machine needs cleaning?

Signs include unpleasant odors, visible residue or mold, and clothes not coming out as clean as they should. If the machine seems less efficient or the water doesn’t drain properly, it could also indicate it’s time for a clean.

Can I use any cleaning product to clean my washing machine?

It is best to use a cleaner specifically designed for washing machines. These products are formulated to effectively clean and remove odors without damaging the machine’s components.

Is cleaning with vinegar and baking soda as effective as a commercial cleaner?

Vinegar and baking soda can be effective natural cleaning agents for removing odors and residues. However, some manufacturers may not recommend it due to potential damage to rubber seals and hoses. Always check your washing machine’s manual before using home remedies.

Are there eco-friendly washing machine cleaners?

Yes, there are eco-friendly washing machine cleaners available that use natural and biodegradable ingredients. Check the labels for environmentally-safe products.

Is it safe to clean a washing machine with bleach?

While bleach is effective at sanitizing and removing stains, it can be harsh and should be used with caution. Always dilute bleach according to the manufacturer’s instructions and run an empty cycle to rinse it away completely.

Can I make a DIY washing machine cleaner?

Yes, you can make a DIY cleaner by using common household ingredients like vinegar, baking soda, and lemon juice. However, ensure that your homemade solution is safe for your machine’s material and parts.

Is there a difference between front-loading and top-loading washing machine cleaners?

Some cleaners may be formulated specifically for front-load or top-load washing machines due to the differences in their design and common issues, such as mold and mildew buildup in the gasket of front-load washers. Check the product label to ensure compatibility.

How do I use a washing machine cleaner?

Generally, you’ll add the cleaner to the detergent drawer or directly into the drum, and run a hot water cycle without clothes. Refer to the instructions on the washing machine cleaner for specific directions.

Can cleaning my washing machine improve its efficiency?

Yes, regular cleaning can prevent buildup that might clog the water outlets or affect the performance of your machine, helping it operate more efficiently.

What should I do if I have sensitive skin?

If you have sensitive skin, look for a fragrance-free and hypoallergenic washing machine cleaner to avoid irritation. Run an extra rinse cycle after cleaning to ensure all residues are thoroughly removed.

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