I am gearing up to do some spring cleaning. A few years ago I created a series called 31 days of deep cleaning your home. One of the tasks on the list is to clean your washing machine and dryer. When I wrote the original series I had a top load washer. I wanted to do an update on how to clean front load washers as the care instructions are a little different. It is important to regularly clean your appliances so they continue to function properly.

How to clean front load washer - step by step tutorial

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How to Clean Front Load Washer

Please remember to always follow any manufacturer care and maintenance instructions for your particular machine. I have a Samsung VRT Steam washing machine.

Dirty front load washer

Clean Exterior

Start by wiping down the outside of your machine. Use a soft, damp cloth. I prefer to use a microfiber cloth, but any soft rag will work. You can use also use an all-purpose cleaner (I prefer using Basic H) for stubborn dirt but do not use any kind of abrasive cleaner on the exterior of your machine.

Clean top and sides of front load washer

Clean Interior

Next, clean the interior of your machine. Start by wiping down the drum with a soft, damp microfiber cloth.

The dirtiest part of the interior of the machine is usually the door seal. Clean out any foreign substances on the seal like pet hair, lint, etc. I had not cleaned mine out in a while and with having a lab and three cats, there was a ton of fur stuck in there. Yuck! I used a wet paper towel and wiped out as much of the gunk as I could. Then, I used a toothbrush and water to scrub around all the little nooks and crannies. Wipe the seal with a damp microfiber cloth.

Dirty seal of front load washer

Note: You may have to pull out the seal a little to check underneath it between the seal and the washer drum. Again, a toothbrush works great to get in there and clean.

Check between back fo seal and machine

If you have mildew or stains, use a mixture of 3/4 cup bleach to 1 gallon of warm water. Wipe the seal area with the solution using a damp cloth. Let it stand for 5 minutes. Wipe down the seal with a dry cloth and allow it to dry thoroughly with the door open. (Be sure to wear gloves and work in a well-ventilated area when cleaning with bleach.)

Cleaned seal on front load washer

Helpful tip: Keep the washer door open after doing laundry to allow the interior of the machine to dry out between uses. I do this every time and I have never had mold or mildew on my machine.

Inside of clean front load washer

Clean Dispensers

Clean out the dispensers. Pull out any of the holders that can be removed. Wash them in the sink under running water. You can use a soft brush to clean out any of the parts that are not removable. Wipe down the area with a soft, damp cloth. Reinsert all the dispensers into the machine.

Remove detergent dispensers

Clean the inside of the door of your machine as well. Use a soft, damp microfiber cloth to wipe the door. An equal mixture of vinegar and water can help clean up any hard to remove gunk from the door.

Dirty door of front load washer Wipe door of front load washer

Run a rinse and spin cycle without any clothes. I like to add vinegar to the dispensers when I run this cycle.

Add vinegar to rinse cycle

Clean Debris Filter

Every two months you also need to clean out your debris filter. Every washer is different, but mine is located at the bottom left side of the front of the machine. If your washer is not draining well, this is the first place to look for a clog. For mine, you take off the cover.

Debris filter door

Then, pull the drain tube out. Place a bowl or a shallow dish under the tube. Remove the drain tube cap and allow any excess water to drain into the dish.

Drain water from drain tube

Helpful tip: I like to place a folded towel under the dish to catch any water that may leak out while I am cleaning out the debris filter. This helps protect my floors.

Pull out the debris cap and filter. Wash the filter under running water in the sink. You can use a soft brush (like a toothbrush) to scrub the filter.

Pull out debris filter

Note: I had just recently had a clog in my debris filter so it actually was not that dirty when I pulled it out. It is often filled with fur and lint (and sometimes hair bands or other small items).

Scrub debris filter in sink

Place the debris cap and filter back into the machine. Reattach the drain cap to the drain tube and then hook the tube to the hook guide. Reinstall the filter cover.


Many newer front load washing machines come with a self-cleaning cycle. It can help remove any mold that builds up inside the machine. On my washer, this is called the Pure Cycle™. I run this cycle without any detergent or clothes in the machine. My machine has an indicator on the machine when I need to run this cycle. Since I regularly use the sanitize cycle on my machine I don’t often get this warning light.

Pure Cycle on Samsung Washer

You can remove hard water deposits in your machine by using a cleaner labeled “washer safe”.

If you find your clothes are not getting as clean as they should, you will want to follow the above steps to get your machine washing like new again. Remember to follow YOUR washing machines instruction manual. Not following the instructions can void the warranty on your machine.

How to clean front load washer

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