As counterintuitive as it may sound, washing machines must be cleaned about once a month to keep them in top working order.
While it might seem odd at first glance, washing machines should be self-cleaning. After all, they have cleaning detergents and hot water passing through them every few days; surely this is enough, right?
Unfortunately not, when washing machines are not kept clean, they can develop an awful stale and musty smell which transfers onto your clothing.
So in this article, we’ll give you the best methods to keep your Whirlpool washing machine completely clean and fresh.
How to Clean Whirlpool Washer
Table of Contents
As washing machines clean out clothes, they pull out a lot of soap scum, grime, and dirt. This can then combine with detergent deposits and lint buildup, which gets stuck in the cracks and crevices inside the machine.
In the short term, this is not a big deal. But over a long period, this dirt buildup will start to grow mold and mildew, which gives the washing machine this nasty stale odor that is not exactly desirable in a machine we use to wash our clothes.
The good news is this is a relatively regular occurrence, and we have plenty of methods and products available to help us keep our washing machines nice and clean.
Whirlpool recommends you clean your Whirlpool washing machine every 30 cycles or once per month, whichever comes first.
1. Clean using Affresh Tablets
As recommended by Whirlpool themselves, Affresh are cleaning tablets specifically designed to remove all those nasty, stuck-on, odor-causing residues that like to sit in the washing machine.
The big benefit here is that it’s an entirely hands-off cleaning method, so you can throw the tablet in, set a wash cycle, and relax while the machine does the work for you.
- Start by double-checking that the tub is empty. Although Affresh tablets are cleaners, they are not formulated to clean clothes specifically.
- Add a single Affresh cleaner tablet directly into the bottom of the tub, actively breaking up the residual dirt and residue left by the wash cycles.
- If you don’t have Affresh specifically, Whirlpool suggests using a liquid chlorine cleaning product.
- Close the door and pick a regular cleaning cycle, but make sure to put the water temperature to the hottest you can select based on your particular model.
- Once the wash cycle has finished, you can also run an empty water cycle to rinse any residual Affresh cleaner left behind.
- Leave the door open and let the washer dry out naturally.
2. Cleaning the Washing Machine Dispensers
Of course, there are other locations on the machine beside the tub that may have built-up grime, and one of the prime locations is the dispensers.
As these hold our cleaning fluids and tablets, it’s easy to have them build up dirt over time which can then get re-flushed back into the tub if it’s not cleaned.
Once again, Whirlpool recommends cleaning the dispensers every 30 days.
- Pull out the dispenser and raw fully until you can feel resistance. Some drawers can be removed entirely, making the process easier. But keep in mind these draws are not always dishwasher safe, so it’s best to clean them by hand.
- Take a machine cleaning wipe from Affresh; these are specifically formulated for cleaning washing machines with their signature ‘micro-grab’ fibers which help scoop up the detergent residue.
- If you don’t have machine wipes, you can use a simple damp cloth and any general all-purpose cleaner.
- Wipe down the entirety of the draw thoroughly, making sure to catch all surfaces, even underneath.
- Take a dry towel and remove the excess water left by the wipe; leave the drawer open for a few hours to let it air dry.
Additionally, if your drawers are removable, you can easily take a bowl of warm water, add a mild detergent, and let them sit there for about an hour. This will help break down any harsh residue and make cleaning easier.
3. Clean the Agitator
Only applicable to top-loading washers. Ensuring the agitator is clean is integral to the deep cleaning process. OftenWhirlpool washers use an agitator with a removable cap at the top, which you can unscrew and easily clean inside using a simple cloth or a scrubbing brush.
If you’re finding that the top cap isn’t coming off very easily, don’t force it! Remember, not all caps are removable, and you may end up breaking something. Refer to your owner’s manual first to see if it’s removable; if not, wipe the outside of the agitator by hand.
4. Clean the door gasket
The door gasket is a commonly overlooked cause of bad smells and dirt build up in a washer. The door seal is what the outside door presses into in order to create that water-tight seal that stops water from leaking out during the wash cycle.
But as this is a folded-over material, crevices on the underside are not exposed to water during a wash cycle, so unless you address them by hand, they can turn pretty nasty!
- Start by removing any clothing items from the washer, as you don’t want to get any dirt on them by accident.
- Take a wipe or a damp cloth with a good all-purpose cleaner. Wipe down the door’s inside glass and the load washer gasket itself.
- The most important part here is to pull back the load washer gasket and clean the underside of the folds, as this is where the dirt often builds up.
- If you use a Whirlpool front load washer, clean all around the inner door seal, you will once again need to pull it back to ensure you catch the dirt that sits in the folds.
5. Wipe Down the Outside
Keeping the outside of the washer nice and clean is a good idea as your clothes will often rub against it as you load the washer up, so if it’s caked in dust, it’s easy to bring that into the washer as you load it.
Take a damp cloth or sponge, wet it with warm water, and wipe down all the outer surfaces to remove the dust and dirt that may have built up.
Try only to use mild cleaners and soap, as there may be electronic touch panels and other elements which need a little care.
6. Upkeep Wash Cycles
While all the other suggested methods here work great for that more serious deep clean, you can dramatically reduce the frequency with which you will need to deep clean the washer by utilizing general upkeep practices that slow down the detergent and dirt buildup.
It’s super easy to do; every few weeks, just run a cycle using warm or hot water; no detergent is needed; just let it run the whole way. Once it’s finished, open the door and let it dry out; this will help keep the washer nice and clean for as long as possible.
7. Use Bleach and Vinegar
This is an alternative and more aggressive method when the washer is dirty and the Affresh tablets aren’t cutting it.
- Empty the washer first.
- Wipe down the gasket and door, then clean out the lint filter and detergent dispenser as usual.
- Add 2 cups of white vinegar and run a long cycle in the hottest setting.
- Then add 2 cups of bleach and run another cycle using the same settings.
- Once it’s finished, run a quick cycle using water to rinse any bleach out of the washing machine.
To reiterate, this is an aggressive method and should not be used monthly. This is best used when the washer has been neglected for a long time and needs a serious wash. After you have done this, go back to using the methods mentioned earlier in this article.
8. Run a ‘Tub Clean’ Cycle
While not every Whirlpool washer model has this feature, some have an in-built cycle preset specifically designed for cleaning. You should be able to find this on the main menu under ‘tub clean’ or ‘clean washer.’
This cycle manages the timing, heat, and tub movement in order to circulate the cleaner around and wash the whole interior of the washer, and it’s a great time saver.
- Start by once again unloading all clothes from the clothes washer.
- Take an Affresh cleaning tablet and place it directly in the tub. Do not put it in the dispenser; this is important.
- Select the relevant cleaning preset from the menu of your clothes washer; once again, this may be labeled as tub clean or clean washer, depending on your model.
- Press start and let it run the cycle.
- Once it’s finished, open the door and use a cloth to wipe away any residue that may have been left behind before you run another load with your clothes in it.
Suppose your washer doesn’t have this self-cleaning open. In that case, you will have to use another method, or an easy alternative is just to run a normal cycle with the Affresh tablet, although this won’t be as effective as the specially designed cleaning preset.