Clean Team: How to Deep Clean Your Washer and Dryer

Want to keep your clothes smelling fresh and your home hazard-free? Follow our tips for how to clean and maintain a sparkling washer and dryer.

If you’ve ever accidentally left some wet clothes in your washer or dryer, you know what it’s like to have your nose assaulted by mildew and offensive odors. Those grimy smells don’t always leave when you pull your clothes out—they linger and line the drums of your machines. It’s important to clean both appliances regularly as they are prone to mold and mildew if they aren’t properly cared for—and dryers can be a fire hazard if too much lint builds up in them. That’s why a little elbow grease can go a long way when it comes to maintaining your machines.

Want to keep your clothes smelling fresh and your home hazard-free? Keep reading for tips from our Clean Team on how to clean and maintain a sparkling washer and dryer.

What You’ll Need

You can’t clean your appliances without the right supplies. Make sure to pick these items up before you roll up your sleeves:

How to Deep Clean and Sanitize Your Washing Machine

A true deep clean starts with your washing machine. We’ve laid out how to get your washer machine, front-loading or top-loading, spic and span in no time at all:

Remove the bleach/fabric softener dispensers. Take out the trays and hand wash them with mild dish soap. Most trays are small and made of fragile plastic, so be careful handling them over the sink.

Add a cup of bleach to the washing machine. Pour the bleach into the tub of the washing machine and let it sit for an hour before starting the rinse cycle. If you don’t want to use bleach you can opt for distilled vinegar instead.

Run an entire rinse cycle. Crank your machine up to its hottest water setting and complete a rinse cycle with the bleach or vinegar. Wait for it to finish rinsing before opening it back up.

Clean the rubber seal. For front-loading machines, check for mold and grime between the folds of the rubber seal that lines the door of your appliance. Use a toothbrush to get into those hard-to-reach places.

Wipe down the exterior. Spray some all-purpose cleaner on a paper towel or cleaning rag and scrub the outside of the machine. Take another pass with a dry towel to soak up any excess moisture.

How to Deep Clean Your Dryer

You’ve conquered your washing machine, now it’s time for your dryer. Dryers require a bit more TLC than their cleaning counterparts, but a deep clean once every 6-12 months is necessary to avoid fire hazards (check the manufacturer warranty for more information). Restore your dryer with these five simple steps:

Unplug the dryer. Disconnect the dryer from the wall outlet. You don’t want the machine to accidentally turn on while you’re trying to clean it.

Clean out the lint drawer. Remove any lint from the lint trap and inside the vent. Use a dryer duct cleaner to tackle lint buildup that you can’t reach with your fingers.

Vacuum. Unscrew the back of your dryer from the vent tubing and use a vacuum hose to clean out the exhaust port, lint trap, and drum. Don’t forget to check the walls of the tube for buildup too.

Check the sensor. Locate the moisture sensor (either on the back wall of the drum or in the front near the lint trap) and check for buildup. Use a dry rag to clean the sensor if necessary.

Wipe down the exterior. Again, spray some all-purpose cleaner on a paper towel or cleaning rag and scrub the outside of the machine. Dry the exterior and let the inside air out completely before turning the appliance back on.

What’s the Best Way to Remove Stains From Your Dryer?

Let’s face it: stains happen. If you have kids at home or are prone to accidents yourself, you already know what food, makeup, and other messy materials can do to your clothes. But what about the inside of your dryer? Here are the most common stains found on the inside of dryers and the best way to remove them:

Crayons: Crayons left in kids’ pockets can get stuck on the inside of the drum of your dryer. Spray some WD-40 on a cleaning rag and softly wipe the stain away.

Ink: Crayons aren’t the only writing utensils that can get left in pockets. If you find ink stains in your dryer, pour some isopropyl alcohol on a cleaning rag and scrub until the stain is gone.

Candy: You’ll be hard pressed to find food as sticky as candy or gum. Use a warm cleaning rag to soften candy stains, then spray some all-purpose cleaner to get rid of any remains.

Makeup: Lipstick and other makeup can make a real mess if it gets in the dryer. Use a cleaning rag with some rubbing alcohol to remove any makeup stains from the inside of the drum.

Tips for Keeping Your Washer and Dryer Clean

Looking to make your deep clean a little less deep? Regular maintenance can help. Below are a few tips to keep your appliances clean around the clock:

  • Leave the door open after a wash to let your machine air out.
  • Wipe down the inside of your appliance weekly with a cleaning rag and a little water.
  • Remove clothes from the machine as soon as they’re done.
  • Use high-efficiency (or HE) detergent if you have a high-efficiency machine.
  • Use the correct amount of detergent.

Pro tip: More soap doesn’t mean your clothes are getting cleaner—too much soap could leave a film or residue on the machine.

Join the Clean Team With Sam’s Club

Sam’s Club is the perfect place to pick up the supplies you need to deep clean your washer and dryer. With your Sam’s Club membership, you’ll experience savings on all of our cleaning essentials. And with Free Club Pickup, you won’t have to spend time combing through the cleaning aisle—you can order products online and get them sent straight to your laundry room.