How Do You Clean a Washing Machine Agitator at Home?

how to clean a washing machine

Maintaining your washing machine for years to come and keeping your clothes smelling nice are both made easy by learning how to clean a washing machine. 

By cleaning your washer, you can avoid the accumulation of dirt, mold, detergent residue, and hard water mineral deposits. Laundry from a dirty washer may seem drab and gray, or it may leave white splotches on dark clothing. 

Bacteria, mold, oil, dirt, soap scum, and mineral deposits can be removed from the washer drum and hoses by using a commercial washing machine cleaner or a solution of bleach and vinegar in separate hot water cycle washes. 

how to clean a washing machine

Dispensers for fabric softener, bleach, and detergent are conveniently integrated into newer washers. Here are simple steps to cleaning your washing machine properly.

How to Clean a Washing Machine Agitator

Every thirty cycles or more, clean your washing machine by following the instructions below to help reduce the amount of detergent and dirt that builds up inside your washer and around its agitator.

For model-specific cleaning instructions, consult the owner’s manual that came with your washer, or continue reading for general washing machine and agitator cleaning instructions.


  • Liquid chlorine bleach or washing machine cleaner
  • Use rags or washing machine wipes with a mild soap

Step 1: Add Cleaner to the Washer

Take everything out of the washer tub. Fill the washer tub with a cleaning agent, such as an Affresh washing machine cleaner tablet1.

Keep it out of the dispensers. You can fill the bleach dispenser with one cup of liquid chlorine bleach if you don’t have a washing machine cleaner.

Before adding bleach to your front-load washer’s tub, you might want to consult your owner’s manual as some models do not advise doing so.

Step 2: Run a Cleaning Cycle

Then, if your washer has a function for it, use the self-cleaning. If no, set on standard wash cycle and add Deep Fill or another setting raising the water fill in the machine.

Once the cycle is done, run the rinse and spin cycles again to wash away the remaining cleansing agents.

Step 3: Wipe Down the Agitator

When the rinse and spin cycle is completed, remove the washer from the machine. If you need to clean the agitator, use a moist cloth followed by light soap.

The cap on an agitator can be removable; it can thus be twisted off or gently pulled off. Take care at the cleaning of the basin as well.

Needless to say, make sure to check your user’s manual first, as not all shower heads can be taken off. In order to have the washer lid open while drying, use the drying mode option on the washer.

Why Cleaning the Agitator is Important

how to clean a washing machine

To be efficient, it is vital to clean an agitator in a washing machine. Soap scum, grime, and dirt can accumulate and get stuck in place, which can cause the appliance to malfunction. Your washer will still clean well if you clean it.

Uncleaned agitators may give rise to issues. They may spread dirt onto clothing, making it difficult to clean or leaving an unpleasant odor. Even tangles and damage can occur to clothes. It may also cause the washing machine to smell bad.

The agitator can be cleaned in various ways. Remove it and soak it in lukewarm water with a small amount of dish soap. After using a brush to scrub, it ought to be clean.

Using baking soda or vinegar in a wash cycle is an additional technique. Additionally, some washing machines feature a self-clean mode.

Can You Remove the Agitator from a Washing Machine?

Remove the agitator from your washing machine only if instructed to do so in the handbook. Maintaining a clean agitator can be achieved by routinely cleaning the washing machine tub.

Use a cleaning wipe or rag dampened with a little soap and water to clean the agitator if there is any product or soil accumulation.

If the agitator cap on your washer is detachable, you might twist or pull it off and use a cloth or scrub brush to manually clean the inside.

Don’t push the cap off if it doesn’t come off easily. Agitator caps are not always detachable. If in doubt, consult your owner’s manual.

If you would like to switch between the impeller and agitator or remove the agitator for easier cleaning, the Whirlpool brand offers an innovative washing machine with a 2-in-1 removable agitator.

How Often Should You Clean a Top-Load Washer?

how to clean a washing machine

At least twice a year, your top-load washer that has a central agitator post should be cleaned. High-efficiency top-load washers with an agitator located in the drum’s bottom use significantly less water and require cleaning every three months.

To avoid clogs, clean the machine’s automatic dispensers once a month if you use them for each load. Certain conditions necessitate cleaning more frequently.

Make sure to clean the washer every three months if you live in a hard water area because the minerals in the water can clog the washer hoses and leave a white residue in the drum.

Clean the washer once a month if you live in a hot, humid area where mold is a problem or if your laundry loads are regularly extremely soiled with grime or oil.

How to Maintain a Clean Washing Machine

Aim to keep the door open by approximately one inch during laundry cycles to enhance ventilation; this will help inhibit the growth of bacteria by allowing the machine’s interior to dry out.

Reduce the amount of debris that enters your machine’s main drain filter by wiping down the seals on your machine more frequently and clearing the filters and drain surrounding the seal.

We believe it is fair to say that with the information provided above you now know how to clean a washing machine perfectly and on your own too. Also, remember to maintain it perfectly to avoid any unexpected damage in the future.

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