How to Clean a Top Load Washer with Bleach: Maintenance Tips for Odor-Free Laundry

Tired of your laundry not smelling as fresh as you’d like? Ever wondered how to get rid of that musty odor lingering in your top load washer? Well, you’re in luck! In this article, you’ll discover a simple yet effective way to clean your top load washer using bleach.

Picture this: You throw in a load of laundry, eagerly anticipating that clean, crisp scent, only to be greeted by a less-than-pleasant smell. Don’t worry; you’re not alone. Many face this issue, but the solution is easier than you think. By cleaning your top load washer with bleach, you can say goodbye to unwanted odors and hello to fresh-smelling laundry every time.

By following the steps outlined in this article, you’ll not only eliminate odors but also ensure that your washer is running efficiently. Get ready to experience the satisfaction of clean, fresh-smelling laundry with a simple bleach cleaning routine for your top load washer.

Why Clean Your Top Load Washer?

  • Extend Appliance Lifespan: Regular cleaning can extend the lifespan of your top load washer.
  • Eliminate Odors: Cleaning prevents musty odors that can transfer to your clothes.
  • Maintain Performance: A clean washer ensures optimal performance for cleaner laundry.

Benefits of Regular Cleaning

  • Fresher Laundry: Say goodbye to musty smells on your clothes.
  • Efficient Washing: Clean washers provide a better clean for your laundry.
  • Prevent Mold Growth: Regular cleaning stops mold growth in its tracks.

Avoiding Build-Up

  • Residue Build-Up Prevention: Regular cleanings prevent detergent and fabric softener residue build-up.
  • Prevent Malfunctions: Avoid washer malfunctions caused by debris accumulation.

Environmental Impact

  • Energy Efficiency: A clean washer is more energy-efficient, saving you money on utility bills.
  • Eco-Friendly: Reduce the need for using excessive water and energy due to a dirty washer.

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Remember, a clean top load washer not only ensures fresh-smelling laundry but also prolongs the lifespan of your appliance. Regular maintenance is key to efficiency and effectiveness in your laundry routine.

Materials Needed

To effectively clean your top load washer with bleach, you’ll need a few essential items. Here’s what you’ll require:

  • Bleach: Opt for regular bleach to disinfect and remove mold and mildew.
  • Hot Water: Ensure you have access to hot water for a thorough cleaning cycle.
  • Microfiber Cloth: Use a microfiber cloth to wipe down the exterior of the washer.
  • Gloves: Protect your hands with rubber gloves when handling bleach.
  • White Vinegar (Optional): This can be used as a natural alternative to bleach for cleaning.

Remember, having these materials ready before starting the cleaning process will make the task easier and more efficient.

Step-by-Step Guide to Cleaning with Bleach

Cleaning your top load washer with bleach is an effective way to ensure it stays fresh and odor-free. Here’s how you can do it easily:

  • Prepare Materials: Get your bleach, hot water, microfiber cloth, gloves, and optional white vinegar ready.
  • Fill Washer: Fill your washer with hot water on the largest load setting.
  • Add Bleach: Add 1 cup of bleach to the water. For a particularly dirty washer, use 2 cups.
  • Run Washer: Start a wash cycle without any laundry items. Let the washer fill, agitate for a minute, then pause for an hour. After that, let the cycle complete.
  • Wipe Down: While the washer is paused, use the microfiber cloth soaked in a bleach solution to wipe down the top of the washer, the lid, and any other areas with residue.
  • Rinse: Once the cycle is completed, run an extra rinse cycle to ensure all the bleach is removed.
  • Optional Step: If you notice any lingering bleach smell, run another rinse cycle with hot water and a cup of white vinegar.

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Regularly doing this will keep your top load washer in top shape for cleaner laundry every time.

Tips for Maintaining a Fresh-Smelling Washer

If you want to ensure that your top load washer continues to emit that fresh scent, there are a few additional tips you can follow:

  • Leave the Lid Open: After each use, leave the lid ajar. This simple act allows the moisture to evaporate and prevents the growth of mold and mildew.
  • Check for Residue: Regularly inspect the washer’s drum for any leftover detergent residue. Wipe it away with a damp cloth to prevent odors.
  • Clean the Dispenser: Don’t forget to clean the detergent and softener dispensers. These areas can easily accumulate gunk, contributing to unpleasant odors.
  • Run Monthly Maintenance Washes: Once a month, run an empty hot water cycle with a cup of bleach. This helps to sanitize the washer and keep it smelling fresh.
  • Use High-Efficiency Detergent: Opt for high-efficiency (HE) detergent. Excess sudsing from regular detergents can leave behind residue, leading to odors.

By incorporating these additional tips into your routine washer maintenance, you’ll keep your appliance smelling clean and fresh for every laundry day.


Keeping your top load washer clean with bleach is key to maintaining a fresh-smelling laundry room and ensuring your clothes come out clean every time. Remember to follow the simple tips mentioned in this article, such as leaving the lid open, checking for detergent residue, and running monthly maintenance washes with bleach. By incorporating these practices into your laundry routine, you’ll be able to enjoy the benefits of a clean and odor-free washer for years to come. Happy washing!

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is it important to clean your top load washer regularly with bleach?

Regularly cleaning your top load washer with bleach helps maintain freshness, eliminate odors, and prevent mold growth. It also ensures your laundry comes out clean and odor-free.

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How can leaving the lid open help in preventing mold in the washer?

Leaving the lid open after each use helps air circulate inside the washer, preventing moisture buildup and inhibiting mold growth.

Why is it essential to check for detergent residue in the washer drum?

Checking for detergent residue ensures that your washer is clean and allows you to remove any buildup that may cause odors or affect the cleanliness of your laundry.

How should you clean the dispensers in your top load washer?

Cleaning the dispensers involves removing them from the washer, soaking in warm soapy water, scrubbing to remove any buildup, and ensuring they are thoroughly dry before reassembling.

Why should you run monthly maintenance washes with bleach in your washer?

Monthly maintenance washes with bleach help sanitize the washer, eliminate any lingering odors, and keep it in optimal condition for every laundry cycle.

Why is using high-efficiency detergent recommended for top load washers?

High-efficiency detergent is designed to produce fewer suds, preventing residue buildup in the washer and reducing the chances of odors developing.

Charlie Thomson is Appliance Mastery's expert on laundry appliances. With a degree in mechanical engineering and over 8 years of experience in the appliance repair industry, Charlie is a go-to resource for homeowners who want to tackle common issues with their washing machines, dryers, and dishwashers.

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