How to be a Homeowner: How to Clean your Washing Machine

A few weeks after you move into your new home, you start to notice your clothes don’t smell very good after washing. And there’s a musty smell coming from the laundry room…What’s up with that?

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Closings and Car Seats Presents How to be a Homeowner

In today’s edition of How to be a Homeowner, we’re tackling How to clean your washing machine. (Yes, you really do have to do that!)

One wouldn’t think you would need to wash the appliance that does the washing. It seems counterintuitive, but even your trusty washer needs a good cleaning every now and then.

I personally clean my washing machine once a month. It’s on the calendar with reminders and everything. If you would rather wait and follow your nose, you’ll know its time when your towels start to smell mildewy no matter how many times you wash them.

Whether you have a top loader or front loader, regular maintenance is super important so your machine and repair costs don’t build up.


These instructions are specific for the LG ThinQ WM4000h*a and WM4200h*a Front Loader washer models, but are pretty similar to how you would clean most front loading machines. *ALWAYS* consult a licensed professional or at the very least your owner’s manual PRIOR to attempting any appliance maintenance or repairs on your own.

Items you will need:

Bucket to catch water

Soft brush or rags

-Access to clean water


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Here is how I clean my machine:

First, make sure your tub is empty. You do not want to ruin anything that may have gotten left behind in the tub the last time you used it. It will get destroyed in the cleaning process if you do!

Second, turn off the washer and unplug the power cord.

Thirdly, locate your drain pump hatch and place the bucket on the ground below. Water IS going to come out fast.

how to clean washing machine drain pump filter


Next, open the hatch (this can be tricky with nails as seen in the video), GENTLY pull out the hose, and remove the stopper. Let the water empty out into the bucket.

Now, GENTLY turn your filter knob counterclockwise, pull it out, and rinse. Mine was covered in stickers and grass-ew. This is the catcher for things that don’t disintegrate easily.

After that, wipe out the filter knob opening. It can get pretty gnarly as well.


what to do when your washing machine stinks

Once that is done, put the stopper back into the drain hose. Once you know that is secured tight, GENTLY push the hose back in, and clip back into place. If you don’t get the stopper in there tight enough, it will leak and cause MAJOR issues. As will being too rough with the hose. As emphasized many times, be GENTLE with your hose. No one likes a leaky hose.

Next up, put the filter knob back in place and spin clockwise until it GENTLY locks. Then, close your drain pump hatch.

Now, toss in a washing machine descaler (I use this one),  close the tub door, plug the machine back in, and turn it on to the “Tub Clean” cycle. Depending on the size of your washing machine, this cycle can take up to 4 hours to complete. Make sure once more there is nothing in the tub when you do this, and stick around for a little bit to ensure everything is savvy and that you didn’t forget to put anything back together from the cleaning process.


Lastly, and I cannot stress this enough, open the tub door after the cleaning cycle as well as any other cycle you run. Leaving it closed with warm, wet items enclosed for any period of time is a perfect recipe for the mold and mildew that lead you down this path in the first place. I even go so far as to somewhat pull out the dispenser drawer each time after a cycle runs for the same reason.


Look at you- I knew you could do it!

With a little more practice, you’ll be able to tackle how to clean the washing machine after accidentally washing a diaper!



*DISCLAIMER* I am NOT a licensed tradesperson. The information included in this post is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as legal, financial, or DIY advice. Please consult with a licensed and insured professional and/or medical professional before attempting any DIY repairs, maintenance, or home improvements. 

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