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How to Get the Dirt and Grime Out Of Your Clothes Washing Machine

Updated on June 25, 2015

How to remove dirt and grime from your clothes washing machine.

We had a real problem recently when my wife opened the clothes washing machine after a washing cycle to find that everything in there had little bits of black type grime sticking to them. What we have is quite a good quality Fisher & Paykel washing machine that's about five years old.

We first did what everyone would probably do. After pulling all the clothes out we then with a completely empty machine ran a full hot wash with detergent thinking that would get rid of it. It didn't.

I then took off to the local DIY store and bought a pair of tiny little tap filters, thinking that perhaps the problem was originating from an old pipe coming into the machine. So I got home and disassembled the pipes coming into the washing machine to find that they already had filters and they were quite clean anyway. So, an old inlet pipe wasn't the problem either.

I then went on the net to see what others had done to take care of this problem. Invariably they'd used bleach and white vinegar with an empty machine and like what we'd done, given it a full hot wash. With a lot of the sites I actually believe they haven't had problems anyway, because their solutions just didn't work.

So, I decided that the problem was deeper than what these suggestions were and I was going to take the top part of the clothes washer apart to see where the problem lay. By the way, I had noticed for some weeks a rather stagnant water smell when opening the machine so I guess it's no surprise that it suddenly became a problem.

I fixed the problem and now I'll guide you through where it was. Even if you don't have the same problem as we have, you will have over time so you should clean it this way anyway. This grime was pretty disgusting. I had in the wash a favorite white jersey covered in it and when I tried rubbing it off (when it was wet) the grime actually ran a little like grease. But running that under a cold tap it did come off.

Step One

Remove the top container on the central agitator where you pour your washing powder or liquid into.

Step Two

Look right down the bottom and you'll see a big nylon screw that holds the agitator on. Undo this.

Step Three

Pull the agitator right out of the washing bowl. This will have bits of grime on the inside of it. Spray your cleaner onto it and remove all of it.

Step Four

Looking down into your empty washing machine bowl you'll see the axle mount that supports the agitator. Ours was attached by three screws maybe yours has more. No matter how many, remove them with care making sure they don't get away on you and disappear down the bottom where the pump is.

Step Five

Now this is where your main grime problem is. This is a photo of ours all cleaned up but both the agitator plate that you've just removed and the underside were absolutely black with dirty grime. I got an old toothbrush, sprayed some cleaner onto both and then gave them a big scrub.

For the plate left at the bottom, spray cleaner on it then boil a full jug of water and pour that over it. The grime will disappear in front of your eyes and go down the drain holes at the bottom of the clothes washing machine and then leave the machine on your next wash.

Problem sorted.

If all else fails - Buy a cheap new one from Amazon


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    • JerryFisher profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerry Fisher 

      3 years ago from Wellington

      Wrote this a long time ago so not sure if I included this and can't be bothered reading it again.

      Anyway, what I use now to clean it is a hot wash using about a half cup of electric dishwasher powder. No idea what they put in that stuff but it's super strong. Another tip for this stuff is if you get tea or coffee stains at the bottom of a cup, just put a teaspoon of this in it and fill it up with hot water. Leave it for a couple of hours and thoroughly rince - like a brand new cup.

    • prettynutjob30 profile image


      3 years ago from From the land of Chocolate Chips,and all other things sweet.

      My washing machine is starting to look pretty gross as well, I wash clothes for two adults and four kids so it needs quite a bit of cleaning at the moment. Great hub maybe doing this will help get my washer clean again.

    • JerryFisher profile imageAUTHOR

      Jerry Fisher 

      4 years ago from Wellington

      Yeah got to say it's a pretty disgusting problem to have but can be solved with a bit of elbow grease in about 15 minutes. Cheers

    • profile image


      4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing this solution to the problem! Glad it was simple, especially in case I do it. ;)


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