9 Washing Machine Cleaners That’ll Keep Your Appliances Spotless and Stink-Free

published Jan 12, 2024
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If you’re anything like me, your January consists of one thing: deep cleaning. Once the holidays are over, I get into a serious cleaning groove where I’m determined to tackle every nook and cranny of my home — a tradition that began ever since I started following Apartment Therapy’s annual January Cure program years ago. And one thing I always make sure to take care of at the beginning of the year is appliance maintenance.

While I do my best to keep up with my appliances year-round, the new year always inspires me to show them a little extra love, whether that means giving my oven a thorough scouring or making sure my dishwasher’s filter is free of debris. Another piece I always hit? My washing machine. Every so often, these workhorses need a good cleaning (I opt for a monthly wash) and the easiest way to do it is with a good ol’ washing machine cleaner.  

The Best Washing Machine Cleaners

Below, you’ll find nine of the best washing machine cleaners on the market today. Whether you’re looking for easy-to-use tablets, powder solutions, or even liquid options, we’ve got something on this list that’ll keep your washing machine performing (and smelling) its best. 

Do you have a go-to washing machine cleaner that we missed? We want to hear all about it! Tell us about your favorite finds in the comments below!

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Affordable, powerful, and trusted — there’s a reason why the Tide Washing Machine Cleaner has been a go-to for decades. This fan-favorite makes light work of mold, mildew, and buildup and leaves behind that classic Tide scent that’ll have you breathing a sigh of relief next time you start a wash.

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There’s one pick that the internet can’t get enough of, and it’s the Affresh Washing Machine Cleaner. With a whopping 219,000 five-star ratings, it’s a favorite for a reason. It's my personal go-to; I love how effective it is at ridding any bad smells, as well as how easy it is to use. After popping one inside your machine, run a hot cycle and you’re good to go.

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If you’re in the market for a powder pick, you can’t go wrong with the OxiClean Washing Machine Cleaner. Affordable and for many considered “ol’ reliable,” this powerful cleaner is also incredibly easy to use: Simply pour one of the pre-measured packs into your machine, run a hot cycle, and wipe the drum. A dream!

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For a liquid option, give the Glisten Washing Machine Cleaner a go. A customer favorite for its powerful odor-fighting properties, it tackles everything from buildup to even mold and mildew for a thorough clean you can count on.

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Think of the Lemi Shine Washing Machine Cleaner as the ultimate 2-in-1 system. Another natural choice, this plant-based cleaner uses citric acid to clean and deodorize your machine. The best part? It also comes with wipes that are great for giving everything from the drum to the door gaskets a thorough wipe-down.

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Those looking for an especially powerful cleaning tablet will find the Active Washing Machine Cleaner to be exactly what they’re looking for. Formulated for the deepest clean, this top-rated cleanser cleans, descales, and fights odors with ease for a surefire win. After all, over 100,000 satisfied customers can’t be wrong, right?

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Another liquid pick, there’s a lot to love about the Oh Yuk Washing Machine Cleaner. Designed to give your machine a thorough clean, here’s how it works: Wipe down any stubborn areas with a bit of the solution, add four ounces of Oh Yuk (along with a gallon of hot water) to the drum, let it sit for an hour, and then run your machine! You’ll be left with a clean machine and a light citrus scent that’s just heavenly.

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If you’re someone who prefers giving your appliances a good manual scrub, we’ve got the perfect pick for you: the Bayes Washing Machine Cleaner Spray. Doubling as a deodorizer, this eco-friendly pick uses ingredients like natural enzymes and essential oils to fight the funk. Best of all, its spray bottle design makes it super easy to target specific areas for a thorough clean.

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Washing machines can be a hotbed for mold and mildew, so if you’re looking to target an especially stubborn problem try the Sugelary Mold Remover Gel. This pick features an easy-to-use tip applicator so you can hit all of the hard-to-reach places, including irksome door gaskets. Simply apply to the gel, wait five to eight hours, then wipe (or wash) away the gunk!