I love cleaning. I should maybe be embarrassed about how excited I get about discovering new cleaning hacks, but one particularly tricky challenge I’ve had is getting that funky mildew-y smell out of my front-loading washing machine. When I looked into ways to get rid of the funk, everything led to ways to clean it with vinegar. Fast forward to my latest obsession: Four Monks Cleaning Vinegar. (I found it at my local grocery store, but most mass retailers also carry it.) If you’re having the same struggle, here’s my DIY recipe for how to make it smell like brand new.


I started by mixing 1/2 cup of baking soda with 1/2 cup of water and whisking it into a paste. Then, I put on my cleaning clothes and got down to business. Even with natural ingredients, you’ll definitely want to wear gloves. You’ll protect your skin and that gorgeous mani.


Start by using vinegar to clean the inside door of your washer, as well as all around the outside. I was excited to discover Four Monks because it smells like citrus and mint (instead of, well, vinegar), but it’s still non-toxic and environmentally friendly.


Next, take on the gasket… it’s that rubber circle the door closes into.


Spray the vinegar inside the gasket, and then use a cloth to wipe it out. You’ll have to hold the pliable rubber back so you can really get in the nooks and crannies.


After the rubber is clean, take a toothbrush to the metal rim right next to it.


This turned out to be one of the grossest things I’ve ever seen. Seriously, I was gagging… and then I realized that all of this smelly gunk has been washing my clothes and towels and baby sheets. I’m so happy I took the time to clean it, because I never would have realized how dirty my washing machine actually was.


Don’t forget to clean the filter. To the best of my knowledge, all front-load washers have this, and I like to put a sponge underneath mine when I open the little door because a little water always runs out. Next, you pull out the filter to clean it.

Sprinkle baking soda on it and use the toothbrush (that you rinsed off first) to scrub away all the scum that has accumulated. Put the filter back inside, and bring back that mixture you made earlier.


Pour the water/baking soda mixture into the detergent dispenser.


Pour one cup of vinegar directly into the washing machine. Close everything up and turn on the machine to wash. Use the hottest temp available.


Once you run through a full cycle, you’re done! If you clean your washing machine like this once a month, the mildew smell will go away completely. I want to believe I’m that dedicated, but I figured as long as I don’t wait another three years, I’ll be doing pretty good.


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