It's probably time to clean your washing machine - here's why

Only a quarter of us are cleaning our washing machines as often as recommended, which is surprisingly frequently.

hands of a young girl put clothes in the washing machine drum
You would be forgiven for thinking of your washing machines as self cleaning - but it's not. (Getty Images)

The whole point of putting your clothes in the washing machine is so they come out clean. So, why is there frequently a musty and unpleasant whiff when you open the door?

Turns out this is something of a common problem with a quarter of Brits saying theirs smells when in use and seven in 10 Brits saying they've experienced clothes coming out unclean.

Those living in the capital experience the issue more than any other region in the country, with one in five (20%) of Londoners reporting this issue.

But a musty machine is not conducive to fresh laundry.

Read more: Are we washing our clothes too often?

“If you want clean clothes, it is paramount you look after your washing machine," says Lynsey Crombie, the 'Queen of Clean'.

"A dirty machine will not clean your clothes... and instead they will come out with a musty smell or little dark marks that can be a real pain to get rid of."

Is your washing machine getting your clothes clean? (Getty Images)
Is your washing machine getting your clothes clean? (Getty Images)

How often should you clean your washing machine?

Chances are most of us think of the washing machine as being sort of self-cleaning, but there are a couple of areas within the machine where dirt and grime can collect.

Experts suggest we should clean our washing machine once every two to three weeks, but - according to the aforementioned Dr. Beckmann study - less than a quarter (24%) of Brits are doing so and that's despite 84% of us saying we know we should be cleaning it.

Read more: Scrubbing your oven with a dishwasher tablet tops best cleaning hacks list

“One of the biggest enemies of the washing machine is mould and limescale,” cleaning expert Roxanna Pelka from previously told Yahoo UK.

“Limescale in particular is deposited inside the machine and on the heating rods. Mould lurks everywhere: on the rubber ring of a front loader, in the lint filter and in the detergent compartment.”

Best way to clean your washing machine

Thankfully, though, there are some simple ways to get your machine back to smelling fresh.

"My top tip for cleaning your washing machine is to add 500g soda crystals to the drum and run empty on the hottest/longest cycle," suggests 'cleanfluencer' The Secret Cleaner. "Many of the expensive powdered washing machine cleaners are effectively soda crystals."

As well as cleaning the drum, it is also important not to forget other areas of your washing machine.

"You should remove the drawer - just press down on the middle of the plastic section above the fabric softener area and it'll slide out," she adds.

"Clean inside where the drawer was and make sure you focus on the top and the back. You might need to use a little diluted bleach if there's any mould."

Beware the mould in your washing machine. (Getty Images)
Beware the mould in your washing machine. (Getty Images)

Read more: Woman shares time-saving life hack she uses when hanging out washing

We should also get into the habit of wiping the rubber seal, ideally after every use, with a cloth to prevent build-up of mould and bacteria and get rid of trapped lint and hair.

But, don't regularly wipe the seal with bleach as this will eventually degrade the rubber over time leading to leaks.

The Secret Cleaner also recommends leaving the door to your machine slightly open between washes to ensure that it dries out and mould doesn't get a chance to build up on the seal.

"You can clean the glass with a little window cleaner or vinegar if you want but a wipe will usually suffice," she adds.

While she recommends giving your machine a good deep clean every couple of months, some of her tips including leaving the door open and wiping the seal will help you stay on top of it.

"Mould or stains on the seal is really hard /impossible to get rid of once it sets in because rubber is porous," she adds.