The Top 10 Washing Machine Cleaners To Keep Your Appliance In Good Shape

Have you ever opened up your washing machine only to be hit by a wave of odor? If you've never cleaned your washing machine, strong smells or poor performance are signs that it needs a little TLC. Over time, dirt, lint, and moisture can build up in the pockets and corners of your appliance, creating a breeding ground for mold, mildew, and bacteria. There are plenty of homemade hacks you could try to get your machine looking (and smelling) like new again. On the other hand, you could also simply buy a product that's specifically made to clean this appliance.

A good washing machine cleaner will remove hidden buildup, prevent wear and tear on your appliance, and keep your clothes smelling fresh after you wash them. With a surprising number of options out there, how can you choose which product is right for you? Plenty of cleansers make promises about a deep and odor-free clean, but which products actually have claims that ring true? We've taken it upon ourselves to narrow down the best washing machine cleaners on the market and organize them into categories based on their overall performance. From hypoallergenic cleaners to scent-boosting liquid rinses and eco-friendly tablets, these are the best washing machine cleaners for whatever your needs may be.

How we selected products

While they might perform the same basic function, not all products are created equal when it comes to washing machine cleaners. The best cleanser for you will depend on the specific needs of you and your washing machine, whether that's something hypoallergenic, biodegradable, septic-safe, or front-load machine friendly. To help us narrow down the wide range of products on the market, we read through dozens of user reviews and considered each item's price and effectiveness, as well as any hidden benefits or drawbacks. 

Overall, we determined that the best washing machine cleaners should be safe for all types of machines and septic tanks to avoid any accidental damage. The instructions for use should be simple and user-friendly, and the product needs to deliver on its promises for a deep clean, fresh scent, hypoallergenic formula, or anything else as advertised on the label. With these criteria in mind, we were able to select eight products that we feel provide the best results at a fair price point. 

Best overall: Affresh's Washing Machine Cleaner

Affresh makes a variety of appliance-cleaning products, but their Washing Machine Cleaner tablets are some of the most popular. These tablets are safe for front and top-loading washers and are trusted by several major appliance brands like Whirlpool, Maytag, and Amana. Recommended for use once per month, these tablets are excellent at removing grime and moldy, mildew-like odors. 

Buy a five-count of Affresh's Washing Machine Cleaner tablets at Walmart for about $12.00.

Best budget: ORTUBE's 48 Pack Washing Machine Cleaner

The price of this product may seem comparable to the other options at first, but because this comes in bulk, you'll save a lot more money. ORTUBE's Washing Machine Cleaner comes in a pack of 48 tablets, averaging out to only about $0.21 cents a pop. This product can be used with any type of washing machine and is safe for septic tanks. The package recommends using one to two tablets once per month, so you could make these last for years.

You can purchase the 48-pack of ORTUBE's Washing Machine Cleaner tablets on Amazon for about $10. 

Best powder: OxiClean's Washing Machine Cleaner with Odor Blasters

Sometimes cleaning tablets can be tricky to dissolve, and they can also leave residue in the washing machine. If you'd prefer to use a quick-dissolving powder, OxiClean's Washing Machine Cleaner with Odor Blasters is an excellent choice. This cleaner is safe for all types of machines and septic tanks, and reviewers say it's incredible at removing even the most horrendous odors that have built up over the years. 

A four-pack of OxiClean's Washing Machine Cleaner with Odor Blasters is sold at Target for around $9.

Best liquid: Oh Yuk's Washing Machine Cleaner

A liquid washing machine cleaner can be a little more user-intensive than a tablet, but it starts working right away. Oh Yuk's Washing Machine Cleaner works in all types of washing machines, is safe for septic tanks, and has a lovely natural orange scent. Simply add 4 ounces into the washer with a gallon of hot water, let it soak for an hour, then run a hot water cycle to blast away odors and leave behind the fresh citrus smell.

Buy the 16-ounce bottle of Washing Machine Cleaner from Oh Yuk's website for around $16.

Best eco-friendly: LANALUX's Deep Cleaning Washing Machine Cleaner

Chemicals don't just disappear when you flush them down the drain; that's why you might prefer to use an eco-friendly product like LANALUX's Deep Cleaning Washing Machine Cleaner. These biodegradable tablets with a natural lavender scent are safe for septic tanks and all types of washing machines. The brand recommends using two tablets once a month. The minimal packaging is also plastic-free so you can reduce your carbon footprint even further.

A 24-pack of LANALUX's Deep Cleaning Washing Machine Cleaner is available on Amazon for about $12.

Best for sensitive skin: Sport Suds' Washing Machine Cleaner

If you're cautious about everything that comes into contact with your skin, you may need a hypoallergenic product. Sport Suds' Washing Machine Cleaner is one of the best options on the market for people with sensitive skin. This unique liquid formula is totally fragrance-free, biodegradable, and septic-safe, so it's tough on grime but gentle on your skin and appliance. Reviewers love how effective it is without using fake scents to mask lingering odors. 

You can purchase a five-pouch pack of Sport Suds' Washing Machine Cleaner on Amazon for about $11.

Best heavy duty: Renuv's Heavy Duty Washing Machine Cleaner/Descaler

If your washer has a strong stench, you just purchased it secondhand, or you've never once cleaned it after a decade of use, you may need to deep clean your washing machine with a heavy-duty cleaner. The Heavy Duty Washing Machine Cleaner/Descaler by Renvu is biodegradable but still delivers a thorough clean with extra large foaming tablets that flush out every corner. Plus, it's safe for all types of washing machines and septic tanks, so you can rest assured you're getting a good clean without harming your home or the planet.

Purchase a six-pack of Renuv's Heavy Duty Washing Machine Cleaner/Descaler on Amazon for about $16.

Best scented: Compac Home's Plink Washer & Dishwasher Freshener & Cleaner

Some things have to smell clean in order to truly feel clean. If you agree with that sentiment, the Plink Washer & Dishwasher Freshener & Cleaner by Compac Home may be the perfect washing machine cleaner for you. Safe for all washing machines, this product blasts away odor-causing buildup and leaves behind a fresh lemon scent. Reviewers love the rinse-free formula and lasting, powerful results. Plus, you can use any leftover tablets to freshen up your dishwasher as well.

Find a 12-pack of Compac Home's Plink Washer & Dishwasher Freshener & Cleaner at Walmart for around $19.

Best for front-loading machines: HT HOMETINKER mold remover kit

The potential for mold growth is one of the biggest disadvantages of a front-loading washing machine, so it's important to choose washing machine products that aren't just safe for your appliance but also specifically target mold and mildew. This kit comes with a powerful mold removal gel and scrub brush to reach behind rubber gaskets and into neglected corners of your washing machine and effectively remove stubborn mold. 

The HT HOMETINKER mold remover kit, available for $14.00 on Amazon is a must-have product for front-loader machines.

Best for disinfecting: Sanytol disinfecting cleanser

Sanytol washing machine cleaner and descaler is one of the best products on the market when it comes to sanitizing your machine. The unscented liquid cleaner starts working immediately, killing 99.99% of bacteria and other odor-causing microbes. This product is a smart move if you're buying a washing machine secondhand if your existing machine has a lot of stubborn odor, or if you frequently wash germ-exposed clothing, such as hospital scrubs. 

You can purchase the Sanytol disinfecting cleanser from Amazon for about $22.00.