Smelly washing or your machine won’t drain or spin? This is what you need to do

Your washing machine and bacteria; what do they have in common?

Oxygen, Moisture and Warm Temperatures – the perfect nesting ground for bacteria to multiply. In just 7 hours one bacterium can multiply to produce 2,097,152 bacteria. As well as this, your washing machine endures the residues of the gunk and calcium deposits that remains below the drum level and eventually transfers through to the drain hose filter where it collects remaining stagnant until you empty it and its properly washed away.

Did you know the biggest culprit of a poor functioning, smelly washing machine is the trapped stale water and deposits which get clogged up in the drain hose filter. If you ever have a not spinning or not draining error, on your washing machine don’t rush to buy a new one, please check your drain hose and filter first as all that might be needed is a deep clean and clear of calcification, so that the drain hose and outlet pipe can function once again.

Like us, washing machines need a little tender loving care, so here’s a simple step by step guide to give you the best answer to How to clean your Washing Machine. It is applicable to all makes and models of front loaders.

Don’t wait until you have a bad smell coming from your machine, or until no matter what detergent you use, your freshly washed clothes have a bit of a whiff to them.

How to clean your washing machine

What you’ll need:-

• Cleaning cloth
• Old toothbrush – not essential but if you want to get in all the cracks and corners you may want one!
• Detergent – Distinctive is our preferred choice.
• Hydrogen Peroxide – available in most Pharmacies and my biggest recommended store cupboard cleaning product. Some people like to use white vinegar and sodium bicarbonate but a bad smelling machine will benefit from a splash of 6 or 9% standard Hydrogen peroxide solution for a hygienic clean.

Monthly Method:-

1) Wipe out the inside of the drawer (soak in your washing up bowl if it’s particularly bad, don’t forget to look inside the compartment at the back and the roof to see if that’s at all black too. If it is, an old toothbrush will come in handy to give it a good clean. Lastly, don’t forget to wipe around the rubber door seal and on the inside of the drum and window (hair and dust collect there) simply with a cloth and hot water.

2) Next, wipe down the outside of your machine.

Optional steps choose 3 or 4

3) Run a routine empty maintenance wash to clean the drum – ideally add a de-scale product, or if you have vinegar to hand 100 ml or so added to your drawer and another 100ml to your drum will do. With Vinegar, it is best to leave it sitting an hour or two then select a hot (preferably 90 degrees) wash and press start.

4) If you’re after a deep clean or you’ve noticed the drawer compartment and inside the drawer is particularly black and gunky then run an empty wash with some hydrogen peroxide in each compartment in the drawer to flush out the tubes after thoroughly removing the black and gunk. Hydrogen peroxide breaks down simply to water and oxygen and wont harm the insides of your machine at all, plus it’s super safe around the home if any is spilled. It’s what professionals use to help sterilise laundry equipment.

5) Finally, leave your drawer and washing machine door open to let the air circulate and the machine dry.

6) Every three to six months inspect the drain hose and pump filter. That’s the little compartment usually at the bottom right of the machine. If you’re lucky that’s the place loose change left in the wash goes. Unlucky and you will find a filter full of calcium deposits and yuck to clean away!

7) Now you can wash as normal.

One Distinctive sparkly clean washing machine!

If your machine won’t drain or spin – the most obvious reason is the drain hose and filter.

Get a tray or dish and empty out the water using the little hose, then once the machine is drained of the water unscrew the filter and give it a good clean. You might have to repeat this process several times but there is a very good chance your machine will continue to work perfectly once it’s done. You can watch how here!


If you need help with this, or other laundry issues talk to us on web chat at

Future tips:-

• Don’t use excess detergent – this can block the tubes.
• Never use a separate fabric softener. Using Distinctive the cationic softening process is enough – try us out, you wont miss a gunky fabric softener if you use a Distinctive washing formula.
• Pre soak soiled items prior to washing. A bucket is great for that and you’ll never need an additional stain remover product if you pre soak in cool water with some Distinctive
• If you have muddy kit – don’t expect to throw it all in caked with mud, soak and rinse most of it off if possible first using a bowl and the sink.
• Leave the door open after each wash to prevent bacteria build up.
• Run an empty hot maintenance wash once a month.

Help spread the word with friends and family about How to clean your washing machine. Hydrogen peroxide solution from the chemist will also treat teens spots, sterilises cloths, brightens whites and disinfects everything – including stale drains and you only need the smallest splash!

Distinctive formula and hydrogen peroxide for use around the home are both fully biodegradable and safe! Just don’t use neat on skin!

Helpful sources for microbiology you may wish to check out!