How to clean a washing machine with agitator?

By Amy Mitchelle/ Last Updated: August 2

How to clean a washing machine with agitator

Any household appliance’s operation quality is inextricably linked with its parts’ serviceability and cleanliness. In this regard, there is no doubt about the advisability of regular cleaning of the washing machine. Traditional agitator washing machines need to be cleaned more often than non-agitator devices. The reason is the agitator’s presence. Dirt, limescale, hair, and mold can deposit on its blades, making it difficult to operate the appliance, significantly worsening the washing quality. No less dirt may deposit on the internal parts of the washing machine, which you cannot touch with your hand without disassembling the device. Washing machine cleaner tablets will help to cope with such a difficult task. Today let’s talk about the requirements and rules for cleaning agitator washing machines.

Why should you clean the washing machine with an agitator?

The process of washing clothes involves removing stains from their surface. These can be both light and complex, ingrained in the pores of the fabric stains. While eliminating dirt from clothes, the water flow washes through the entire washing machine. Inevitably, some of this dirt deposits on the surfaces of the parts. These are the following: agitator, resin gasket, tank surfaces, other no less meaningful spare parts of your washer. And while some surfaces are easy to remove dirt by hand, others are difficult to reach without disassembling the washing machine. Of course, it is forbidden to disassemble the appliance, especially if you are not competent in this field. The agitator is the first to contact dirty clothes, so it is exposed to quick contamination. 

traditional agitator washing machines

This is where most of the dirt is deposited and should be cleaned promptly. Traditionally the agitator is located at the bottom of the washing machine tank. Top load washers, especially extensive capacity models, may require you to stand on a small chair to reach the appliance’s bottom and wash the agitator easily. Why is it worth cleaning your washing machine with an agitator regularly? This element is not only an assistant in clothes washing (it shakes laundry, agitates, helps to fight stains more effectively) but also attracts particles of dirt, hairs, and lint. Therefore, you should constantly monitor its condition and clean it as such unpleasant, and sometimes dangerous deposits accumulate.

What detergents should you use for cleaning the washer with an agitator?

washing machine cleaner tablets

What remedies can be used to clean the agitator? It can be home remedies (citric acid, vinegar, baking soda) or specialized household chemicals. Today you can buy special cleaning tablets or pellets to clean hard-to-reach locations in any washing machine, including those equipped with an agitator. They dissolve in water slowly and eliminate dirt deposits fixed on the agitator blades and all other mechanisms of the appliance. Beforehand, it is essential to assess the presence of solid debris on the agitator. Clean it from coiled hair, threads, lint, and only then run the Self-Clean option applying 1-2 cleaning tabs. By doing so, you will help the household cleaner to wash the device as well as possible. Remember that some washers have a removable agitator, which is very convenient. If necessary, you can take it off and quickly free it from the dirt that is stuck to it.


If you run out of special tabs and need to clean the washing machine urgently, resort to improvised means. Usually, every housewife has such remedies at home. As an alternative to purchasing tablets for washing machine cleaning, you can use vinegar in an amount of about 200 ml. It is also important to clean the agitator from the threads wrapped around its blades and solid dirt particles beforehand. Fill the tank of the washing machine with hot water and pour a glass of vinegar into it. You can also use citric acid in a dry granulated powder format. It is excellent for dealing with limescale and dirt, which present in any washing machine. It is important to run the most extended wash cycle and set the water temperature as high as possible.


Alternative cleaning methods may not always be safe for your washing machine. It is not recommended to use them permanently. Rather, these should be emergency cleaning methods that you will use only occasionally.

Engineers and developers of washing machines remind you that the safest way to clean your washing machine is to use specialized soluble tablets or capsules. They are invented specifically for cleaning washing machines and septic tanks and therefore pose no danger to the mechanisms of your appliances. It is essential to follow the instructions, in which the manufacturer always details the step-by-step actions of the user and the allowable frequency of the product usage. A clean agitator will provide first-class washing quality.

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