The detergent drawer in a washing machine attracts mould because it doesn’t always get a chance to dry out between cycles. Leftover fabric conditioner and laundry powder can also build up inside, leading to all sorts of problems. So, knowing how to clean it is super important. Read on for our top tips…

Why it’s important

If you don’t clean the drawer often enough, any detergent that isn’t washed away will linger in the machine. This can cause leaks and damage parts like the dispenser jets (which spray water into the drawer) and the pipe connecting to the drum. If the leak or blockage isn’t an easy fix, you might need an engineer to repair your washing machine

So what about liquid detergent? Usually, it dissolves more easily in water than powder detergent, leaving less residue. But it's still a good idea to clean the drawer to stop mould from forming – and to keep it smelling fresh.

How to clean the washing machine drawer

Remove. Soak. Scrub. Replace. That's all it takes. Follow these steps and your machine drawer will be fresh and clean. And if you’re feeling productive, we’ve also got a full guide on how to clean your washing machine.

1. Remove

With some models, you can’t remove the detergent drawer – check the manufacturer’s user manual for guidance. For machines with removable drawers, there’s usually a button or lock you need to press to release it.

2. Soak

Leave the drawer to soak in warm water and washing-up liquid for about an hour. If you can’t remove the drawer, wipe it with a warm, damp cloth.

3. Scrub

Use a scrubbing brush to remove any mould or detergent. An old toothbrush can reach any awkward gaps. Remember to clean the space the drawer slots into and any detachable detergent or fabric conditioner compartments.

4. Replace

Let everything dry first. Then, if your machine has removable compartments, reinsert them before replacing the drawer.

Keeping your detergent drawer cleaner for longer

So we know this part of your washing machine can get dirty very easily. But there are things you can do to reduce how often you need to give it a full clean.

Try these top tips:

  • Don’t overfill the drawer with detergent and conditioner
  • Leave it open to air dry after you've finished your washing
  • Regularly wipe inside the drawer

About the author

Ian Palmer-Smith

With 39 years working in operations, appliance maintenance and repairs. Ian is our go to expert for all things appliances. He is known for having the answer to any boiler query or washing machine debate on the tip of his tongue. Ian regularly contributes to the blog to share his wisdom further afield and help people out when our appliances aren’t working as we expect.

Last year, Ian was recognised as a finalist in the Institution of Gas Engineers and Managers’ Gas Leadership Award, a testament to his authority in the industry.

Ian is passionate about promoting awareness for carbon monoxide safety and has even represented Domestic and General at the House of Commons to discuss the importance of carbon monoxide safety around the home.

When not at work, Ian is occupied by taxing his sons to various sporting events, watching  football, rugby and more sports,.

To benefit from Ian’s wealth of knowledge on all things gas safety and appliance care, check out some of his blogs below.

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