How to Descale a Washing Machine Easily

You’ve heard it before: How to descale a washing machine is essential to keeping it running smoothly. But what exactly is descaling, and why is it important?

Descaling a washing machine involves removing limescale build-up and other minerals inside the drum, pipes, and other components.

It needs to be done regularly to foster a properly functioning machine—preferably once or twice a year, depending on the hardness of the water in your area.

You may be tempted to ignore this maintenance task, but trust me—you don’t want that limescale building up over time.

It can reduce the efficiency of your machine and cause problems like bad odors and clogged pipes. The good news is that descaling a washing machine isn’t a difficult task.

In this article, we’ll show homeowners how to safely and effectively descale their washing machine themselves—no expert knowledge is needed!

What Is Descaling a Washing Machine?

Descaling a washing machine is part of regular maintenance—but what does it mean? In short, it’s the process of removing build-up from the pipes and hoses of your washer.

Hard water can gradually leave deposits behind that can affect the efficiency and performance of your machine.

Without regular descaling, you might find that the washer takes longer or doesn’t get the clothes as clean as usual.

Have you ever noticed dark spots after washing clothes? This could be the problem.

Fortunately, with a few simple tools and some elbow grease (or a particular descaling solution), you can safely do this without calling a technician.

Whether you’re handy with tools or just getting started with DIY, descaling your washing machine is an easy task that requires minimal effort.

Follow our step-by-step guide to have your machine running like new again quickly!

Understanding the Importance of Descaling

Descaling is often overlooked in home maintenance, but it’s just as crucial for your washing machine as it is for your kettle.

It helps remove dirt and scale build-up due to the minerals in your water, which can affect the efficiency of your machine and even lead to breakdowns. Doing this yourself will require some preparation.

But the process isn’t too time-consuming generally. Besides, it will result in a cleaner machine that runs better and will last longer.

You’ll need to purchase a decent descaling agent specifically made for washing machines to start.

Then check your washer’s instructions manual for any guidance on descaling—many models have a specific descale setting that you should use if available.


Start by running a hot cycle on empty with one cup of vinegar added at the start. It helps loosen any built-up scale so you can get rid of it more easily.

Then follow the instructions on your Descaling agent to finish up the job. The possibilities include adding it directly into the drum and letting it run through a hot cycle for about an hour.

Then run at least two rinse cycles afterwards with no detergent or additives—this is especially important if you used vinegar earlier.

Any residue left behind can damage soft fabrics like lingerie or cause damage to the colors of clothes.

Identify Signs That You Need to Descale

If you’re unsure whether or not to descale your washer, some telltale signs can point you in the right direction.

You use hard water. Hard water is highly concentrated with minerals, such as calcium and magnesium. If you frequently use hard water, those minerals can build up on the washing machine’s internal components, such as the heating element or drum.

Your laundry smells funny and doesn’t feel soft after washing. Mineral deposits can cause laundry to come out stiff. In other cases, it can smell like detergent or bleach residue instead of fresh laundry.

Your washing machine isn’t working at its best. Note if the washer takes longer to complete a cycle, doesn’t get your clothes clean enough on the first try, or takes twice as long per rinse cycle.

There are signs of limescale build-up on parts of the washing machine, like the drum or door seal gasket.

The above are all signs that it’s time to descale as soon as possible. Failure to do this means you may no longer enjoy clean laundry from your machine!

Materials You Will Need to Descale a Washing Machine

Descaling a washing machine isn’t complicated; you can do it safely at home if you have suitable materials.

Here are the essentials that you’ll need to descale your washing machine safely:

White Vinegar

White vinegar is the primary agent used to descale a washing machine. It’s acidic enough to break down and dissolve mineral deposits but mild enough not to harm any internal components.

Baking Soda

Baking soda is also a great descaling agent—it can help cut through tough soap scum and reduce odors from bacteria build-up.

A Cleaning Brush

You’ll need an old toothbrush or soft-bristled brush to scrub off the loosened mineral deposits and soap scum.


Don’t forget to place some towels beneath your washing machine before beginning the descaling process. Water or vinegar solution can drip or spill during the process.

Step-by-Step Instructions on How to Descale a Washing Machine

Now that you know the basics of how to descale a washing machine, the following step-by-step instructions should push you to the pro level!

Step 1: Prepare the Machine for Descaler

The first step is to prepare your washing machine for the descaler. You should make sure any leftover detergent and fabric softener in the drum have been emptied.

Then place a clean container to collect water that may come out of the machine during descaling.

Step 2: Insert Descaler into Washing Machine’s Detergent Dispenser

Once your washing machine is ready, it’s time to insert your descaler into the detergent dispenser.

Ensure you double-check the type of descaler you have and follow the instructions on its packaging.

Step 3: Run a Hot Wash Cycle

After inserting your descaler into your washing machine,

run a hot wash cycle for about an hour (this duration is long enough for your descaler to do its job). The cycle must be as hot as possible to promote the best results regarding limescale removal.

Step 4: Clean Out Excess Limescale from Washing Machine Drum

When your hot wash cycle is complete, you’ll want to check for any limescale deposits left in the machine drum.

If there are, use a damp cloth or sponge to wipe them away before running another wash cycle with just water to rinse off any excess descaler residue.

Troubleshooting Tips for Common Issues with Descaling

Descaling a washing machine is manageable even for first-timers. Still, there are a few common issues you might run into. Keep reading for tips that will help you troubleshoot:

No water flow

The filter could be blocked if there’s no water flow during the descaling process. Check by removing the filter cover to clean out any debris blocking the way.

Not enough descaling solution

Suppose your descaling solution isn’t working as well as it should. In that case, cross-check if you used it as recommended.

That is by referring to the manufacturer’s instructions—the amount you need will depend on how much water your washing machine holds.

Noisy pump or motor

If you hear strange noises from the pump or motor during descaling, remove anything blocking its path and ensure your filters are clear.

Then check for foreign particles that may have lodged in the anti-block system inlet or outlet pipe. Clean out if necessary.

It’s best to call a professional service technician if your washing machine keeps up the noise after cleaning and checking for particles.

That could indicate a more serious problem like damage caused by blockages or defective seals in the pipes.

Take Away; How To Descale A Washing Machine

In conclusion, regularly descaling your washing machine ensures it runs smoothly and efficiently.

While store-bought descaling solutions may be efficient, plenty of DIY alternatives are just as effective. You only need white vinegar and baking soda to do the job.

Just be sure to read the manual that came with your washing machine to know the specific instructions for descaling.

Proper methods and ingredients make it easy to descale your washing machine safely and effectively.

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