Washing machine drawers are one of those cleaning tasks that can be easily overlooked and forgotten about, then next thing you know you open that little draw and bam, mould!

Those pesky black spots love to sprout up in all the little nooks and crannies of a washing machine drawer. It’s the perfect environment for them, being both moist and warm. Well worry not my intrepid cleaner, we are here to show you exactly how to clean a washing machine drawer.

How to clean a washing machine tray
How to clean a washing machine tray

So here is the offender, one mucky washing machine drawer, I swear these things just breed mould!

How to clean a washing machine drawer

Step 1 – Remove Drawer

Remove the tray, mine had a push button
Remove the tray, mine had a push button

Remove the drawer from your machine so you can really get into all the nooks and crannies. My washer had a push button on the middle drawer that when pressed allowed the drawer to be fully pulled out of the machine.

Step 2 – Clean tray using toothbrush and soap

clean using a toothbrush
clean using a toothbrush

Now it’s time to get stuck in scrubbing. I like to use an old toothbrush which is now the designated cleaning toothbrush. I give the drawer a good clean and rise using just hot water, to begin with, to remove all the larger bits of grime and mould.

Plenty of washing up liquid
Plenty of washing up liquid

Once the big bits are gone I add plenty of washing up liquid and get to work really scrubbing. The washing up liquid really helps to break up any leftover washing machine detergent which may still be in the drawer, while also doing a great job on the mould.

Clean tray
Clean tray

Now give it a final rinse and your drawer should be clean!

Step 3 – Clean inside the machine

Now to tackle inside the machine
Now to tackle inside the machine

I’m afraid the time has now come to really get into the belly of the beast and clean the inside of the machine. If your washer is anything like mine then this is where the majority of the mould and dried detergent will be.

You will want a brush again, if you have a long-handled brush like the kind you use for dishes then this will be perfect. I didn’t have one to hand so had to make do with the toothbrush again.

I just used an anti-bacterial spray to help me clean in here. Most of the mould comes off really easy, the big lump of orangey detergent was harder but came off in the end with a little elbow grease.

brush with the machine running to help rinse
brush with the machine running to help rinse

A trick I have learnt here is to let the machine do a quick run, I just let it start before stopping it, this helps you to rinse the tray area out. Put a towel down on the floor as some water will escape. Scrubbing while the water is flowing through made a big difference for me and really helped remove some of the more stubborn areas.

Wipe down with a towel
Wipe down with a towel

Then after rinsing and turning the machine off again I gave it a good wipe down with an old towel. This again helped get some of the worse offending areas clean.

Step 4 – Clean Cycle

Now what I like to do is add some Dr Beckermans washing machine cleaner and let the machine do a cleaning cycle. I add the machine cleaner to both the drum and detergent tray to clean both.

For this cleaning cycle, I put the washer on as higher heat as it will go (90c for mine) and then do a full wash cycle.

FAQs

How do I prevent the mould from coming back?

In all honesty, it is very tough, giving the detergent drawer a regular wipe down can really help. Also leaving the drawer open when not in use can help as it improves the airflow, which can help reduce the growth of new mould.

What natural remedies can I use?

If you are opposed to using lots of chemicals then I have heard that white vinegar and bicarbonate of soda can work quite well. Mix some bicarb and vinegar into a paste then apply this using the toothbrush method.

What causes black mould in the detergent drawer?

There is no specific cause, rather it is simply the fact that the drawer on a washing machine has the ideal conditions for mould growth. It is pretty much permanently damp and dark and there is zero air flow.

How often should I clean the drawer?

If you keep on top of it giving it a quick wipe down once a week should help prevent the worst of the mould. I have seen people online say to do a deep clean as shown above once a month. I think this is very unreasonable to be perfectly honest and for most people just isn’t going to happen.

As long as no one in your family suffers from allergies or health problems caused by the mould then it really isn’t the end of the world if you leave it a little longer between big cleans. It’s one of those jobs you do when you are on a cleaning spree and then forget about for another 12 months!

Author

Hey, I'm Dan, I studied computer science with artificial intelligence at Loughborough University. I try to bring my tech knowledge to the posts where it is needed while also offering a DIY view to go with Sam's professional view on tools. I am a very keen DIY'er and have experience of doing everything the completely wrong way.

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