How to clean a washing machine soap drawer

How to Clean a Washing Machine Soap Drawer

Washing machines were primarily built to be able to take out dirt, stains, and sweat from clothes and other types of fabric.

But through continuous usage, it is just natural for dirt to also accumulate in the other parts of the machine, which is why it is also important to clean them out regularly.

Mold can easily grow in the different parts of a washing machine that get wet, specifically the soap dispenser where the water often passes through to be able to incorporate soap with the clothes being washed.

The only challenge is that people get intimidated by the thought of cleaning out these dispensers because the task does seem like it is a complicated process.

Fortunately, there are specific steps and guidelines that can be followed to be sure that the cleaning process will be done properly. 

Cleaning removable soap dispensers

The soap dispenser can be removed from the washing machine by pressing a lever that’s supposed to release it; this can be done by either squeezing a side tab lifting a lever.

It is important to note that the actual method of doing this varies depending on the model of the washing machine.

After removing the dispenser from the washing machine, rinse it under hot water to dissolve the soap that accumulated in the drawer over a period of time.

To ensure that the dispenser is thoroughly cleaned out, place the dispenser inside a bucket or tub with enough water to submerge it.

Then mix in 1-2 tablespoons of liquid soap and allow the dispenser to soak for 10 to 20 minutes depending on how long the dry soap residue dissolves completely.

As the last step, rinse the dispenser one more time under warm water to ensure that all the soap has been rinsed out.

Dry the dispenser gently with a soft cloth before placing it back inside the washing machine.

Cleaning out a washing machine soap drawer with bleach

If any mold or mildew has built up, using bleach is the best solution to clean a washing machine soap drawer.

To do this soak the drawer in a mix of warm water and bleach.

Leave the removed soap drawer in this mix for at least 10 minutes.

After soaking use a brush and a rag to remove all residues.

Cleaning immovable soap dispensers

If the soap dispenser of a washing machine is not detachable, the first thing to do is to pour some hot water over it.

After that, drop a small amount of liquid detergent and allow it to sit on the dispenser for as long as 20 minutes.

Flush out the liquid soap from the dispenser by pouring hot water over it again. If there is still visible residue and dirt after flushing out the soap, get a soft cloth and wipe it before rinsing again.

Run the washing machine and let it go through several rinse cycles using hot water to be able to eliminate any other soap residue from the dispenser.

If hot water is not available from the washing machine, this can be poured manually over the dispenser in between the rinse cycles to be able to help in loosening the dirt or residue buildup in the dispenser.

The possible mold buildup in washing machines

The truth is that even though washing machines get to have water and soap inside of them all the time, there is still a huge chance that different types of mold form and accumulate inside them.

There are two common types of mold that can grow inside washing machines and the first one is black mold.

Mold usually grows on soap dispensers and on top of the seals of the washing machine door.

They thrive in dark and damp environments which is why some people even use heat lamps to be able to prevent them from growing in specific places.

The next type of mold that can grow inside your washing machine is called a biofilm; it is a collection of microscopic organisms and not just bacteria.

One very distinct feature of biofilm is that it is slimy and it usually also appears inside the soap dispenser.

It is advised to wear a mask when cleaning out the soap dispenser to be able to protect the nose and mouth from any bacteria or fungi. 

Signs that the soap dispenser needs to be cleaned out

One of the most telling signs that the soap dispenser needs to be cleaned out is if the washing machine starts to smell unpleasant.

In addition to this, clothes can start to smell like mildew, especially when they are left damp for a long period of time.

The machine should also give off a pungent smell whenever black mold is already starting to grow inside the soap dispenser, or even in the door and drawer of the washing machine.

To be able to maintain the overall cleanliness of washing machines, it is advisable to make sure that soap dispensers are cleaned out at least every two months.

It is also good practice to actually use anti-bacterial washing machine cleaners to help out in preventing unwanted bacteria and fungi from growing inside the machine regardless of the frequency of use.

Even though all of the dirt and bacteria that can possibly form inside soap dispensers have health risks, the good news is that they are very easy to clean out of the washing machine.

In addition to having a very easy and simple process, it will not require you to have complicated tools because all you will need to have are soap, a soft cloth, and even a toothbrush.

The only additional reminder is to always be thorough in cleaning out all of these soap residue, molds, and biofilm because if not, there is a higher chance for them to grow back quickly.


All in all, washing machine users should be vigilant and diligent when maintaining their machines. The inside of the washing machine, and especially the machine soap drawer need to be cleaned out regularly. The last thing you want is a stinking washing machine or clothes with an unpleasant smell.