Your washing machine reliably washes stains, odours and bacteria out of your laundry. To keep it that way, the washing machine itself also needs care. Unsightly deposits can form in the machine. To ensure that your washing machine washes optimally and energy-efficiently for as long as possible, you can use washing machine cleaners.
With our washing machine cleaner test 2021 we want to help you find the right washing machine cleaner. We have compared different washing machine cleaners with each other and compiled the respective advantages and disadvantages. This will help you find the perfect washing machine cleaner as easily as possible.
- 1 Weekly newsletter with the best personal finance tips
- 2 The most important facts
- 3 The Best Washing Machine Cleaner: Our Picks
- 4 Buying and evaluation criteria for washing machine cleaners
- 5 Guide: Frequently asked questions about washing machine cleaners answered in detail
- 5.1 What is washing machine detergent and how does it work?
- 5.2 When does it make sense to use washing machine cleaner?
- 5.3 What types of washing machine cleaners are there and which is the right one for me?
- 5.4 How much does washing machine cleaner cost?
- 5.5 What alternatives are there to washing machine cleaners?
- 5.6 Where do I put washing machine detergent in the machine?
- 5.7 In which programme and at which temperature should I use washing machine detergent?
- 5.8 How often can I use washing machine cleaner?
- 5.9 Can I put washing machine detergent in the machine with my laundry?
- 5.10 Can I also use washing machine cleaner on my dishwasher?
The most important facts
- Depending on the type of product, washing machine cleaners can disinfect, deep clean and/or descale your washing machine. They extend the life of your washing machine and improve its energy efficiency.
- Washing machine cleaners can be used for preventive care as well as for basic cleaning. At the latest when your washing machine smells unpleasant or no longer washes properly, you should use washing machine cleaner.
- Washing machine cleaner can be used regularly, but should not be used excessively, as the ingredients can attack hoses and seals. Other washing habits and the hardness of the water also play an important role.
The Best Washing Machine Cleaner: Our Picks
Buying and evaluation criteria for washing machine cleaners
If you want to decide on a suitable washing machine cleaner, there are various aspects that you should consider.
The buying criteria include:
- Dosage form
- Annual applications
- Application temperature
- Environmental compatibility
In the following sections, we describe what you need to look for in each of the buying criteria.
You can buy washing machine cleaners in three different dosage forms. These do not affect the effectiveness of the products. The decision is a matter of personal preference.
- Liquid washing machine cleaner has the advantage that it is usually filled into the washing machine via the rinse chamber. The washing machine is conveniently cleaned at the same time. You can also simply apply it to a cleaning cloth to clean the machine's seals by hand. It should be dosed according to the manufacturer's instructions.
- Powdered washing machine cleaner is usually put directly into the washing drum and cleans the washing machine there and inside. To use washing machine cleaner powder similar to a general purpose cleaner, you can dissolve some powder in water and use the solution to clean gaskets and the rinse chamber of your washing machine.
- Tabs are basically pressed powder. They therefore work in the same way as powdered washing machine cleaner. However, they have the advantage that they cannot be overdosed as they are already measured out. However, they are not good to use on the exterior of the washing machine or seals.
The differences between the dosage forms therefore mainly concern the dosage of the cleaner and the area of the machine that is being cleaned. The effect should be comparable in each form, depending on the quality of the product.
Different products should be used with different frequency per year. The manufacturer's instructions are decisive here. Especially high-dose products are sufficiently effective if they are applied twice a year. Other products are recommended for monthly application.
The need for washing machine cleaner depends, among other things, on the hardness of the water. The harder the water, the greater the limescale deposits on household appliances such as washing machines. If you do not know the hardness of the water where you live, you can contact your local water supplier.
The ingredients of washing machine cleaners can attack more sensitive components. You should therefore always follow the manufacturer's dosage recommendations.
Your washing habits also play a role. Many detergents are now effective even at very low temperatures and clean the clothes completely. This has the advantage that you save electricity and can wash your clothes in an environmentally friendly way.
However, if you only wash at low temperatures for a long time, you risk getting deposits that are only removed at higher temperatures. If you regularly wash boiled laundry, you may not need to use washing machine detergent too often.
Washing machine detergent is either put directly into the laundry drum or into the rinse compartment of your machine. This usually depends on the dosage form. You can also find a detailed overview of the different forms of administration in this article.
Powdered washing machine detergents and tabs are usually placed directly in the washing drum, while liquid detergents are placed in the rinse compartment. This is then cleaned directly with the detergent. However, thorough cleaning of the compartment is also possible by hand and with powdered cleaner. Simply dissolve a little powder in water and leave the rinse compartment there.
Tabs are less suitable for this. In any case, please note that the compartment behind the rinsing compartment is not cleaned as well. This must always be done by hand.
The washing programmes for which washing machine cleaners are effective differ depending on the product. For best results, follow the manufacturer's instructions.
Some descalers are already effective from 40 degrees. Some natural products, such as citric acid, should not be used at higher temperatures, as this can change the condition of the acid and thus affect its effectiveness.
Hygiene cleaners and universal cleaners are often only effective above 60 or 90 degrees. Especially if you usually wash at low temperatures or if your washing machine smells musty, it can make sense to use high temperatures for cleaning.
If you do a lot of hot washing but have very hard water and primarily want to descale, you can use a descaler for low temperatures. For coarser soiling, stronger cleaners at high temperatures are the better choice.
The washing temperature has an impact on electricity consumption and thus also on the environmental balance. Depending on how often you want to use the cleaner, this should not be too much of an issue if you use it only a few times a year.
The environmental compatibility of various products has become an important issue for many consumers. A contribution can also be made in everyday life. Washing machine cleaners are also available as eco-products, which are usually certified accordingly.
One advantage of eco-products is that they are usually less aggressive and do not put much strain on washing machine components such as rubbers and hoses.
Another factor to consider is the form of presentation: products in powder form are more compact and therefore easier to ship than liquid washing machine cleaners. This means that CO2 emissions can be saved.
High-yield washing machine cleaners only require a small dosage and often have smaller packaging. This helps to avoid packaging waste. You can also choose whether you want a cardboard or plastic-packed product. Many manufacturers also indicate whether the packaging materials have been recycled.
Washing machine cleaners are divided into chemical and natural products according to their ingredients. Natural products have a good environmental balance and are biodegradable. Chemical cleaners are synthetically produced and are often used for coarse soiling and heavy deposits.
Some washing machine cleaners contain activated carbon. This attracts and binds loose particles particularly effectively. Unpleasant odours can thus be completely removed.
There are also washing machine cleaners with additional fragrances or as odour-neutral products. Depending on whether you want a specific scent in the washing machine or prefer a clean, odour-free machine, you can choose a washing machine cleaner with or without fragrances.
Guide: Frequently asked questions about washing machine cleaners answered in detail
If you are thinking about buying washing machine cleaner, you will certainly have some questions that you would like to answer beforehand. In our big washing machine cleaner guide, we have compiled the most important and most frequently asked questions and answered them in detail.
Our guide should make it as easy as possible for you to find the right washing machine cleaner for you.
What is washing machine detergent and how does it work?
This is necessary because dirt in the clothes, small fabric remnants, ingredients of the detergents used, limescale from the water, pet hair and the like constantly get into the washing machine with the clothes and affect it. This can lead to deposits in the washing machine. Such deposits attack the machine, reducing its performance and energy efficiency.
In order to use less electricity and wash in an environmentally friendly way, detergents are now often very effective at low temperatures from 30 or 40 degrees. While this has a positive effect on the wallet and the environmental balance sheet in everyday life, it means that many deposits are not broken down during the wash cycle itself.
Washing machine cleaners are used for precisely this reason. Depending on the type of product, they can disinfect your washing machine and kill bacteria, loosen dirt and debris, bind loose particles and remove odours and limescale. Some washing machine cleaners form a kind of protective film to make it harder for deposits to build up again.
When does it make sense to use washing machine cleaner?
Since deposits in the washing machine collect in places inside that are difficult to access or not accessible at all, it is difficult to assess whether cleaning is needed at the moment. However, you can also use washing machine cleaners for preventive care without hesitation.
At the very latest, if the clothes smell unpleasant even after the wash cycle, streaks are visible or you have the impression that the performance of your washing machine is decreasing, you should use washing machine cleaner.
You should also consider the hardness of the water. If it is very high where you live, it is worth regularly descaling the machine.
What types of washing machine cleaners are there and which is the right one for me?
There are advantages and disadvantages to using each type of washing machine cleaner. To help you find the right cleaner for your washing machine, we will give you a detailed overview of the different product types in the following section.
It turns out that the different types of washing machine cleaners all have their strengths and weaknesses. You should decide which strengths are most important to you before you buy.
How much does washing machine cleaner cost?
|Product type||price range|
|Universal cleaner||4 to 7 euros|
|Descaler||5 to 40 euros|
|Hygiene cleaner||3 to 15 euros|
Universal cleaners are usually an inexpensive option, but they do not necessarily dissolve limescale and, depending on the product, may require the entire filling quantity for one cleaning. Descalers can be somewhat more expensive, but can often also be used for other appliances.
Hygiene cleaners can handle all the necessary cleaning and are quite inexpensive. However, it is important to note how many regular applications are recommended.
What alternatives are there to washing machine cleaners?
|Citric acid||Citric acid must be diluted according to the instructions for use. You should use it in a wash cycle at a maximum of 40 degrees, as higher temperatures impair its effect.|
|Chlorine cleaner||Chlorine cleaner is diluted with water in a 1:1 ratio. You should use it on a wash cycle at 90 degrees.|
|Vinegar essence||Vinegar essence is added to the wash drum and used at the highest temperature. Many machine manufacturers warn that vinegar can attack hoses and seals. It should therefore be used with caution.|
The different alternatives have different advantages. In particular, natural agents are environmentally friendly and often inexpensive. Depending on the hardness of the water and how dirty the machine is, you can choose between conventional washing machine cleaners or natural alternatives.
Where do I put washing machine detergent in the machine?
You should follow the manufacturer's recommendations. If you want to clean the rinsing compartment separately, you can simply remove it and soak it in cleaner.
In which programme and at which temperature should I use washing machine detergent?
Here, too, you should always follow the manufacturer's instructions. One wash cycle with the washing machine cleaner is sufficient, a second cycle with clear water should not be necessary.
How often can I use washing machine cleaner?
Natural-based cleaners can be gentler. However, you should not use them all the time, as rubber and hoses in particular can suffer from constant use.
The hardness of the water should also be taken into account. In the following overview you will find some reference values that can give you some orientation:
|up to 1.5||Very soft water. Hardly any limescale should build up in the machine. One or two cleanings per year are sufficient.|
|1.5 to 2.5||Medium-hard water. The machine should be descaled a little more often.|
|more than 2.5||Hard water. The washing machine should be decalcified regularly to prevent damage.|
To protect your washing machine from mould as well as limescale, you should always leave the door open a small gap after the wash cycle so that it can dry out completely. Rubbers and the lint filter should also be cleaned regularly.
Can I put washing machine detergent in the machine with my laundry?
However, a new empty cycle without any cleaner or detergent is not necessary after the cleaning has been done. So when using washing machine cleaner, make sure that there is no laundry left in the washing machine.
Can I also use washing machine cleaner on my dishwasher?
The advantage of a special cleaner for dishwashers can be that they are partly suitable for use in a normal dishwashing cycle with dishes. Washing machine cleaners, on the other hand, should always be run through the dishwasher without clothes or dishes.
In addition, some washing machines or dishwashers have extra cleaning programmes. It is best to read this in the operating instructions.
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