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A man looking at limescale build up in a washing machine door seal.

How to Clean Your Washing Machine Filter & Remove Lint

‘Cleaning’ – it’s a word that strikes fear into many people, but not us Matic Moms! We know all the magical hints and tips to make cleaning quick and easy, which is why the thought of having to clean our washing machine doesn’t bring us out in a cold sweat. Cleaning your machine is one of Surf excel’s 5 tips for getting the most out of your washing machine, and it includes wiping down the outside of the machine, cleaning the drum, and emptying out the lint filter in the washing machine.


Why is Cleaning the Washing Machine Filter so Important?

If you’re a bit lax in emptying your lint filter, you may notice that your washing machine doesn’t work as well as it should, or it may not work at all. These filters are designed to catch lint, pieces of wet paper that were accidentally left in your jeans pocket, or any coins that somehow find their way into the machine (thanks, kids!), so that they can be removed before they begin to block the machine’s drainage systems.

If the filters become completely covered in lint, water cannot drain from the machine properly, which can leave your clothes sat in dirty water after they’ve been washed, or it can prevent the automatic lock from disengaging as the machine thinks it is still full of water.

You should take the time to clean out your washing machine lint filter regularly, particularly when you’re washing new towels or any other object that’s likely to leave a lot of fluff inside the machine. It’s time to learn how to clean a washing machine filter - here’s your easy-to-follow guide to help you out:  


Before Emptying Your Washing Machine Filter

Each make and model of washing machine is slightly different, which means there will be different methods of emptying the filter. We’ll cover the different types of machine and the different techniques below, but for now we want to focus on the very first steps, and these are the same no matter what type of washing machine you own. Here’s how to get started:  

  • Turn the machine off. You can do this by turning all your dials and controls to their neutral setting, ensuring all buttons are depressed, and clicking the ‘off’ button if your machine has one. There should be no lights remaining on the machine.
  • Disconnect the power to the machine. This is as simple as switching off the wall socket and then removing the plug from the socket completely. Make sure you leave the plug somewhere safe where it won’t become wet or damp.

Cleaning your washing machine filter is actually very safe – it’s been designed to be easily accessible without you having to get near any of the internal workings of the machine – but switching off and unplugging electrical items before maintenance is just good practice, and something we should get into the habit of doing, especially if we’ve got kids running around.  


Front Loading Machines

If you’ve got a front loading washing machine from Siemens, Panasonic, or any other brand, it really is a piece of cake to find your lint filter. Take a look at one of the bottom corners of your machine (usually the right hand corner), and you should see either a rectangular or a circular cover – this houses your filter.

Some covers can simply be pulled away to reveal the filter, whilst others are child-proof and will need a thing object (such as a blunt knife or a screwdriver) to prise the cover off. Twist the lid of the filter anti-clockwise until you can pull it out completely. Both the filter itself and the pipe will need to be inspected for lint, coins, or paper.  Tip from one of our matic Moms:

“Fill the machine with hot water, then add a quart of bleach for stain removal. Remember to also clean the rubber seal on the door and the dispensers.”  


Top Loading Machines

Some top loading machines will also have a cover in the bottom corner, but others, particularly Siemens washing machines, have self-cleaning filters located underneath the agitator.

‘Self-cleaning’ means that most of the list is flushed out with the waste water so dirt and grime doesn’t build up quite as quickly, but you should still clean this manually every so often. It’s easy to do – simply remove the agitator and you should see the filter’s cover sat right underneath.  One of our matic Moms recommends:

“You should regularly clean your top loading washer by running a hot water cycle with a cup of distilled white vinegar – this will remove any detergent residue that has built up inside and give the machine an overall freshen up!”  


How to Clean the Washing Machine Filter on a Bosch

Cleaning the lint filter on a Bosch washing machine is largely similar to cleaning a Siemens, Samsung, or any other make and model of machine available in India. However, many Bosch machines have one difference – the cover surrounding the filter also contains a drainage hose. Don’t panic! This isn’t there to make things more confusing; it’s actually there to make things much easier.

If your machine has been struggling to drain, this allows you to drain the excess water before clearing out the filter. Make sure you place towels on the floor first, and put a tray under the hose to collect the water.  Here’s a great tip from a matic Mom:

“Clothes that attract lint easily should not be stored near lint producing items like sweaters or bathrobes. And, remember to keep black clothes away from whites!”  


After Emptying the Lint Filter

Once you are sure that all lint has been removed from the filter, place it under some cool running water to ensure that the filter is completely clean before replacing it, along with the drainage hose and outer cover.

Now run the machine without any clothes to check that the filter doesn’t leak. If it does, you may not have replaced the filter or the drainage hose correctly.  And we’ve got one final tip from a matic Mom to share with you:

“As a monthly cleaning task, pouring some distilled white vinegar into the dispenser, instead of laundry detergent, will help to keep your machine clean ­– try adding one cup of baking soda directly into the drum as well.”