How to remove lint build-up from a washing machine

Updated November 21, 2016

Lint is a familiar problem in clothes dryers, but it can also build up and become a problem in washing machines. Lint develops when residue, dust and other fibres on clothing and other fabric items get wet during the wash and clump together. This lint then can get caught in the washing machine, particularly between the inner and outer tubs. It may eventually begin to cause problems, such as a bad smell, reduced agitation or spinning and reduced water filtration. Cleaning out lint from the washing machine should be done on a regular basis.

Look at the seal between the inner and outer washing machine tub. Use a clean, damp cloth or an old, damp soft-bristled brush to gently pull the lint up and out.

Wipe down the drum with a clean, damp cloth to remove any lint from the inside of the drum.

Lift out the lint trap, often located on the rear rim, or the top of the agitator. Lift the agitator out and clean the filter from inside the agitator. Look inside where the agitator is positioned and clean it out with a damp cloth. Replace the lint trap or agitator.

Set towels on the floor at the rear of the washing machine and disconnect the drain hose. Clean the inlet screen inside the hose as well as the inlet screen where the drain hose and the washer connect. Look inside the connection point and wipe out the area with a damp cloth.

Run a regular wash cycle with a cup of white vinegar poured in the washing machine drum. The vinegar will help rinse away any remaining lint.

Things You'll Need

  • Clean cloth(s)
  • Towel(s)
  • Vinegar
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About the Author

Meredith Jameson writes early childhood parenting and family health articles for various online publications. She holds a Bachelor of Arts in history from San Francisco State University.