Unseen Clean: The Best Washing Machine Cleaners

Limescale, dirt accumulation and bad odours are signs that your washing machine needs a clean and our handpicked selection will do exactly that.
Tried & Tested: See Our Testing ↓
Written & Tested By: Richard Morgan | Updated:
Best Washing Machine Cleaner
Richard Morgan/DIY Works
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Whether you opt for a washing machine cleaner that pours into the detergent tank or drum, they are a great way to clean your machine and improve its efficiency.

In terms of how they work, the cleaner tackles dirt and limescale that’s accumulated upon the internal pipes and other components of the machine and for the best results, it’s recommended that you use them regularly to prolong the machine’s life.

To assist you in selecting a washing machine cleaner, our handpicked selection lists top-performing formulas, chosen based on our first-hand experience using cleaners in the form of tablets, liquids and powders. Our testing and up-to-date research further ensure the quality of our recommendations.

Best Overall: Calgon 3-in-1 Powerball Tabs
Dr Beckmann Service-It Deep Clean
Best Deep Clean: Dr Beckmann Service-It
Dettol Anti Bacterial Washing Machine Cleaner
Best Value: Dettol Anti Bacterial 5-in-1
Pro-Kleen Cleaner & Descaler
Best Bulk Buy: Pro-Kleen Cleaner & Descaler
HG Service Engineer Cleaner
Best Professional: HG Service Engineer Cleaner
Ecozone Washing Machine Cleaner
Best Value Runner-Up: Ecozone Washing Machine Cleaner

How The DIY Works Team Tests & Rates Washing Machine Cleaners

Washing machine cleaners have been a recurring purchase of ours for many years and we’ve tried and tested a variety from some of the best brands in the UK. As shown in the image, they simply pour into the detergent tank or drum (depending on the cleaner you are using) and they get to work straightaway.

Although it’s technically not a DIY-based product, we see it as a preventative measure to stop your machine from breaking prematurely (if you did need to replace your washing machine as it wasn’t maintained correctly, this would be a DIY task).

best cleaner for washing machine

Richard Morgan/DIY Works

In terms of the formulas we use, we prefer to use cleaners (liquid or tablets) that are placed inside the detergent tank of the machine but other people may have their own personal preferences. As you can see in the photo of us testing the Dettol formula above, it takes just a few seconds to pour it into the tank and it is for this reason that we prefer to use it.

As well as our experience of testing a number of formulas, we also based our recommendations upon hours of research and multiple factors. Some of the factors that we took into consideration included the ease of use, effectiveness, scent left behind and value.

The Best Washing Machine Cleaners

At DIY Works, our content is 100% independent and we would never recommend a product that we wouldn't use ourselves (read our editorial standards and how we test products).

1. Best Overall: Calgon 3-in-1 Powerball Tabs

(How We Review →)

By far the most popular washing machine cleaner available in the UK are the Calgon Powerball Tabs and for good reason too. According to the brand, they are designed to provide unbeatable protection against limescale and also help to prolong the life of your washing machine.

In terms of using the cleaner, simply add the Powerball Tabs in with your usual detergent and that’s it. It’s suitable for all types of fabrics and it gets to work straightaway to remove limescale and the accumulation of dirt.

  • Anti-dirt action to avoid residue accumulation
  • Fights against mal-odour
  • Protects against limescale build up
  • Prevents rough feeling laundry
  • Suitable for use within every wash
  • Available in tablet, powder or gel form
  • Relatively expensive when compared to the alternatives

Although relatively expensive when compared to the alternatives, the Calgon formula is the best washing machine cleaner on the market. The Powerball Tabs are highly effective at preventing limescale build-up and they even have the benefit of softening the water in hard water areas of the UK too.

2. Best Deep Clean: Dr Beckmann Service-It

(How We Review →)

The Dr Beckmann Service-It is a washing machine cleaner that’s designed to be poured directly into the drum without any laundry inside. From just one treatment, the formula is able to remove 99.9% of micro-organisms and bacteria.

For the best results, the brand recommend using it every three months or 40 wash cycles for maximum cleanliness.

  • Removes MRSA for all washing machines
  • Kills 99.9% of micro-organisms and bacteria
  • Made with active carbon, which acts as a magnet to dirt
  • Pours straight into the drum
  • When testing this formula, a lot of the powder fell on the floor due to the poor packaging (minor drawback but worth mentioning)

To conclude, the Dr Beckmann Service-It is a highly rated washing machine cleaner that promises excellent results. Once the machine is going through a cycle, you can actually see all the dirt spinning around inside of the machine.

3. Best Value: Dettol Anti Bacterial 5-in-1

(How We Review →)

Another popular washing machine cleaner in the UK is by the reputable Dettol brand. The formula acts as a descaler to remove any limescale build-up and it also helps to improve the efficiency of your machine.

In terms of its usage, you can simply pour it into the detergent tank without adding any detergent and then run the machine on a 60 degree wash without any laundry.

  • Kills 99.9% of bacteria
  • Removes limescale and dirt
  • Prevents bad odours
  • Provides long lasting freshness
  • Best used every 2 months
  • Requires regular use for the best results

Overall, the Dettol Washing Machine Cleaner is an excellent all-round option that combines performance with value for the money. It’s easy to use and provides long lasting freshness that remains smelling great for many weeks after too.

4. Best Bulk Buy: Pro-Kleen Cleaner & Descaler

(How We Review →)

If you want the best bang for your buck, you can opt for a 5 litre bottle of the Pro-Kleen formula. It’s a washing machine cleaner and descaler that can provide up to 50 treatments per bottle because it only requires 100 ml per application.

In order to use this washing machine cleaner, simply add it into the detergent draw and run it on a standard hot cycle without any laundry. It’s recommended that you do this every 2 to 3 months for the best results.

  • Removes limescale, soap scum and musty odours
  • Only requires 100 ml per treatment
  • Pleasant fresh scent after use
  • Bulk buy 5 litre bottle
  • Expensive to buy due to the sheer volume (great value in the long run)

Overall, the Pro-Kleen Cleaner & Descaler offers outstanding value for the money and will save you a fortune on buying individual packs. It’s also very effective because it provides a deep clean of your washing machine as well as removing any limescale. This has the effect of improving your machine’s efficiency and removing any bad odours from your washing.

5. Best Professional: HG Service Engineer Cleaner

(How We Review →)

HG are a popular brand in the UK that are well-known for their affordable yet high performing products. The Service Engineer formula that they produce is a great example that’s similar to the Dr Beckmann formula above. It pours straight into the drum and it gets to work within your machine on a 60 degree wash without any laundry.

  • Powder formulation
  • Pours straight into the drum
  • Suitable for washing machines or dishwashers
  • Used by professional repairmen
  • Can also be used in your dishwasher

    To conclude, the HG Service Engineer is an easy to use washing machine cleaner that’s also suitable for use within your dishwasher. It offers great value for the money and is also produced by a reputable brand for peace of mind.

    6. Best Value Runner-Up: Ecozone Washing Machine Cleaner

    (How We Review →)

    One of the cheapest washing machine cleaners that’s actually worth buying is the Ecozone formula. It’s an easy to use tablet that goes straight into the drum of your machine and gets to work straightaway.

    • Suitable for up to 6 uses
    • Easy to use tablet formula
    • Vegan certified
    • Also suitable for dishwasher use
    • Removes limescale and detergent deposits
    • From testing this cleaner, we found that our machine was cleaner but it didn't completely tackle the bad smell

    Overall, the Ecozone Washing Machine Cleaner is a cheap yet effective formula that cleans and descales at the same time. Compared to many of the alternatives, it’s a fraction of the price and much easier to use in a tablet form.


    Considering that washing machine cleaners aren’t that expensive and are easy to use, they are a highly recommended product of ours. This is because they protect against limescale build-up, remove bad odours and also improve the efficiency of your machine. All of our recommendations above are suitable for every budget and include many different formulations. However, for the best results, it’s crucial that you read the instructions because many require hot washes and no laundry to be placed inside of the machine.

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