A Guide to Samsung Washer Self-Clean Function

It may seem counterintuitive to clean a washing machine when the appliance itself is designed to clean. But the reality is that wherever moisture is present, your washer is susceptible to mould or mildew growth. Over time, residue from fabric detergent and softener, as well as dirt accumulates in the machine, leaving unpleasant odours, and reducing its efficiency.

So cleaning your washing machine is essential in maintaining its overall cleaning performance, whilst extending the washer’s lifetime.

What Is Samsungs Self Clean Mode

Samsung’s Self Clean mode is a built-in feature that runs a program to clean the drum and remove accumulated dirt or residue. It uses a combination of hot water, detergent, and high-speed spinning to clean the internal surfaces and draining system. 

The Importance of Self-Clean Function

Although your washer may appear to get your laundry clean, it could be spreading bacteria and bad odours into your clean clothes. The grime from your laundry, combined with soap residue and mineral deposits, is a recipe for mould and mildew growth. Running the self-clean feature can help reduce this buildup so you know your clothes are really clean. Plus, if you or someone in your family has skin sensitivities, eliminating these irritants from your washer will help reduce the likelihood of skin irritations. 

If you aren’t sure when your Samsung washer needs a good cleaning, look for these signs. 

  • It smells bad
  • You can see visible signs of mould, usually around the door seal or detergent tray
  • Washed clothes smell musty
  • The Self Clean reminder is showing on the machine’s control panel

How to Use Samsung Self-Clean Function

Using the Samsung Washer Self-Clean function is simple. To loosen debris and grime from the inside of your machine, all you need to do is push the POWER button followed by the SELF-CLEAN button. Make sure your washer is completely empty before starting the self-clean mode. 

If you have a top-load washer, it will take approximately an hour for the self-clean cycle to run its cycle. Whereas front-load machines take approximately four hours to run. 

Note: If, at any time during the self-clean cycle, you need to stop it, you will need to unplug the machine from the power source. Alternatively, you can flip the breaker switch for the machine to turn it off as well. Leave the appliance unplugged for 5-10 minutes before plugging it back in. This will reset the machine, so you can restart the cycle if you wish. 

What Part of the Washer Does it Clean

The self-clean feature on a Samsung washer cleans the inside of the appliance, specifically the drum and drainage. During the cycle, the drum fills with extremely hot water and then spins and agitates at a high rate of speed to loosen any debris, mould, and grime. As the machine drains, all the grime flows away with the water, leaving behind a clean drum. 

Note: Samsung says it isn’t necessary to add a cleaning solution to the machine during the self-clean cycle. However, some users suggest adding a small amount of bleach to the detergent tray, especially if your washer has an existing mildew issue. 

Since the Samsung Washer Self Clean function only targets the drum during this cycle and is really designed to prevent mold growth and keep odors at bay, you will want to manually clean your machine from time to time. This may also be necessary if the self-clean mode does not fully eradicate visible mold growth or mildew smells. 

Cleaning The Whole Washer

It may sound intimidating, but manually cleaning a Samsung washer isn’t so difficult. Below, I walk you through the process.

Note: You may choose to do a manual clean in addition to the self-clean cycle. If not, or your machine does not have a self-clean mode, you should give your machine a manual cleaning once every six months to keep it mildew-free and ensure fresh, clean laundry with every load. 

Cleaning the Drum

Even though the self-clean cycle targets the washer’s drum, you may want to give it a good manual cleaning. Follow these steps:

  1. Pour baking soda into the washer. Use your judgment on this, keeping in mind that using an entire box won’t harm the appliance. 
  2. Pour white vinegar into the bleach compartment. When the vinegar is released during the wash cycle, it will react with the baking soda to create a foaming action that will help loosen grime. Both the baking soda and the white vinegar kill bacteria, remove stains, and eliminate odours. 
  3. Place the washer on the hottest setting and allow it to go through the complete cycle. 
  4. Run an extra rinse cycle to make sure all the baking soda has been dissolved. 
  5. When the cycle is complete, use dry paper towels to wipe down the inside of the drum to remove any debris that remains. Leave the door open to allow it to dry. 

Cleaning the Drum Gasket

The drum gasket creates a watertight seal when the appliance door is closed. This rubber seal collects all sorts of dirt and debris from your clothing, which forms a breeding ground for mould and bad odours. Unfortunately, the self-clean feature does not do a great job of cleaning the rubber gasket due to its shape, so you will need to clean it manually. Follow these steps to clean the drum gasket. 

  1. Pull the gasket flap back to reveal any dirt, grime or hair that has collected in the fold. 
  2. You can use a vacuum to remove any loose debris sitting between the flaps. 
  3. Use a toothbrush or paper towel to scrub any stuck-on dry debris that remains. Mould likes to form here, so keep an eye out for black spots. 
  4. Wipe the rubber gasket down with a paper towel soaked in white vinegar. You can also use bleach for this part as both liquids kill mold and odors. Be sure to dilute the vinegar or bleach so they are less caustic to the rubber material. 
  5. If there is visible mould present that won’t come off or this is the first time you are doing this, soak paper towels in the vinegar/water or bleach/water solution and tuck them into the gasket. Leave them for at least 10 minutes to kill the mould and loosen any stubborn debris. 
  6. Soak some paper towels in clean water and wipe the gasket down after the gasket is done soaking. 

Detergent Dispenser

Visually, the detergent and fabric softener dispensers are the dirtiest parts of the entire machine. This is because, over time, these cleaners leave behind a buildup that dries and forms a cake. The buildup can prevent cleaning products from releasing fully into the wash cycle, which is wasteful and ineffective. Here’s how to clean the dispensers:

  1. Remove the compartments and run them under hot water. 
  2. Use a toothbrush to loosen and scrub away any buildup that is blocking the screens. 
  3. Before returning the dispensers to their compartments, use a toothbrush and hot water to remove any dried soap or fabric softener still stuck inside the compartments. 
  4. Replace the clean dispensers in their rightful places. 

Lint Trap

The lint trap is located at the bottom of the machine behind a flip door panel. You should clean this filter every time you clean the machine as any debris that is discharged from the drum will collect in the lint trap. Here is how to clean the lint trap on your Samsung washer. 

  1. Locate the lint trap panel. Place a towel or two underneath it to catch any water that flows out when you open it. 
  2. Open the panel and allow any water to drain. Turn the filter counterclockwise to remove it. 
  3. The filter will likely be filled with hair, lint, and other debris. Rinse it under hot water, using a toothbrush to gently remove the gunk. 
  4. Replace the filter by turning it clockwise and then close the panel. 

Note: Wait a little while after you run the self-clean feature or clean the machine manually as the filter will likely be extremely hot to the touch. Allow it to cool down before attempting to clean the lint trap. 

Control Panel and Buttons

Once the inside of your Samsung washer is clean and smelling fresh, you should wipe down the exterior, so it looks as good as it smells. The best way to do this is to use a soft microfiber cloth and a mild cleaning solution. Windex is a great product for cleaning the glass window on the door. 

How Often To Use Samsung Washer Self-Clean Function

How often you should run a self-clean cycle depends on how much you use your Samsung washer. Samsung recommends running the cycle once a month on average.

With that said, the Self Clean indicator will illuminate when the washer detects it is time to run the feature. For top-load models, this will be after approximately 20 loads, while front-load models can go a while longer with the reminder illuminating after about 40 loads. 

Do Other Brands Have a Self-Clean

Yes, other brands of clothes washers also have a self-clean feature. For example, LG includes a self-cleaning mode called the Tub Clean Cycle. During this cycle, the tub (drum) is soaked in hot water and spun at high speeds to loosen and eliminate dirt, debris, and grime that builds up during normal use. 

Whirlpool washers come with a “Clean Washer” cycle, which uses a higher water volume and hotter temperatures to thoroughly clean the interior of the machine.

Samsung offers the “Self Clean+” feature on many of their washing machines. This feature eliminates 99% of bacteria that can form in any washer drum and does not require the use of harsh chemicals.

LG washing machines typically have a “Tub Clean” cycle. This feature is used to clean the inside of the washing machine tub using a higher water temperature. LG recommends using this cycle monthly.

Maytag offers an “Affresh Cycle” in many of their models. This cycle uses higher temperatures and affresh® Washer Cleaner tablets to effectively clean the inside of the washer.

GE Appliances has a “Tub Clean” cycle in their washing machines, designed to remove grime inside the machine and around the rubber door gasket. They also recommend using specialized washing machine cleaner tablets.

FAQs Samsung Washer Self-Clean

Can You Use Any Detergent for Samsung Washer Self-Clean Function

No detergents are needed during the Samsung Washer Self-Clean function. However, you can add some bleach to the bleach dispenser to give the machine more cleaning power. 

Is Samsung Washer Self-Clean Function Worth the Investment?

Yes, the Samsung Washer Self-Clean feature is worth the investment. Besides removing mould and odors and keeping them at bay, the function also improves the efficiency of the machine and extends the life of the appliance if used as recommended. 

Appliance Service Technician | Website | + posts

Andy has over 8 years of experience working on residential household appliances, performing diagnostics, and repairs across most major brands. He graduated from the Denver Institute of Technology, is NASTeC certified, and has worked for Mr. Appliance. Andy has contributed to features on major publications including Better Home & Gardens, Family Handyman, and Yahoo.com.