How To Clean Your Washing Machine In Japan

Despite the gloomy weather that has been looming over Tokyo for the past couple of days (Gahd, I hate tsuyu season), I could no longer bear looking at my filthy kitchen and bathroom rugs and decided to wash them today. After doing the dirtiest of my laundry is when I usually clean my washing machine and since somebody requested for a video on how to do it over at my Youtube channel (if you’re not subscribed yet, please do! More useful tips on Japan life at:, I have decided to make a tutorial blog and vlog along the way.

Cleaning your washing machine is pretty easy and straightforward. The first thing you must do is secure a product like the one pictured below. This is your washing machine drum cleaner called 洗濯槽カビキラー (sentakusou kabi kiraa) in Japanese. You can get it from drugstores, supermarkets and even on Amazon. The brand that I always use, which I also think is the most popular, is SC Johnson and I highly recommend it. Be warned that it does come with a pretty strong smell (of chlorine, I think). The 550 gram bottle shown below is only good for a single use so this product is usually sold in pairs or a set of three.

Amazon | カビキラー 洗たく槽クリーナー 洗たく槽カビキラー 塩素系 ...

Once you have your drum cleaner, head over to your washing machine and turn it on. Then, pour all of the contents of the bottle directly into the drum.

Before pressing the start button, make sure that you choose the right (wash) course. For the machine that we have at home (and I think for most machines), there is actually a specified course for cleaning called 槽洗浄 (sousenjou) so, all I have to do is choose this option and then press start. Once that’s done, the machine will take care of the rest and will automatically turn off after cleaning.

If the washing machine you have at home does not come with the self-cleaning option, don’t worry. First, just make sure that you choose the highest level of water content to fill your drum and then, choose the standard course 標準 (hyoujun) before pressing start.

Prior to starting your next wash, be sure to check inside your machine as there might be balls of lint left. Just throw those out and then you’re good to go.

If you are confused about the instructions above because you don’t know how to use your washing machine yet, check out the comprehensive blogpost or youtube video below:

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