Expert warns that this popular scented disinfectant hack could be damaging your washing machine

It's one of our favourite hacks, but we're now thinking twice

Nothing will get a washing machine drum smelling as clean and fresh as a capful of scented disinfectant. However, according to a washing machine manufacturer, this common scented disinfectant washing machine hack could actually be damaging your washing machine.

How to clean a washing machine is an easy question to answer when armed with a scented disinfectant. In fact, it is one of our favourite uses for scented disinfectants.

Simply pour two capfuls of it into the washing machine, pop it on a hot wash and just like that your washing machine and home will smell incredible. However, washing machine manufacturer Hisense warns that putting any scented disinfectants in the washing machine could cause pipes to rust, and rust specks on your clothes.

view of laundry room from kitchen through wooden door frame

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

Can you put scented disinfectant in the washing machine?

'We wouldn’t recommend using a scented disinfectant in your wash, because it may cause oxidation and rusting of the pipes,' explains Liam Cookson, Product Marketing Manager at Hisense UK.

'This, in turn, could lead to discolouration of clothing – which none of us wants to see when we take the load out the machine!'

Instead, Liam recommends using a disinfectant that has been developed for washing machines.

unloading the washing machine

(Image credit: Future PLC/Jon Day)

'Certain disinfectant brands have already launched specific cleaning products for your washer to ensure it smells fresh but doesn’t impact your clothing – as a tip, make sure the product you’re buying has been developed specifically for use in your appliance before using it,' he adds.

Dr Kyle Grant, CEO & co-founder of the sustainable, on-demand laundry service Oxwash agrees that scented disinfectants should be avoided when cleaning the washing machine. This isn't just due to the impact on the washing machine mechanics, but because it could cause skin sensitivity if not rinsed properly.

front loader washing machine in white laundry room

(Image credit: Future PLC/Colin Poole)

'I would recommend not using a scented disinfectant,' Dr Grant says. 'The synthetic scents added often trigger allergic reactions or skin irritations if not properly rinsed before the following cycle.'

Instead, of trying any washing machine hacks Dr Grant recommends using a Chloroxylenol based disinfectant such as unscented Dettol Antiseptic or simply white vinegar and baking soda. Then run the machine on a 30 to 40-degree cycle on a synthetics setting.

We will definitely be thinking twice before throwing a capful of scented disinfectant in our washing machine again.

Rebecca Knight
Deputy Editor, Digital

Rebecca Knight has been the Deputy Editor on the Ideal Home Website since 2022. She graduated with a Masters degree in magazine journalism from City, University of London in 2018, before starting her journalism career as a staff writer on women's weekly magazines. She fell into the world of homes and interiors after joining the Ideal Home website team in 2019 as a Digital Writer. In 2020 she moved into position of Homes News Editor working across Homes & Gardens, LivingEtc, Real Homes, Gardeningetc and Ideal Home covering everything from the latest viral cleaning hack to the next big interior trend.