Samsung Self-Clean Washer – Does It Really Work Well?

Have you ever gone to wash out the drum in your Samsung washing machine and noticed a blinking light indicating it’s time to use your machine’s Self Clean feature?

Samsung washing machines have a feature that allows you to easily clean the drums inside of the machine without the use of chemicals, and without having to contact a technician for support.

The use of the Self Clean feature is great because it allows little effort to ensure that the machine that cleans your clothes is clean itself, without the risk of leftover chemicals and get rid of bad odours.

If you need to use the Self Clean feature of your washing machine, or if you just want to incorporate self-cleaning into your regular machine maintenance, then read on for some instructions on how to accomplish that goal.

Why Use Self Clean?

Why would you choose to use Samsung’s featured Self Clean cycles on your washing machine instead of cleaning it yourself in the ways that you have done before or ways that washing machines have been cleaned traditionally?

While Samsung’s washing machines don’t necessarily make it easier to access everything in the drum, they do offer a feature so that you don’t have to reach inside the machine to clean it.

The Self Clean feature also allows you to avoid the use of spray vinegar and other cleaning chemicals, which go against Samsung’s manufacturer recommendations.

Finally, the Self Clean feature allows you to avoid handling wastewater.

And if you’re the type of person who prefers to manually clean their machine, even regular maintenance and manual cleaning can’t ensure the drum is fully cleaned.

Samsung’s Self Clean feature is designed for the machine, is water efficient, and is made to use minimal water.

Plus, Self Clean guarantees that your Samsung washing machine will be as clean as possible per the company’s recommendations.

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This helps you stay in line with Samsung’s warranty policy should you ever need maintenance performed on your unit for any other reason.

How to Use Self Clean

Self Clean instructions

To use the Self Clean feature on your Samsung washing machine, you should perform the following actions:

  1. Make sure the machine is plugged in
  2. Make sure the machine is empty
  3. Press Power
  4. Press Self Clean
  5. Press Start
  6. Wait one hour until the cycle ends before running a load of laundry (or four hours if you have a front-load machine)

Self Clean instructions (with bleach)

If your machine has an odor or visible mold or mildew, you should run the Self Clean cycle with liquid chlorine bleach loaded into the detergent container to the max line (not the bleach container) and wait until the Self Clean cycle ends before checking that the problem has been fixed. Follow these easy steps:

  1. Make sure the machine is plugged in
  2. Make sure the machine is empty
  3. Press Power
  4. Pour liquid bleach into the detergent container in the washing machine to the max fill line
  5. Press Self Clean
  6. Press Start
  7. Wait one hour until the cycle ends (or four hours if you have a front-load machine)
  8. Wipe down the washing machine tub
  9. Run a rinse and spin cycle
  10. Open the lid and detergent container and allow the unit to air dry
  11. Clean the pump filter (front load models only)
  12. Contact support if your machine is still not operating at maximum capacity

How Often Should You Use Self Clean?

If you own a Samsung washing machine, you might already have regular maintenance and cleaning habits to ensure your machine is always in top-notch condition.

Still, the factory-designed Self Clean feature is something you can add to your routine in order to be sure your machine is as clean as possible per the manufacturer recommendations.

If you don’t already have a cleaning and maintenance schedule for your machine, then the Self Clean feature is designed just for you.

With minimal effort, you can ensure the washing machine drum and other interior components are sparkling clean at all times. This also helps to prolong the life of your unit.

So, how often should you use the Self Clean cycle on your Samsung washing machine? Samsung recommends that you should use the Self Clean feature on a regular monthly schedule.

Of course, that’s for individuals who use their machines every other day or so. If you use your machine daily or several times per day, then you should be using Self Clean after a specified number of loads.

Top Load vs. Front Load Machines

For a top load model, where the lid to the machine is located at the top, you should use the Self Clean cycle every twenty loads.

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If you do two loads of laundry each weekday, that would amount to approximately one time every two weeks.

For a front-load machine that has a door that opens toward the user, rather than on top of the machine, you should use the Self Clean cycle every forty loads.

If you do two loads of laundry every weekday, that would be approximately once a month.

Can I Just Use Vinegar?

Although vinegar is a popular option for DIYers who want to clean their washing machines without the use of a Self Clean cycle (or in addition to a self-clean cycle), this isn’t recommended.

Samsung’s manufacturer guide recommends that you use either the official Self Clean cycle or liquid chlorine bleach to avoid damage to the machine and its components.

What Does It Mean When the Self Clean Light is Blinking?

Have you ever noticed that the light for Self Clean on your Samsung washing machine has turned on or is blinking at you?

The Samsung washing machines have a built-in feature that indicates when it is time to run the Self Clean cycle.

The notification light feature was programmed with consumers in mind.

The blinking light helps tell you when it is time to clean the washing machine so that you don’t have to remember when it is time to clean it, and so that you can avoid tracking each load.

When the Self Clean light is blinking, it indicates that the pre-installed program wants you to run the Self Clean feature.

The light activates once the washing machine has run twenty loads, even if it is a front-load model where it only needs the Self Clean cycle every forty loads.

If you don’t run the Self Clean cycle, the washing machine will stop blinking the light after five loads have been run and will blink at you again after another twenty more loads have been run.

Although the washing machine allows you to ignore the Self Clean notification light to some degree, it’s important to note when the machine needs maintenance.

If you ignore the light too long, greywater can build up debris on your washing machine drum and other components, leading to a cleaning that might require a professional technician to complete.

What Should I Do If Self Clean Isn’t working?

Keeping your Samsung washing machine as clean as possible is important in order to prevent mold, mildew, and odors from accumulating inside the machine.

It’s also important to ensure that the machine is able to perform its functions at its maximum capacity.

How do I know Self Clean is defective (doesn’t really work)?

If your washing machine produces a noticeable odor, it might be time to run the Self Clean cycle.

But if you run Self Clean and the odor remains, it might indicate that the feature is not operating at the manufacturer’s standards.

Similarly, if you find that your washing machine isn’t washing clothes properly, you should try to run a Self Clean cycle.

But if you run the Self Clean cycle and you find that your clothes are still not being properly cleaned, then it might mean the Self Clean feature isn’t operating at 100%.

First, go through these steps to troubleshoot:

  1. Run a standard Self Clean cycle
  2. Run a rinse and spin cycle
  3. Try washing a light load of laundry
  4. Run a Self Clean cycle with bleach
  5. Run a rinse and spin cycle
  6. Try washing a light load of laundry

After performing those steps, check to see if the problem is solved. If you’ve already run through those common solutions and your washing machine’s Self Clean feature still appears to be defective, it might be time to contact support.

Samsung support

Samsung offers online support through a chat feature 24 hours a day, seven days per week.

If you think your machine is in need of repair because the Self Clean feature is defective, you can choose to contact one of Samsung’s preferred vendors using their online platform.

You might also choose to contact a technician independently, but Samsung does not recommend that option. You can contact Samsung support through their website, wherein you can message an agent directly or else skip that step and schedule a technician visit to your home. If you choose to take your machine directly to a service center, you also have the option of driving the machine to a location of your choice.

Reader Comments (15)

  1. Hey Eugene! I’ve had my washer for 8 years and never self cleaned it because I never was taught this! Oops! I started getting debri on my loads so that lead me to clean it. I have run self clean 4x in a row, wiping out, still coming up with dirt. Should I keep running a self clean cycle until it comes out clean or should I save myself the hassle and find a way to take the machine apart and just wipe out the interior drum? I know several different types of handymen to assist. Is it possible to do this on our own? If not, who do I call? Thank you bunches!

  2. My tub has a lot of “dirt” left behind after a self-clean. Is this normal? It happens every time. I just wipe it off and then run a rinse cycle to be sure.

  3. After using the self-clean cycle. working fine a few times, the soap dispenser started leaking. Only for this particular cycle. All other washing cycles-no leaking of water.
    I stopped using the self-clean cycle and used sanitize or allergen cycle instead.
    Had to use a little bit of detergent and some towel etc. as per those cycles whenever I felt that some kind of cleaning was needed.
    After reading some comments, I have tried using self-clean cycle but with some bleach in the detergent dispenser part. Worked fine.
    Wish I had known this was the remedy I could have used couple of years before and saved my self the worry.
    Why did the dispenser leak only when the self-clean cycle was run but not for normal or other wash cycles if the detergent residue etc. was the issue?
    Another thing I have learned only now that I need to clean pump-filter in my front-load Samsung.
    Hesitant because am an 80 year old woman with no handiwork talents.

  4. The seal on my machine has mold and mildew on it. I have tried almost everything to clean this. It is not making any difference. I leave the door open all the time, and that has not helped either. The smell is awful. I clean the lower once weekly. Tell me how to clean this thing. Self-wash does not help.

    • That is correct.. But you have to wipe out water from the inner side of the door boot (seal) right after you finished washing your clothes.

    • Your humidity level maybe to high in the house then. Do you leave it „open“ with the door still touching the rubber seal or open as of wide angle open door? If wide open and you still got mold check your house humidity level, you may require a dehumidifier if you have no AC or AC is not dehumidifying properly. If you have it „open“ door still touching the seal keep it wide open. Never had issues with front loaders and mold. I’ve been using only front loaders as a German as their washing efficiency is beyond top loaders. If you have still issues if all that doesn’t help it might be your water quality..

    • I place DampRid inside the washer. Helps a ton with getting rid of humidity! Just don’t forget to take it out before you load and wash your clothes.

  5. I’m trying to figure out what exactly is going on during the cleaning cycle. I have a front loading machine and it makes a noise it only makes during the cleaning cycle though it sounds like it is part of the process & not an issue with the machine. The machine works great, I’m just curious about what’s going on in there.

    • I don’t know really, what can make that noise. But I would remove the top cover of the washer and keep monitoring when the noise will show up to see where it coming from.

  6. I got one of these buying a house. The home was empty 6 months. I put in a load & everything had chunks of mold on it. I ran the self clean 15 times each time I had mold in the basin. I poured a gallon of bleach into it let it sit for hours, then did a self clean after 10 self clean cycles. It still was nasty & mold came out. I then dumped 6 containers of hydrogen peroxide . After a smaller amount was added & seemed to help. I got to a point where I tried another load, it would come up with two letters that appeared to mean it was unbalanced. UB I believe it was. AFTER all I had been through I was amazed it took about 4 minutes after opening the door & re adjusting the load just to determine if it would go into error again? I mean really who wants to stand doing nothing just to see if it’s going to run? I did this 4 different times & the thing could not run the drum moved drastically. I didn’t even reach a high speed. I wouldn’t put this thing in if Samsung gave me $10,000 to do so. Why can’t they design a machine that does NOT grow enormous amounts of mold & why can’t they make a robust machine that can handle as light amount of imbalance? (These were sheets & a blanket there is only so much you can do.) I have an old unit I saved from my previous residence I threw in & works wonderfully. If the thing can’t run because it’s out of balance during the spin cycle no one with a brain should set it to take 4 minutes just to re attempt a spin cycle? It should take off instantly after readjusting the load not 4 minutes. (I wasted at least 15 minutes re attempting to balance the load, waiting a long time each try.) I am going to throw this washer in the trash where it belongs. It looks pretty new, but my 13+ year old washer runs circles around it. Just giving my experience with this unit. I have never had mold in a washing machine, I mean hair & all kinds of nasty stuff was coming out. These debris should be discharged from the machine with a cycle. There is no reason a clean cycle should be necessary at all.

    • Jeffrey, if the machine was used it likely was poorly maintained. An out of balance issue is very likely that the drum’s shocks need to be replaced. O replaced mine myself and it made a world of a difference.
      Just because you bought a home with an appliance in it does not mean that the appliance is like new. With that said, Samsung washers are notorious for needing maintenance. My frontload has received a lot of time and money from me having to replace multiple parts but we use it daily so it gets a lot of abuse.

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