Washing machine cleaners are available at Amazon.com, HSN.com, Home Depot and Wal-Mart as of 2015. The cleaners are sold as tablets or pouches, and they remove residues that build up from soil, laundry soap, and hard water.
The cleaning packets run in an empty washer set on a hot-water cycle. If washers have an odor or a sticky residue, Tide recommends using a washer cleaner once a week for three weeks. Once the washer is fully clean, the company recommends using a cleaner once a month for regular maintenance. Most washer cleaners are safe for septic tanks and high-efficiency washers.